ST INTERN by Richard Karsmakers
Data Becker must be one of the most innovate companies anywhere
in the world. They seem to understand every computer on the
market, and they seem to be able to support every well-selling
computer with an enormous variety of books. I already knew Data
Becker didn't only write on high quantity, but also with high
quality, since I used to have some of their books back on the
Commodore 64 (good times, that were...). Whereas I was truly
stunned when having a look through "64 Intern", a few years ago,
I was again stunned when I glanced through "ST Intern". Again,
the people of Data Becker made a real bestseller! "ST Intern"
(ISBN 3-89011-119-X, about 470 pages) can be ordered through your
own bookstore (although waiting times can become a bit long
eventually) or at a good computer shop near you. In Germany, the
book sells at DM 69,- which isn't very expensive if you see what
it offered for that price. The authors are Lothar English, Klaus
Gerits and Rolf Brückmann. For information, people in Germany
should write to Data Becker, Merowingerstr. 30, 4000 Düsseldorf,
West Germany. People in Holland should contact Bruna & Zn.
Whatever computer you happen to own (it doesn't matter whether it
be a ZX-80 or an IBM PC, a Commodore 64 or an Atari ST), I think
it's always very important to know what's in there, what happens
if you do something, to know what your memory map looks like and
to know the basics of your computer's native language (in case of
the ST, this is MC68000 machine language). No books have ever
succeeded better in doing this than the "Intern" series of Data
Becker. I must admit that I cannot do without my "ST Intern"
anymore, although I am still only programming in GfA basic and
peeping a bit at machine language. Almost all imaginable things
that have to do with the ST are included (and very often clearly
explained) in this book. In my case, the fact that I knew Data
Becker was supporting the ST even made my hesitation of switching
to another system much less. I knew there would be many ready-to-
cosume information and documentation waiting for me. At the
moment, Data Becker has launched a bit less than 20 books for the
ST, of which you will find two others reviewed in this issue of
ST NEWS as well.
The book starts explaining what's in the ST. It explains the
prcinciples of the 68000 CPU, the Atari custom chips (Glue, MMU
and Shifter), the DMA-,Floppy Disk Controller-and Sound-chip, the
keyboard processor and other essential parts of the ST, as well
as all I/O connectors with pin descriptions. Also (of course),
the much needed memory map is included. Next thing the authors
sum up are all the GEMDOS-, XBIOS-and BIOS routines, together
with examples (in many cases, anyway) and explanation. While
they're at it, the authors also explain all there is to know
about the line A opcodes, a lot you need to know about MC68000
opcodes and several useful things to know about a thing like
interrupt structure. The book ends with a documented listing of
the BIOS (probably the disk-version 0.13). Several pointers and
BIOS routines are therefore addresses in a wrong way; with ROM
TOS, for example, the operating system starts at $FC0000 instead
of $5000 (which is the case in the book). That's about the only
little 'bug' I was able to find in this book.
"ST Intern" really is a must for anyone who is trying to program
seriously on the ST, or people who just want to know what's going
on beneath their computer's keyboard. Highly recommended!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.