[Coco] New IDE software announcement

Roger Taylor roger at newfoal.com
Thu Dec 29 12:25:43 EST 2005

I posted a similar message in the CoCo forums about a new program I am 
about to release.

Portal-9 users will be already familiar with my new IDE currently named 
"Rainbow".  This new system looks similar to Portal-9 for now but will take 
on a different look over time as more features are packed in.  Portal-9 
will continue to be upgraded but will be only a 6809/6309 IDE, while 
Rainbow will be aimed at the wide spectrum of vintage/8-bit computers and 
programmers for them, including the Tandy Color Computer and clones.

The Rainbow IDE currently includes CCASM (6809/6309 cross assembler), TASM 
(very nice multi-CPU cross assembler) and Chet Simpson's CASM cross 
assembler (6809/6309, EDTASM-compatible, CCASM-compatible), and I'm working 
to add C compilers for each or any of the three supported assemblers.  I 
have not been able to find a Win32 version of AS09 or any assembler for 
Vectrex programmers, but from what I gather, they are using CCASM to 
develop Vectrex games.

The left control panel of the Rainbow IDE pretty much lets you control most 
build options for your project and each source file within.  You can choose 
to use TASM, then choose what CPU to assemble for (out of about 25+ 
variations), whether to generate a listing, symbols listing, etc.; what 
kind of virtual floppy disk the object should be placed on, what kind of 
object to assemble as, etc.... And what M.E.S.S. emulation to launch and 
whether to mount the floppy disks or ROMs or not.  The seamless interaction 
is very nice!  And all of this is a click or two away without having to 
jump around the IDE looking.  Every IDE I use (even the one used to help 
create my own!) requires you to jump around menu after menu looking for 
simple options, and this is one reason why I chose to centralize the 
most-used settings from one location right there next to your editor.

I'll release a BETA version of Rainbow IDE soon and get some feedback, but 
right now it's working quite nicely.

When you run the program it scans your M.E.S.S. directories and learns all 
the emulations you have, and I've even included a lot of BIOS ROMs for most 
popular systems.  Some of these ROMs are not available or hard to find now, 
so I'm glad I started collecting them earlier.  Actually, I still need a 
lot more of these ROMs if anybody has a collection they'd like to share of 
legal ROMs. :)

Right now, Rainbow IDE is a good front-end or GUI for M.E.S.S. even if 
you're not going to develop any software, but you can create projects that 
contain up to 4 .DSK images of CoCo files that will be automatically built 
and mounted when you click Build, then the CoCo pops up and ready to run 
the disks.  Talk about nice.  These are not premade .DSK images but they 
are built on the fly very quickly to contain whatever files you want to be 
on them, meaning you can add or remove CoCo programs and games at any time 
and the rest of the project stays as-is for future sessions.  This is 
better than using M.E.S.S. and imgtool.exe or port.exe to screw around for 
hours trying to manipulate CoCo .DSK images before you emulate them in M.E.S.S.

Now for the 6502, 6800, Z80 and any other 8-bit programmers here, I'm 
welcome to your suggestions, so feel free to e-mail me back or post it 
here.  Rainbow has these modes ready and even some of the M.E.S.S. systems 
that use those CPUs, so you are in for a treat.


Roger Taylor

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