[Coco] Expert C programmer wanted
KnudsenMJ at aol.com
KnudsenMJ at aol.com
Mon Feb 7 15:28:55 EST 2005
In a message dated 2/7/05 2:44:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, jhoger at pobox.com
I suppose it would be possible to run Microware C in an emulator and
suck the RMA code output of there. Not ideal, but that's the hack job
approach. Just make MESS+NitrOS-9 command line scriptable, and you've
got a command line C compiler. You avoid writing a compiler, and you
make MESS scriptable which would be a nice reusable feature for other
There's nothing wrong with the Microware C compiler, except that (1) it has
a couple of known bugs, (2) it doesn't do ANSI prototypes or bitfields, and
(3) it doesn't exploit 6309 extensions in its assembly output.
(1) is no big deal -- we have listed the bugs, work around them (but COULD
be a big deal when importing big sources -- someone has to check by eye.)
(2) is a non-issue to those of us who cut our teeth on Original K&R C, and
there's the AnsiFront preprocessor to import sources with the ANSI extensions.
However, I doubt that AnsiFront does any of the type checking that a full
ANSI C compiler and linker give you (yes, it's saved my bacon a couple of
(3) Nitros9 6309 users would like to have more efficient code generated for
their CPU. Maybe some very fancy C.Opt2 patterns can do this at the back
end, working on the assembler output?
(4) I liked, there is a 4th problem -- the lack of "unsigned char", which
bites me even when I'm writing for the Coco! Let alone importing source, ouch!
Requires a LOT of hand-eye checking. That's one shortcoming of old K&R
that has you writing (ch & 255) for almost every appearance of the "unsigned
char" variable "ch".
Alternatively you could just go to Forth, a high language for which the
6809 is particularly suited. You can't do better than a one-instruction
I was once interested in FORTH, and the 6809 actually seems to be designed
to run FORTH! But this language is very weird, oriented towards small
projects, and expecting someone to learn it at this stage as a means to write Coco
programs is just too much.
Better idea is just to write assembler, with a good macro processor and
stylistic guidelines and function-calling standards to keep the code from turning
into spaghetti tangles. Seriously, I wrote a bunch of PDP-11 assembly (the
6809 is in many ways a simplified PDP-11) with such great ease and fluidity
that a year later, when I was listing all the machines that I'd coded assembly
for, I forgot about the PDP-11. It was THAT easy to write for.
My two cents -- Mike K.
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