Author's Preface

To The Revised Edition

In the past two years, many people have written to me about Map- ping--mostly complimentary. I was gratified that no serious errors were uncovered, only a few typos and minor corrections--a tribute to COMPUTE!'s editing skills. There are too many people to mention everyone, but I appreciate the efforts of you, the readers; please continue to write to me, even if I can't answer every letter. Special thanks to Joe Miller of Koala Technologies (previously with Atari, author of the Translator disk, and frequent CompuServe user), Matt Ratcliff (remote sysop on the Gateway BBS), Randy Tjin of Atari Canada, Neil Harris and Richard Frick of Atari USA for tech- nical support, Bill Wilkinson for the frequent mentions in COMPUTE! magazine, Gary Yost of Antic, and my friend Yoram Rostas for his in- cessant prodding and poking into the machine. Also to Atari for its "open system" policy which helped make this book possible. The Atari SIG on CompuServe has been a great help and sup- port; it may be the best source of information and public domain software for the Atari presently available. If you haven't used CompuServe, I highly recommend that you do so; the sysop, Ron Luks, and his group run a super online operation. Ron helped me gather some of this information by putting up a special message ask- ing for suggestions and answers to questions I had. Most of all, I owe an immeasurable amount of love, gratitude, and affection to the ever-patient Susan McCallan, my constant companion these past two-plus. How she stands me, I've never quite figured out, but I hope she continues to do so for a long time. This book is for her.

Publications and Products

Since the first edition, OSS has released an excellent new language, Action!, as well as a considerably superior BASIC--BASIC XL. Action! is probably the best language yet for the Atari; it's a bit like C and Pascal, with a dash of Forth. I recommend it. (Russ Wetmore wrote Atari HomePak in Action!. Even the Commodore 64 version was writ- ten in Action! on the Atari.) Many Action! utilities and programs are available on CompuServe's Atari SIG as well. Too many magazine articles have been published since the orig- inal edition to cross-reference all of them, but Bill Wilkinson's "Insight: Atari" in COMPUTE! magazine, Paul Swanson's "From Here to Atari" in Micro, plus articles in Analog, Antic, Creative Computing, and ROM have all provided their share of information. Atari's own maga- zine, Atari Explorer, also has many useful articles, especially for novice programmers As for books. The Programmer's Reference Guide for the Atari 400/800 computers by David Heiserman (Howard Sams, 1984) is a good "single volume" reference, Mark Chasin's Assembly Language Programming for the Atari Computers (McGraw-Hill, 1984) is highly recommended; it provides many excellent examples strictly for Atari users, explaining such difficult concepts as I/O, handlers, and VBIs. Carl Evans's Atari BASIC Faster and Better (IJG, 1983) is an excellent technique book for BASIC programmers who want to improve their style and learn some machine language. Jerry White, well-known Atari software author, coauthored a good compendium with Gary Phillips called The Atari User's Encyclopedia (The Book Company, 1984), Linda Schreiber's Ad- vanced Programming Techniques for Your Atari (Tab, 1983) has sev- eral good routines for graphics and strings in BASIC. COMPUTE! Books has published several good books, including COMPUTE!'s Third Book of Atari, COMPUTE!'s First and Second Book of Atari Graphics, and COMPUTE!'s First Book of Atari Games. A real hacker's delight is The Atari BASIC Sourcebook, by Bill Wilkinson, Kathleen O'Brien, and Paul Laughton, which includes the entire source code for Atari BASIC--a must for serious BASIC users (along with Wilkinson's Inside Atari DOS). One of COMPUTE!'s best books recently is Richard Mansfield's Machine Language for Beginners, a painless way to introduce yourself to machine language programming. Finally, for the real hardware buff, Atari once published their 400-800 Home Computer Field Service Manual (part # FD 100001); it has a wealth of data, schematics, parts lists, diagnostic tests, and assembly information, It's hard to get, but worth it. An 800XL Field Service Manual is also available. Sams has released an excellent hardware technical service manual for the 800 and 800XL, it's expen- sive. but contains material any hardware hacker needs to know. It looks like the Atari will have a long life; it's already into its third generation (all compatible). I'm glad to see that the recent change in ownership did not spell the end of my favorite home com- puter, but rather Jack Tramiel is continuing to support and develop it as well as maintain compatibility between models. I'm looking for- ward to seeing his new 68000-based ST machines. March 1985 Ian Chadwick 55 Kent Rd Toronto, Ont. M4L 2X5 Canada CompuServe 70375,1010 September 2000: the above contact information is obsolete. Ian can be contacted via e-mail at or at: 115 First St., Suite 502 Collingwood, Ont. Canada L9Y 4W3

Return to Table of Contents | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter