At Amigacoding.de FreePascal got a own Subforum inside the Language Section. Currently the Freepascal@Amigasystems fans are scattered over different Forums (mostly the Platform forums, like morph.zone, aros-exec, amiga.org, lazarus forum). But there are not much so it would be nice to centralize them to one Forum. Amigacoding.de is a nice idea to have a developer forum for ALL Amiga Platforms, sadly it’s not much in use or known. I wish this would change (even a little doubt). So if you are reading this, step by at the forum a leave a little message, what do you want for FPC, ideas, projects, help.. whatever or just hello world 😉
I started to make a tutorial for FreePascal on Amiga System, it should not be a Pascal tutorial but an Amiga with Pascal experiment. First one only cares about how to use FP-IDE, write and compile an Hello World. Next one would be about Intuition Window and drawing. Later maybe some MUI. There are some such Tutorials for C but mostly they only show how to do, my plan is more to really create a program. I plan to make the Tutorial in german and english.
The MUI LCL widgetset also got accepted for the official Lazarus repository.
That means the next official Lazarus release will also contain the support for all Amiga Systems and the MUI Widgetset. Sadly the only one usable with the released 3.0.0 FreePascal is i386-AROS. m68k-Amiga has a serious bug, for MorphOS the resource support is missing. Both problems will be fixed for next FPC release 3.0.2. All Other platforms (OS4, ARM-AROS, x86_64-AROS) have to wait until 3.2 because their support was added after 3.0 split. Of course one can use the 3.1.1 compiler for all platforms already, as I usually do and release to public.
But it would be very nice to just install Lazarus via your default package system (deb, rpm, whatever) install your Amiga cross-compilers and binutils(with vasm and vlink it’s really easy) and one is able to use the lazarus as IDE for your Amiga LCL programming.
Today I also got write access to the Lazarus repository, that means I can continue to work on the implementation directly on the official repository.
Already tested and fixed some tiny problems. I will continue to test it on week end, seems there are some new problems inside, at least some of my test codes does not work.
We (ChainQ and me) activated the section linking for the other Amiga Platforms as well. Freepascal for MorphOS for example will now also use vasm and vlink with section linking. The mentioned MUI demo for example has a size of 82k on MorphOS, so a little bit bigger as on Amiga 68k. Sadly vasm and vlink does not exist for AROS currently (except 68k of course) so there we are bind to the GNU tools. But the AROS ld is much more recent so it supports section linking already. The sizes of the MUI demo for the AROS Platforms: i386: 83k, ARM: 86k, x86_64: 144k. Sadly on AmigaOS4 it still not work, it still needs some fixing in the linker and startup code. Of course it’s nice to have this small sizes on NG Amigas, but more important on the 68k Platform, maybe you remember the compilation attempt on a real Amiga (so not UAE) which needed around 3 minutes and 160 MB RAM. I retried that with vasm and vlink today. It is smaller (1.6 MB instead of 6.5 MB) and also need less RAM for compiling and linking (around 100 MB instead of 160 MB), really nice. The speed does not really change, because it is limited by the Harddisk speed, which is around 1.2 MB/s only for my A1200. I’m thinking to use the SCSI of Blizzard 1260 but I need a fast SCSI to SATA Adpater or so, the one I found in Internet seems not so good, no synchronous transfer, questionable compatibility with the SCSI interface of Blizzard.
As explained in the 2016 summary I started to try to introduce the MUI LCL Interface to the official Lazarus subversion repository. I started with the basic compilation nogui LCL, which is a rather small patch (when compared to the complete new MUI widgetset). Today I got answer (after posting that as Bug in the lazarus bug tracker) and the patch got accepted to the official repository. That was my introduction, so now I would like to also include the MUI LCL which will be my next target. It would make the development so much easier. Especially because they change a lot in Lazarus over the time. My branch at github is again so outdated that it means again a new implementation to bring it to latest status (for the 4th time). If it is in the official repository I will directly notice if something change which need my attention. And the people will see the HASAMIGA defines everywhere and maybe care about to not break it 😉
Again a year passed so I will try to give a short summary about things going on in the Freepascal world for Amiga-style systems.
In Januar 2016 a big change in Freepascal was done to fix the Varargs version of the amiga library version. All “array of const” are replaced with the better “array of PtrUInt” which is much better to emulate the open end parameter list
A little funny new experience started also in March. I created the first 64Bit ABIv1 AROS distribution. Mainly, of course because I need a test field for the FreePascal AROS x64. For me x64 would be the perfect successor of the i386-aros ABIv1. My suggestion for AROS developer would be to leave i386 ABIv0 as it is, backport changes to there. And change then to x64 ABIv1 (and do not use/promote i386 ABIv1). But the x64 AROS still need much work, many things still crash, much code still cast Pointers to integer so not 64bit ready. This is also the main reason the 64bit distribution did not get much new version, not much changed with the problems there, I retest the usual problems from time to time. Also the FPC 64bit had big problems, which I found out end of 2016 are mainly alignment problems, where AROS made it’s own life much harder than it should be. (reminder “stacked int”s)
EdiSyn got a new Version with some bugfixes and basic printing support. End of year it got also a ARM version of EdiSyn to public with some more advanced features.
I also tried EdiSyn on MorphOS and Amiga. But both have some problems because of the different behavior of MUI and Zune. And I did not took much work on it because on MorphOS there is already a very good Editor with syntax highlighting and on Amiga m68k it’s just too slow. But in principle it works just LCL need some more work.
LCL on a native Amiga got some improvements to work also if no Graphic card is present, like my A1200 and also ported the usual suspects to m68k Amiga.
I used already a Lazarus on Linux to cross compile to AROS i386, in April I created a Lazarus which can cross compile for all supported Platforms (AmigaOS 3, AROS, MorphOS). Because it worked to nicely I planed to release a Lazarus for Linux including the binutils and cross compilers for all Amiga systems. But I noticed it is very difficult, even to write a Manual how to install such a systems. Therefore I decided to create a virtual machine which includes Lazarus, cross compilers and binutils for all Amiga Systems. After Amiga OS 4 was added to Freepascal and LCL I released a 2nd Version including the Amiga OS 4 binutils and cross compiler.
ChainQ implemented FreePascal for OS4 long time before already but because of changes in FreePascal and without a maintainer it did not compile anymore. In April ChainQ resurrected it and fixed some basic things, make it self compiling again. Then I took the lead and implemented some OS4units bring FP-IDE to work and finally the LCL with the usual suspects for OS4. Which resulted to a Amiga OS 4 FPC release including LCL. I will continue to maintain the OS4 fpc but will not improve it much more, maybe someone will appear to continue it especially with the unusual interfaces can be found on AmigaOS4.
I continued to work on applications using my LCL. This time I got the idea to create a Map application showing routes of my bike GPS. I played around with google maps API and openstreet API. Openstreetmap is much better because google maps you are forced to use the google libs which is difficult at AROS. It get somereleasesforallavailableplatforms. I also experimented with GPS support, first via a extra program later also directly inside Mapparium, which is still not released.
Long Time before I got the direct linking of C static objects to freepascal programs at AROS to work, which was really nice, but no real program resulted from it. On magoriums work on mikmod, I got an idea for a Delitracker like program for AROS, to Play my old modules. I results into my first native Zune program (so without LCL wrapper) ZuPaPlayer. And because Delitracker is working directly on MorphOS and Amiga I concentratedonAROS.
There I also noticed its rather difficult to write MUI applications in Freepascal. In C there are many many macros to make it easier, but they are not directly possible to convert to pascal. There is a muihelper unit in MorphOS with some starts to make it easier. I moved it to ami-extra to make it available to all platforms and extended it a lot. To test and prove the usability of it I started to port the example codes of the official MUI 3.8 release. On Amiga it works very nice on AROS it shows very good the differences of MUI and Zune.
Because ChainQ included support for 68000 processor which need some more alignment care. Because of this I created a little RTL for Workbench 1.3 which is really difficult because much things are not available.
Worked a little bit more with GPS. At Aros-Exec, someone was so kind to test and other GPS with the program seems he also found one which works.
I put all things together and added some more debug output. In principle its still only a tool to learn how to operate GPS devices to build to Mapparium later. But in fact it’s also a nice little tool to play with. The record track function was so easy to implement so it could be a more lightweight tool to record Tracks, instead of the big Mapparium. It even works on Amiga without GFX-card (unlike Mapparium).
It got an own page, on the Mapparium page it would be too messy. But I don’t think they will be much updates on the little program, maybe later I will clean up a bit and put the source to github.
A new Mapparium release bring the image position showing to public including some AREXX commandos for it. But there are more changes. Finally I added a Menu for the Main Window. There are some problems with the menu on MorphOS, and I want to prevent bug announcement about this. I should really again try to find a clue about it. Besides this added overall statistics.
On request I added a nice little feature to Mapparium. It can now extract GPS informations saved in the EXIF of JPG photos. Usually smartphones and better cameras with GPS chips add them to the photos.
Really nice to remember where the photos are taken. a little preview of the image is included, sadly the JPG loading is very slow on MorphOS. I’m not sure whats the reason for this maybe some x86 optimization or general endian problem. So I decided to make the preview with a small preview of the image loaded and call MultiView to show the whole image on request. Mostly the small image is enough to have an idea whats on it. And with MultiView you can inspect in detail. Of course it would be nice to make it configurable later.
Little movie to show how it will work:
The GPS support will have to wait a version more I think, still need a lot of work, and if included track recording and so on should also be implemented, so still a lot of work.
Support for GPS devices will be a nice thing to have in Mapparium. The GPS devices mostly use a protocol name NMEA via serial connection, nowadays mostly via USB2Serial adapter. I own a old Garmin GPS with serial cable and a newer USB GPS device.
The main problem is that my PowerMacG5 Computer does not have a serial interface. But I found out that my USB GPS device can work, by forcing the endpoint 0 it to usbmodem.device, sadly it does not connect by default to this driver, so you first have to force and save it.
So I wrote a little test program to read the serial data from the GPS and parse the NMEA data.
My old Garmin GPS has a nice little interface (device LCD display) to show the position, satellites and other properties. I created a little GUI which look rather the same to visualize the data. And it works really nice for my device.
Currently it only works for MorphOS and AROS, in principle one could try to forward the serial interface to WinUAE and use it on m68k Amiga.
The new Mapparium has some basic route calculation support. I found two usable services, YOUR and OpenLS. Both have positive and negative sides, YOUR is much more reliable but only support the orders as text without coordinates where the direction order is active. OpenLS had on my tests some speed issues, sometimes very slow, even 1 day offline as it seems, but it supplies orders also with position informations.
FIX: AROS invisible search text
ADD: Routing calculation via YOUR or OpenLS
FIX: better Prefs window
ADD: Save/load routes from GPX
CHG: Open TrackView or RouteView on Show/Edit Button