Development Documentation

Other Pages on The Web

  • Hallvart's URL Launchpad contains a nice section on programming links

  • Anthony Jaques' Atari Programming Pages
    contain a wealth of info on all sorts of things, including GEM, AES 4.1 features, programming of hardware, etc.

  • ICTARI, The Atari Programmer's User Group
    They publish an electronic magazine full of informative articles and tips. They're always looking for new articles, so why not help them as well?

  • The GEM Atari Programmers Page has been around for a while and isn't really updated anymore. Still, it contains a lot of useful stuff...

  • Natural Born Programmers offer several documents (GDOS, NVDI), protocol descriptions (OLGA) and utilities.

  • ST Internals is a large page containing all sorts of info on custom hardware, memory maps, connector pinouts, etc. (*)

  • Aura Downloads, contains lots of useful stuff on Falcon demo coding

  • Jones' GFA Page, mostly on GFA games programming
  • FTP Sites & Stuff

  • Programming docs at
  • Questions? Announcements? Or just interested in Atari programming?
    Have a look at comp.sys.atari.programmer, the Atari programmer's newsgoup!

  • TOS Reference

  • Der TOS-Hypertext is a very extensive (shareware) German ST-Guide hypertext, covering just about anything related to TOS system calls (GEM, GEMDOS, (X)BIOS, various protocols...). If you can read German, be sure to take a look!

  • The TOS Book is a huge hypertext file documenting every TOS related system call and protocol, including many extensions. It's still under construction, though...

  • The hypertext viewer 1STGuide comes with a set of hypertext documents describing most of the BIOS, XBIOS, GEMDOS, AES and VDI calls. (German, LZH)


  • Professional GEM is a series of GEM programming articles by Tim Oren. It explains the basic structure of GEM programs and some more advanced stuff like user interface design and all kinds of neat tricks. It comes with some example source code in C (ARC) and is also available in TeX and in DVI format (LZH)


  • GEM-Message List (German), also available as ST-Guide hypertext (German, ZIP)
  • Anthony Jaques' page has some info on how to use the "new" AES 4.x features...


  • The GDOS FAQ ("More joy of GDOS") contains some useful info on using GDOS (using monospaced/proportional/bitmap/vector fonts, version info, fontselectors, etc.)
    The newest version is also available, but only in German.
  • NVDI 4.1 Programmer's Guide & Tools (German, ZIP)
    Documentation, Rasterkit, Re-entrant AES-Library and the Printer Control Panel.
    Also available in an English translation, without the tools (ZIP)


  • Atari's GEMDOS Documentation (ARC)
  • The Pexec Cookbook


  • BIOS Manpages


  • List of XBIOS system calls


  • Various MiNT docs at
  • MiNT syscall Manpages
  • Docs relating to X11 programming (X Windows)


  • MagiC Programmer Docs (German, TOS SFX)
  • MagiC-Mac Programmer Docs (German, LZH)
    These are also available with examples (German, SIT)


  • TOS Error Codes
  • TOS Error Codes (ST-Guide format, ZIP)
  • TOS-Version info (TOS/MagiC(Mac)/MiNT) (ST-Guide format, ZIP)
  • Line-A header files/docs (ARC)
  • Hardware Reference

  • The Hardware Register Listing is a very useful and extensive file containing a full memory map, register listings for most standard custom chips, a list of standard cookies and more...

  • DOIT is a series of HTML reference texts containing tips, tricks and info concerning ST, Falcon, Jaguar and some other Atari and Mac hardware. It's HUGE (several disks), contains lots of text (mostly in German, some in English and pics and is best viewed on a browser on a 800x600 screen. Go get it, it's free but you'll need to register.

  • Chips & Chips is a shareware ST-Guide Hypertext which contains info about Atari hardware, including images of all custom chips and their pins, stuff about ports, adaptors and patches and lots more.. It comes with additional IMG files, parts 1 (chips), 2 (hostadapters) and 3 (machines) (ZIP SFX)


  • MC68000 Motorola page
  • MC68030 Motorola page
  • A fairly complete listing of 68030 instructions and their usage, plus some optimization tips. (*)
  • Motorola doc on optimizing 68000 code
  • Execution times of MC68030 instructions (LZH)
  • Assembly course on Atari ST (French, ZIP)
  • 68000 FAQ from Motorola

  • Atari ST Machine Specific Programming In Assembly, an extensive 'book' on writing efficient assembly programs. Lots of useful info on optimizing, among other things. Does require some starting knowledge of 68000 assembly. There is also an archive of IMG and post script files to go with it... (ZOO)

    DSP 56001

  • Motorola's pages on the DSP56000 family
  • Motorola's DSP56000 Technical Documentation Library
  • A short introduction to DSP programming
  • Some info on DSP communication
  • Short doc on DSP Sound processing
  • Short list of DSP instructions
  • Dr. Bub's Free DSP Software Archive, which contains some 56000 example code (ZIP), among other things...

    Video Hardware

  • Atari's BliTTer documentation (*)
  • Falcon Videosubsystem (and other hardware registers) documentation

    Audio Hardware

  • YM2149 (ST Soundchip) Documentation (PDF)
  • Some info on the registers of the Hades DSP Sound Card

    Hardware Usage

  • Xav's Enhanced Joystick Ports FAQ contains everything you ever or never wanted to know about the EJP ports on the STE/Falcon.
  • Some docs on using Joypads (LZH)
  • Modem Programming Guide on using the serial hardware.
  • Info on various standard interface ports (parallel, serial, PC keyboard, etc.)


  • Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ
  • Pinouts FAQ
  • Protocols & Standards


  • XAcc protocol documentation (German), also available as ST-Guide hypertext (ZIP)
  • OLGA (Embedded Object Linking) Documentation
  • BubbleGEM Documentation (German). BubbleGEM is a speech-bubble-helpsystem, a bit like the Mac help-fuction. These docs are also available in English
  • WDIALOG 2.0 is a GEM dialog enhancer by Behne & Behne, programmer docs included. Supports non-modal dials, cut & paste, etc...
  • Thread on about clipboards (ZIP)
  • Documentation on Drag & Drop - Fontprotocols (LZH)


  • ARGV specification (Extended Arguments) (TOS SFX)
  • XHDI specification 1.25 (ZOO)
  • Eleven commandments for coexisting vector stealing (ARC)
  • XBRA, cookie and D/Fcntl list (ZOO)

    System Utils

  • How to use the waveplay() function supplied by Atari's SAM (System Audio Manager). KP_SACK is a utility to create .SAA files, which may come in handy when you want to use SAM in your programs.
  • TCP/IP socket programming on Atari using one of the available TCP/IP stacks (MiNTNet, Stik / STiNG, PPP-Connect)


  • SCSI 2 standard specification (TAR Z)
  • RFC's (Request For Comment), explaining mostly networking protocols. Better have a look at the rfc-index or at this RFC WWW Page first.
  • File Formats


  • The Graphics File Format Page
  • Atari Picture Formats
  • Computer Graphics Programs and Formats
  • 3D Object File Formats
  • Graphics File Formats FAQ
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) Home Page


  • The Audio Formats FAQ (*)
  • MIDI Specifications
  • Standard MIDI File Specification (ST-Guide format, ZIP)
  • MIDI Command Overview
  • MOD (Soundtracker Module) file specification
  • OII - Audio Interchange Standards


  • Descriptions of DESKTOP.INF and NEWDESK.INF
  • HRD file (used by Interface) specification (LZH)
  • HTML 3 specification (ST-Guide format, LZH)
  • File Formats List, a huge list with lots of (short) file format specifications (GZIP)
  • JISC Multimedia File Formats Database
  • General Stuff

  • Ansi C Standard
  • GFABasic 3.5E manual (ZIP)
  • GFA Expert, guide to programming in GFA Basic (LZH)
  • Useful Libs & Source Code

  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) Home Page
  • GEMlibs for GCC and Pure C
  • Face Value, a commercial GEM User Interface library for GFA Basic (*)
  • Visual Assembleur 4.1 is an advanced GEM lib for use in assembly programs
  • has a nice section on programming, which contains a lot of example code!
  • Anthony Jaques' page also contains various pieces of useful example code on sample playing, graphics, GEM and more...
  • Packages & Utilities

  • SozobonX freeware C compiler
  • Debugging Tools
  • Mnilu Tranquil, a free GFA Basic 2.x and 3.x Compiler
  • Quick DSP Assembler (ZIP)
  • Books

  • The Atari Compendium is THE reference for programming Atari (and clone) software and hardware. It's available in book form and on CD-ROM as HTML files. Contact your local specialist computer bookshop or Atari dealer to get it. (Does someone have more info on the book, like the ISBN number, the publisher, etc.?)
  • Der Atari Profibuch is a good alternative to the above for people that can read German. It is out of print but can still be obtained from some German Atari dealers and second hand from ex-Atari users. The latest edition also contained info on the Falcon.
  • Loads more books are available on Atari programming. Most of them are long out of print and only cover ST programming, but can still be useful. Just keep an eye open for second hand books and check out your local public or university library, as they might still have some interesting old ST books...

    In the future we might like to put up some OCR'ed out-of-print books on these pages, as soon as someone is crazy enough to start OCR'ing some... (They did it for the BBC Micro, so why not for the Atari?) And when the Atari Compendium finally dies, we may even be able to put the HTML version up on this archive... But until then, you'll just have to do with the above... Good luck!

  • Levien van Zon (, MALEB/SCUM!, 1996-1998