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Programming articles republished online

By Chris Williams. Published: 17th Jul 2003, 22:57:18 | Permalink | Printable

New website for developers seeking developers

A new RISC OS programming resource website has opened this month which republishes articles and tutorials previously found in RISC OS magazines. The oflaoflaofla website draws on articles from Archive, Acornuser and other sources to cover various topics ranging from BASIC to C to desktop programming to the RISC OS printing system.

The plan is to have a website that can be used as an informal programmers' reference site that hosts previously published documents and any contributed new ones. Also, it's hoped the site will include a listing of active software developers who are seeking assistance, testers and ideas.

The website sells itself to developers, stating, "Our aim is to make this your first stop when you run into problems developing your killer application. We hope that you find the help that you're looking for or if not, that we can point you in the direction of somewhere that can."

Other OS platforms have similar websites that host extensive documentation and project listings, so websites specific to RISC OS are more than welcome - websites like oflaoflaofla are good at illustrating the straight forwardness of RISC OS programming and hopefully encourage able users to pick up their compilers and editors and get coding. This is all provided, of course, that the presented online material is accurate and up to date. As new versions of RISC OS appear and new libraries and development tools emerge, websites like oflaoflaofla must keep with the times or we're back to square one.

How did this fledgling hub of RISC OS development come together? It all kicked off at the end of April, following a post to comp.sys.acorn.programmer as an opinion and comment gathering exercise from the RISC OS developer community. The oflaoflaolfa website's maintainer has chosen to remain anonymous and decided to pick 'Morbo Jones' as his alias. We have to admit that Morbo sounds more like a travelling circus clown with an unhealthy attraction to cannons and gunpowder, than an online scribe compiling intricate descriptons of RISC OS software interfaces. But it's just an alias.

"I hope that everyone will understand my motivation, and that some may even want to contribute", Marvellous Morbo told drobe.co.uk. "The RISC OS scene needs many things, most of which I can't help with. However, one thing I do see a need for is as many eager coders as possible. If I can encourage coders of all abilities by providing coding help and information, then all the better!"

There's an article wishlist, if you feel like contributing.

Finally, why oflaoflaofla? We can assure you it's not a cat-on-keyboard attack. At the very start of a RISC OS computer's memory, there exists some program code defined by RISC OS for the ARM processor to use in special circumstances (the hardware vectors). To see the program code, open a taskwindow and issue the *memoryi 0 command. You'll see in the second column, the ASCII text representation of the code - the 'ofla's. Sometimes on RISC OS 3, a confused application reporting an error or displaying some text accidentally reads from the start of memory and all the user then sees is a short 'oflaoflaofla' message.

Getting hit by a case of the oflaoflaofla's is regarded as an historic software bug from the days of RISC OS 3, which is why it's probably a rather apt name for a website aimed at developers looking for help.


oflaoflaofla website

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RISC OS 3? I've seen that error on RISC OS 5. Admittedly whilst trying to set up a network connection to a RISC OS 3 machine!

-- Martin Dixon, LEICESTER

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 18/7/03 8:48AM
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It's RISC OS 3.5 to 3.7, FWICR. The sequence was made up of code to handle the interrupt vectors, and was of the form LDR pc,[pc, #274] (I can't remember the exact figure).

RISC OS 4 had this changed so that the offset ended up being a multiple of 256, and so the error wasn't displayed.

RISC OS 5, with it's 3.7 heritage may have reintroduced ofla...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 18/7/03 9:02AM
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If you call OS_GenerateError with a null pointer you get that error, it's certainly a bug with the application which called it with a bad pointer! The difference is, with RO4 the first byte of the error message part is a null, so you get a null error string - not so obvious. Try it. There was a RO3(.1) bug where you got "nager:Sprites22" which meant "change to mode 12 to get the real error" In all cases you are assumed to give a valid error block pointer, otherwise you're likely to get aborted away.

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 18/7/03 11:14AM
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I'm just wondering about the graphic which illustrates this article.


 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 18/7/03 1:28PM
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Morbo is the big alien reading the news in Futurama...


 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 18/7/03 2:00PM
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There's a lot of 'old' CAUG (C Acorn User Group) material that was pubished a while ago that would be ideal for this website. I'm not sure what its status is though (whether it could be reproduced or not) ...

 is a RISC OS UserMax on 19/7/03 9:50AM
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well whether anyone agrees or not - i think its a good idea! :)

--- Tim

 is a RISC OS UserTimothy609 on 19/7/03 6:11PM
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