I have a pretty decent collection of retro computers, but I have always been a Commodore and Apple guy. I recently picked up an Atari 800XL and a 1050 disk drive, so I am investigating the methodology for imaging Atari disks.
I have extensive experience with the ADT (Apple Disk Transfer) tool and StarCommander (C64 disk transfer). Both connect to a PC via the serial or parallel port, and I was able to get both working using nothing more than some homebrew cables (and the hard work of the authors of those fantastic programs). I also already had working disks from high school, so I had access to terminal software, DOS, etc...
Is a similar technique for Atari disk imaging available (ie. whip up a cable and download some nifty utility and off you go)? And will my lack of any existing disks impede my attempts? For example, to display my ignorance, did Atari boot DOS from disk? Would I need a bootable disk to get started? Or terminal software and a null modem? Etc.
I realize I have grouped a few discrete questions together here, but what I am driving for is a general overview of the methodology and requirements for imaging Atari disks, including pros/cons and possible "gotchas". Any kick in the right direction is most appreciated.