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Questions tagged [software-development]

For questions about the software development process on retrocomputing platforms

24
votes
7answers
5k views

What was the first mainstream advanced debugger?

What was the first mainstream development toolchain that provided advanced debugging facilities? By "mainstream" I mean something that was available on home computers, not mainframes or super-...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

Developing an application in the era of cassette tapes (audio-tapes)

My colleague and I have just had a conversation and we were wondering how the process of developing an application was done in the era of cassette tapes. Today we have HDDs, backup HDDs, FTPs, ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

What was computer “Fuzzy” logic?

In the mid 1980's computers began to be advertised as having or being capable of "Fuzzy" logic. How was "Fuzzy" logic added to a computer and what was it suppose to do better than a computer without ...
11
votes
2answers
349 views

What modern image editors support non-square pixels?

Almost all old home computers tend to offer non-square pixels, from wide-pixel graphics modes on the C64/CPC/BBC Micro to CGA's weird not-quite-square 320x200 mode with a pixel aspect ratio of 5:6. ...
10
votes
2answers
601 views

What is the history of the PDP-11 MARK instruction?

The PDP-11 MARK instruction was intended to be used as part of the standard PDP-11 subroutine return convention. MARK facilitated the stack clean up procedures involved in subroutine exit. To use it, ...
4
votes
0answers
171 views

Link N64 object file while preserving relocation data

The N64 SDK provides the makerom tool to create a ROM image given a file describing the ROM layout called spec and the various object files it refers to such as the N64 OS, RCP microcode, and the game'...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

What caused the demise of BASIC/BASICA in the late 1980's?

While not strictly adhered to, this is somewhat of a generalization of computer listings found in the more popular magazines of the time - BYTE, Kilobaud, PC Computing, etc. This explains the ...
33
votes
4answers
11k views

Who is credited for the creation of Assembly Language?

The C Programming Language was originally developed by Dennis Ritchie who also co-designed the Unix operating system with which development of the language was closely intertwined. Is there a ...
9
votes
0answers
305 views

When did README files start showing up in software?

Everyone knows how important documentation is -- for a project to grow past a certain point, it's a must-have. However, almost every software project of any size nowadays comes with at least a README ...
5
votes
2answers
416 views

Did any major corporation ever successfully sue Microsoft for intellectual property theft?

It is generally agreed that Microsoft stole parts if not entire blocks of intellectual property from Digital Research, Xerox, Apple, and several other major corporations. To keep it simple, lets ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Which BASIC interpreters support techniques for hybrid programming in Assembly?

It was common with Commodore BASIC (and others, I'm sure) to have machine language encoded in BASIC programs using POKEs or READ/DATA. This was needed for both performance and to access certain ...
8
votes
1answer
473 views

How was the Traf-O-Data 8008 simulator developed?

Traf-O-Data was the first business partnership between Paul Allen, Bill Gates and Paul Gilbert. In order to develop the software for their custom-built Traf-O-Data machine (Intel 8008 Inside™), ...
5
votes
1answer
571 views

How was the Microsoft PDP-10 8080 emulator developed? [closed]

Altair BASIC, the first version of Microsoft BASIC, was developed using an Intel 8008 emulator, modified to emulate an Intel 8080, running on a PDP-10 computer. This emulator was originally designed ...
6
votes
1answer
362 views

What is the title of this Macintosh programming book?

Back when Mac OS was called "System" and preemptive multitasking was a distant fantasy, I had a small collection of Macintosh programming books. For the life of me, though, I can't remember what one ...
9
votes
1answer
631 views

Was there a 'git' in the 1990s?

I seem to remember using a source code control system back in the early- to mid-1990s called git. Am I nuts? I used to work at IBM way back then. We didn't use it for a big project, but I distinctly ...
50
votes
6answers
11k views

How were the first ZX Spectrum games written?

Being a child of the 80s I loved my ZX Spectrum, did my best to learn BASIC but I felt like the games I was playing (Jetpac, Dizzy, Renegade etc) were perhaps not written using BASIC. I wondered: how ...
10
votes
2answers
327 views

Are there any public tools for the TMS34010?

I am interested to learn about the Texas Instruments TMS34010, a 32-bit fully functional CPU with built-in graphics manipulation capabilities, which appeared in Atari's Hard Drivin' arcade boards ...
7
votes
5answers
535 views

How did software engineers test their code in 19xx? [closed]

There is a plethora of tools available for engineers to test their code these days. However, frameworks like Mocha.js came around only in 2011 with the ascent of NPM. So I wonder what were the ...
9
votes
1answer
114 views

cbm prg studio for the Amstrad

CBM prg studio is brilliant. I have searched Google for a version (or something similar) for the Amstrad CPC 464, to no avail. Does anyone know of one?
11
votes
2answers
471 views

Was the PDP-11 coroutine instruction actually used?

In a typical description of the coroutine mechanism it usually mentioned that the PDP-11 instruction set provided a way to effect the coroutine switch by a single instruction, namely JSR PC,@(SP)+. ...
18
votes
1answer
467 views

When was the relocatable object module invented?

During the time when programming was done in machine codes, there was no need for object modules; it just wouldn't make sense. People would write the whole program they needed to run in "zeroes and ...
9
votes
0answers
314 views

Who and how worked on games in 80's? [closed]

As a developer in a team, I am used to some techniques and workflow, like using git, issue trackers, linters, common ways to discuss the structure of the code, the ways to debug and refactor code. I ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Include c files using z88dk

I want to split a program developed in c using z88dk in several .c files and I do not know how. I have these files: test.c: The main file with the "main" method. test2.c: An auxiliar file with the "...
59
votes
11answers
15k views

Did Apple not originally allow anyone to develop software for the Macintosh?

This probably nearly belongs on Skeptics.SE but here goes. Within the last few years I've become an Apple convert for the most part, which occasionally brings me into (usually) good natured conflict ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

Which original retrocomputer OS's are still maintained and updated today, for original hardware?

I would like to know which original Operating Systems that run on retrocomputers are still being actively maintained and updated. This only applies to retrocomputer OS's that may still be used on ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I create a split-scroll effect in an NES game?

Games like Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 were able to scroll the playfield but not the status bar: The status bars are clearly too big to be sprites, yet they don't scroll with the ...
78
votes
7answers
25k views

Why would a NES game use an undocumented 1-byte or 2-byte NOP in production?

Reading the NESdev wiki page on CPU unofficial opcodes, I see a few games use an undocumented 2-byte NOP instuction in production: Puzznic, F-117A Stealth Fighter, and Infiltrator use $89 #i. Beauty ...
5
votes
2answers
500 views

How were analytics gathered on software built for retrocomputing platforms?

In modern software development, it is a common practice to include some kind of analytics tracking software to see how customers are using your software, what a typical user flow of the application is,...
13
votes
5answers
941 views

Tool used to develop videogames with an Atari ST

I am a owner of Atari ST, and I would like to know software and tools used for the programmers for this computer to program mainly video games. For example: IDE used Language (I think it was Basic, ...
14
votes
4answers
739 views

Retrocomputing Software Development Process/Methodologies

This is a test question based on this meta post. If the question can be reworded to be more on-topic, please feel free to suggest improvements. This is an open ended question about software ...