Hi, I'm new here. This site was recommended as good place to ask questions about starting AmigaOS 4.x development. First of all, while I own several classic systems I do not wish to use classic hardware, so the obvious question is which platform is best to start on? X1000? SAM4xx? I know the X1000 is extremely expensive, but at least it's new and I'm considering it. Another question is documentation. I have to assume so much has changed there must be all new documentation. What are the new libraries? Is there new development tools? What are you using? If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
I bought an Sam460 and is very happy with it. Feels as rapid as my corei7 windows machine. And coding on the Amiga feels just as great as it use to back in the days. :) Welcome to the community.
I use a SAM 440ep here, and its very nice, too. Not as fast (CPU-wise) as my trusty old MicroA1 or a 460ex, but rock stable, and with avery fast HDD/RAM interface. I compiled latest versions of InsanePlaya and several other code with it. I love it ;)
Regarding the documentation, there is some new stuff in the SDK, but large parts are still the way you know them already. SDK and information sites like os4coding is all you need to start. Too bad utilitybase is gone atm., it was a good source for dev info, too.
New development tools... well, besides IDLTool I cant remember one... compilers are well known ones, gcc and vbcc (latter I use most of the time as I dont need C++ and its not as hungry as gcc). Debugging is still a problem, but it gets better with time. Actually there is gdb, and with some restrictions debug101.
And if you are looking for a development environment to work from, there is also CodeBench.
If you are just looking for an editor rather than an environment, I'm working on a NotePad alike program which offers tabbed editing and syntax colouring, called CodePad:
Yes, I can highly recomend CodeBench.
The best choice in terms of ratio/perfomance for os4 today (if you want new hw) its imho sam460. And as far as i know os4 already have all necessary drivers for.
In general all what you need to start, its to download SDK from hyperion's site and install it. It come with all the documentation (through, some time not updated, sometime not fully describe new stuff, but still documentation). Also SDK have all those binutils/gcc and related includes/macroses (so, in most cases by checking includes you can understand what it mean if by some reassons documentation will luck description or kind).
SDK even come with GDB, which started to works more or less fine since update3 (on previous ones it was buggy), which can be used for some debugging. There is also db101 on os4depot done by alkfil, but at moment it have some bugs and not completelly full-blow debugger, but still, can be used for small apps).
As for IDE, everyone recommend codebench, and i think its also the best IDE for aos4 available now, but from other side if you just need some editor to write code, then classic notepad which come with os4 by default are fine as well.
Good that you do it at last ! (i ask you few times about it before if you remember). Will it freeware ?
It's most likely to be bundled with the OS or the SDK. We shall have to see.
I assume you want to use C or C++ as the programming language, but if you have wider interests then you might consider PortablE (I am the author). Note that it has less support for OS4-specific stuff (although I did just add support for the applications.library, which should appear in the next r6 beta).
That's a toughy:
Until very recently I only used a 667MHz Sam440 with 512MB of RAM. AmigaOS4 fully supports it, no drivers are missing & they all seem to work without any bugs. But compiling large programs is not that fast, and 512MB can get a bit tight if you are compiling large programs (using SWAP really slows it down), but I never really found it problematic.
The newer 1.0-1.15GHz Sam460 seems like a much better deal, because the CPU should be about twice the speed of the Sam440 (helped by the addition of an L2 cache), and it usually comes with 1GB+ of RAM. But AmigaOS4 doesn't run so well on it yet: Unfinished sound driver for it (can be crackly), very unfinished (alpha?) support for the built-in single SATA port (but you will probably want to have a plug-in SATA card to get two SATA ports), and the driver for the built-in 2D graphics chip needs polishing (but if you want 3D straight away then you need a Radeon 9250 PCI card anyway). If you have patience then the Sam460 should be better than the Sam440 in the long run.
The (currently) preorder-only X1000 has a much faster CPU, and a lot more expansion slots (PCI-E, PCI, SATA, IDE), but of course costs a lot more than the Sam460 (going by what AmigaKit were asking for First Contact systems). No proper reviews yet about how it performs/etc (although eliyahu says "it really is as fast as you imagine. i can hardly wait", and it is pretty obvious how it will compare to the Sam460 for compiling stuff, etc).
Author of the PortablE programming language.
I love using Amiga OS4.1 on my X1000 & Sam440 :-D