Hello from UK! and presenting dflat system

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6502Nerd
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Hello from UK! and presenting dflat system

Post by 6502Nerd »

Hello fellow Oric fans!

This is my first post so thought I would make a quick introduction.

I first got in to computing in 1983 at the age of 13. I didn't know anything about computers but was interested in them. In the UK where I live, the main computers that time were the ZX Spectrum, VIC-20, Atari, C-64 and BBC. These were far too expensive for me, and I was considering to buy a ZX81 which was by then very old and less capable (no sound, terrible keyboard, no colour). When I went to the first shop with my dad, the sales person would not let me buy a ZX81! So we went to another shop, where a discount Oric-1 was on for GBP80. It was in our price range so purchased immediately.

This started a life-long hobby and then career in computing. I still have my Oric-1 from those days and recently I have started doing more things with it.

I have a channel on youtube which has some Oric things : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHmyp5 ... L_Ap6VUk5Q

My twitter handle is @6502Nerd (https://twitter.com/6502Nerd) where I sometimes post things about Oric. This year I wrote a couple of 10-line BASIC programs for a friendly all-format competition.

Recently I have started to port a language called dflat I created for my homebrew computer (https://hackaday.io/project/5789-6502-h ... breadboard) to the Oric and posted about that too.

I am here to share, learn and have fun - hope to interact with fellow enthusiasts in the near future!

Cheers, 6502Nerd

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kenneth
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by kenneth »

Welcome !

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Chema
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by Chema »

Welcome!

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Dbug
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by Dbug »

Oric 1 instead of a ZX-81 looks like a good deal :)

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iss
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by iss »

Welcome!
Can you tell us more about your dflat language? So far we know that it works on 554.37 Hz :twisted:

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6502Nerd
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by 6502Nerd »

Dbug wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:06 pm
Oric 1 instead of a ZX-81 looks like a good deal :)
Yes I never regretted that I ended up with an Oric-1! In my school, no one else had one, but this actually got me in to learning to program much more than other kids who liked to swap games.

The graphics, sound and even the keyboard much better than a ZX81, so I'm happy. And my Oric-1 is sitting right next to me as I type - still going strong!

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6502Nerd
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by 6502Nerd »

iss wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 4:20 pm
Welcome!
Can you tell us more about your dflat language? So far we know that it works on 554.37 Hz :twisted:
Haha, yes indeed that note is d flat but also c sharp, hence the inspiration for the humorous name! :-D

dflat is very much like BASIC and inspired a lot by BBC BASIC (plus Atari and Oric).

Some key differences between dflat and Oric and other BASICs are:
- Line numbers are to store program statements in sequence, but they cannot be used as labels - no GOTO or GOSUB
- Everything is defined in a procedure, and program flow is through for, repeat, while and if
- Procedures can return values and have local variables

I do have graphics commands inspired by Oric BASIC of course :-)

dflat tokenises a lot of the input to help in execution speed - including location of procedures so no longer need to put things at the top of the program for speed.

Main constraint is that dflat is 2 byte integer only. But I made it to program games and interactive programs rather than scientific and business use! I need to do some more benchmarks, but dflat is much quicker than Oric BASIC and even faster than Woz's Integer Basic for Apple II and BBC BASIC (when comparing 1Mhz of the Oric).

You can get an impression of the speed difference here : https://twitter.com/6502nerd/status/131 ... 35360?s=20

Oh also, dflat has an in-line assembler :-)

Here's a little example - which is called from the command line by typing _test()

Code: Select all

100 def_fact(a)
110  if a<2
120   return 1
130  else
140   return a*_fact(a-1)
150  endif
160 enddef
170 ;
200 def_test()
210  for a=1,7,1
220   println a,"! =",_fact(a)
230  next
240 enddef
Still work in progress - need to do save/load and some more speed and space optimisations as I did a bad job in porting from 65c02 to 6502..

But I hope to share the ROM soon and happy to take any thoughts!

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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by xahmol »

Nice!
Might be easier for me to create new stuff in and especially to convert my old BASIC stuff to than learning myself C or assembly, so would be great to add speed to my humble coding skills.

Always was envious of BBC Basic back in my youth by the way. But obtaining an actual BBC was not a logical thing to do in the Netherlands. With my Oric (next to my ubiquitous Spectrum and C64) I was already exotic enough..... (not that we were filthy rich or so back then, just had the luck that my dad used to sell those computers and had to 'try' them at home so he could better sell them. That is why I tried almost all 8 bits back then. Including the ZX81 actually. Not the BBC or any Acorn though as they were hardly sold in the Netherlands. Not by my dad at least).
One reason that I loved my Oric back then is that compared to especially the C64 it had stellar BASIC. But loved the ability to use procedures of the BBC Micro BASIC altough I was never able to actually use it....

So following with interest.

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6502Nerd
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by 6502Nerd »

Thank you!

I had a similar feeling about BBC - had the best BASIC and a built-in assembler, but the machine cost so much!

I built dflat initially for my homebrew computer, a 65c02 with 64K of ROM (4x16K banks). So I had plenty of space for every feature I fancied (SD Card support and FAT16 filesystem). Then someone on Twitter got me thinking about a version for my trusty Oric and thought I would try to port.

I thought the core interpreter and assembler would be fine to fit in 16KB, but it's a squeeze - I have about 30 bytes free and need to finalise load/save in lieu of the SD card. So I will continue to refine a little as well as put together some simple docs. I would be really excited for folks to have a go with it at some point!

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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by jbperin »

Welcome 6502Nerd,

Nice to meet you and dflat :D

This language looks very powerful and convenient. Keep us posted.

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6502Nerd
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by 6502Nerd »

Thank you for the welcome and interest in dflat - I will definitely make an update soon :-)

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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by retroric »

Hi there, and welcome !

Thanks for telling us about your personal story with the Oric 1 and your experiments about building 6502 SBC, that's some endeavour!

I'm really interested about your new dflat script-like language, love the name (although you're not the first one to do the pun - I tried to locate a GitHub repository for your language and didn't find you yet I found a few dozen "dflat" repositories :D ) and from the drawing tests you posted on Twitter it looks really fast. Once you release it I'll certainly be interested in trying it out to see how it compares to lcc (the OSDK C compiler) as well.

Cheers

PS - I understand you try to squeeze both the assembler and interpreter in a 16 Kb ROM space which is quite a feat, and nice as it would allow to enter and compile dflat programs directly on the Oric. But do you think you could consider creating a cross-assembler for dflat as well? It would be really nice if we could then integrate it with the Oric Software Development Kit as another supported language (on top of assembly, C, and BASIC).
Last edited by retroric on Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by rax »

Welcome from me too :)

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6502Nerd
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by 6502Nerd »

Thank you retoric and rax for the welcome.

What a great idea retoric for the possibility for dlfat to be part of OSDK, that would be an amazing thing to get involved with.

Of course as dflat is a tokenising interpreter with an line-line assembler rather than compiler, I am sure that it will be much slower than C !!

I have read about OSDK but not used it so would need assistance to implement your idea. Shame about so many dflat repositories in GitHub - I first created it for my homebrew computer a few years ago now but didn't have GitHub at the time.

I will put on GH when I make dflat complete - needs save/load and some bit of code factoring and tidying.

Thank you so much for the interest! :-)

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Steve M
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Re: Hello from UK!

Post by Steve M »

Welcome to the group.
We need more programmers ;o)

There's lots of things for the Oric in the last few years. Various new bits of hardware and software. Have a read around the forum and you'll find mention of them.

There's lots of life left in the Oric yet!

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