03/03/95 Acorn C/C++ January 1995

Acorn C/C++ provides a full set of programming tools for developing applications to run on Acorn's 32-bit RISC computers. It has been designed for professional software developers so that RISC OS 3 software applications can be developed efficiently and to a consistent, high standard of quality.

More efficient software development means that you will be able to develop applications faster, with a consequent saving on development costs. It will also help you get your projects into use and your products to market quicker - increasingly important in a competitive world with the constant pressures to reduce development life cycles.

More consistent software development means that your applications will be easier to use and require less support, making them more attractive to your customers.

Because Acorn C/C++ provides a comprehensive software development capability for developing in C, C++ and Assembler, or any combination of these, you will not have to purchase additional software tools. .

The product consists of:

  • An optimising ARM C compiler, implementing ANSI standard X3J11/90-013
  • An ARM Assembler, including support for the ARM6 and ARM7 series processors
  • A C++ compiler based on CFront version 3.0
  • The Toolbox: a comprehensive set of modules for writing Style Guide compliant desktop applications
  • A resource editor for defining an application's User Interface objects (windows, menus, dialogue boxes, etc.)
  • A set of support tools for programmers.

It comes as a set of six floppy discs, with automatic installation, and four manuals with over 1,400 pages of in-depth documentation, all packaged in a tough slip case designed for convenient storage and access.

The Toolbox is designed for writing applications whose user interface complies with the RISC OS 3 Style Guide, so that your software will consistently have the right look and feel. It is easy to learn and also language independent, so that you can use it from C, C++, Assembler or BASIC. Together with the resource editor, you can use the toolbox to build up the User Interface of your application quickly and efficiently. .

A pre-release version of Acorn C/C++ is already in use both by software developers within Acorn and some Acorn registered developers, where the new features of the Toolbox and Resource Editor have been found to make huge savings in development time in key phases of the software development cycle.

The Toolbox, Resource Editor and Resource Tester The Toolbox is a set of relocatable modules which provide an abstraction on top of the RISC OS Wimp for writing Desktop applications.

  • The client application specifies templates for its run-time (user interface) objects in a resource file; this will typically contain descriptions of windows (including standard 'gadgets' like Action Buttons, Options Buttons, Sliders), menus, iconbar icons, and a number of standard dialogue boxes (such as Save As, Print, Scale View).
  • Objects created at run-time from these templates can then be manipulated using Toolbox 'Methods', and the Toolbox intercepts low-level Wimp events on behalf of the application and turns them into Toolbox Events.

Resource files for use with the Toolbox are created using a Resource Editor; the developer can then view how the elements of the application's user interface fit together, and monitor events as they happen in an event log window which is displayed by the Resource Tester.

Most of an application's user interface can be prototyped in this way before a single line of source code has been written. Also by careful construction of the Resource File, it is possible to change the user interface without the need to modify the application's code.

ARM C Compiler

The C Compiler provided has been developed by ARM Ltd, so that all the features and power of the ARM RISC technology can be harnessed in software.

The C Compiler provides:

  • Full support for the ARM600 and ARM700 processors, with options to write 26-bit or full 32-bit code
  • Full source-level debugging information
  • Optimisation including common subexpression elimination, dead variable analysis, conditionalisation and peepholing
  • Support for writing RISC OS relocatable modules in C
  • Easy interworking with assembler via the ARM Procedure Call Standard.

C++ Compiler

The C++ Compiler is version 3.0 of CFront and incorporates:

  • Source-level debugging support
  • Support for 'templates'
  • Stream I/O and complex maths libraries.


The ARM Assembler provides access to the full instruction set of ARM RISC microprocessors and offers the following features:

  • Macro expansion
  • Warning of use of illegal ARM instruction sequences
  • Upper or lower case mnemonics.

Programming Tools

A comprehensive set of programming tools are provided to support software development and and include:

  • Support libraries for the Toolbox and Wimp an event dispatching library
  • A source-level debugger
  • A source text editor
  • Object file inspection tools
  • A module header generator for RISC OS modules which are written in C
  • A linkable C library (which supports code profiling).

Return to section Index

© 3QD Developments Ltd 2013