Tutorials and documentation

New users – getting started with RISC OS

If you are a new RISC OS user, the way the system works may seem a little confusing compared to other operating systems that you might be accustomed to – such as the touch interfaces found on phones and tablets, or even other systems that use a keyboard and mouse, like Windows, MacOS, and Linux-based platforms.

A good starting point to learning how the operating system works might be the RISC OS User Guide, a printed manual that covers everything from the very first steps, through to detailed tutorials of Paint and Draw – two standard applications supplied with RISC OS.

If the idea of a printed manual doesn’t appeal, there is a wealth of information to be found on the RISC OS Open Ltd (henceforth ROOL) website in the Documentation section.

If you prefer video guides, another option is the RISC OS Direct video series. These are aimed at first time users who are trying out a distribution of RISC OS that bears the same name, but many principles described in them will be applicable to all versions of the operating system. So far, the published videos are:

Advanced users – programming and related

For more advanced users who want to try their hand at programming on RISC OS, it may again seem rather different to other systems – for example, RISC OS uses a co-operative multitasking system, rather than a pre-emptive one. In very simple terms, that means each multitasking program has to willingly pass control to the system at regular intervals. It’s possible to write programs that do this in BBC BASIC, a programming language that comes built-in as part of RISC OS, or other languages such as C.

If you wish to program in BBC BASIC, a good starting point is the comprehensive BBC BASIC Reference Manual, over 500 pages of detailed information about how to use the language. Important companions to this if you want to write software that runs in the desktop are:

There is also a wealth of information online provided by third parties, and some of this is linked below. This is not broken down by topic, or by how advanced it may be, but in alphabetical order of whoever has provided or uploaded it. The internet is a very large resource, so there will inevitably be things that I haven’t included – if there is something you think I’m missing, please let me know and I will consider it for inclusion. Please also note that over time things may change – information may go out of date, links may change or simply no longer exist, and so on. This is obviously out of my control.

Richard Ashbery

Steve Fryatt

James Hobson – C development video series

Rick Murray

Gavin Wraith

Paolo Fabio Zaino

Additional posts on this topic from Paolo can probably be found on his site with the tag programming-on-risc-os.