What is the A.B.B.U.C.?

A computer that is very powerful and yet simple enough so you can learn the meaning of every single bit has always fascinated me. That's why I love my Atari 800 XL. The A.B.B.U.C. is the Atari Bit Byter User Club dedicated to the Atari 8-bit computer line (Atari 400/800, Atari XL, Atari XE). It was founded in 1985 and grew to several hundred members. My passion for the 8-bit computers survived the 16, 32, and all following eras and has been a central part of my life. Today, around 400 users from all over the world are still members. We have an annual convention with software and hardware contests and frequent regional meetings. I recently asked the leader of our club when I joined, and I was surprised that it was only in 1992, 7 lonely years after I first got my Atari. But the vital sentence has not changed until today: "Do you write your programs? Yes, man, I don't even know how to spell the word 'play' ".

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 What is WUDSN?

In 1992, I sat in my room with my friend Erwin Steif. A demo group called "Visdom" produced demos for the Amiga, and I was the "8-bit guy" in that group. I always tried to port the latest releases of my friends from the Amiga to my Atari to keep them angry. I used DPaint 3 on my Amiga 500 to draw the "Visdom" logo above that day. After a while, I was delighted with the result. Then I left the room for two minutes, and when I returned, there was no longer "Visdom" on my screen, but Erwin had all the letters mixed and mirrored. It looked like the drawing of a three-year-old nerd who hit the mouse and keyboard for the first time and read "WUDSN". So Erwin smiled at me and announced: "I have just founded the first demo group, which only consists of people who don't know how to code". Because I created the basis for the logo (actually, I had to draw it again because my version had not been saved...) I became an honorary member of "WUDSN". This has nothing to do with the Waseda University Doctoral Student Network (WUDSN), except that we share the same acronym.

Thanks to Thorsten, the webmaster of www.nizagam.org, for creating an excellent impression of this historical moment in 1992.


Why did you create WUDSN IDE?

I've been working with Eclipse as an IDE since 2001. When I was in a different company, one of my team members created a small Eclipse plugin to integrate our repository and pre-processor with the IDE to simplify the life of our developers. Meanwhile, I am working for SAP and have no way of coding Java anymore, so I tried at least to code some Atari demos when I'm late in the office. However, I could not find a reasonable, free editor that was legal and able to run ATASM (under Vista, the output could not be captured). Then, one day, a colleague told me, "Look, I have created an editor with syntax highlighting and code completion in 1 day based on the 'xText' domain-specific language (DSL) tool from openArchitectureWare. That was the day my idea was born, and two weeks later, there was the first version supporting ATASM. Thanks to Alexander Nittka for that. But it was incomplete, and the way the ATASM/assembler syntax works is quite different from today's XML-like languages. As a result, I got stuck. My hard disk reported a physical error four weeks later, and never wrote anything again. All sources were lost. Today, I call it good luck because I had to start all over and now have pretty good experience in what can be done in Eclipse quickly and how. I also found the ASMPlugin for Eclipse on SourceForge. This plugin is targeted at x86 development on PC, and it was the template from which I started to create my plugin. Thanks to Andy Reek and Daniel Mitte for that.

Meanwhile, the IDE has matured, and thanks to the continuous development of the excellent MAD assembler (MADS) by Tomasz Biela (tebe) and the excellent Altirra emulator by Avery Lee (phaeron), it now represents probably the best cross-platform 6502 assembler IDE. Most features like content outline, hyperlink navigation, and content assistance for opcodes, labels, macros, and so on were only a faraway dream when I started. Still, now they are for real, and they become better with every release.

Where can I find answers to problems regarding WUDSN IDE?

First, you should check the FAQ section on the WUDSN IDE tab. If you cannot find the answer, you can use the corresponding threads I have created in the English AtariAge or German ABBUC forums. Of course, you can also write an e-mail to me or drop me a line on Twitter.

Which hardware did you own back in the 80ies?

I started with a Sinclair ZX 81, which I bought from the money I had collected within one year. Then it broke. I wanted to buy a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. But it was sold out in the store. And because I didn't want to return home without a computer, I turned around, pointed at the next-best-looking computer, and bought it. It was my Atari 800 XL - and the rest is history.

  • 06.05.1985 Sinclair ZX 81 for 125 DM
  • 03.10.1986 Atari 800 XL for 249 DM
  • 03.05.1986 Atari XC 11 cassette drive for 119 DM
  • 01.03.1988 Atari 1050 disk drive for 399 DM