An interesting development in vintage system emulators

Liam Proven lproven at
Sat Oct 9 10:06:19 CDT 2010

On 9 October 2010 15:16, Roger Merchberger <zmerch-cctalk at> wrote:
> On 10/07/2010 09:45 AM, Liam Proven wrote:
> [[ snippity ]]
>> Essentially, it's a Spectrum emulator for Windows...
> [[ snippity ]]
>> It is a really pleasant environment to work in: you get the pleasure
>> of working in the old environment, but also the facilities of Windows.
>> It may not encompass all the very best of both worlds, but it is the
>> closest I've ever seen. I really like the way it merges the fun of
>> playing around with an emulated 1980s 8-bit environment with the
>> luxuries of a modern GUI OS. Trying to write code with an emulated
>> Spectrum brings back many of the horrors of working on those machines
>> for real - lousy editors, tiny screens, poor file-storage,
>> instability, slowness, etc.
>> It strikes me that there's no need for this concept to be limited to
>> the Spectrum, although that happens to be my favourite 8-bit machine&
>> the one I'm far and away most familiar with. It would be an
>> interesting way for emulators of almost any vintage system to develop
>> - separating display and code editor, enhancing the editor with modern
>> native-OS facilities while keeping the classic execution and display
>> environment. It might be a little less applicable to text-only
>> terminal-based OSs, but not exclusively so, I think. I'd love to see
>> such an environment for a whole load of the old graphics-oriented
>> 8-bit home computers of the 1980s, though.
> Ask and you shall receive... ;-) There is a similar product out there (but
> more advanced) and it's about to be released in it's 3rd iteration.
> The 1st generation was called "Portal-09" and it was designed solely around
> the Tandy CoCo1/2/3. It gives you a Windows editor where you can code in
> Basic or 6809 assembly language, it had multiple tab files, syntax
> highlighting, etc. You could save your source code files on the Windows
> system for easy backups, but when you clicked 1 button, it would assemble
> your program, save it as either a .ROM or .DSK, boot MESS with the correct
> parameters to load those .ROM/.DSK files and put you in the full virtual
> machine for testing, either at "full speed" or at emulated CPU speed.
> The 2nd generation was called "Rainbow IDE" and the author realized what you
> did above - why keep it just for the CoCo? He modified his system to easily
> add other platforms, and with the help of others, he expanded the system to
> encompass many other systems, even some scientific calculators. Here's the
> webpage for it:
> It's a windows application, but he tries to keep it as "compatible" as
> possible so it can be run in things like WINE & whatnot -- here's the list
> of Windows OSs it runs on:
> """ Rainbow IDE is a Multi-Target Integrated Development Environment for
> Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, ME, 98, 95, and LINUX via the Wine system. """
> (Of course, for those of us who are primarily Linux based, there's also the
> option of VirtualBox -- so instead of WINE which is a "fake windows" -- you
> can run a "real windows" in a fake computer... ;-)
> The 3rd generation is called "Phoenix IDE" and is very near release (and
> with this individual's track record of not creating vapor-ware, I would say
> it probably will be very soon) and is running a preorder price special to
> help bring it to market. I don't know a ton about it (I've not had time for
> the hobbies again until recently, so I've been out of the "scene") but it
> looks interesting:
> The author's name is Roger Taylor and as he works for UPS and is quite busy
> himself, so the fact that the applications he writes are amazingly good is a
> testament to his abilities. I'd used Portal-09 quite a bit & loved it; I
> purchased and tinkered with Rainbow IDE, but that was very near the time of
> 1) eliminating all my Windows boxes at home, and 2) the stark reduction of
> spare time that I'm just now recovering from.
> Check it out... and tell him "Merch" sent ya! ;-)
> Laterz,
> Roger "Merch" Merchberger

Hey, cool, thanks for the link - I shall take a look.

I never had much experience with the American 8-bit models - most of
them were seriously expensive over here in the UK, at least until
relatively late in the '80s when they were being replaced by the
16-bitters. (So instead we got relatively expensive American
16-bitters. :¬/ ) Myself, I held fire and waited a bit then bought a
much-much-more-bang-for-the-buck British 32-bitter, which for the
price of an Amiga 1200 with a 2nd floppy drive gave me a 32-bit
machine with a 20MB hard disk and a monitor.

I guess the other 8-bit machines I'd like to play with this way would
be a SAM Coupé, Timex-Sinclair 2068 and BBC Micro...

Liam Proven • Info & profile:
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