Developer's Conference at Amiga Gateway Show

The developer's conference at the Amiga Gateway Show was held on Sunday morning from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM in the St. Louis Room at the Harley Hotel. These notes were taken by Casey Halverson and typed into a readable form ;-)

At this meeting, it was stressed that the Amiga developers should join a forming network, to inform of new standards and protocol changes of the current Amiga software. A mailing list, consisting of only 6 people before the show, was announced. This list is for anyone, programmer or not, who is interested in the Amiga. Press releases and support for developers would be given on this list. Amiga Report 5.02 contains instructions on how to sign-up.

Someone with the amiga.org domain stated that he could possibly support an Amiga developer site, and hold published texts such as the ROM Kernel Manual, hardware information, and newly suggested Amiga related standards. The webmaster can be contacted at wayne@amiga.org. He is open for suggestions on how this web site would be structured.

There was talk about a new guide format. The current Amiga guide lacks what is needed in today's documentation. More and more software and hardware developers are now giving their manuals in Amiga Guide format. Some suggested ideas was to strip down an existing WWW browser of it's internet access and internet related features to allow local HTML files to be read, and possibly supporting the old Amiga Guide standard, or possibly a datatype to run in the Multiview window, preventing the code needed to allow multimedia support from scratch. Some argued this browser should be stand alone (requiring no other software) and some think that MUI or ClassAct should be used to further promote these GUI standards.

TWAIN is a needed item on the Amiga, and was stated that it could be a freeware or shareware package. Lots of effort is needed to obtain protocol from each scanner company, since even that they interface with TWAIN with a Windows DLL, the native language is rarely TWAIN as well.

Wide support for the IFF/ILBM "CMYK" should be supported or possibly a new compression to bring down the large size of IFF/ILBM images.

A new STANDARD format of interleaving sound with 24-bit or 32-bit video should be developed. This is badly needed, since the few programs that use interleaved sound have no definite standard to use.

PNG was also brought up, and is a possible new standard for the Amiga, as opposed to the limited CompuServe GIF format.

Eric Schwartz said that vector based bitmap animation is a possible and still usable format. This was used in his cartoons done with such programs as Movie Setter, Fanavision, and so forth. With the addition of 24-bit graphics, higher resolutions, more memory, etc. these techniques could be brought back up to present day technology. This would save size and time for animators who, for example, don't need a wasteful 10,000-frame animation for a frog to walk across a screen that basically could be a animated 10 frame bitmap.

Someone brought up that it would be nice to make use of the terribly supported SAVE DATATYPE functions. This would allow any program to save an item using a datatype backwards then it is mostly used. This would make an easy sound or graphic converter with universally updatable OS plug-ins.

Direct mail of people is a possible way to send out advertisement flyers. To cut costs for everyone, this could be a joint effort. There was some concern about people who do not want to be mailed, and that they would have the option to have themselves to be removed from this list. We should share all of the mailing lists we have, as well as the existence of these addresses, to be sure that most people are reached.

When software is released in box form, it may be wise to support other developers (possibly those who do not directly compete with your product) by including small fliers or brochures. They would do the same for your products as well. Someone included that you should state that you do not endorse the products in writing, to avoid unneeded phone calls concerning other software or hardware complaints.

Programs for user groups could also be a way to promote products. A company could give demonstrations, copies of hardware/software to test or use, or discounts on the items to other users.

Don of Amazing Amiga stressed that he is having a hard time finding announcements to place in his magazine. If you wish to announce something, you should send a Fax, a hard copy via snail mail, and even an email to be sure that he obtains it.

One point that was interesting was that a fax-internet wormhole accessible network could be used or constructed. This would be a main Internet accessible server, along with local dial out nodes around the countries. This would send out needed information to dealers and developers as another information service. Not everyone is able to check the Internet every day or use it at all. Possibly even a mass email from this server.

Leads sharing would track people who actively attend Amiga conventions and user group meetings. This could be used in combination of direct mailing for maximum results.

The moderator urges that this development network is, quoted, "... organized chaos." This means that there shall be no votes such as other groups (IEEE, etc.) unless we all feel that it is needed. Avoiding evangelism (taking big steps and setting unrealistic goals) is best to be practiced. This would keep the group from falling apart. If you are a coordinator, and have to stop for one reason or another, it is proper to step down and hand the job to someone else.

This concludes my notes, I hope that I received the information, as the speakers intended it. If not or I missed something that you feel was important, simply send an email to me (cmdo@gte.net) to revise this summary of the meeting.


One side note: DLT (Digital Lightyear Technologies)'s webpage is switching to a virtual domain soon. Please excuse the missing link.


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