Help with getting started in PocketC, PLEASE!

Discuss PocketC for Palm OS (including Desktop Edition)

Postby bruner on Tue May 01, 2001 1:01 am

Hi, my name is Dan and I'm completely new to PocketC. It looks like the perfect tool, especially since you can take your coding with you. However, my last programming experience (please don't laugh to hard here) was on a Texas Instuments TI994A about 15 or more years ago...

Where should I start with PocketC??? Looking over the language manual has only brought me to new levels of frustration. Does anyone have a tutorial or have there been any books written on the subject?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)
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Postby Power on Tue May 01, 2001 1:39 am

have you tried CEditor & CControls ? this could be a good place to start. try this out it's much like Visual PocketC =)

ok. maybe this suggestion might be too much bigger leap than expect.

Edited by - power on 05/01/2001 18:52:09
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Postby samps on Tue May 01, 2001 6:08 am

I think Power might be pushing it a bit...

My best suggestion is to find any year 12 schoolbook on programming in C (any C), and take it up from there. When you feel you have gathered the 'basics' of it, you can easily apply your skills to PocketC.

If, after reading this book, you still feel that programming has taken to far a leap since the TI-days, try Pascal. It is no coincidence that it the choice of tool for more programming-teachers, than any other language... Nichlaus Wirth wrote it solely as a 'learning language'.... It is familiar with C in that it is procedural and have a syntax that doesn't differ in any way that will prohibits taking your experiences from one to the other.


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Postby Craig Park on Tue May 01, 2001 11:07 am

I agree, try some beginner C reading then try writing some small programs. The folks in these forums are a great help, don't be afraid to ask your questions. Many of the people here would be willing to send you sample code (myself included) or help you debug your programs that are "in progress".
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Postby awschwab on Tue May 01, 2001 11:53 am

You might want to try searching on this forum for "Book on PocketC - Help Needed" as Andy Harris is in the process of writing a book on PocketC for beginning programmers. His notice was originally posted 01/22/2001 and is now in the sequence at 02/20/2001.
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Postby mleidel on Tue May 01, 2001 4:41 pm

Do you know C? If so, look closely at the "samples" that come in the download.
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Postby wolfgang on Tue May 01, 2001 7:02 pm


I have written an introduction to programming with PocketC (for people starting from zero), it can be found on my homepage:

Go to the ABC section. Please note that this was written for the WindowsCE version, but the topics covered are 100% valid for the palm version as well. Only two small differences:

(1) there is no "putsl" command, replace it with "puts", i.e.


instead of


(2) remove the "showconsole();" calls, the Palm version goes into the console display by default.

I will be glad to answer any further questions.


Edited by - wolfgang on 05/01/2001 14:04:09
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Postby bruner on Thu May 03, 2001 7:07 pm

Thank you all for your suggestions and offers of help. I'll take a look at Wolfgang's tutorial and see where that gets me.

It would be great if there were simply some example programs (very short ones) that individually give an example of what each "command" does. Then maybe some sort of general philosophy on how to use them together. Sorry, but I'm still surprised that there's not a better instruction or tutorial on the PocketC site itself... It just seems that if you don't all ready know 'C', your 'SOL'... Ok, I'll try to stop complaining and do a little more reading.


mleidel - I don't know any C languange, just a patheticaly small amount of TI BASIC from years and years ago.

awschwab - I saw that post about the book. Thanks, but I don't think he has anything available at this time.

Craig Park / samps - Good idea. I borrowed a C book from a friend at work. It's from 92 so I don't know how much good it will do.

Power - Thanks for the suggestion. I looked into those originally hoping they would be a graphical (visual) answer to programming, but I just didn't understand how to use them. Maybe down the road, they will be more useful.
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Postby awschwab on Thu May 03, 2001 8:06 pm

Look in the 'samples' directory in the PocketC distribution. It has example programs for most of the functions. Send the author of the book on PocketC an email message, and he will probably send you some draft chapters. He did that a few months ago.

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Postby bruner on Thu May 03, 2001 11:00 pm

I've already looked at the samples. Thanks for the suggestion, but with no prior C knowlege, I can't make heads of tails of most of it.

I'll maybe try contacting the fellow writing the book. I didn't realize he had much of it done... I only thought he was just getting started.

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Edited by - bruner on 05/03/2001 18:03:11
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Postby slmiller on Thu May 03, 2001 11:08 pm

You might look into taking a community college course in C programming. Once you know C, it will be very east to migrate to PocketC. It's just some syntax and variable handling changes. You could alternativly look into learning C++ or Java. They are very similar to C, and if you know either of them, you will probably be able to figure PocketC out.

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Postby aharris on Tue May 15, 2001 3:46 pm

Dan and all:
I'm currently working on chapter 10 (of 12) of
Palm Programming for the Absolute Beginner
It will be published by Prima some time late this summer. (I'll be finished by June 15th or so, then it has to go through some other steps).

The book is intended for people with no previous programming experience. It features extensive code samples, including large programs to tie each chapter together, and smaller programs to illustrate isolated ideas. For most of the topics, I wrote a game to illustrate the main points of the topic.

As it stands, the book will cover all the basic topics of programming and PocketC, including:

Variables, Input and output,
Control structures (if, while, for, switch)
Using CControls to build GUIs
Storing information in memo pad databases
Using .pdb files for data storage
Using the PToolBoxLib

The book will also feature a number of original programs, including
a morse code tutor
some simple dice games
a basic arcade game (sortof like spacewar)
tic tac toe with decent computer AI
Conway's game of life
A password keeper
.. and a few more surprises.

All of these programs are explained in gory detail.

I'm pretty happy with the effort so far. Most people reading this board will not need this book, but I do think (hope) there's an audience for it.

I'll let you know how things are going as we get closer to launch.

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Postby SimeonB on Wed May 16, 2001 5:24 am

Your book sounds pretty good, Andy, just what people need to kickstart themsleves into learning to program the Palm. I bought a book on how to prgram in Codewarrior - opened it - took a double take - closed it and it has gathered dust ever since!

Dan - I am sort of in the same boat as you, although I did some C++ programming years ago and have a few years of SQL under my belt. My advice is to start really, really simple. Try the "Hello World" program - then build from there. If you look at the thread I started entitled "Recursion Difficulty", you will see a very simple program I adapted from "Hello World", using the Help Files that came with Pocket C. It started life as just using a variable to print a number in a Alert box, then became the user inputting the number, and now (with the help of this board and some of my Visual C++ friends) it now loops. The next step for it is to have two numbers input, then output the result of them added together.

The program may not mean much to you now, but start small and grow your project! Who knows, "Test" may turn into a scientific calculator one day!!

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