Task: Explore the Atari 8-Bit Home Computer System Technical Reference Notes
Needed: Web Browser
Time: 1-2 hours
When the Atari 400 and 800 home computers were released in 1979 they were a closed system. Atari imagined a monopoly on games and software for the system. They soon realized their mistake as more and more competitors came on the market and released the Atari Home Computer Technical Notes in 1982 to help programmers write software for the system. This was accompanied by the book De Re Atari which described many of the key programming tools and tricks for the system.
According the preface (page 17), the manual describes system functions, subsystem relationships and organization, characteristic of peripheral devices, advanced techniques for going beyond the operating system (OS), and the general features of the computer hardware used by the OS. For example, Section H starting on page 237 provides details about the serial input/output (SIO) routine used to communicate with peripherals.
The technical notes for the Atari 400 and 800 can be found on archive.org.
It is very dry reading unless you are actively developing software which uses the OS or SIO, for example. However, it is interesting to thumb through to see what is there.