Ion Developer Information

Background

Assembling Ion programs requires that you have TASM and Devpac83. You can get these programs a ticalc.org, calc.org, and some other TI calculator web sites. Instead of using the zasm batch file that comes with Devpac83, use the asm batch file, which comes with Ion. This program will assemble your code for both the TI-83 and the TI-83 Plus in one step (asm progname).

Ion programs are slightly different from SOS or AShell programs. To call a ROM function, you must use bcall(_function). This is required because of the new calling conventions on the TI-83 Plus. The rest of this file describes specific header information for Ion programs as well as some standards. See the library section for more information on libraries. Also, check out the source code to my programs if you need some clarification.

File Formats

Programs

All Ion programs must follow the Ion program format in order for Ion to display them. The format is as follows:

   .nolist              ;\
   #include "ion.inc"   ; \
   .list                ;  \
#ifdef TI83P            ;   \
   .org  progstart-2    ;    | Standard Ion
   .db   $BB,$6D        ;   /  Program Header
#else                   ;  /
   .org  progstart      ; /
#endif                  ;/
   ret                  ; use xor a if libraries are not used
   jr    nc,start       ; jump to the start
                        ; of the program
   .db   "This is the description",0
start:
   ret
.end
.end

Modules

Modules are programs that run at Ion startup, shutdown, program selection, and when an undefined key is pressed in Ion. The format of an Ion module is as follows:

   .nolist              ;\
   #include "ion.inc"   ; \
   .list                ;  \
#ifdef TI83P            ;   \
   .org  sram-2         ;    | Standard Ion
   .db   $BB,$6D        ;   /  Module Header
#else                   ;  /
   .org  sram           ; /
#endif                  ;/
   ret                  ; modules must not run from the TI-OS
   .db   2              ; identify program type as a module
                        ; NOTE: This used to be a 1 for
                        ; versions prior to v1.3
start:
   ld    a,1            ; normal return
   ret                  ; return when finished
.end
.end

Ion passes values to modules before running them. These values are:

Libraries

Ion has eight built-in library functions. To use these functions, simply call them (they are defined in ion.inc). See the library page for more information.

Standards

Memory Areas

On the TI-83 you may use any memory area for your program except the command shadow (except for modules; see the section on modules for more information). On the TI-83 Plus you may only use those areas of RAM that are also allowed on the TI-83 unless you want to make your program to not be compatible with the TI-83. To make things easier, ion.inc includes some safe RAM areas with easy names. They are: saferam1 (768 bytes, APD buffer), saferam2 (512 bytes, statram), and saferam3 (128 bytes, text memory).

Naming Schemes

All modules should have the prefix "ZM" at the beginning of the program name. Regular programs should be named something as similar as possible to their real name or function.

Compatibility Issues (TI-83 vs. TI-83 Plus)

The TI-83 Plus has more safe memory areas than the TI-83. It is recommended that these memory areas not be used unless you plan to do something different on each calculator or you do not intend on making a TI-83 version of your program. Unless your program is intended as a Flash utility or other utility that will only work on one calculator, it is highly recommends that you make it assemble for either platform. Ion was designed with compatibility in mind for both calculators. Use the asm batch file (included with Ion) to assemble your programs. Programs exceeding 8192 bytes may not work properly on the TI-83 Plus. I am not aware of an easy way around this. Data may go beyond this 8k limit, but not code. If the executable code in your program exceeds 8k, try to break it up into segments and load routines into safe RAM areas as needed.

Include Files

Ion is packaged with an include file (ion.inc). It is recommenced that you use this file instead of ti83asm.inc, joeti83p.inc, or another include file. The Ion include file allows programs to be assembled for both the TI-83 and the TI-83 Plus in one step. The naming scheme used in this include file is closely related to TI's naming scheme. See the examples given above for using this file.

Releasing Programs

When you release a program, I recommend assembling the program for both the TI-83 and the TI-83 Plus even if you do not own both calculators. In most cases, this will require no extra work (if you use the asm batch file included with Ion). Of course, if your program directly accesses the VAT or another resource that is different, more changes will be necessary (use #ifdef in these cases). The program should be named *.83p for the TI-83 version and *.8xp for the TI-83 Plus version. This is done automatically by asm. I recommend including a file with your program with the same name, but with the txt extension for documentation. Lastly, if bugs are found in ion.inc, please let me know so that I can resolve them.

Grouping Programs

The asm batch file that comes with Ion does not assemble the TI-83 Plus version of programs with the correct TI-83 Plus header. Because of this, you must group your programs as TI-83 programs and not TI-83 Plus programs. To do this, select "Group TI-83 Programs" and then type *.8* instead of *.83p, which appears automatically in the program name box. After grouping, name the file *.8xg for the TI-83 Plus version.

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