Author Topic: Flash apps for TI-89 series  (Read 2087 times)

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Offline flarn2006

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Flash apps for TI-89 series
« on: July 29, 2017, 04:32:26 pm »
Just wondering, why is it that on ticalc.org there's so few Flash apps for the TI-89 (Titanium)/TI-92 Plus/Voyage 200? Are they like super hard to write or something? They seem much more user-friendly than ASM.

Offline Art_of_camelot

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 06:11:55 pm »
Flash apps are written in ASM. They never really caught on for the 68k series of calculators. The main reasons being their was plenty of Ram on these models, and there was no size limit on executable code. On the 83+series, there is a limit of 8k on executable code. It has since been circumvented by shells that run programs, and other independent programs. You are still kind of limited by the ram though. Apps have no such limits, thus they had some degree of popularity, and third party programs for writing apps were developed. Not sure if there were any developed for the 68k series. Also, the 68k series has always been more popular in Europe, and in recent years isn't even as popular there (most likely due to the nspire series being released). So yea, that's several reasons why.

Offline flarn2006

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 07:55:12 pm »
Just wondering, why is it that on ticalc.org there's so few Flash apps for the TI-89 (Titanium)/TI-92 Plus/Voyage 200? Are they like super hard to write or something? They seem much more user-friendly than ASM.

I know they're ASM programs technically; I meant the kind that are installed and run like BASIC programs are.

And Flash apps have many benefits that those don't. Like how you can switch between apps, run them in split screen, etc. I can't really think of anything ASM programs can do that Flash apps can't (not even being run as functions; Flash apps can do that too.) So why aren't Flash apps the more popular one? Aren't they better anyway, even without RAM limits on non-Flash apps?

Offline Sorunome

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 07:59:30 pm »
I think a large factor is that the community for the 68k calculators is pretty much non-existant and thus people don't write things for it...it's sad, i really like my 89

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Offline TravisE

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 08:27:06 pm »
Lionel Debroux would be best to explain this since my memory is fuzzy. I think part of it may be that historically, TI was pretty stingy about signing third-party flash apps so people could release them (it was only until more recently that the community cracked all the signing keys themselves, and by this time 68k development was much less active), and TI's official dev tools were rather awful.

Another guess is that I would assume that making apps that fully interface with the OS might involve a lot more work and overhead and may require calling OS routines that are much slower than simply rendering to the screen oneself. I could be wrong on this, though.
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Offline flarn2006

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2017, 11:17:30 pm »
Lionel Debroux would be best to explain this since my memory is fuzzy. I think part of it may be that historically, TI was pretty stingy about signing third-party flash apps so people could release them (it was only until more recently that the community cracked all the signing keys themselves, and by this time 68k development was much less active), and TI's official dev tools were rather awful.

Another guess is that I would assume that making apps that fully interface with the OS might involve a lot more work and overhead and may require calling OS routines that are much slower than simply rendering to the screen oneself. I could be wrong on this, though.
Wait, they had to be signed by TI? So each individual app had to be approved? That sucks...though I guess not much anymore now that the keys are ours ;)

I never understood why TI was like that, not allowing the installation of OSes or Flash apps that haven't been signed even on non-Nspire calculators. On the Nspire I can understand they may have something to gain because the OS does restrict what you can do with the calculator (though I don't see what reason there is beyond preventing bypassing PTT and even then I doubt the testing organizations would insist they be as hostile as they have been) but the other calculators already give you full access to the system by way of ASM programs. What reason could they possibly have for not allowing third party operating systems and requiring applications in a specific format to be signed, if they're still fine with letting you run whatever unsigned code you want in the stock OS just by using a different application format that has the same level of access to the system as everything else? If they don't have any problem with people running unsigned code with full access on their calculators, why would they care more about one format or method of execution than another?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 11:30:09 pm by flarn2006 »

Offline JosJuice

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 10:02:30 am »
What reason could they possibly have for not allowing third party operating systems and requiring applications in a specific format to be signed, if they're still fine with letting you run whatever unsigned code you want in the stock OS just by using a different application format that has the same level of access to the system as everything else? If they don't have any problem with people running unsigned code with full access on their calculators, why would they care more about one format or method of execution than another?
There is a very small amount of paid apps (at least for the 83+/84+ – I don't know much about the 68k calcs). The limitations on app signing, combined with the 83+/84+ trying to prevent you from having more than 8 kilobytes of executable code in RAM, were likely intended to hinder piracy of paid apps.

Offline TravisE

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 12:06:51 pm »
Yeah, they tried to make money off of 89 apps for a time, but at one point they apparently finally gave up and just gave them all away for free. TI also added an 8K executable limit for ASM programs with the introduction of AMS 2, I think, which they later loosened to 24K from around AMS 2.04 or so onward (and apparently totally eliminated in AMS 3). And they implemented all sorts of protections against ASM code executing from other addresses, which is why things like HW2Patch/HW3Patch or tiosmod/amspatch are needed to patch out the protections from the OS and allow TSR programs, big ASM programs, and other cool stuff. Presumably a lot of these protections were to prevent running paid flash apps without paying.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 12:13:01 pm by TravisE »
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Offline Art_of_camelot

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Re: Flash apps for TI-89 series
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 05:36:59 pm »
Just wondering, why is it that on ticalc.org there's so few Flash apps for the TI-89 (Titanium)/TI-92 Plus/Voyage 200? Are they like super hard to write or something? They seem much more user-friendly than ASM.

I know they're ASM programs technically; I meant the kind that are installed and run like BASIC programs are.

And Flash apps have many benefits that those don't. Like how you can switch between apps, run them in split screen, etc. I can't really think of anything ASM programs can do that Flash apps can't (not even being run as functions; Flash apps can do that too.) So why aren't Flash apps the more popular one? Aren't they better anyway, even without RAM limits on non-Flash apps?

Well, as you said, there's really no difference between what you can do with a flash app and what you can do with a normal asm program. I guess it is a bit more user friendly as you can just access them and don't need a shell or to use the ASM( token to execute them. I'm thinking there's programs out there that let you run an asm program without having to add the token though anyway(i know there is for the 83+/84 series). There's really nothing that makes flash apps "better". As I said before, I don't know if any third party tools for creating apps were made by the community, there probably have been by this point. However, most people were already used to writing asm programs that weren't flash apps, and people saw little or no benefit to making them apps. Also, as Travis mentioned, TI's tools that were released for creating flash apps back then had a bad reputation. Never used them, but IIRC, the where a pain to use and rather limited in some ways.