An Amiga device is a software module that accepts commands and data and performs I/O operations based on the commands it receives. In most cases, a device interacts with either internal or external hardware. Generally, an Amiga device runs as a separate task which is capable of processing your commands while your application attends to other things. Device I/O is based on the Exec messaging system. The philosophy behind the devices is that I/O operations should be consistent and uniform. You print a file in the same manner as you play an audio sample, i.e., you send the device in question a WRITE command and the address of the buffer holding the data you wish to write. The result is that the interface presented to the programmer is essentially device independent and accessible from any computer language. This greatly expands the power the Amiga computer brings to the programmer and, ultimately, to the user. Devices support two types of commands: Exec standard commands like READ and WRITE, and device specific commands like the trackdisk device MOTOR command which controls the floppy drive motor. The Exec standard commands are supported by most Amiga devices. You should keep in mind, however, that supporting standard commands does not mean that all devices execute them in exactly the same manner. This manual contains a chapter about each of the Amiga devices. The chapters cover how you use a device and the commands it supports. In addition, the Amiga ROM Kernel Reference Manual: Includes and Autodocs contains expanded explanations of the commands and the include files for each device, and the Amiga ROM Kernel Reference Manual: Libraries contains chapters on Exec. The command explanations list the data, flags, and other information required by a device to execute a command. The Exec chapters provide detailed discussions of its operation. Both are very useful manuals to have on your desk when you are programming the devices.
[Back to Amiga Developer Docs]