Ndless SDK: C and assembly development introduction

Fabian Vogt edited this page Mar 13, 2016 · 5 revisions

This is a backup of the original hackspire wiki page, now on https://hackspire.snowflake.me/index.php/C_and_assembly_development_introduction


This tutorial describes how to set up an environment and use the Ndless SDK to write native Ndless-compatible programs for the TI-Nspire.

Setting up a development environment

On Linux distros

Option 1: Build and install the SDK yourself

  • Make sure your system has the following dependencies: git, GCC (with c++ support), binutils, GMP (libgmp-dev), MPFR (libmpfr-dev), MPC (libmpc-dev), boost-program-options, openssl-dev, wget. Install them with your system's package manager if not.

Option 2: Get the Ndless SDK Docker image

Warning: This option is very outdated and it is strongly recommended to use Option 1 and build the SDK yourself!

Docker is a platform to build and share applications through lightweight containers. The Ndless SDK Docker image packs the Ndless SDK and all its dependencies. This is the easiest and quickest method to get a fully functional development environment.

To install the Ndless SDK Docker image follow the instructions on hub.docker.com. You can skip the “Building and installing” part.

On Mac OS X

  • TODO
  • Make sure your system has the following dependencies: git, GCC (with c++ support), binutils, GMP, MPFR, MPC, boost-program-options, wget. Install them with your system's package manager if not, for example brew.

On Windows

  • Install Cygwin (32bit, x86) and the following dependencies: php (5.6+), libboost-devel, libboost_program_options*, binutils, gcc-core, gcc-g++, git, mpfr, mpfr-devel, gmp, libgmp-devel, libmpc3, libmpc-devel, openssl-dev, make, texinfo, zlib-devel, wget
  • Download or git clone the ndless repo from GitHub.
  • Extract the .zip and go to the ndless-master/ndless-sdk/toolchain folder
  • Fix the few symlinks, for instance genzehn/zehn.h in the genzehn folder, which has to be deleted then copied there from ndless-sdk/include (and if you intend to rebuild Ndless, utils.c from the resources folder into the different installers folders)

Building and installing the toolchain and the SDK

  • Get the latest code from GitHub

git clone --recursive https://github.com/ndless-nspire/Ndless.git

  • Run the SDK's build_toolchain.sh script that will download and build a complete ARM toolchain compatible with Ndless, and install it <(edit the PREFIX variable at the beginning of the script to change the install location). You don't need to be root for this.
cd ndless-sdk/toolchain/
./build_toolchain.sh

Running the script again will continue from the last successful step (not redownloading everything for instance). At the end of a successful build you should see Done!. Alternatively you can verify the build using echo $?. 0 indicates success.

  • Now add the following folders to your PATH environment variable. On linux, ~/.bash_profile should be a good place for this, just add something like this to it:

export PATH="[path_to_ndless]/ndless-sdk/toolchain/install/bin:[path_to_ndless]/ndless-sdk/bin:${PATH}"

  • Build Ndless and the SDK, in the top level of the repository, run:

make

Verifying the installation

  • Open a console/terminal (on Windows, the cygwin one)
  • Run nspire-gcc

If everything has been set up correctly you should see something similar to:

arm-none-eabi-gcc: fatal error: no input files
compilation terminated.

2-minute tutorial

As a convention for the next chapters, lines starting with $ are commands you should type in a console. Other lines are the command's output.

Your first build

Ndless comes with sample programs in the samples/ directory of the Ndless SDK. We will try to build the C Hello World. Change the current directory of the console:

$ cd "<my_ndless_sdk_copy>/ndless-sdk/samples/helloworld-sdl"

Ndless programs are built with GNU Make, which is run with the command make. So let's make the program:

$ make
nspire-gcc -Wall -W -marm -Os -c hello-sdl.c
mkdir -p .
nspire-ld hello-sdl.o -o ./helloworld-sdl.elf 
genzehn --input ./helloworld-sdl.elf --output ./helloworld-sdl.tns --name "helloworld-sdl"
make-prg ./helloworld-sdl.tns ./helloworld-sdl.prg.tns

nspire-gcc is Ndless's wrapper for the GNU C Compiler GCC, which compiles C and assembly source files to object files (here hello.o).

nspire-ld is the wrapper for GCC, which redirects gcc with the option "-fuse-ld=gold" to use another wrapper “arm-none-eabi-ld.gold” as linker. “arm-none-eabi-ld.gold” adds some necessary libraries to the final program.

genzehn converts the executable created by “nspire-ld” to a format, which ndless supports.

make-prg adds a simple loader on top so the executable works on older versions of ndless.

Your first program

If you want to create a program from scratch:

  • Create a new directory for the program
  • Type in a console:
cd "<your directory path>"
nspire-tools new <name>

where <name> is your program name. This will create a Makefile to build the tns file.

  • Create a new .c file and edit your program
  • Run make to build it