OnBoard Suite

A C language integrated development environment that runs right on your Palm PDA and compiles native Palm executables.





Yahoo! Discussion Group

Docs: Users' Guide

Docs: Palm Prog'ing Cookbook

Docs: SrcEdit Users' Guide


Bugs And Features

Feature Requests




SourceForge site

Developer's Charter

Developer's FAQ

The Style Guide

Want To Help?

Become a Developer

Join Developer's Mailing List

What's The OnBoard Suite?

The OnBoard Suite is a C-language development environment that runs on and builds code for, the Palm handheld platform. The OnBoard Suite is comprised of:

  • the OnBoard C compiler,
  • the OnBoard Assembler,
  • the SrcEdit programmer's editor, and
  • the Sherpa porting tool.

The OnBoard C compiler creates a Palm executable or (at the programmer's option) a Hackmaster hack. You can beam your new program or hotsync it to another Palm if you like. It requires nothing but a Palm (w/ the Palm OS in ROM so your code can take advantage of the library that's there). It does not need a separate run-time library.

The OnBoard Suite has come into being through an interesting string of events. If you are new to OnBoard C or haven't been involved with the community of OnBoard C users on Yahoo, we recommend that you read the super-short history below to help you understand the peculiarly democratic way that we manage the development of this project.

For Users Of OnBoard Suite

If you are a user, mainly interested in learning more about how to use OnBoard C to develop your own Palm applications, you may want to visit the following links:

Downloads. You can get the latest version of the OnBoard Suite from the SourceForge Site.

User Documentation. You should check out The OnBoard C User's Guide. Many of your questions will be answered here. OnBoard C uses the standard Palm API. New Palm programmers can get a quick start on using that API from The OnBoard C Programmer's Cookbook. Warning: this one is a work in progress. There is also a new SrcEdit Users' Guide. Note that these documents are included in the OnBoard Suite download.

Support. One good place to get support is from The OnBoardC Yahoo Group. This discussion group contains a searchable archive of discussion topics, a repository of useful files and documents, and a very active forum of helpful OnBoardC user/developers. You can report bugs on the SourceForge Bug site. You can see what bugs/features the developers have already chosen to address by looking at Bugs and Feature Request lists.

For Developers Of OnBoard Suite

If you want to join the OnBoard Suite developer group, just get yourself a login ID on SourceForge and email one of the admins (currently Steve Little and David Beers) and say something like "Hey, let me in! My SourceForge login name is dinglefritz." We'll let you in. Before you do that, however, we'd appreciate it if you'd give the charter a look.

Here's a quick list of links to help developers.

Here again is the link to the task list page where you may view upcoming patches and find the developer you need to contact if you want to help with a patch: Tasks.

And here is the link to the FAQ for the developers of OnBoard C: http://onboardc.sourceforge.net/_faq.html.

And here is the link to the OnBoard C Developer's Style Guide http://onboardc.sourceforge.net/obc-style.txt.

If you've got problems, questions, or suggestions concerning this web page, the development process, the source code, the task list, the design strategy, etc., these are all things that we'd like to talk with you about on our email list, onboardc-project, which you may join by visiting https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/onboardc-project. The archive for past postings on this list is located at www.geocrawler.com/lists/3/SourceForge/23562/0/. Oh, and there is also an email-based interface for users (not administrators) of the list; you can get info about using it by sending a message with just the word `help' as subject or in the body, to:


There's also a developers' forum at https://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum_id=186613 but that is reserved only for official voting to add tasks to the task list.

Some Relevant History

OnBoard C (and I now use this term to refer collectively to the compiler, assembler, text editor, and resource editor) was originally produced as a commercial product by IndiVideo. At some point in the Fall of 2000 the developers at IndiVideo went their separate ways and the one who developed OnBoard C, Roger Lawrence, took the source code with him. Later, Roger generously released the binaries for the compiler and assembler to be distributed for free by the members of the OnBoard C community moderated by Wade Guthrie. RsrcEdit (the resource editor component of the suite) went to Quartus.net, developers of an onboard Forth compiler for the Palm, where it continues to be available as commercial software. It remains a key component of the OnBoard C IDE, but if you need support for that you'll have to visit Quartus.

OnBoard C started on it's path to becoming free open source software in March 2002, when Roger released the source to an editor he had built and used personally, but never released. Originally called LED--now renamed SrcEdit to avoid confusion with an existing product--this editor included many features specifically for use with OnBoard C and has been actively developed by the OnBoard C community under the lead of David Beers (yours truly).

In May I got back in contact with Roger, showed him the work we'd done on SrcEdit and asked if he might do one last build of OnBoard C for us that would fix a couple of nagging issues we were having. Attached to his email reply was the source code to the compiler and assembler. Not knowing much of anything about lexers, parsers, or 68k assembly language I put it to Wade Guthrie, the moderator of the OnBoardC Yahoo group to help me moderate a discussion on that forum about how best to organize open source development of OnBoard C.

Our group's charter came out of these discussions. It was not meant to complicate things, but to put in place a process that addressed the following somewhat unique circumstances:

  1. At the beginning, none of us (except Roger, who probably won't be involved in the development) knows any more about the source code to OnBoard C than any other.
  2. The fact that these are development tools that were and are used to develop hundreds or thousands of pieces of software enjoins upon its developers some extra sensitivity
  3. The nature of the software suggests a cautious and deliberative approach to ensure that patches occur in a way that avoids conflicts and incompatibilities, and follow some long-term strategies that the developers generally agree on.

The OnBoard Suite is brought to you by
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