Palm OS Development Resources
Here's a fairly random list of resources which everyone developing
for Palm OS needs to know about:
Programming FAQ is getting to be well out of date these days, but it's
still got some useful pointers.
and a prc-tools FAQ
(which used to live
There were many interesting articles in the sadly defunct
Journal. They've taken their archives off-line, but you can buy a CD.
(and a couple of others, but those are the main ones) are archived back to day
1. These only really exist on
Darrin Massena's news
server, but mysteriously enough from time to time they make it out to
DejaNews as well, which
is very handy when you need to search them.
Palm administers several
lists which have a larger audience than the Massena newsgroups and are
often better for Palm OS-specific issues.
The volume is such that they are practically unreadable as mailing lists;
there is NNTP access via news.palmos.com
(you need to sign up for the list -- set the nomail option -- and
play silly games with passwords), and there are patchy third-party web archives:
The eGroups archives go back further than the eScribe ones, but are less
The pilot-unix mailing list has had many incarnations over
the years. There are a
for the current (and best!) incarnation, and a
slightly older archive
that probably contains nothing that the current archive doesn't.
There are also old archives
from when the list was at best.com (1996 to early 2000).
Some parts of Palm's Developers'
Zone are absolutely vital:
- The API documentation.
- The Palm OS
Emulator, for Macintosh, Windows, and Unix. (Unix people used
to get by with XCopilot.)
- The Creator
ID Database. This is where you register IDs for your creations:
any application that escapes from your laboratory needs to have
its own unique ID. (As do Hacks and libraries: if I understand
it correctly, IDs used for features or app preferences ought to be
registered just like those used for databases.)
Truly obsessed people need the
Historically, software like prc-tools and pilot-link was distributed from
Prc-tools now has a home at
SourceForge. Pilot-link had
a stint on SourceForge too,
and is now available through
Palm has now documented the PDB and PRC file formats (see the
listed above), making the old reverse-engineered quasi-documentation less
important. Ted Ts'o has
which add a certain amount of support for PRC files, and his
reverse-engineering work is still useful for its description
of what resources you are likely to find in a Palm OS application.
People using prc-tools need
(which used to live
to add resources to their applications.
(People using Constructor might prefer to be using pilrc :-).)
LinkMaster is a
way of linking data between different applications, and
is an old favourite.
There are others as well. This isn't a fair list, it's just what I find
particularly interesting. See Wade's FAQ for others.
PRC-Tools and GCC
The current version of prc-tools is 2.0. Its home is
and there are binaries and other information at
Palm's GCC page.
A widespread older version of prc-tools is 0.5.0; Ian Goldberg has put
together a nice page
describing where to get the source and how to compile it. There are also
binary distributions which you can find by following the links above.
Last updated 2000-10-20 by
(Thanks J. Christopher!)