What's in this book

This document provides the following information:

The Amiga hardware and system software provide the basic building blocks of the user interface: a mouse and pointer, windows and icons, menus and requesters and more. But it is your software that combines these elements and ultimately determines how the machine will be used.

Non-Stifling Standards

In one sense, this style guide can be considered a book of rules for you to follow when designing application software for the Amiga. It describes the best ways to combine and use elements of the Amiga system software to communicate with the user.

This manual describes the best ways to communicate with the user.

Unlike rule books such as a state's driving code or a company's employee handbook, the style guide's originators don't suggest penalties for violators. In fact, penalties of that sort would be counterproductive. The aim of this book is to establish standards for Amiga applications without stifling creativity. New versions of the Amiga and new types of applications will probably require refinement and expansion of these standards in the future.

That's not to say no penalties exist. In a free, competitive market the only real penalties are financial and self-inflicted. This book has been created under this premise: standardized software will be better for reasons described later in this chapter, and thus, in a competitive situation it should sell better.

In short, these standards were devised to improve your program and the Amiga platform in the eyes of the user.

A Point on the Horizon

No one expects every application to conform to every one of the rules and guidelines in this manual.

These rules have not been created in a vacuum. Many of the standards discussed in this manual have been culled from experience - experience gained through the multitudes of Amiga applications released since the Amiga's inception. The writers of this document first The rules in this looked at what has worked best in specific applications manual describe and then tried to transform that raw experience into a an idealized standard, efficient and accepted way to do things on application not the Amiga. The trick was to come up with ideas that yet created. worked well and would work well in a variety of situations.

Clearly there will always be exceptions to these rules. Even applications created by Commodore may not comply with every idea in this book.

The hope is that the idealized application described in this manual will be like a point on the horizon you keep in sight throughout the development of your very real program.