Deep Blue C

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The Deep Blue C (DBC) is one of the few C compilers for the Atari 8 bit. John H. Palevich is the author of this compiler. The syntax supported by DBC is close to the ANSI C with significant limitations.


The following language constructs are not supported:[1]

Other non-standard properties of Deep Blue C:

  • The last part of "switch" clause must be ended with: "break", "continue" or "return".
  • The maximum length of source code line has to be less than 80 characters.
  • The number of arguments for functions cannot exceed 126.
  • $( and $) are used instead of { and }.

Sample program[edit]

The exemplary program writes the "Hello World!" message on the user screen.[2]

   printf("Hello World!");


The DBC compiler does not create the native executable for 6502 processor but intermediate code called C-code. The C-code is then executed by C-code interpreter.[1] According to Atari 8-bit FAQ the DBC creates binary code for Intel 8080 processor and then executed by 8080 virtual machine.[3] It has some similarities to today's Java platform and it is also the main cause of low performance of DBC-created code.


  1. ^ a b Deep Blue C documentation at Atari Archives
  2. ^ W. Zientara, "Jezyki programowania Atari cz.2", SOETO, Warsaw, 1989
  3. ^ Atari 8-bit FAQ