Archive Magazine has been going since 1987 and is currently edited by Jim Nagel (you may remember his Computer Shopper Magazine Acorn columns). It is a printed A5 magazine (back and white with some colour). The style is very much traditional magazine and it has not changed over the years. As far as I can tell, its publication date is based on a complex and archaic forumla known only to Jim involving the dates of RISC OS shows, the position of the moon and lots of other secret variables. But it is generally worth the wait.
Drag'N'Drop is currently edited by Christopher Dewhurst with contributions from others. It appears regularly every quarter as a PDF which you can download and read on RISC OS or any other platform. It includes news articles (with links which you can just click on), features and tutorials (with the code also attached). The look and feel very much reminds me of the best of the traditional BBC/Acorn User style magazines.
Both magazines rely heavily on voluntary contributions which influences their content. If you have something to share, they both welcome your contribution.
Both magazines had their latest releases at the London Show, so lets dive in and see what they have to offer.
If you always judge a book by its cover, Archive has been putting considerable effort to impress with a colour cover. This month's edition features a very dramatic picture of Pebble Beach (from Jim Nagel's recent trip to Canada) accompanying the contents.
In his editoral, Jim talks about how much faster it is these days for a publisher and 6 pages of News are bang upto date for the London Show, where you could get your printed copy. The Magazine itself is a mixture of Reviews, tutorials, regular colums and little snippets of advice. So you can read about CloudFS, Findout about GPS on The Pi, learn about using HDMI, follow a guide on creating a program in !Appbasic, use TopModel for 3D printing, and annotating maps in RisosOSM. There is also a nice hint on connecting an Android tablet to Risc OS.
I have been a long time reader (and occasional contributor) to Archive and am always impressed by the high standard and knowledge of the content which is well-researched and written and carefully proof-read (Jim often adds little notes into articles to clarify).
If you are interested in trying Archive, I would recommend contacting the editor, as Archive has often offered sample copies if you want to try the magazine. Please do not judge Archive by its website (which is very old and does not do the magazine justice).
Drag'N'Drop has a much more garrish cover (it does have an article on 256 colour palette). It starts with an editorial on the show and new machines. The next section is a 'How do I..' with some tips on things we sometimes take for granted but may not be familiar to new users (get a basic prompt, open a task bar, etc). This is followed by 3 pages of news (with links to sites). The rest of the magazine consists of tutorials and coding activities.
The listings are explained and included and there is a really nice range of material here. In this edition, we have an introduction to MIDI sound format, an introduction to Forth, some machine code demos to do scrolling stars, an explanation of MemAlloc module, and a basic program to create Fibonacci Wallpaper. Lastly there is a neat little listin in Basic and Assembly to give you auto-focus. You can read some sample pages of the latest edition on the website to get a feel for the magazine.
If you are new to Drag'N'Drop, I recommend buying the USB stick which includes all the previous issues. This also works really nicey for following the tutorials which span several editions. At the London Show the USB key was available in a really beautiful little box with the RISC OS logo and some sweets. If you ask really nicely they may still have some in stock....
So how would I compare them? They are both well-written and presented to a very high standard. One is printed, one is online and there is a difference of emphasis between them, and I am pleased to say that the news sections contained lots of different items. Archive is much shorter in pages than Drag'N'Drop but does not have pages of listings.
I personally enjoyed both of them and will continue to be a regular subscriber to both as I feel they compement each other and fill slightly different niches. I read both cover to cover.
Drag'n Drop Magazine