Have We Lost BASIC?

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Jccarlton
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Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby Jccarlton » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:52 am

Interesting article from David Brin on losing am important skillset. BASIC programming, in more ways than one.
http://www.salon.com/2006/09/14/basic_2/
In this day and age simple coding is an essential skill.

MSimon
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby MSimon » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:00 am

Jccarlton wrote:Interesting article from David Brin on losing am important skillset. BASIC programming, in more ways than one.
http://www.salon.com/2006/09/14/basic_2/
In this day and age simple coding is an essential skill.


Forth is easy enough - you just have to "get" reverse polish. Not too difficult with some practice or an appropriate HP calculator.
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Scupperer
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby Scupperer » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:40 pm

I've been using an emulator of the old Trs-80 color computers for line-command BASIC with my kids.

http://www.haplessgenius.com/mocha/

You can download it for stand-alone functionality.
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DeltaV
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby DeltaV » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:29 pm

Dr. Brin is spot on.
If an enemy had set out to do this to us — quietly arranging so that almost no school child in America can tinker with line coding on his or her own — any reasonably patriotic person would have called it an act of war.

Microsoft reached its peak with MS BASIC PDS 7.1. Following products made it obvious that societal control required obfuscation. Potentially, infinite obfuscation. Today, the amount of "prep" code and abstraction needed to turn on one pixel in a usable program is nauseating.

hanelyp
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby hanelyp » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:54 pm

BASIC, in a number of ways, was never that great of a programming language. Its one great virtue was being very simple. I'm seeing HTML/javascript as a good environment for budding programmers today. Of course this needs to be paired with something 'server side' if the program is to deal with stored data.
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Teahive
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby Teahive » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:02 pm

If, like me, you got confused by "only a decade or so ago", note that the article is from 2006.

I do share some of the sentiments expressed in the article. Mainly that more could be done to teach programming and how a basic computer works. But the past was never that rosy to begin with.

I took my first programming steps with GW-BASIC, then moved on to QuickBASIC (and many other languages since). While I have fond memories of the time I don't mourn the demise of BASIC. I think the tools and methods for teaching and learning programming today are better. There are a number of easy-to-learn languages and tons of tutorials and textbooks freely available on the net. There are great tools. For example, want to see what a Python program does, line by line, step by step? Try Python Tutor. Though programming in general is still fraught with serious problems, not just in the initial learning phase.

The number of people who learn programming at least on a basic level has gone up, not down. Even back then, most computer users never touched BASIC (or no more than they had to to run programs). It might be true that today an even smaller ratio of computer users learns to program, but there are far more of them.

TDPerk
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Re: Have We Lost BASIC?

Postby TDPerk » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:33 am

LibBasic is pretty good for standalone, and RunBasic the same for server-side to remote terminal computing.
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