Author Topic: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine  (Read 4405 times)

Mr SQL

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50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« on: June 10, 2016, 10:56:59 pm »
Pretty cool article in TIME on the origins of BASIC, it's proponents and opponents with lots of thought provoking commentary:

http://time.com/69316/basic/


B+

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52 years now?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 04:26:53 pm »
Yes, thanks Mr SQL, this article did get me thinking:

http://smallbasic.sourceforge.net/?q=node/1581

So, what is so great about Object programming besides screen controls?

I have attempted several books that feature Classes and Objects and I am not getting it.

Maybe I have been ruined for programming by my BASIC experience as well!

But I have to say, I don't regret learning BASIC because I think the difference between being able to program something and not programming at all is far, far greater than whatever the difference between BASIC without Class and BASIC with Class might be.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 05:45:12 pm by B+ »

Richly

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 05:40:59 pm »
Well, Dijkstra was wrong about BASIC programmers being mutilated by prior exposure to BASIC.

The proof is in the number of bedroom BASIC programmers who went on to become famous developers and engineers in their own right.

In fact, people like Dijkstra didn't like BASIC because it democratized programming; took it away from the computer scientists and the intellectual elites and put it into the hands of ordinary people.

That's one reason why many professional programmers today still look down their noses at BASIC. Professionals like to exclude outsiders from their clubs.

Sometimes this is for good reasons because standards need to be maintained and in some cases you need certification to be safe to practice.

But often there is a darker side; a means by which they can stop change and progress, maintain the status quo, protect their vested interests and keep their wages and fees high. Its the same with any group of professionals; exclusive knowledge is power, money and influence.

But BASIC is the 'punk rock of programming' (BBC Radio 4). It challenges the status quo, gets up the noses of the cosy programming establishment and lets ordinary people in.

Dijkstra may be dead, GO TO may be dying but BASIC still lives on!!
 

B+

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 05:56:26 pm »
Yes, I see now, Objects and Classes is the gods of programming version of the Tower of Dabel!

OR, I guess it was all the different OS systems that confounded our (imagined) one language to a dillion different dialects.

Surely neither GOTO nor democratizing programming is going to "ruin" BASIC or BASIC users for programming.

Does anyone know what the founders of True Basic had in mind? What made it True?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 06:31:30 pm by B+ »

Richly

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 06:59:36 pm »
Yes, I see now, Objects and Classes is the gods of programming version of the Tower of Dabel!

OR, I guess it was all the different OS systems that confounded our (imagined) one language to a dillion different dialects.

Surely neither GOTO nor democratizing programming is going to "ruin" BASIC or BASIC users for programming.

Does anyone know what the founders of True Basic had in mind? What made it True?

Hi B+

The different dialects of BASIC were mainly the result of different versions being produced for each of the many different micros available in the 80s.

The Dartmouth founders of BASIC came up with True BASIC in an attempt to standardize their language so that it was the same on different platforms; but it was too late by then, although I personally think different variants for different platforms generated innovation and improved the BASIC language.

Dijkstra wasn't worried about GO TO or democratizing programming ruining BASIC; he thought rather that GO TO and BASIC would ruin programmers!! All poppycock, of course.

GO TO features in many programming languages and not just BASIC. It may well produce spaghetti code in large programs and may be an anathema to some ( to GO TO or not to GO TO, that is the question!) but it is easily understood, is useful to beginners and can be usefully applied by more experienced programmers in certain circumstances.


B+

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2016, 07:19:10 pm »
Hi Richey,

The GOTO is also an excellent tool for teaching how loops work. In my little Getting Started tutorial, I showed a FOR... NEXT loop simulated with a combination the long version of IF THEN blocks, GOTO's and two line labels, labelFOR and labelNEXT. I considered my explanation done with that example.

So Richey, you've read around in other PL's. Do you think Objects and Classes a bunch of hooey, or should we carry the BASIC spirit forward by finding a way to teach it to the masses?

Or are you like me, (maybe) ruined for the sort of patience and diligence it takes to understand and program with classes?

« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 07:20:42 pm by B+ »

Richly

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2016, 07:49:16 pm »
Hi Richey,

The GOTO is also an excellent tool for teaching how loops work. In my little Getting Started tutorial, I showed a FOR... NEXT loop simulated with a combination the long version of IF THEN blocks, GOTO's and two line labels, labelFOR and labelNEXT. I considered my explanation done with that example.

So Richey, you've read around in other PL's. Do you think Objects and Classes a bunch of hooey, or should we carry the BASIC spirit forward by finding a way to teach it to the masses?

Or are you like me, (maybe) ruined for the sort of patience and diligence it takes to understand and program with classes?

Hi B+

I don't know objects and classes and whether or nor they add anything extra or useful for anyone other than a professional or advanced user. They are not found in C, which is where I have mainly looked beyond BASIC in any great detail and yet C is still very popular despite this.

Generally speaking, unless it can be easily understood and used by the vast majority of people, then I think perhaps it should not be included in BASIC if we want BASIC still to appeal to and be used by the majority of people; unless perhaps as a separate library for those users who would find an extension of this sort beneficial.
 

ZXDunny

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 09:31:32 pm »
Dijkstra was butt-hurt.

He made the pronouncement that programming was a branch of mathematics that only the select few could understand, that "normal" mathematicians need not apply as it was beyond their abilities.

Then BASIC came along, as as you all pointed out, gave programming to the masses. So he had to attack it; his livelihood and his exclusive domain was threatened.

Unfortunately too many people took on board his comments about GO TO (which absolutely, positively hold no water whatsoever when applied to programming in assembly) and BASIC and now people spout that nonsense rather than having an opinion of their own formed by their own experience. They're sheep.

jj2007

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 11:41:31 pm »
his comments about GO TO (which absolutely, positively hold no water whatsoever when applied to programming in assembly)

The GO TO equivalent in assembly is jmp (to a label). I've checked one of my 20k lines sources, and voilĂ , I used jmp 67 times.

But first, I did use conditional jumps equally often, and they have nothing to do with GO TO.

Second, I found over 400 occurrences of .else - and under the hood, you will find the same amount of unconditional jumps. Because that's where they belong: under the hood. An occasional use of GO TO does no harm, but regular use of unconditional jumps leads to spaghetti code, nothing else.

ZXDunny

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 11:56:13 pm »
That's where we disagree, JJ - I too only use unconditional jumps very rarely in the SpecBAS source, but it's a case of the right tool for the right job. I don't see GO TO as harmful at all, it's just in the same class as other flow control structures.

ScriptBasic

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 07:24:47 am »
GOTO is like the Low gear on my automatic transmission. I rarely use it and only when stuck in a hole.

Aurel

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Re: 50 Years of BASIC - TIME Magazine
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 02:44:13 pm »
well ...only richey nail the right thing...and that is typical capitalistic way of thinking presented
in edgarTheWhothinkThatHisAssIsTheSmartestAssInTheWorld attitude.
It is clear that this moron is selfContainedAssHole MFCr >:(
Probably only GuidoCanHoldHisJunkTool  ;D