posted by Daniel Campos Fernández on Thu 11th Nov 2004 20:44 UTC
IconFor a few years, I've been working in the real world, I mean the enterprise world, sorry. In every company I've worked for, they offered me the opportunity to learn a lot of new things, or at least that's what they always said in the first meeting before sending me to be just another company programmer. But in fact I've learned some very important things, just not about programming. I had to learn about these things on my own, about the needs of a real company in the real world.

Software schedules are usually tight. Big custumers think like that old Queen song: "I want it all, and I want it NOW". Modifications must be done quickly, sometime multiple times, as customers change their mind often. And there's not just one big custumer, but a hundred important customers for our company, and our program must be adapted to work in different environments.

However, not all programming tasks need a real programmer. There are few programmers, and all the employees need your services. You can't do all, and you don't have the time to learn all about marketing, administration, statistics, sales, and all the rest of things existing in a modern company. It would be a tremendous advantage if experts in these fields had the ability to write simple programs to meet their own needs.

Programming in C or C++ is effective, and the basis for much of the world's most important software. Think about Linux; more than a million lines of code written in C, and it works like a charm thanks to C's inherent strengths. However, coding in C or even in C++ is slow and cumbersome if you want to program an interface for a database in a day. But there are many cases where someone in a company, or just a computer user in their house would want to do some simple programming to automate a task.

Programming languages like Perl or Python are nice too, especially for web tasks, but they're designed for programmers, and they have important shortcomings for the beginner, for example, lacking a really easy and comfortable IDE.

On the other side, a lot of old computer users, whether they are currently working as programmers or not, began using computers with well known names like MSX, Spectrum, Commodore, or Amstrad. All of them had their own BASIC interpreter, and almost everyone who used computers back then remembers something about BASIC. Due to the success of a small software company back in the 80s, I can't remember the name, sorry, BASIC was also extended to manage databases, spreadsheets, and there's even a good IDE for a BASIC dialect thanks to that company, and a lot of programmers have learned that this BASIC dialect is poor, and has bugs, but they can easily write and debug programs using it, so they have become productive for their companies.

New things like C# are also good for big projects, but for a beginner it's just confusing when they read things like "System Runtime Interop Services", and they realize that they have to learn about name spaces, inheritance, interfaces and provider objects before writing anything useful.

So it seems there's a good place for an easy and powerful language, so both beginners and programmers that need to concentrate in the problems instead of the syntax, can work without problems. That's where Gambas can help the free software community. Gambas offers an easy IDE and a BASIC interpreter that allow the user to create both graphical and console programs, database applications, and communications programs. Even CGI's can be written with few effort. And it is ready; the 1.0 version will be out soon.

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  1. "Gambas, Page 1/3"
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