Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Apr 2014 18:16 UTC, submitted by KLU9
General Development

I find the "everybody should learn to code" movement laudable. And yet it also leaves me wistful, even melancholy. Once upon a time, knowing how to use a computer was virtually synonymous with knowing how to program one. And the thing that made it possible was a programming language called BASIC.

Invented by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, BASIC was first successfully used to run programs on the school's General Electric computer system 50 years ago this week - at 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, to be precise.

It's the only programming language I was ever somewhat proficient in (when I was about six years old). I never moved beyond it, and now, I know nothing about programming. BASIC has played a huge role in the history of computing, and its birthday deserves to be a thing.

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ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by moondevil on Wed 30th Apr 2014 18:40 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

...was my first programming language, back in 1986.

Reply Score: 4

RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by jgagnon on Wed 30th Apr 2014 20:00 in reply to "ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

My first significant programming experience was on a Commodore VIC 20 back in 1982/83 (can't remember exactly, but I was in 6th grade). Good times. My brothers and I filled the 3.5k of BASIC memory up before our text adventure game was finished. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by AndyB on Wed 30th Apr 2014 20:34 in reply to "ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
AndyB Member since:
2013-03-22

I remember the ZX81 being the first computer I programmed, soon followed by a Spectrum 48K. Although, I also learned Z80 assembler as BASIC was just too slow after a while!

As for modern day programming languages, I find VBA in Excel macros very similar to the original BASIC we all knew and loved.

These days I use mostly PHP and Javascript as I am a web developer, but still dabble in VBA macros from time to time.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by thulfram on Wed 30th Apr 2014 23:58 in reply to "ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
thulfram Member since:
2013-10-11

I enjoyed writing assembly on the Timex-Sinclair computer as well as its BASIC, but I'd moved on to other BASICs by the time the Spectrum came along.

Sinclair BASIC was actually written in a TIL (threaded interpreted language - FORTH is one). Most BASICs were written in a variation of a TIL because that was the most efficient thing going at the time.

My very first BASIC was on the SOL-20 in about 1977. Really fun! Before that, it was Fortran, COBOL, assembler, machine language, etc. But BASIC was the first one that was actually fun.

Many BASICs followed, too many to list or remember. Takes me back. Too bad it can't leave me there.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by Soulbender on Thu 1st May 2014 09:15 in reply to "ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Remember when computer magazines came with complete code listings of games? Those where the days.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Remember when computer magazines came with complete code listings of games? Those where the days.


Or code published via vinyl records as add-ins for magazines? Or even broadcast? Yes, that was "state of the art" when I started programming microcomputers in BASIC in the 1980's (started whilt in 3rd grade at school). The devices available at my school at this time were the KC87, the first I programmed on, with the terrible keyboard, later replaced with a KC 85/3. It was a time when the term "IT" wasn't invented yet, and having access to a computer (even a small home computer) was a privilege.

Here you can see some pictures:

KC 87:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_dresden.h...

KC 85/3:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_muehlhaus...

BASICODE-based vinyl record:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/komponenten/datentrae...

Even though BASIC today seems to be "ugly old stuff", it was the thing that convinced me to learn more about computers, learn how to program them, and move to other languages in the end. It's still kind of fascinating that it still lives on in "modern" products such as "Visual BASIC" and "VBA script" which are considered "enterprise-grade software". It'll look more funny when you emphasize that the "B" in "BASIC" stands for "beginner", especially when being confronted with self-proclaimed "professional programming experts (certified!)" who actually don't know shit about computers. ;-)

50 years... makes me feel old... :-)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by AndyB on Thu 1st May 2014 12:29 in reply to "RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
AndyB Member since:
2013-03-22

I do, many an hour, day or even week was spent typing them in, then checking for typos every time it did something unexpected!

This is what many kids called programming back then, but only a handful really understood what they were doing!

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Oh yeah... I typo'd a DOS Batch file I found in one and wiped command.com from the computer ( along with most of DOS). My dad wasn't the happiest with me.

Reply Parent Score: 2