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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RE[2]: BASIC?
by fabrica64 on Thu 1st May 2014 15:42 UTC in reply to "RE: BASIC?"
fabrica64
Member since:
2013-09-19

May be you're right. Beginning with BASIC teaches you how to be very careful to avoid errors. But it's more difficult than beginning with a structured language like Java.
The real problem, in my opinion, is that, once you learn with BASIC, you may end up with BASIC mindset, that may help if you code in assembler but not much if you migrate to structured and OO languages

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: BASIC?
by WereCatf on Thu 1st May 2014 16:04 in reply to "RE[2]: BASIC?"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

The real problem, in my opinion, is that, once you learn with BASIC, you may end up with BASIC mindset, that may help if you code in assembler but not much if you migrate to structured and OO languages


That is a risk, but that can just as easily be mitigated by teaching what sort of thinking to avoid or to keep in mind while also teaching BASIC. Then it'll be easier to migrate to more complex languages later on.

Me, I started out with BASIC, but I migrated simultaneously to both C and assembly from it, often doing some functions that required speed in assembly, compiling it with NASM to object-file and then linking it with the main-program done in C and compiled with DJGPP. Fun times. But as I said, trying to go with C or something straight-up would have been too overwhelming, learning BASIC was totally needed for me to get going.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: BASIC?
by Alfman on Fri 2nd May 2014 15:29 in reply to "RE[3]: BASIC?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WereCatf,

Me, I started out with BASIC, but I migrated simultaneously to both C and assembly from it, often doing some functions that required speed in assembly, compiling it with NASM to object-file and then linking it with the main-program done in C and compiled with DJGPP. Fun times.



I started with GWBasic, and later QBasic, but only because they came with MS Dos. For me basic was not an essential stepping stone into programming, it just happened to be bundled with dos, (and commadore, etc) and became the defacto language to learn, but it could have easily been something else.

I progressed to Turbo Pascal. DJGPP, along with RHIDE, were awesome, I only wish I had learned about them earlier.

But as I said, trying to go with C or something straight-up would have been too overwhelming, learning BASIC was totally needed for me to get going.


I find that a lot of the difficulties newbies have isn't the language, but the IDE. So for example, while microsoft C had a very difficult learning curve, Turbo Pascal/C were about on par with qbasic (while being far more powerful) owing to borland's turbo-vision based IDE.

What makes C difficult as a language specifically is it's lack of string types/operators, obviously. But as far as the language syntax goes I personally never found basic any more intuitive or easier than C. I would have been happy to jump into C directly provided I had a decent IDE.

Edited 2014-05-02 15:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: BASIC?
by Soulbender on Sat 3rd May 2014 10:55 in reply to "RE[2]: BASIC?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

you may end up with BASIC mindset


That might be preferable to ending up with a Java mindset....

Reply Parent Score: 3