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Thread: Testimonies of using BASIC back in the day

  1. #1
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    Default Testimonies of using BASIC back in the day


  2. #2

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    Interesting reading the comments under that link. Thanks for posting.

    I was a dab hand at BASIC in the day (1982-1988 ). At that time it was generally sneered upon by those in the computer science community for being unstructured, inelegant and allowing spaghetti code...a "toy" language. There is some truth in this, but I can't help thinking there was snobbery also. There were many variants of BASIC but even with 8k BASIC you could write understandable code. It was a matter of being disciplined and commenting extensively (where RAM allowed it). Once we moved past the basic (8-12k) BASICs into GW-BASIC and QuickBASIC, structural elements were there (e.g. WHILE...WEND etc.). You also had enough RAM to comment well.

    I wrote some highly useful in-house programs for my work that did the job exactly as they should, and weren't hard to maintain. It was an Everyman's language.

    BASIC I salute you!

    Tez
    ------------------------------------------------
    My vintage collection: https://classic-computers.org.nz/collection/
    My vintage activities blog: https://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/
    Twitter: @classiccomputNZ ; YouTube Videos: (click here)


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    Remember CBASIC? Lots of commercial software written in that.

    (Modesty forbids) designed and wrote a multiuser BASIC for serious business applications that was still in use up until a few years ago. Initially, it started out by implementing the MCBA small business application suite, but was eventually turned toward tasks such as word processing. It was blazing fast; faster than even Microsoft compiled BASIC, even though it was interpreted P-Code.

  4. #4

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    I started when I was a wee kid typing in basic on the 64 with my brothers. I was only 3 when we got it...sadly i was only around 12 when it died.
    Later though! I found Qbasic 4.5! I had a ton of fun with that, and still have a lot of my old software hanging around somewhere. The language was still in use by some pretty serious people making some amazing software. It was mostly hobby stuff until DirectQB came out. Then the language had a bright flash, and then died around 2005, 2006...mainly because, I think, direct QB took away some of its hobby charm, perceived approachableness to beginners, and increased vastly, the disparity between new hobbyists and seasoned programmers. The QB RPGs are still a great play, and there is one site that is still up with all the tutorials, releases, software reviews, and great links. I have very fond memories of commodore basic (which I still use), and qbasic which I actually made an inventory system for my garage with a few years ago! The entire thing fit onto one 3.5" disk, on a stripped down computer with no hard drive, booting MSDOS 5. It even has a screen saver!

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    I agree that BASIC was very useful despite its limitations.
    The small interpreted basics, the Microsoft variants which I'm most familiar, were
    hampered by only two significant character variable names and unparameterized
    gosubs. But I still learned a lot with them, especially on the C64!
    I didn't get to use the better BASICs due to having to move on to C in those days.
    Still fond memories.

  6. #6

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    Snobbery certainly played a part. I started on the BBC Micro in the early 1980s so I'm obviously biased, but the direct, simple access to the hardware was great (as, if I'd ever mastered it, was the embedded assembler). I've gone on to write lots of code in other languages and I still come across sneering about BASIC from people who think programming started with JavaScript or Python.

    BASIC was simple, logical and fast (enough). I wrote a QuickBASIC program to control the analytical stage of a dark matter detector in the early 1990s. It was more than fast enough to handle the incoming data stream. I even included an 'Easter egg' in the form of a space invaders clone. Don't think my supervisor ever noticed.

    A couple of years ago I wrote a simple GW-BASIC program to help my kids learn their times tables. The structure was logical enough that with a bit of help they could work out what each line did. I really don't think that's the case with most other languages.

  7. #7

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    You want snobbery? Try being a Pascal programmer. All kinds of C snobs always preaching the supposed superiority of C.

    I never found the limitations of even the interpreted BASICs terribly limiting. In fact, I found the more advanced BASICs, with their lack of direct and indirect memory addressing more limiting.

    Sure, BASIC, especially the interpreted ones were terribly slow, and memory hungry, but they still get the job done!



    Mind you, for all the things I've accomplished with it over the decades, I still don't like BASIC..
    Be polite and I may let you live.

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    Here is one more piece I came across recently that was a good read too.
    http://www.nicolasbize.com/blog/30-y...till-the-best/

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forbidden64 View Post
    I started when I was a wee kid typing in basic on the 64 with my brothers. I was only 3 when we got it...sadly i was only around 12 when it died.
    Later though! I found Qbasic 4.5! I had a ton of fun with that, and still have a lot of my old software hanging around somewhere. The language was still in use by some pretty serious people making some amazing software. It was mostly hobby stuff until DirectQB came out. Then the language had a bright flash, and then died around 2005, 2006...mainly because, I think, direct QB took away some of its hobby charm, perceived approachableness to beginners, and increased vastly, the disparity between new hobbyists and seasoned programmers. The QB RPGs are still a great play, and there is one site that is still up with all the tutorials, releases, software reviews, and great links. I have very fond memories of commodore basic (which I still use), and qbasic which I actually made an inventory system for my garage with a few years ago! The entire thing fit onto one 3.5" disk, on a stripped down computer with no hard drive, booting MSDOS 5. It even has a screen saver!
    I really don't think DirectQB had anything to do with the "demise" of QuickBASIC. It was just another assembly lib. If anything DQB helped level the field between the veterans and beginners due to its ease of use.

    I think the main cause was declining DOS compatibility in Windows. XP had poor sound card support and timing/CPU usage issues, Vista had no support for DOS graphics, and 64-bit versions of Windows couldn't run DOS programs at all. There were hacks and workarounds but it was too big of a hassle for most people. As FreeBASIC started maturing more people moved to that; then QB64 came out and the rest moved to that.

  10. #10
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    I don't recall a lot of commercial/professional software being written in BASIC back in my early C64/MS-DOS days.
    However, in Windows, Visual Basic was a very popular option, and quite a few well known programs were developed in VB.
    A lot of companies also used Visual Basic for Applications as an advanced scripting language for adding functionality to their Office documents and such. You'd be surprised how advanced and mission-critical some of that stuff was/is.

    But yes, for me too, BASIC was the first contact I had with a computer. My first computer was a ZX81, which started in BASIC, like so many home computers of the day (call me crazy, but what I love about the original IBM PCs is that they can boot directly into BASIC, unlike any clone).
    My second computer was a Commodore 64, and it worked exactly the same way. My neighbour had an Atari 8-bit machine, and again, same thing. Friend with an MSX? Same, goes directly to BASIC.
    It wasn't until later when I started using MS-DOS and Amiga systems that I even realized a computer doesn't necessarily have to boot into BASIC.
    To me it felt somewhat limiting, because I had been doing some simple programming on the ZX81 and C64 from time to time, and now I had computers where I had to load a program first, before I could begin programming.

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