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Thread: Testimonies of using BASIC back in the day

  1. #71
    Join Date
    May 2019


    My first language in college was FORTRAN using punch card decks in batch mode. Junior year (1972) I passed a room full of teletypes in the ME building. They were open for use, no login or account required. It turned out to be a BASIC time sharing system running on a PDP-8. After that I spent a lot of time there including some skipped economics classes. The only way to save and reload programs was the paper tape punch/reader on the teletypes. One of the programs (not written by me) would punch text onto paper tape. I had tried something similar with asterisk graphics in FORTRAN but the system operators didn't give me the printout and wrote NO! on my deck. That's one reason I appreciated the Basic system, the other being it was interactive and not batch mode.

    In 1977 I worked on an automated test system for a guided missile. It used a lot of HP test equipment connected by HPIB to an HP minicomputer. The test code was Basic. I represented the missile electronics not the test system but I did have to read the code for individual test steps.

    After that I used Basic on various microcomputers at home and a tiny bit at work. Most of my professional coding was in assembly language and C.

  2. #72
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Back of Burke (Guday!), Australia


    I grew up using Locomotive BASIC 1.0 on an Amstrad CPC464, though now days I have an Amstrad CPC6128 with Locomotive BASIC 1.1 though I regularly code in LB1.0 to have it running on all the CPC systems.

    For me personally originally it was about going to the Newsagents, purchasing some Magazines each month and type-in the programmes, I tried creating my own odd programme back then, though there were gaps and would based some of the code from other people's work, I particularly know that I didn't have much understanding on Array's, which looked more like a Mathematical problem.

    These days I look at it a bit differently, for example I might look at some game coded in BASIC and think how would it look if it were like this or this and improve the coding of it. A couple of years ago I had some old 10-Liner riddled with issues, which I dissected with notes running through what it did. Some of the underlining issues were still present until I started focusing on having a Main Loop with some Structured programming put into play. By the end I had something which hardly looked like a 10-Liner, but was able to expose where there were flaws in the original code and fix them which is where I get a great deal of satisfaction.

    But I have to be somewhat thankful that Pascal exists, by setting rules up for Structured Programming has helped me improve in BASIC, though BASIC seems to have tricks of it's own. BASIC can have a structured look to it which makes for easy reading, though with some clever coding skills it almost seems there's a whole other level in LB which I haven't progressed to and reading the source code to that seems like reading gibberish.

    It's difficult to say where I draw the Line with GOTO because if misused, the programme becomes hard to read, this Dragon Curve example on Rosetta Code for the ZX Spectrum presents an unusually complex Loop to determine the Path of the Line. Eventually I had something up and running in Pascal, though for that BASIC example, it had a clever way of freeing up memory which I couldn't produce in Pascal unless, I could exit the Procedure, which I did by forcing an end of a Loop and then call the whole routine again with another Colour.

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