Are those of us who started programming on Basic handicapped

Get your foo on.

Are those of us who started programming on Basic handicapped

Postby jheaton5 » May 10th, 2014, 2:22 pm

It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.

Edsger Dijkstra

I started programming with Basic in the early '80's and got very good at it. I dabbled in ASM writing a library of subroutines that I used in various utilities. I also set up database programs in DBASE III that is very similar to Basic. From there I moved on to Turbo Pascal. I found my previous experience with Basic very helpful in making the transition. I completed two major projects in Turbo Pascal. One was a program for my mother so she could store and print out her genealogy research. The other was a simple translation program that translated from and to Koine Greek. Using assembly language I set up a greek alphabet and loaded it into memory at startup. It incorporated a database of greek words with their english counterparts. I could enter an English word and get the Greek equivalent or I could enter a Greek word and get the English translation. Of course this was all done in DOS.

With all of that background I am still having trouble understanding more modern programming techniques. I know if then statements including nested if then statements. I understand loops and case constructs. I understand variables, arrays and the like. I can do simple scripts in Bash and Python, but I am having a difficult time with C and C++. It maybe age. It maybe that I have less time to focus on learning. I'm just wondering if the quote above has any validity.
jheaton5
 
Posts: 1776
Joined: February 9th, 2011, 10:25 am
Location: Newnan, GA USA

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby BowCatShot » May 10th, 2014, 2:36 pm

I learned basic as my first computer language. I still write apps in visual basic today. I went on to have a 30 year career as a professional software engineer. I managed to learn all of the languages. C and C++ were hard for me but not now. Dijkstra is full of hot air on this issue. Stick with it and you'll be allright.
BowCatShot
 
Posts: 72
Joined: May 10th, 2014, 2:29 pm

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby polaris96 » May 13th, 2014, 11:22 pm

I learned BASIC and sh at the same time, but i was a snot nose n could only sneak onto the terminal if mom let me play with the Engineers at work. we had a commodore 64 in the den, so I wrote much more BASIC then sh. I don't think it slows people down, at all.

With regard to VB... c'mon! we all KNOW VB is really pascal (explicit declarations, implicit numbering, linking if you want it... I don't think the OP was thinking about VB)

I think the big leap (which I haven't made btw) is which methodology do you $DREAM in. is it structured programming or OOP? I can do OOP, but I daydream in structured. Maybe because I learnt BASIC?
for as long as the world remains. for as long as time remains. so, too, will I remain. To serve. To help. And to make my contribution. Also please visit old friends at forums.debian.net
polaris96
 
Posts: 161
Joined: July 29th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby thatsbetterinit » September 27th, 2014, 8:41 am

programming in basic does not affect the population uniformly, but it can leave the user with an allergy to difficult programming languages (many of which are difficult without necessity.)

many who program in basic go on to use stricter or more powerful languages without issue, and those who become allergic to difficulty can still likely learn asm or c++ if they follow a protocol to become slowly desensitized to tedium. the main "problem" with basic traditionally is that it gives you more or less what you want, and people who are used to getting what they want aren't always the most logical or reasonable people (because they don't have to be.)

then again, neither was dijkstra. but in fairness to him and to basic, a lot of the issues he took with the language have been ironed out prior to the release of windows 95. not only is he wrong, it's now mostly irrelevant if he was right. he did have some really great ideas on the side, but his take on basic never impressed me at all.
User avatar
thatsbetterinit
 
Posts: 50
Joined: September 27th, 2014, 3:13 am

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby Sephiroth » September 29th, 2014, 1:33 pm

I believe a lot of new coders just want the easy way out. Tis is very apparent with stuff like LUA and VB being used for larger projects, which is crazy. I started on Atari Basic on an Atari 400 with a tape drive. I then mvoed to QuickBasic in DOS on a 286, to C on a Pentium 200MHz Gateway, and eventually C++. I had no issues going from Basic to C. I took to C++ like a kid takes to candy. The problem isn't Basic, it is that people fight to find the easiest way out, and structured is generally easy whereas OOP is more difficult for most people.

Heck, I have been told many times that C and C++ are "too difficult" for new programmers. BS! Kids today just do not want to try. VB makes things so simple they stop at VB. They don't want to learn Pascal, C/C++, Delphi, Bash, Python, or anything else. It is that simple. They have a comfort-zone and they stay inside of it.

On a side note, I also dabbled in Pascal, PowerBasic, and a few others. I currently also do Bash, PHP5, HTML4/5, and a few others. Comes with the job!
Owyn: "This next one is a high elf sorceress or something, just get in close and stab her a few times, that'll teach her!"
Owyn: "I heard a rumor that you're an idiot. Is that true?"
Cicero: "Stab you, stab you, stab you!"
Psycho: "You sat in my swing, now I'm going to eat you!"
Psycho: "I think he's gonna' play xylophone with my spinal cord!"
Sephiroth
 
Posts: 387
Joined: February 22nd, 2011, 3:09 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby allthatisthecase » September 29th, 2014, 3:12 pm

They also grow up in a world where the efficiency of a programme is not achieved by lean code, but by customers buying a new PC that can run the needlessly complex stuff.
Just recently someone on the other forums asked about a script that could basically be run with a bit of bash and a cron job. But no, he wanted Java code because he knows Java. :lol:
allthatisthecase
 
Posts: 279
Joined: May 13th, 2014, 5:39 pm

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby Sephiroth » September 29th, 2014, 9:51 pm

Good point! I remember having to do all kinds of things to optimize code back in the day for DOS and Win9x apps. Now you just throw a few gigs of RAM at sloppy code and be happy. Forgive me, but I still subscribe to code that I have wasted weeks of my life on insuring that it is the best damn code out there!
Owyn: "This next one is a high elf sorceress or something, just get in close and stab her a few times, that'll teach her!"
Owyn: "I heard a rumor that you're an idiot. Is that true?"
Cicero: "Stab you, stab you, stab you!"
Psycho: "You sat in my swing, now I'm going to eat you!"
Psycho: "I think he's gonna' play xylophone with my spinal cord!"
Sephiroth
 
Posts: 387
Joined: February 22nd, 2011, 3:09 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby garryr » February 3rd, 2015, 3:40 am

I would just say it is in reverse, those people that call their selves "programmers", and know nothing about basic, qbasic, etc. Some , now ,these days, well one kid was telling me what a "programmer", "hacker" he was, and I asked him if he knew anything about DOS, ...his face went blank, and he said"uhh, what is that ?",...now that is "handicapped".
User avatar
garryr
 
Posts: 7
Joined: February 3rd, 2015, 2:27 am
Location: mexico

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby tomazzi » June 16th, 2015, 11:11 pm

It all depends on *what* You have actually written in basic. If You were dealing with structures / bitfields (aka bitbuckets) - then no, You're not handicapped - You're ready to go on with any other language, but: if by "programming in Basic" You mean printing some messages or changing some object's properties in VBA, then indeed You're "handicapped".

Basic can be powerfull, but it needs some deeper understanding on what actually is going on in the program - very much like f.e. an advanced Bash script.

Regards.
tomazzi
 
Posts: 18
Joined: August 7th, 2013, 6:57 am

Re: Are those of us who started programming on Basic handica

Postby fig1 » September 16th, 2015, 2:19 am

personally i think the real handicap is that most people dont learn to code anymore. the great (and terrible) thing about basic was that anyone could learn it. many did stop there, but with other languages they stopped even earlier.

even a "basic" understanding of code (in either sense of the word) would be better than what most users have today.

basic instilled a can-do, d-i-y spirit you see a lot of today with python and python is even taught in grade schools... but in school it doesnt have the ubiquity that basic did. well, it almost does.

personally, id like everyone to try to finish what kemeny started and make writing code accessible to everyone. automation: like in scratch, is an okay start. but it doesnt give the feel that youre writing code. writing code isnt everything either, but its a bigger part of it than is let on by simple automation.

in my opinion we need easier code, too. something more "basic" than ever, but with structure. python has no goto, at least. i know a lot of people think thats why basic is bad, but in python its moot. goto does lend itself to "paint youself into a corner" lack of structure, but (other than that) its harmless. easy-to-code functions, plus loops, can suffice.
User avatar
fig1
 
Posts: 41
Joined: September 14th, 2015, 4:27 am


Return to Programming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron

x