Learning BASIC

A while back, Peter sent me a link to a great article titled "Why Johnny Can't Code" - it's main focus was on how our younger generations might be losing out by not learning how to properly program using text-based languages such as BASIC, FORTRAN, Pascal, C, and others...

Well, I got an email from Cari recently and it includes a link for those of you who might be interested in a BASIC programming solution. It's not free, but the feedback and support for the product look good. You can check it out here.

I for one remember typing in my very first BASIC program on an Apple II - it bounced a ball randomly off the edges of the screen, similar to PONG but with no user control. Still, I was hooked and I have to admit that learning programming using line numbers (at first) helped me to figure out how to organize future programming projects...

I'd love to hear from some professional programmers out there... maybe some encouraging words to our younger readers who are interested in learning more programming...


Anonymous said…
Here is a better solution. It teaches assembly with an 8051 emulator, C and C++. It is $19 plus shipping and handling.

While C and C++ may be harder than Basic, it is a more universal programing language that can be applied to other operating systems and environments easier than basic.


Anonymous said…
You're right when you say that C and C++ are harder than BASIC. In fact they're a LOT harder. So if C and C++ are a better solution, this is true only if you are willing to put up with memory bugs, pointer bugs, and system instability. C based languages are a fine thing of course, but don't push them as appropriate for beginners.
Andrew Davidson said…
I would never recommend anyone learning C as their first programming language. The wonderful thing about Mindstorms is that it gives an introduction to the field with a visual language, rather than textual. There is a whole body of research, begun by Seymour Papert, to support this and which led to the work at the Media Lab that has produced the NXT system.

The first language one learns, whether it is a natural language like English or a formal one like C, really affects the way you think about languages. I do not believe that C is a good conceptual model for learning programming, while it is a very practical one for the advanced software engineer.

C would be fine for advanced students wanting to pursue a serious study of computer science or professional programming, but not for kids!

Anonymous said…
This is a little off topic but can the NXT be programmed with Java? If not will it be available soon?
Check this out:


Anonymous said…
Great, Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Lejos sounds great, and it kinda got me wondering if anyone knew of an equivalent for c++?
Anonymous said…
I am a professional Engineer / Research Scientist. I would certainly recommend C as the first programming language. I started out by learning C and have never looked back. Contarary to popular opinion C is a lot more logical and structured language than say Basic.
Anonymous said…
I've tried c/c++ before, and for most programming, I would never recommend them. Most notably due to the fact that the code starts to look like garbage instead of text in anything but a small console app.
Anonymous said…
If your looking for something more structured then BASIC< but less formal then C, look no further then BCX.

BCX is a BASIC-to-C translator. I've been using it for almost a year, and wrote many programs with it; a few of which where around 15k lines; try compiling that in a BASIC environment, and watch as the minutes tick by.

BCX afforded me both power, flexibility, AND SIMPLICITY.

I would strongly recommend starting with Basic, then moving on to BCX within the 1st 3 months of practice, you wil NEVER regret it.

Afterall, it takes a keen eye, and a sharp mind to work with C. c programmers are somethfing special of coarse. C has actually been around twenty omething years or longer? its about passed it's time, and anyone that knows anything about the programming bussiness will agree that their are other, newer, almost as powerful languages to be learned, with a lot less difficulty then C.

Again, anyone that knows anything about programming will agree that C
is starting to fade with the compition.

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