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Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:47 pm
by adric22
I was thinking since it has a composite video output, this would be a great unit for emulating APPLE II and Commodore 64 machines.. But then I got to thinking what would be even better is if somebody designed an environment where it would boot to some kind of BASIC that was native to the Raspberry Pi. A few years back I did some programming in SDL Basic and it was surprisingly powerful and fast. I'd love to have a machine that booted into an IDE for programming BASIC. It would be a lot of fun and it would help kids learn to program.

You know, that is what I feel we lost when computers evolved to 16 bit machines. In the early 1980's you could power on your computer and immediately start programming. Very little training was required. These days you need to spend 2 or 3 weeks just learning how to use the programming environment, and several more weeks on how to use the API's of the operating system you are working with, not to mention the actual programming language itself.

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:05 pm
by Montekuri
Maybe this thread can be of your interest:
Fun with Brandy BASIC

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:14 pm
by RichC
Yes, you could have an SD card option so the Raspberry Pi boots to BASIC or some other language. One that can handle multimedia like audio/photos/videos and interact with web pages would be nice... I'm thinking Java because of its libraries and documentation, but learning OO might be a big ask.

Anyone know a simple language that can handle multimedia and Internet?

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:17 pm
by manderson
I am an older teacher who would really enjoy starting an after-school programming club. Unfortunately, I only know BASIC from my high-school days back in the early 80s. I taught myself BASIC on the Apple and Vic-20. I've tried to figure out Python and Ruby, but to tell you the truth, they are not very appealing to this one-trick-old-dog. I can follow along with a BASIC tutorial with great ease and comfort. Trying to teach anything else would require a lot of effort on my part and frankly is not worth it to me. I found a version called BASIC-256 that has nice features like sprites and a 'say' command that has the computer speak strings, and easy sound controls. looks like I could easily make up many different kinds of arcade games with the students. I hope to be able to put it on the R-pi very quickly after receiving it. Does anyone know what specific steps i will have to go through in order to put something like this on the pi? Or will a manual come with the computer to indicate how to download such languages (whether the person wants python or ruby or basic) ? The language is found at http://www.basic256.org

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:09 pm
by wrhii
Quote from RichC on December 6, 2011, 18:14
Anyone know a simple language that can handle multimedia and Internet?

Like Python?

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:30 pm
by obarthelemy
There are several flavors of basic available, which you can make your raspberry boot directly into, so it feels like a C64. There are even modernized versions of it; ready for GUIs and the interwebz. I'm not giving a specific list, since they haven't been ported to Pi yet, but I'm sure they'll make it there.
Python has upstaged Basic though. You can also boot right into it and run it without compiling, and it has a smörgåsbord of tools, libraries, even environments specifically designed for teaching to kids. Plus it has a cleaner, OO design. Having learned non-OO way back when, I *know* it's better to get into OO right off.

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:11 pm
by Svartalf
Quote from obarthelemy on December 6, 2011, 21:30
Python has upstaged Basic though. You can also boot right into it and run it without compiling, and it has a smörgåsbord of tools, libraries, even environments specifically designed for teaching to kids. Plus it has a cleaner, OO design. Having learned non-OO way back when, I *know* it's better to get into OO right off.

The only problem is when you've done something sophisticated, the error returns can be obscure from it...

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:07 am
by riffraff
Quote from adric22 on December 6, 2011, 17:47
You know, that is what I feel we lost when computers evolved to 16 bit machines. In the early 1980's you could power on your computer and immediately start programming. Very little training was required. These days you need to spend 2 or 3 weeks just learning how to use the programming environment, and several more weeks on how to use the API's of the operating system you are working with, not to mention the actual programming language itself.

Not to mention that the BASIC interpreter was the Disk Operating System. Seems like you were not as isolated from the hardware. You could get away with murder. On Trash 80's we used to stuff ML code into REM lines... as long as you kept the routine short and avoided nulls (null was end of line marker in MS BASIC). You appended the code in hex in DATA lines at the end of your program, ran a subroutine that PEEKed the load address for the program and ran a loop converting the Hex to Ascii and poking it into sequential locations at that address + line num offset + byte counter, then deleted the loader portions and saved the tokenized program. You could work magic that way.

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:42 am
by SeanD
Quote from riffraff on December 7, 2011, 03:07
Not to mention that the BASIC interpreter was the Disk Operating System. Seems like you were not as isolated from the hardware. You could get away with murder. On Trash 80's we used to stuff ML code into REM lines... as long as you kept the routine short and avoided nulls (null was end of line marker in MS BASIC). You appended the code in hex in DATA lines at the end of your program, ran a subroutine that PEEKed the load address for the program and ran a loop converting the Hex to Ascii and poking it into sequential locations at that address + line num offset + byte counter, then deleted the loader portions and saved the tokenized program. You could work magic that way.

You made me come over all nostalgic.

Actually it is a very good point. A benefit of the machines that we grew up with in the '80s was that we were very close to the hardware and if you wanted to do anything or real worth yourself you had to learn machine code, and on the Z80 based machines that was usually machine code and not even assembler. It is like building blocks, you learn what a simple instruction set does, you then better understand the workings of simple languages which eventually helps you become a better C++, Java, C#, Ruby or whatever programmer. I really worry that so many of the people coming into the industry today may have only seen assembler in an academic situation, not hacking away at it in their bedroom trying to make something cram into 4k.

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:07 am
by boley
... Does anyone know what specific steps i will have to go through in order to put something like this on the pi? Or will a manual come with the computer to indicate how to download such languages (whether the person wants python or ruby or basic) ? The language is found at http://www.basic256.org

I suspect your best bet is to contact the basic256 project and ask them to help you find someone to port it. BTW. The basic256.org folks have goals that dovetail nicely with the RPi project. I loved the article they use to explain why they exist: "Why Johnny Can't Code" .http://www.salon.com/2006/09/14/basic_2/

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:52 am
by macemoneta
basic256, sdlbasic and bwbasic are already available in the Debian ARM distribution.

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:17 am
by lobster
Linux has a console
You can now bring home the bacon
http://www.basic-converter.org/

We have moved on from steam powered BASIC
Our kids need more informed teachers. Time for us to go back to school?

Re: Some kind of BASIC?

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:13 am
by Luny
Quote from boley on December 7, 2011, 06:07
I suspect your best bet is to contact the basic256 project and ask them to help you find someone to port it. BTW. The basic256.org folks have goals that dovetail nicely with the RPi project. I loved the article they use to explain why they exist: "Why Johnny Can't Code" .http://www.salon.com/2006/09/14/basic_2/

I enjoyed that read, I dived straight into it without realising who wrote it until it got to the bit about his first book Sundiver :)