Monday, May 15, 2006

Short term plans for the web BASIC

Scott and I had a sitdown design time last Friday and also managed to get started on some code for the web BASIC he is working on. The idea here is that you will be able to visit a site with a tabbed interface. The first few tabs will each have a code pane with an example program, and a Run button. Click on the button, and the program will run underneath on the same page. This should be a good way to get a feel for what kind of programming is possible. An additional tab will have an empty code pane so that you can try writing your own.

We will support the INPUT statement, so you can create interactive programs. The standard style of BASIC will be supported in this way. We will also include the ability to draw graphics and embed them into the output so you can draw graphs or game boards, etc. Fast animation won't really be possible using an http style of interaction, but if you want to create games that draw images (Star Trek, or Mastermind, or Sudoku) it should be fine.

Programs will be cached on the server for a few hours (or a day perhaps) so if you create a program on the site that you really like, you can share it with a friend by pushing a button to send an email with a URL that will take him straight to the program in his web browser. I think that's pretty cool because there's no need to install any software. It should work in any popular web browser including most phone browsers.

Scott already has some of this working. This should be fun. :-)