Saturday, March 01, 2008

Think programming is too hard, or boring? Think again!

A couple of days ago I was at a Starbucks. I sat down around a large table to enjoy my coffee and a pastry. There were several other people there. I pulled out my iPhone to check my email. There was a fellow across from me with one of the new Macbook Air laptops, and a few minutes later a young man also sat down and pulled out a black Macbook. This concentration of Apple equipment made it easy for us to begin talking.

When it came to what sort of work we do, I shared about my business selling programming tools. I moved over to the fellow with the black Macbook and told him I wanted to show him my website so he could understand my business. When I showed him the Learn tab on the Run BASIC site and began to walk him through the examples the other people at the table came over to watch. As we went from simple "hello world!" to some easy graphics examples the reaction from onlookers was amazement! They clearly were not aware that programming could be so simple and cool. To them this was something way above them, and very dry.

What I took away from this is that people don't know that programming can be fun. They can do it, and years ago the average computer user did his own programming, in BASIC. Nowadays what gets promoted as programming is too hard, and it's no surprise that people don't want to do that. This is a misapplication of technology that makes things harder, and not easier.

We need to turn back the clock in this important area of programming.


Noble said...

I could not agree more. BASIC was and is an excellent language to write just about any application one could dream up. When I got started in computers, in the early 80's, BASIC was my first. ;)

Kudos on the impromptu product demonstration.

Tom said...

Wait, I'm a professional programmer. You can't let everybody know that it is supposed to be easy. Next thing you know, you will be showing them our secret handshake. Yikes!

Carl Gundel said...

That's just it Tom. I want to show them the secret handshake. It didn't used to be secret, after all. ;-)

pixels1970 said...

well I for one am glad basic exists, after all the only reason to use a language like C or Pascal Ect was so one could gain the speed for apps like games and such.

but as computers evolved to powerhouses at fairly low cost this is not really an issue anymore as most basics these days are compiled anyways.

and no it does not matter if the compilation takes on the form of JIT or VMR or EXE in fact most langs I have seen emerging now rely on existing frame work but still add needless complexity to simple tasks and all have to have some form distributed files to work as well as runtime of some sort like Java and Dotnet programs to name a couple but there are others too.

Liberty Basic for instance is a great form of the languge and does take some getting used to but once you get the hang of it your good to go for anything from making an Address book to A video game with scrolling backgrounds.

in short Liberty Basics limits are the ones the user puts on it themselves.

Rick Ellis AKA Pixels1970

James said...

It depends on how you look at it...
In the past programming was much much simpler than today, to write a full front & back website you may need to know at least 7 different languages and three technologies!

+ Programming is never easy, a hello world app simply is not "real"! xD

Carl Gundel said...

James, not so! You can create your own web applications in BASIC using just one software application. It's called Run BASIC. Check it out at