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Basic Turns 50

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David Ashton
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Long Live BASIC
David Ashton   5/1/2014 6:33:13 AM
I've used Basic since I was about 16 - about 40 years.  Loved  the observation in the main article:

With "GOTO line-number" being one of the principal ways of flowing logic....The result was dreadful spaghetti code and, for many novices, a completely invalid idea of how programming was done. This aspect was succinctly captured, not without some hyperbole, by Edgar Dijkstra's famous observation:

"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."

I certainly found that when I tried another language - I forget which - later.  And the later incarnations of BASIC have much better structures and I taught myself to avoid GOTOs.  I'm still using it in the PICAXEs, and still loving it, though I do see its limitations for more professional stuff than I do.  And much as I find it easy, I wouldn't recommend it to any new students - yougsters seem to pick up C in the same time it took me to learn BASIC, and that'll be much more use to them.

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Re: I wuz there
AZskibum   5/1/2014 1:20:28 AM
Like many people, BASIC was my first programming language. As cool as it was in the early 80s, I can't really say I miss it much!

rick merritt
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I wuz there
rick merritt   4/30/2014 9:26:59 PM
I did some programming in Basic back in the day when Cobol, Fortran and Pascal were the big languages in college. And yes, I used punch cards, too.

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