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What was the first computer with a basic language?


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#1 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 5, 2010 8:52 PM

Someone suggested that this would be a better place to ask this question than the General Chat forum.

I was wondering what the first computer with a basic programming language was. When I say "computer," I mean a home computer that you could buy completely assembled, bring it home, plug it in, and start programming in a basic language. Basic would not necessarily have to be built into the machine, but it would have to be available for purchase. I searched the internet and came up with the TRS-80 in 1977. Since my internet search skills are somewhat suspect though, I thought I would ask the question here since I bet a lot of people here would know.

#2 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 5, 2010 9:46 PM

Since you've specified pre-assembled computers, you've definitely ruled out Altair Basic.

If you consider the PET a home computer (I knew a few people who had them in their homes), then I think it was first.

Otherwise I'd say that the Apple II came first, but the race is definitely close...


1977 January - The Commodore PET is announced.
1977 June - The Apple II goes on sale.
1977 August - The TRS-80 is announced.


#3 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 5, 2010 11:48 PM

From what I can tell on the internet, Apple II was sold in June 1977, Commodore PET was shipped in October 1977, and TRS-80 was shipped in December 1977. I guess that makes Apple II the winner. :cool:

#4 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 6, 2010 1:36 AM

Not to sway too far off of the subject, but the PET was the first computer I ever used. Kindergarten in 1980 :) It was considered at the time to be the utmost in computing POWER. And, I did start programming basic on it around that time as well with some homemade text adventure type games :)

Back to your regular programming..

#5 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 6, 2010 12:27 PM

Not to sway too far off of the subject, but the PET was the first computer I ever used. Kindergarten in 1980 :) It was considered at the time to be the utmost in computing POWER. And, I did start programming basic on it around that time as well with some homemade text adventure type games :)

Back to your regular programming..


Lord only knows how many programers around today got their start doing so on either a Apple, Atari, or a Commodore.... :D

#6 Herbarius OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 12:46 PM

Not to sway too far off of the subject, but the PET was the first computer I ever used. Kindergarten in 1980 :) It was considered at the time to be the utmost in computing POWER. And, I did start programming basic on it around that time as well with some homemade text adventure type games :)

A computer in kindergarten? That would've been like paradise... Or maybe like hell, as propably the big strong and mean kids would have never let me touch it. ;) Or maybe let me do something with it, and then pull the plug when I'm nearly done with some stuff, saying "come on, you weren't even doing anything exciting"...

Anyway, that way you bet I would have been able to read with 4.

But no, at that age, a "computer" to me was something from the fairyland. ;) I.e. something I had heard of, but without ever having seen one. And that was almost 10 years later...

Edited by Herbarius, Wed Jul 7, 2010 12:54 PM.


#7 The_Laird OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 4:00 PM

Lord only knows how many programers around today got their start doing so on either a Apple, Atari, or a Commodore.... :D


Unless you were in the UK and then we have the ZX81 and Spectrum to thank.

If it wasn't for the huble Speccy we never would have had the likes of Core Design, Rare (Ultimate Play The Game) and Shiny (Probe)

#8 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 4:16 PM

My school was way behind the times, the first computer the students got to use was an Atari 800, and the kids had to wait in line for that ONE machine that was there. I was in the fourth grade at the time.

Much before there was an Apple something in the main office (along with the washing machine sized copy machine that you had to have special paper for).

But yeah, I do believe that acousticguitar is correct, the Apple II is the first.

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#9 Herbarius OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 9:36 PM

While we're at it, what is it with Microsoft and BASIC? You propably all have read something about "Microsoft BASIC" at one point or the other.


I know for example that the Applesoft BASIC Interpreter on the Apple II was programmed by Microsoft.
But the Integer BASIC (which were earlier) wasn't, that was programmed by Steve Wozniak.

So, it seems there was BASIC before there was an implementation by Microsoft, or am I mistaken? Did Microsoft "invent" BASIC?


What about the BASICs on the Atari and Commodore 8-bit computers. Were those licensed variants of "Microsoft BASIC"? Or were the BASIC syntax and the core keywords something that was considered Public Domain at the time?

Edited by Herbarius, Wed Jul 7, 2010 9:37 PM.


#10 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 9:54 PM

Atari had MS Basic available, but the "ATARI BASIC" that shipped with machines was developed by OSS.

Unsure if it was licencing issue or otherwise, but the biggest difference in default Atari Basic to everybody elses versions is the way string handline is done.

#11 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 7, 2010 10:47 PM

From what I've read I thought the Atari basic was developed in house.

#12 SeaGtGruff OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 8, 2010 1:47 AM

So, it seems there was BASIC before there was an implementation by Microsoft, or am I mistaken? Did Microsoft "invent" BASIC?

No, BASIC was developed by Kemeny and Kurtz at Dartmouth College. Microsoft didn't "invent" it. :)

Michael

#13 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 8, 2010 3:51 PM

MIT Altair 8800s came pre-assembled too, so yes that is the first computer with Basic, but not built-in, it came on paper roll, delivered to MIT by Paul Allen of the soon to be Micro-Soft.
They (Bill and Paul) wrote Altair Basic, but of course, they learned it via Teletype from the original Basic from way back the 60s.

Microsoft Basic for Atari 800 was supposed to be written by Bill, but he never finished it, so Al Alcorn fired Bill Gates from the project, and MS Atari Basic was finished by someone else of MS.

Edited by high voltage, Thu Jul 8, 2010 3:54 PM.


#14 SeaGtGruff OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 8, 2010 9:34 PM

Al Alcorn fired Bill Gates from the project

Ha! That's funny! :D

I love how famous "computer" people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak had connections with Atari. :)

Michael

#15 deadmeow OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 9, 2010 12:13 PM

Applesoft Basic!!! My favorite programming language! Integer Basic was more limited, but ran faster.

#16 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:12 AM

Applesoft Basic!!! My favorite programming language! Integer Basic was more limited, but ran faster.

I thought I already replied to this but...

Applesoft... quirky editor, no ELSE statement, shape tables, buggy garbage collection (till ProDos?), lots of POKEs... oh what memories.

Beagle Brothers had a utility to add ELSE and some other stuff in place of the little used cassette routines. You could just load the patched Applesoft like you loaded Integer Basic. I wish I had known about it at the time. No ELSE made it difficult to port software to the Apple from my TRS-80 CoCo. Later Apples used that area of the ROM so I'm not sure how compatible it is on them.

I never understood why shape tables didn't make it to other versions of MS BASIC on 6502 machines. The later DRAW, GET, and PUT commands in Extended Color BASIC were more useful, but Applesoft was ahead of many other versions in spite of being earlier. I guess people felt that sprites and user definable fonts in hardware were the future... even though you could do things with shape tables you couldn't with the hardware. That and I suppose Apple had some exclusives in their license.

#17 danwinslow OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:20 PM

What about Sinclair zx-80?

#18 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:15 PM

What about Sinclair zx-80?

What about it? It came out in 1980... not even close to earliest.

#19 LocalH OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:46 AM

Microsoft merely popularized BASIC, with their interpreter being available (if not shipped in ROM or on included removable storage, then as a separate purchase) on most of the popular, pre-built computers. I can only think of three non-MS interpreters off the top of my head - Woz's Integer BASIC, the inbuilt Atari Basic, and ABasic on the 1.0 and 1.1 ROM Amigas. Courtesy of Wikipedia, here are interpreters and compilers that are descended from MS BASIC:

Altair BASIC (MITS Altair and other S-100 computers)
Amiga BASIC (Commodore Amiga family)
Applesoft BASIC (Apple II family)
Atari Microsoft BASIC I and II (Atari 8-bit family)
BASICA ("BASIC Advanced") (PC-DOS, on IBM PC)
Color BASIC (TRS-80 Color Computer)
Commodore BASIC (Commodore 8-bit family, incl C64)
Extended Color BASIC (TRS-80 Color Computer and Dragon 32/64)
IBM Cassette BASIC (Original IBM PC, built into ROM)
Galaksija BASIC (Galaksija home computer)
GW-BASIC (BASICA for MS-DOS, on PC compatibles)
Microsoft Level III BASIC (Tandy/Radio-Shack TRS-80)
MBASIC (CP/M, on 8080/85 and Z80 based computers)
MS BASIC for Macintosh (Mac OS on Apple Macintosh)
MSX BASIC (MSX standard home computers)
N88-BASIC (NEC PC8801/9801)
N82-BASIC (NEC PC8201/8201A)
QBasic (PC-DOS/MS-DOS on IBM PC and compatibles)
QuickBASIC (PC-DOS/MS-DOS on IBM PC and compatibles))
TRS-80 Level II BASIC (Tandy/Radio-Shack TRS-80)
Visual Basic (PC-DOS/MS-DOS/MS Windows on IBM PC and compatibles)
WordBasic (pre-VBA) (MS Windows)
HP2640 HP2647 Programmable Terminal with AGL graphics extensions


If any of these are incorrect, please let me know. I know for a fact that the majority are correct, just unsure on the HP terminal, the NEC machines, and the Galaksija BASIC, as I know next to nothing about those machines.

Edited by LocalH, Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:49 AM.


#20 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:09 AM

There was also Northstar BASIC and CBASIC.

http://www.dvorak.or...ened-to-cbasic/

#21 Osbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:43 AM

How about the SOL Computer from 1975? It came with a tape with BASIC, does that count? :)

#22 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:39 AM

You could buy it fully assembled and it came with a Basic operating system. It looks like it counts to me. We have a new winner!

#23 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:11 PM

How about the SOL Computer from 1975? It came with a tape with BASIC, does that count? :)


Can you point to evidence of that? Everything that I've ever read/known about the SOL-20 was that it didn't actually hit the market in pre-assembled or kit form until 1977. Based on actual release dates (not announced or production dates, but when the systems were actually in the hands of consumers) and the qualifiers of the original poster (pre-assembled), I'd still say the answer would have to be the Apple II. Still, it's safe to say that 1977 was a pretty special year for the first recognizable personal computers regardless of exactly what month a particular system came out in.

Edited by Bill_Loguidice, Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:12 PM.


#24 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:17 PM

Can you point to evidence of that? Everything that I've ever read/known about the SOL-20 was that it didn't actually hit the market in pre-assembled or kit form until 1977.

If this is accurate: http://www.pc-history.org/sol.htm then it does look like the SOL-20 might have been sold complete before 1977.

This quote:

The SOL was the first personal computer to only be sold as a factory-built computer.

and this one:

By 1977, SOL was the dominant personal computer in the industry and was the principal product in my store.


Make it sound like he was selling complete units in 1976..

desiv

#25 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:01 PM

Keep in mind the AIM-65 and other machines may have been available complete with BASIC in '76. I'm not sure when the AIM-65's BASIC became available and if you had to plug in the ROM or if it was available pre-installed.




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