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BASIC Programming Appreciation Thread

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Can we get some love for Warren Robinett's BASIC Programming on the VCS? It's understandably, although unfairly in my view, WAY under appreciated and misunderstood. Anybody out there have positive views of this cart they would like to share? Sample programs you created? Care to share what you learned, if anything from this classic? 

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Here's a great collection of programs, I was particularly impressed by the musical algorithm that creates a tune.

 

Many people have derided BASIC Programming but Robinett did an incredible job creating an educational implementation of Tiny BASIC that could teach real programming concepts and efficiency (which is missed Today) from extremely small BASIC programs.

 

Robinett also created a modular IDE with a visual trace on the program code, a visionary and influential design: 

 

 

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It was an outstanding achievement given the limitations he had to work with. I had a lot more fun with basic programming on my Timex Sinclair 1000 around when this was available, though. 🙂

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11 hours ago, Karl G said:

It was an outstanding achievement given the limitations he had to work with. I had a lot more fun with basic programming on my Timex Sinclair 1000 around when this was available, though. 🙂

That was a great computer to learn BASIC Programming on! I learned Tiny BASIC on a 4K TRS-80, but I borrowed one of those briefly when it came out to learn about it - the 2K of RAM was roomy enough to write small games and usable programs with the BASIC programming language, thanks to very efficient memory management.

 

The smaller the Tiny BASIC the more efficient the memory model becomes and Atari BASIC Programming is the most memory efficient -

 

The 1K model of the Timex Sinclair ZX-81 had about 10x the free RAM of Atari BASIC Programming weighing in with about 690 bytes free to BASIC, but Robinett had maximized the efficiency model so the 63 bytes free on the BASIC Programming cart stretched even further, effectively I think it felt like having 230 bytes free to BASIC. The small program examples in the video would probably be about that size if you saved them with BASIC Programming on the Sinclair or TRS-80.

 

 

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I learned BASIC programming on the Commodore 8-bit computers, notably the C16 and C64.  I discovered this cartridge a few months ago and was completely bewildered -- the memory limitations, inability to save programs, the data entry; I had so many questions!

 

So I recently bought the cartridge and built myself a pair of keyboard controllers just to play with it!  Looking forward to exploring this software!

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16 minutes ago, Steve Guidi said:

Looking forward to exploring this software!

Me too! I have a copy coming in the mail.

Unfortunately I have only one Video Touch Pad.

So until I get some proper keyboard controllers or at least another Touch Pad, I'm out of luck!

 

(I guess I could... no... can you imagine playing with just one controller, and constantly switching ports!!!)

Edited by Torr

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We could only wish for a computer as complex-looking as what's depicted on the label. And it was amazing they found it somehow worthwhile to still have published it in 1986.

 

I got this early on when heavy sixers were still being made and found it to be more inspirational than practical, naturally. It made us kids want more. That in and of itself was noteworthy. And it was fun making my parents worry I was going to blow something up or cause some kind catastrophe somehow.

 

I did learn BASIC extensively on the Apple II with Applesoft.

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On 9/18/2020 at 7:20 AM, Steve Guidi said:

I learned BASIC programming on the Commodore 8-bit computers, notably the C16 and C64.  I discovered this cartridge a few months ago and was completely bewildered -- the memory limitations, inability to save programs, the data entry; I had so many questions!

 

So I recently bought the cartridge and built myself a pair of keyboard controllers just to play with it!  Looking forward to exploring this software!

I really enjoyed putting the following video together, exploring what could be done with BASIC Programming.  I spent a whole day tinkering with the cartridge and was impressed with what was produced.  Yes, there are several limitations -- and they are frustrating if you have a background in computer programming, but somewhat manageable.

 

The keyboard controllers are cumbersome, but you get accustomed to it within hours.  It helps that there is some logical organization of the symbols on the overlays.  It is also unfortunate on how precious of a resource memory is with this interpreter.  Just tracking variables costs memory -- you pay for every character rendered to the screen, visible or not!

 

Lots of fun -- but only knowing full-well what you're getting yourself into when you try to write a "lengthy" program from the manual :)

 

 

 

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On 1/1/2021 at 4:16 PM, Steve Guidi said:

I really enjoyed putting the following video together, exploring what could be done with BASIC Programming.  I spent a whole day tinkering with the cartridge and was impressed with what was produced.

Here is part 2 (of 2) of this series, where I explore the graphics, music, and keypad input features.  I also cover some memory optimization techniques that are needed while enhancing the clock program from the "BASIC Programming" manual.

 

 

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On 1/16/2021 at 8:31 AM, Steve Guidi said:

Here is part 2 (of 2) of this series, where I explore the graphics, music, and keypad input features.  I also cover some memory optimization techniques that are needed while enhancing the clock program from the "BASIC Programming" manual.

 

 

The big flaw with the manual's clock program is that it clears the screen first.  If you re-write it so that the clear command comes just before updating the text, it doesn't clicker so much.

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On 1/17/2021 at 2:07 PM, Reaperducer said:

 

The big flaw with the manual's clock program is that it clears the screen first.  If you re-write it so that the clear command comes just before updating the text, it doesn't clicker so much.

That's a great observation.  The structure of the program effectively has the screen cleared for a longer amount of time than when the text/time is on the screen.

 

clear-compute-print-repeat v.s. compute-clear-print-repeat

 

 

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