The past few weeks, I have been going through some stressful times. Applying for college, building an app, and even working on a magazine. LOL. (Has nothing to do with programming). And I started to reach a point, where I just wasn't enjoying coding anymore. That was until an email for me came out of nowhere. It ended up leading to the question, where the person asked, "So why do you code?". And I actually had to think about it. So I decided, I need to check myself.
What I needed was a coding hiatus. Do something new, but familiar. Learn a language that offered some challenge, but not to be taken too seriously. My tutor one day mentioned that he used to be a computer scientist. When I asked what languages he knew, he told me, "Punchcards". (LOL). He went on to say he also knew "Lisp, Fortran, and BASIC".
He even offered to teach me BASIC. I was almost offended. "BASIC? I know Python!" But I realized, that this was exactly what I had been looking for.
Syntactically, BASIC is, well, basic. "Hello world" is just:
10 print "hello world"
Variables are just defined on-the-fly.
10 a = 1 20 b = 'this is a string'
The first thing that came to mind was Ruby. Which makes sense since this is one of Ruby's influencers as you would say.
Some funny things though. You have a "goto" statement, that you could jump to any line in the program, and start the program over from there. Even though using them are "bad practice". I said "Forget practice! I'm just gonna have fun". Because of this though you have a choice to write in the line numbers. You can write them in by intervals of 1, 5, or 10. You can even not write them in at all.
10 input x if x = hi then print "bye" end else print "you have to say hi" goto 10 \\ it skips to ten then asks for your input again end if
As you can see basic is about as easy as it gets. The hardest part was finding documentation. I actually ended up using freeBASIC, which has about the best docs out there for the language. I also found myself reading programming magazines on the Internet Archive from 1990 or so.
But it really took my mind off the stress, I went back to the thing that endeared my to programming, writing simple scripts to have fun. Which is what we are all here for, to enjoy life.
I also started a gofundme, to help offset some of the supplies I need for college. You can find it here. Thanks guys.