So today (30th April, 2014) marks the 50th anniversary of the BASIC programming language! Hurrah!
The very first BASIC program:
10 LET X = (7 + 8) / 3 20 PRINT X 30 END
To help celebrate this, I’ve made a new release of my RTB – Return To BASIC interpreter for the Raspberry Pi. RTB started life about 2.5 years ago – even before the Raspberry Pi hardware was on-sale. I wasn’t initially thinking about the Pi, just Linux in-general, but since the release of the Pi, it has gained a small and growing userbase. Get your copy of RTB for the Raspberry Pi here.
Which I think is fantastic for a 50 year old language!
For the past year (ish) I’ve actually been devoting my BASIC time to a forked version called FUZE. This is to run on the FUZE hardware platform, but I’ve just taken the steps to get RTB caught up with the FUZE version and am releasing it today in an easy to use way to install and run on your Raspberry Pi.
So say happy birthday to a 50 year old language and go and write that BASIC program you’ve always wanted to write… You know the one:
10 PRINT "BASIC IS AWESOME!" 20 GOTO 10
Of-course, in modern RTB, that would really be:
cycle print "BASIC is Awesome!" repeat
Why oh why ?!?
The easy answer is because I think it looks nice.
The long answer is partly to do with wanting just one looping construct that works for all loops – so all loops start with cycle and end with repeat. You can use a FOR modifier at the start, or WHILE or UNTIL at the top or bottom of the loop (or nothing), but the loop is the same construct regardless of the looping mechanism.
It comes from a language called Imp77 which I used many many years ago (before C, even)
Yes, I know it’s not 100% true to BASIC, but when I demonstrated it on the raspberrypi forums I was asked to put FOR..NEXT back in, so I did, then no-one, not one single person bothered to actually test it and give me feedback so I took it out.