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BASIC V guide reprint touted

By Chris Williams. Published: 12th Feb 2005, 23:05:20 | Permalink | Printable

Classic book returns [Updated]

Mock image of BASIC V booksAfter securing the necessary rights, Alligata Media have announced their intention to reprint Mike Williams' book, Basic V: A dabhand guide. The slim tome, originally printed by Dabs Press in 1989, is a friendly guide to programming on RISC OS in the BASIC language.

"If you're looking for a first introduction to BASIC programming, avoiding many of the complexities of the WIMP, you need look no further," says Alligata's Dave Bradforth. Dave wants to charge around 8 quid plus postage per copy, so if you're interested, let him know.

The reprint will be A5 sized, with 100 pages of black and white and a colour cover, and either bound or in a binder depending on demand. Alligata have also republished First steps in programming and First steps in RISC OS 4.

Update at 19:38 16/2/2005
Dave tells us that the book is now ready to order, and is priced 8.50 plus 2.50 postage - which isn't too bad because I remember getting the original book for a tenner sans postage. A PDF copy is also available for a fiver, and of course, no postage is required on that. Email Dave with the number of copies you require and a postal address to receive an invoice. If I recall correctly, the book was an ace introduction to BASIC, before I moved onto desktop programming and later, C.


BASIC V reprint announcement - contact details, etc.

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Is this the book billed as a guide to stepping up from BBC BASIC on the beeb to the Arch? If so, it does just that and is an invaluable companion to the Electron User Guide :)

If this isn't that book then I'm sure it's nice all the same.

-- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 14/2/05 12:58PM
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I can't help feeling it's a bit sad that people are still interested in programming BASIC. The BBC BASIC interpreter is a work of genius, and is the only real option for beginners working on less powerful machines. Anyone else really should be looking at Perl or Python or [insert modern ported language here]. I suppose it just shows how many in the market are running something less than a SA RPC.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 14/2/05 5:05PM
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It's quick (as in to get hold of) and handy when you want to get something drawn on the screen. I often write simple little single-tasking BASIC programs that need to draw something. It'll be time to move on if that's as easy to do in something a bit more up to date.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 14/2/05 5:26PM
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It's also very useful if you're writing simple things that you're sending to someone else - you can be sure that they'll have BASIC available, and that it will work the same way on their machine as on yours. Even a fair number of simple-but-useful desktop utilities (and some not-so-simple ones) are written in BASIC....

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 14/2/05 9:44PM
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I use BASIC as I have not yet got my head around C, but I,m trying, but failing.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 15/2/05 11:06AM
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I agree that BASIC is excellent as a quick and easy way of knocking together a program. But it really is powerful as well: there are very few things you can do with something like C in the desktop that you can't do with BASIC.

Also, I don't think it should be underestimated how useful BASIC on RISC OS can be as a language to learn programming. Just installing (e.g.) the Visual Studio .NET SDK is enough to put a novice off programming. BASIC provides instant access, instant feedback and is sufficiently structured that it needn't teach bad programming practice.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 15/2/05 11:38AM
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Of course you can do the same things in BASIC as you can in C - they're both Turing complete. Languages are just a tool for a job, and BASIC is probably the tool for less powerful hardware, and as mentioned by chrisj, when you just need to send someone a quick script they can run easily.

I would disagree that it's a good way to learn programming. I would also disagree that it's sufficiently structured - going back to write a quick BASIC program feels to me like writing a program using GOTOs instead of procedure calls would to you. It gets you into bad habits.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 15/2/05 1:34PM
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What are you going back to BASIC from? Compared to C there isn't much difference in what structuring you can do (although BASIC gives you far more scope for ignoring it and making a mess if you want). The only obvious bad habit I ever gained from it was using far too many global variables.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 15/2/05 2:16PM
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It's not quite as simply as whether it's Turing complete or not. Just because a language is Turing complete doesn't mean it has access to the libraries/hardware. The point I was really making about BASIC is that it has access to all of the SWIs, which makes it as flexible as any other language in terms of the resources and parts of the OS it can access.

Although you *can* use bad programming practices in BASIC, the same is true for C, C++ or many other languages. In my opinion (and as SimonC says) there's enough structural stuff in BASIC to learn good practice.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 15/2/05 4:29PM
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These days it's mainly Perl, a little C++ and Python, the latter of which I think would make a very good beginners language (even though it's actually very powerful) provided, as you said earlier, it has access to the RISC OS VDU commands. I haven't checked whether there's a library for that yet.


Maybe it's what I'm used to. I find myself wanting to use hash structures and linked lists. Before I started using other languages, I remember inventing all sorts of horrible hacks to try to implement even relatively simple data structures - the sort of thing I knock up in an instant if I need to keep my code more tidy and encapsulated.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 15/2/05 5:46PM
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I'd certainly agree that, when it comes to creating data structures, BASIC can make things harder than many other languages which excel in this respect.

I'm not a big BASIC advocate, I just think its immediacy is great for beginners. From what you say it sounds like I should give Python a go, though.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 15/2/05 6:38PM
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