basic programming language

Easy & fun, but not too elegant

In 1980, Bryan Station High School had 3 brand-new Commodore PET computers in a “lab”, and I was the geeky kid that couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of those beauties. We wrote code in BASIC language. The machine wasn’t very powerful, nor was the language, yet somehow we wrote a simple version of Space Invaders (ancient video game) that worked.

Yeah, it was slow. Just the accomplishment of seeing a game do ANYTHING on that computer with 32k of memory was thrilling to us. My friends, we will call them Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Rajesh, were all the guys who played D&D and got A’s in the advanced placement math classes. We loved pushing the limits of BASIC.

So when I think of a history lesson in programming languages, there is a soft spot in my heart for BASIC. I bet there are thousands of nerds like me in the 70′s and 80′s that learned BASIC first. That’s why I was surprised when I read the infographic (embedded below) because it mentions Fortran, C, COBOL, LISP, Pascal, as the “old” languages, but is says nothing about BASIC. As an old school programmer, I have written in all of those languages listed in the previous sentence – mostly in college courses. I worked on banking software for a few years, and it was all COBOL…probably still is running that bank. ;-)

Anyway, all of the engineers on our team at LoadStorm are now Java. We are replacing the current version of our load testing tool with a major new release that has a totally redesigned UI coded in Java (using GWT). The current version is built in Ruby on Rails. I’m happy we are mainstream, and it was nice to see the infographic data showing Java as the most popular language and still growing. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I did.