April 29, 2004

BASIC turns 40 this Saturday

From AP News: bq. 10 PRINT "In 1963 two Dartmouth College math professors had a radical" 20 PRINT "idea - create a computer language muscular enough to harness" 30 PRINT "the power of the period's computers, yet simple enough that even" 40 PRINT "the school's janitors could use it." 50 END bq. A year later on May 1, 1964, the BASIC computer programing language (as demonstrated above) was born and for the first time computers were taken out of the lab and brought into the community. bq. Forty years later pure BASIC - Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code - has all but disappeared, but its legacy lives on. bq. "This is the birth of personal computing," said Arthur Luehrmann, a former Dartmouth physics professor who is writing a book about BASIC's development at the university. "It was personal computing before people knew what personal computing was." bq. Paul Vick, a senior developer at Microsoft, said his company owes much to BASIC, the software giant's first product. Microsoft's Windows operating system and Office suite still use a descendent called Visual Basic. This brings back memories... My first contact with computers was programming BASIC and FORTRAN on an IBM/360 timesharing system. Then the microcomputing scene hit and BASIC was generally the first programming language available for any of the new systems. I had a South West Technical Product 6800 system with BASIC interpreter that fit into 8K of system memory. (I had a whopping 32K of memory available to me) Posted by DaveH at April 29, 2004 2:41 PM