[LINK] REAL Basic language for Win, Mac and Linux
stil at stilgherrian.com
Fri Jun 17 12:39:27 EST 2005
On 17/6/05 11:39 AM, "Rick Welykochy" <rick at praxis.com.au> wrote:
> Exactly. Anyone worth their programming salt knows that BASIC in any
> form would be incapable of providing the following crucial applications,
> as just an example.
> 1. A word processor a la Oopen office or MS Word
> 2. bind as in the DNS program used by the entire internet
> 3. an enterprise-ready web server, a la Apache
> 4. A compiler for C/C++ or interpreter for perl/python
> 5. A mathlab or other simulation package
> These are but a few examples of what "real programming" is all
> about. [snip]
But these examples are hardly the sort of thing which average students are
likely to end up doing, surely? Indeed, how many programmers end up working
on "critical applications"?
Something like BIND, there's a need for maybe half a dozen different
programs to do that sort of thing to serve the entire planet. But in every
small business in the country there's a need for simple programs -- usually
with a graphical interface -- to help those business do their job.
Typical examples from my own clients:
* Something to help a shopping centre manage their leasing,
calculate rents based on a percentage of turnover, and send
rent bills and reminder notices which include that extra
electrical work they had dome last month.
* Something for a catering company to help its clients see how
different set-ups of a function room affect the cost of their
* Something to help a warehouse with stock control, notifying
its customers about back orders, and allowing its staff to
answer "Where's my package?"
* Something to help a PR firm keep track of its time billing.
* Something to help a cabinetmaker produce quotes for building
custom racks in wine cellar, when he's using a range of
pre-defined modules. Think Ikea kitchens on steroids.
For many of these little business applications, we're not looking at
hardcore network coding or writing compilers, but the relatively simple
integration of high-level modules to achieve a specific business function.
Something more akin to "scripting" than "coding".
Now I'm not even going to enter into the argument of "What language is
better for teaching". We did this last year (someone else can dig out the
link) and it seemed to me that all people were saying was "The language I
learnt to program in is the best" or were generally putting forward
religious arguments rather than practical ones.
It's good to see today's debate move beyond that -- people pointing out that
teachers are busy, for instance.
What I did want to point out was the crying need in small business for more
knowledge of how to get those computers to Do More Useful Stuff. And the
skills needed there are nothing like writing a DNS server in C++!
So, folks, how do we get kids to understand what they need for THAT sort of
Personal disclosure: Basic, old-school Computing Science major, Z-80
assembler, Motorola 68000 assembler, Pascal, Fortran, COBOL, Algol, CDC6600
assembler, VAX assembler, Snobol, Lisp, Smalltalk, AppleScript, bash, Perl,
Stilgherrian <stil at stilgherrian.com>
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