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Sep 24th, 2017, 01:28am


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michael
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xx Origins of BBC Basic
« Thread started on: Aug 4th, 2017, 1:55pm »

I did some research and found that Sophie Wilson had a great deal to do with the creation of the ARM technology and I gather had designed the language? Is the BBC Basic we know directly from the same creation progression? (like improving a design?)

Here is a Documentary on Sophie Wilson:

https://youtu.be/jhwwrSaHdh8





« Last Edit: Aug 4th, 2017, 2:01pm by michael » User IP Logged

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Richard Russell
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xx Re: Origins of BBC Basic
« Reply #1 on: Aug 4th, 2017, 2:20pm »

on Aug 4th, 2017, 1:55pm, michael wrote:
Is the BBC Basic we know directly from the same creation progression? (like improving a design?)

The BBC BASIC 'family tree' is quite complicated! The initial split between the 'Wilson' branch (at the time represented by the 6502 version) and the 'Russell' branch (represented initially by the Z80 version) goes right back to 1982. These two branches developed substantially independently through the 1980s and 90s with Sophie's 32016 and ARM versions and my 8086 (MS-DOS) version.

But when it came to developing the Windows version in 2000 there was a considerable re-convergence, because I retro-fitted many of the enhancements that Sophie had made to the ARM version into the Windows version. So the versions that we have today (including BBCSDL) owe a lot to both branches.

Richard.
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michael
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xx Re: Origins of BBC Basic
« Reply #2 on: Aug 5th, 2017, 12:33am »

Hopefully Sophie visits this forum. I gave her a link.
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Richard Russell
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xx Re: Origins of BBC Basic
« Reply #3 on: Aug 5th, 2017, 09:14am »

on Aug 5th, 2017, 12:33am, michael wrote:
Hopefully Sophie visits this forum. I gave her a link.

When I last spoke to Sophie (at the Beeb@30 reunion about five years ago) the impression I got was that she has no current interest in BBC BASIC. I suspect, like many of the ex-Acorn people (and others!), she thinks it has little relevance today.

Richard.
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PatrickM
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xx Re: Origins of BBC Basic
« Reply #4 on: Sep 21st, 2017, 2:38pm »

That's very sad. I think BBC Basic is still relevant. I had wanted to learn programming for years (perhaps some decades) but had never managed it until two years ago.

I think that BBC Basic made it possible for me to learn how to program. I started experimenting with BBC Basic two years ago, in RISC OS and on Linux with the Brandy interpreter. For some reason I found it much easier to get into than any other language I had tried.

Now today I'm starting to write programs in C, but I still do most of my programming in BBC Basic just because it's easy and convenient. I don't think I would have managed any of this if not for BBC Basic.

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xx Re: Origins of BBC Basic
« Reply #5 on: Sep 21st, 2017, 3:14pm »

on Sep 21st, 2017, 2:38pm, PatrickM wrote:
That's very sad. I think BBC Basic is still relevant.

BBC BASIC is still taught in some schools (mostly in the UK but at least one that I know of in New Zealand) so clearly it is thought to be relevant by some educationalists, but I suspect a diminishing rather than increasing number.

I have sought to keep BBC BASIC relevant by enhancing it so that it has the features expected of a 'modern' language, but that offends some purists who think the language should be frozen at its state around 1986. Only fairly recently a thread appeared at the Raspberry Pi forum claiming that the only 'true' BBC BASIC is Sophie's version of that vintage.

This seems strange to me because ever since its inception as 'BASIC 1' in 1981 BBC BASIC has evolved and gained new capabilities, so why it should be thought that 'BBC BASIC V' represents the pinnacle of that evolution I don't know. A cynic might suggest that it's because Sophie herself ceased actively developing it not long afterwards.

Of course in recent times I have switched from developing the language itself, something which I abandoned a decade or so ago, to broadening the range of platforms on which it can run. Unfortunately that has failed to attract the interest that I hoped it would, probably because it has come too late.

From a personal perspective, I am finding that as my brain function deteriorates I am no longer able to program in languages like C or assembler, but I can still program in BBC BASIC. That must say something about its usefulness even today.

Richard.
« Last Edit: Sep 21st, 2017, 3:15pm by Richard Russell » User IP Logged

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