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whm1974
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:32 am

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Yeah I was thinking at some point I would have to learn C++ and maybe Java, and chances are two to three scripting languages. However I am thinking that if I learn C first and well this will make picking up other languages much easier since I already done the hard work first.

As long as that's not going to end up being discouraging, preventing you from getting any further.

Nothing worth doing is easy.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:14 pm

Depends on your definition of "worth doing", I suppose. But yes, in general I agree.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:17 pm

just brew it! wrote:
IME Microsoft's IDE (Visual Studio in all its flavors) was always a pretty solid product. Been out of that world for a number of years now though; I deal pretty much exclusively with the Linux ecosystem these days.

Visual Studio 2017 on Windows is really great compared to (for example) Netbeans, Genero Studio, and Visual Studio Mac (formerly known as Xamarin Studio). VS on Windows is also the one I've had the most experience with, both learning and real-world, and I just love the debug and performance monitoring tools.

It's sad how far MS has to go to bring VS parity on the Mac platform. There's not even a resource editor. All the resx files you need are just plain XML, and then XML/XAML auto-complete stuff is really buggy. Sometimes I type a " and just wind up with a space or on the next line. It knows only that I typed a " before and that it completed it, and it expects that the next time I type a " is to get through the one that was autocompleted, even if I moved my cursor. The Mac might be a hardware dongle for iOS development, but you're better off writing Xamarin apps on a PC and then just building the project on the Mac.

I liked Eclipse when I first started screwing around with Java, but Netbeans was the college's Java IDE of choice. I'm used to the latter but I still don't like it.

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Yeah I was thinking at some point I would have to learn C++ and maybe Java, and chances are two to three scripting languages. However I am thinking that if I learn C first and well this will make picking up other languages much easier since I already done the hard work first.

As long as that's not going to end up being discouraging, preventing you from getting any further.

I'm certainly no expert, but I find that if there's no practical application for what I'm learning, I don't learn and I get discouraged easily. If there's no practical use for whm to learn C before moving on to other C-like languages (and along with that, if he's got some practical application for those other languages), then just dive in.

There's a lot of talking about wanting to learn different things in this thread (and throughout others he's started), but it's so scattershot. Just jump in and DO. You can talk about learning all day but until you do it, it's just daydreaming.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:33 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
I'm certainly no expert, but I find that if there's no practical application for what I'm learning, I don't learn and I get discouraged easily. If there's no practical use for whm to learn C before moving on to other C-like languages (and along with that, if he's got some practical application for those other languages), then just dive in.

While I did suggest starting with Python, I figure since he's so into trying out different Linux distros maybe trying to fix or modify existing Linux packages might be something he'd be interested in getting into. If so, C/C++ is going to be pretty essential.

My fractal program wasn't particularly practical/useful, but it is something that has interested me since I was in my 20s so that kept me going. In fact, I may play around with it a little this evening; I've been meaning to do a variation where instead of zooming the Mandelbrot set, it morphs Julia sets based on shifting coordinates within the Mandelbrot set. (The Mandelbrot set is essentially a "dictionary" of all possible Julia sets, and Julia sets corresponding to nearby points in the Mandelbrot set are similar.)

derFunkenstein wrote:
There's a lot of talking about wanting to learn different things in this thread (and throughout others he's started), but it's so scattershot. Just jump in and DO. You can talk about learning all day but until you do it, it's just daydreaming.

Yeah, @whm1974 -- just pick something and do it already! (Sounds like you may be doing that with learning C.)
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:40 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Or, for a real mind bender, check out the setjmp() and longjmp() functions. A sufficiently clever (or sick, depending on how you look at it) developer can use these calls to implement cooperative multi-threading in a single-threaded environment (e.g. embedded device).
We had one of those sufficiently sick developers.

$dayjob involves dealing with code that uses this to implement cooperative multi-threading on a single thread of execution that can migrate between multiple posix threads. The real fun starts when you need a new thread of execution: malloc() a chunk of memory, declare it as the stack, build a jump buffer by hand and longjmp() without ever having called setjmp(). To add to the fun, on some processor architectures you need to setup the stack memory as if you are in a function and return (i.e. pop off the stack) to where you want to go rather than go directly.

Not sure my salary covers the necessary booze bills :)
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:29 pm

just brew it! wrote:
My fractal program wasn't particularly practical/useful, but it is something that has interested me since I was in my 20s so that kept me going. In fact, I may play around with it a little this evening; I've been meaning to do a variation where instead of zooming the Mandelbrot set, it morphs Julia sets based on shifting coordinates within the Mandelbrot set. (The Mandelbrot set is essentially a "dictionary" of all possible Julia sets, and Julia sets corresponding to nearby points in the Mandelbrot set are similar.)

What I was getting at is that you should do stuff you'll apply to something. Anything. The Mandelbrot stuff is cool and you applied the fractal programming to it. Maybe he's going to apply C/C++.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:47 pm

In my very limited experience, straight C is used primarily when interfacing directly with hardware. Something like an 8 -bit microprocessor.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:33 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
In my very limited experience, straight C is used primarily when interfacing directly with hardware. Something like an 8 -bit microprocessor.


Yeah- I've not seen it taught, and anything we (or our subcontractors) use is written in C++ if not Java or another presentation language like C#, but none of that is directly interfacing with hardware.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:17 am

just brew it! wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
I'm certainly no expert, but I find that if there's no practical application for what I'm learning, I don't learn and I get discouraged easily. If there's no practical use for whm to learn C before moving on to other C-like languages (and along with that, if he's got some practical application for those other languages), then just dive in.

While I did suggest starting with Python, I figure since he's so into trying out different Linux distros maybe trying to fix or modify existing Linux packages might be something he'd be interested in getting into. If so, C/C++ is going to be pretty essential.

My fractal program wasn't particularly practical/useful, but it is something that has interested me since I was in my 20s so that kept me going. In fact, I may play around with it a little this evening; I've been meaning to do a variation where instead of zooming the Mandelbrot set, it morphs Julia sets based on shifting coordinates within the Mandelbrot set. (The Mandelbrot set is essentially a "dictionary" of all possible Julia sets, and Julia sets corresponding to nearby points in the Mandelbrot set are similar.)

derFunkenstein wrote:
There's a lot of talking about wanting to learn different things in this thread (and throughout others he's started), but it's so scattershot. Just jump in and DO. You can talk about learning all day but until you do it, it's just daydreaming.

Yeah, @whm1974 -- just pick something and do it already! (Sounds like you may be doing that with learning C.)

Well I'm pretty much been sticking with Manjaro Linux for a couple of years now and currently have no plans on distro hopping anytime soon.

I'm probably going to have buy some books at some point, so far most of the "free" stuff I found is geared toward Windows programming using the compilers and IDEs for Windows. What I'm looking for is Linux/UNIX C programming using GCC as the compiler.

So is O'Rellys still the go to source for books and manuals on learning UNIX-like OSes and software? I brought a few of them back when I started using Linux in the early 2000's?
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:33 am

whm1974 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Yeah I was thinking at some point I would have to learn C++ and maybe Java, and chances are two to three scripting languages. However I am thinking that if I learn C first and well this will make picking up other languages much easier since I already done the hard work first.

As long as that's not going to end up being discouraging, preventing you from getting any further.

Nothing worth doing is easy.


Method > madness. Straight C is going to be a pretty horrible way to learn about the fundamentals of programming such as data structures, algorithms and structured programming. You'll spend too much time being frustrated by pointers and memory allocation rather than learning about, say, how to sort things or draw things. The APIs are also pretty horrid if you want to do something rewarding like playing with graphics. Python and Java are much better choices in this regard. I'd suggest Java because it's going to ease transition to C-like languages. Curly braces FTW.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:42 am

Thanks again guys for the advice and help all of you been providing me. It is starting to look that this is going to be a slow process learning C, but I plan on setting aside two hours a day learning everyday. one hour for reading and doing the excises, and then another hour later on doing it over again.

Yes I will be putting in considerable effort and hard work in learning C or bust, but as I said earlier "nothing worth doing is easy". And besides, I'm really sick and tired of sitting on my ass all day waiting for old age to slowly creep up on me.

I should have been tested and treated for Major Depression back in when I started high school. If I was I might have done a great deal more with my life.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:29 am

whm1974 wrote:
Well I'm pretty much been sticking with Manjaro Linux for a couple of years now and currently have no plans on distro hopping anytime soon.

There's still ample opportunity to put those skills to use to customize your own computing environment, and maybe even contribute bug fixes back to one or more FOSS projects.

whm1974 wrote:
I'm probably going to have buy some books at some point, so far most of the "free" stuff I found is geared toward Windows programming using the compilers and IDEs for Windows. What I'm looking for is Linux/UNIX C programming using GCC as the compiler.

Other than the syntax of specific command line options (which you can find in the man pages) and a few oddball gcc-specific language extensions, using gcc should be no different than using any other C compiler. The language is well standardized.

"Linux/UNIX programming" is a very broad topic. There are entire books that cover just how to use the network stack, for example. I'm sure there are books that cover it in a more general (and necessarily shallower) sense, but I'm not personally familiar with which ones are good... perhaps someone else can recommend.

whm1974 wrote:
So is O'Rellys still the go to source for books and manuals on learning UNIX-like OSes and software? I brought a few of them back when I started using Linux in the early 2000's?

They seem to be shifting focus lately from books to training videos and courses. AFAICT they are still a great source of technical books, but that no longer seems to be their primary focus. The book section of the site isn't front-and-center any more, and you need to click through to Amazon to actually buy the books.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:12 pm

Yeah, O'Reilly are still good, but it's not really at the core of what they do anymore. Their headquarters is not too far from here; I know a few people who used to work there while that transition was taking place. One guy ended up being the only person left in his department before he was able to jump ship and get another job. No bueno.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:11 pm

Redocbew wrote:
Yeah, O'Reilly are still good, but it's not really at the core of what they do anymore. Their headquarters is not too far from here; I know a few people who used to work there while that transition was taking place. One guy ended up being the only person left in his department before he was able to jump ship and get another job. No bueno.


What other companies have picked up the slack and are now the go to source for technical books and manuals? While some types of manuals are very useful to have hard-copies of, E-Books are also welcomed as well since I have and use a Kindle.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:09 pm

Well I'm having real fun learning C programming this time around and I'm not finding this hard to do at all. My main issue is avoiding and noticing typing mistakes.

I don't if this really matters, but I'm using Gedit with the C syntax highlighting turned on. Now I have no idea what the colors mean, but it does enhances readability and is aiding me with spotting typos.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:16 pm

Yeah that's mostly what it's there to do. I'm not sure if gedit allows for this, but often there's a way to change the specific colors used for the syntax highlighting. Some applications have surprisingly awful defaults when it comes to that.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:17 pm

Definitely, a good IDE will do that for you. That's quite unlike my Turbo Pascal class in high school, where you couldn't find errors until you ran the program, and then you'd only find the first error. fix it and try again. :lol:
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:30 pm

Well the most hardest part was simply getting started and not giving up after running into a few snags. GCC is easier to use then I expected as well. I'm also getting better at using the CLI on top of all this.

And just to think, I was at first going to get started with Forth or even FreeBASIC...
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:02 am

I just found this site that provides example of C code from simple programs to more advanced ones:
http://www.sanfoundry.com/simple-c-programs/

I also found this beginners C ebook, which I downloaded the PDF so I can put it on my Kindle.
https://www.thecrazyprogrammer.com/2015 ... nners.html

Now I may not have to worry about this now since I'm in the learning stage, but once I start developing and writing my own programs I would like to document the code properly and keep the code portable across platforms so other people who find my stuff useful are able to compile and run it on their preferred platforms including Windows and MacOS.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:57 am

whm1974 wrote:
Now I may not have to worry about this now since I'm in the learning stage, but once I start developing and writing my own programs I would like to document the code properly

For starters, each module should begin with a block comment describing its purpose, and any tricky details/gotchas which would be relevant to someone trying to use the functions therein.

Individual functions should have a similar block comment which describes what the function does, describes the arguments and return value, and any side effects.

Anything in the code itself which may not be obvious to someone else (or to yourself several years hence) should have a brief inline comment explaining what's going on.

Members of data structures should all have a brief description (comment) as well, if their purpose isn't intuitively obvious from the member name/type.

In more formal (e.g. commercial development) contexts, a tool like Doxygen is sometimes used. By putting special tags (markup) in the comments, the tool can extract design documentation from the code, and that documentation can then easily be published (e.g. on a web site). That would be a distraction at this early stage, but you may want to look at it down the road.

whm1974 wrote:
and keep the code portable across platforms so other people who find my stuff useful are able to compile and run it on their preferred platforms including Windows and MacOS.

Portability between Windows and *NIX platforms can be a PITA in C unless you're using 3rd party libaries to hide the differences in OS system calls. That's one of the advantages of languages like Python which present a higher level of abstraction -- the language hides many of the OS details from you. For small applications it's reasonable to write your own simple wrapper functions, with code inside those wrappers conditionally compiled via #ifdef directives for different platforms; this is also a good way to teach yourself about the differences in APIs between OSes.

At a lower level, don't assume that the generic integer data types (short, int, long, long long) have the same size across different platforms, and don't count on pointers having the same size as any particular integral type either. IIRC the only guarantees you have are that short is at least as large as char, int is at least as large as short, etc.

Also don't count on the bytes in integral types being stored in memory in the same order (endianness) across platforms. While this will be "mostly harmless" if you stick to x86, it will trip you up if you ever try to run the code on a non-x86 architecture that uses big-endian byte ordering like IBM POWER. Don't rely on any particular memory layout for members of a data structure either; e.g. if you have a struct which contains a char followed by an int, don't assume that the int starts at the 2nd byte of the struct (compilers will typically align scalar members to a multiple of the member's size, so on a platform with 4-byte ints the int in the above example would start at the 4th byte, with 3 bytes of unused padding).

GUIs are particularly problematic from a portability standpoint, unless you're using a cross-platform GUI toolkit like GTK+ or Qt. Learning those toolkits is a major undertaking in its own right; I generally don't write end-user facing code these days, and haven't had enough motivation to learn them myself beyond the bare basics (just enough to patch the occasional bug in a Linux application that is pissing me off).

Edit: Why are we discussing this here, instead of in your C thread?
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:14 am

OK I'll be posting more in the C thread then as that would make this easier for others to find.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:21 am

Might make sense to rename the other thread ("Learning to program in C" or something similar).
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:34 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Might make sense to rename the other thread ("Learning to program in C" or something similar).

Now I'm asking why I wanted to even learn Forth to begin with? While it still may be in use, it is far easier find beginner tutorials and help with learning C then it is with Forth. :roll:
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:44 pm

whm1974 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Might make sense to rename the other thread ("Learning to program in C" or something similar).

Now I'm asking why I wanted to even learn Forth to begin with? While it still may be in use, it is far easier find beginner tutorials and help with learning C then it is with Forth. :roll:

This should not come as a surprise, given that popularity of the language peaked before the public internet existed. People tend to write books and tutorials for languages that developers actually want to learn and use.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:09 pm

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Might make sense to rename the other thread ("Learning to program in C" or something similar).

Now I'm asking why I wanted to even learn Forth to begin with? While it still may be in use, it is far easier find beginner tutorials and help with learning C then it is with Forth. :roll:

This should not come as a surprise, given that popularity of the language peaked before the public internet existed. People tend to write books and tutorials for languages that developers actually want to learn and use.

What about BASIC? It seems to be dead almost. A few years I was looking at FreeBASIC and in fact the first time I compiled a source file it was written in FreeBASIC, but other then finding a few very short tutorials I had a hard time getting started. Although it seems a few high schools are using it for intro to programming classes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBASIC
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:14 pm

whm1974 wrote:
What about BASIC? It seems to be dead almost. A few years I was looking at FreeBASIC and in fact the first time I compiled a source file it was written in FreeBASIC, but other then finding a few very short tutorials I had a hard time getting started. Although it seems a few high schools are using it for intro to programming classes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBASIC

Yeah, what about it? You just said yourself that it is almost dead. Probably less dead than Forth though...
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:40 pm

whm1974 wrote:
Now I may not have to worry about this now since I'm in the learning stage, but once I start developing and writing my own programs I would like to document the code properly and keep the code portable across platforms so other people who find my stuff useful are able to compile and run it on their preferred platforms including Windows and MacOS.


When you are learning don't bother with commenting. Be as one with C. C should be as natural as your spoken language. Visualise what's happening to variables as you're reading through a function and what is returned.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:06 pm

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
What about BASIC? It seems to be dead almost. A few years I was looking at FreeBASIC and in fact the first time I compiled a source file it was written in FreeBASIC, but other then finding a few very short tutorials I had a hard time getting started. Although it seems a few high schools are using it for intro to programming classes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBASIC

Yeah, what about it? You just said yourself that it is almost dead. Probably less dead than Forth though...

I was just wondering if it was still being used for for beginner programming classes, even if only for grade school kids.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:11 pm

Pancake wrote:
When you are learning don't bother with commenting. Be as one with C. C should be as natural as your spoken language. Visualise what's happening to variables as you're reading through a function and what is returned.

When I first learned C, I was torn between thinking in Pascal (and then translating), and thinking in 8080 assembly language (and then translating), since those were the two languages I knew best at that time. It took a month or so of daily use before I would say I was reasonably fluent in C. To this day (after decades of use), it's the language I'm most comfortable programming in, though Python and C++ are getting a lot of use lately as well (current day job).

I'll probably need to become fluent in Java soon as well, as that's the other language in widespread use where I currently work. Picked up just enough of it to help my son with his AP CS homework a number of years back, but that knowledge has faded. It's pretty close to C++ in a lot of ways; I've heard it referred to as Sun's idea of what C++ should've been (whereas C# is Microsoft's idea of what C++ should have been). And of course, the most recent C++ dialects (C++11 and C++14) bear little resemblance to the C++ I learned back in the day; the first time I looked at the Boost libraries (which are sort of an incubator for new language features which may get incorporated into the next version of the standard) my head was spinning. Boost still kinda makes my head spin TBH.

whm1974 wrote:
I was just wondering if it was still being used for for beginner programming classes, even if only for grade school kids.

Oh, probably. But other than VB macros in MS Office it's been decades since I've seen or used any form of BASIC in a business context though.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:28 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Pancake wrote:
When you are learning don't bother with commenting. Be as one with C. C should be as natural as your spoken language. Visualise what's happening to variables as you're reading through a function and what is returned.

When I first learned C, I was torn between thinking in Pascal (and then translating), and thinking in 8080 assembly language (and then translating), since those were the two languages I knew best at that time. It took a month or so of daily use before I would say I was reasonably fluent in C. To this day (after decades of use), it's the language I'm most comfortable programming in, though Python and C++ are getting a lot of use lately as well (current day job).

I'll probably need to become fluent in Java soon as well, as that's the other language in widespread use where I currently work. Picked up just enough of it to help my son with his AP CS homework a number of years back, but that knowledge has faded.

whm1974 wrote:
I was just wondering if it was still being used for for beginner programming classes, even if only for grade school kids.

Oh, probably. But other than VB macros in MS Office it's been decades since I've seen or used any form of BASIC in a business context though.


I picked up C in my mid-twenties on pure 32-bit Sun OS which was very nice abstract ideal of a programming model. Although had a solid grounding with various 8-bitters and Turbo Pascal 3.0 (still amazing thing to think of that running on CP/M).

But I haven't actually touched C/C++ in 10 years or so. Mostly Java now. sscanf() seems like cruel and unusual punishment when learning to program!

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