[FoRK] Why Johnny Can't Code

Dave Long < dave.long at bluewin.ch > on > Thu Sep 14 03:44:17 PDT 2006

> I can't talk about this stuff for long - it makes me too sad and too
> angry.

... hence Kragen's $10 computer project, I believe.  (and certainly  
part of the reasoning behind my turtle-graphics data: URI, even if the  
latter was inspired more by the functional than the imperative)

But as for the original rant -- wtf, is Brin high?

A/ if you want to program in BASIC (as a little surfing demonstrates,  
sufficiently naive programmers can write BASIC in any language) there's  
always javascript, only a web browser away.

data:text/html;charset=utf-8; 
base64,PGh0bWw+PGhlYWQ+PHNjcmlwdD4KZnVuY3Rpb24gYmFzaWMoKSAgICAgICAgeyAKI 
CAgIHZhciBuYW1lID0gZG9jdW1lbnQuZ2V0RWxlbWVudEJ5SWQoImkiKS52YWx1ZQogICAgd 
mFyIGFyZWEgPSBkb2N1bWVudC5nZXRFbGVtZW50QnlJZCgibyIpOyBhcmVhLmlubmVySFRNT 
D0iIgogICAgaWYoIW5hbWUpIHJldHVybgogICAgZm9yKHZhciBpID0gMTAwOyBpOyAtLWkpI 
CAgIHsgYXJlYS5pbm5lckhUTUwgKz0gIkhlbGxvLCAiICsgbmFtZSArICI8YnI+IiB9Cn0KP 
C9zY3JpcHQ+PC9oZWFkPjxib2R5Pgo8Zm9ybSBvbnN1Ym1pdD0iYmFzaWMoKTtyZXR1cm4gZ 
mFsc2UiPgpXaGF0IGlzIHlvdXIgbmFtZT8gPGlucHV0IGlkPSJpIi8+CjwvZm9ybT4KPGRpd 
iBpZD0ibyIvPgo8L2JvZHk+PC9odG1sPgo%3D

(okay, maybe he has a point... there's a lot of 'plate in that, and I'm  
not at all confident it'll run for anyone else.  But anyone who cared  
enough could easily write an old-school basic interpreter in a browser,  
such as:

http://navahogunleg.net/blog/?page_id=56
http://www.eder.us/projects/jbasic/

I haven't tried either of these, but the first looks like he includes a  
turtle graphics package ... interpreted in the interpreted BASIC)

B/ dude, isn't 14 a bit old for BASIC?  Admit it: retrocomputers are  
like model trains; we old guys buy them for ourselves, not for our  
children.  (apple ][ emulator only yields, oh, a few million hits)

C/ is "line by line" programming really so hot?  If you had been born  
in another age would you have wanted your son to learn "card by card"  
programming, instead?

"Java Applet Analytical Engine Emulator"
http://www.fourmilab.ch/babbage/applet.html
(hmmm... this isn't live?  for other downloads cf. http://edsac.net/)

People already had some pretty modern ideas for how to put programs  
together, four decades ago -- it just took a lot of waiting around  
(while software grad students played wumpus, zork, nethack, and quake,  
no doubt) until the hardware guys made ISWIMming languages practical.

Landin, "The Next 700 Programming Languages", 1965
http://www.cs.utah.edu/~wilson/compilers/old/papers/p157-landin.pdf

Now all that remains to be done is to come up with some pomo ideas?

-Dave

"Billg wrote it I use it exclusively that settles it"?


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