Camen Design Forum

Why isn't JavaScript like BASIC?


* What's your experience of BASIC, on what computers?

TI-83 BASIC was my entry into programming. I started with a quadratic equation program that let me do my homework more quickly/accurately than I could have done by hand, and ended a couple of years later with a tic-tac-toe program whose graph-based-drawing techniques were, in retrospect, pretty neat, but whose *airquotes* A.I. */airquotes* was a buggy gordian knot of GOTO statements that eventually made me throw up my hands and abandon the whole thing.

* What things prevent a child from making use of your current programming environment / languages you use?

That they're not seen as readily applicable to any real, current problem in their lives, and aren't available on devices that they already use regularly.

I fell into TI-83 BASIC because the TI was a thing that I was already using when doing my math homework... and learning to program helped me solve a very specific, real problem (quadratic equation homework sets), quickly… only after that quick win did I get curious about how this logical world inside the calculator worked, and what I could do with it. After bitten with that curiosity bug, the portability and always-in-the-backpack-availability of the machine kicked in -- suddenly I was programming every day on the way to school.

Hypothesis: you need to things to begin to learn anything new 1) a real problem to solve & 2) highly-available tools to solve it with.

i.e., how I eventually *really* learned javascript, at my first job: the whole structure of the modern office-job workday revolves around sitting infront of a desktop machine for 8 hours a stretch... the boss needed a new website and I needed something to do; I could fill my time, learn a new skill, make myself useful, and not make any real waves (like I would have if I had, say, decided to build my boss a new desk or something… even though there was a woodshop in the freaking office, one needed a reason to be using it … self-initiating a project on a computer was far less likely to raise any suspicions). Next thing you know I'm reading Flannagan's O'Riley book on weekends and coding up automatic drawing programs for the fun of it.

I should note that a "problem" can take all kinds of forms -- I learned chess as a kid because my friend knew how to play, there was a fancy chess set in the living room of his house, and it was a way to fill the time & compete when I went over to hang out with him after school.


(Leave this as-is, it’s a trap!)

Only the original author or a moderator can append to this post.

Pro tip: Use markup to add links, quotes and more.

Your friendly neighbourhood moderators: Kroc, Impressed, Martijn