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locked Splash Screen Poll #poll

maurice
 

In the 1980's I was introduced to GW Basic ,courtesy of Alan Sugar and his student's notepad. It became a valuable tool in pursuit of my hobby of Amateur Radio. Formulas that were in constant use were quickly coded and saved. The notepad stayed off while practical work proceeded and starting from switching it on any value could be formulated in seconds. I voiced the opinion on Facebook that this simple device and its use of the BASIC language was, and still is superior and faster (from "off") in every way to modern devices and spreadsheets.  I am delighted to be acquainted with the language once again and am making good use of it. Many young people think that coding is out of their league, they are wrong.

Chris Shipman
 

I would certainly not support the view that programming is now only relevant to 'a technically minded few'. In a world where the Arduino platform has transformed hobby electronics beyond recognition, it's clear that there is a huge potential user base, provided that there is a clear incentive / purpose in programming.

As for whether there is a place for BASIC, the popularity of MS Office VBA seems to suggest that there's life in the old language yet. BBC BASIC remains extraordinarily versatile and powerful. It can't be impossible to gain widespread interest in BBC SDL, though I'm not saying that it's easy.

I think that the 'killer app' concept is the right one, with the additional thought that the key might be a real world application  (in the sense of 'purpose') rather than just a striking piece of software.

I for one would hate to see such an excellent development of such a fine language to fade away due to lack of interest. 

Chris Shipman. 

Richard Russell
 

On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 03:59 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
none of the small number of children I know have any interest in computing
You mean 'programming' I assume: the 'smartphone generation' can hardly survive without "computing"!  Not everybody is going to be interested in programming, any more than they are going to retain a specific interest in any other subject they are taught at school.  But some will, and Python is probably the language they will have learned; there really isn't that much difference between Python and (modern) BBC BASIC.

Ceefax, Mode 7 demos etc might excite us oldies but mean nothing to the younger generation.
I don't disagree, but demo programs need to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. It would not, in my opinion, be sensible to target one specific demographic (e.g. the "younger generation") in the selection of demo programs.  And to respond to an earlier comment I do actually choose to read the news via the CEEFAX program because I find it easier to digest without all the distracting adverts and images.

David Williams FOD is exactly what we need but sadly is a bit big to bundle
His Dropperz game is bundled with BBC BASIC and there may be others small enough to include if he will grant permission.

It was to be honest a bit of a pain to install FOD on the TV
I can't speak for your TV but it's pretty straightforward to get it onto a phone or tablet.  First, download the ZIP file (e.g. FODSDL.zip) onto your PC and extract the contents into their own folder (that is usually the default extract action).  Now connect the PC to your Android device using a USB lead - generally the supplied charging lead is suitable.  Finally, move the FODSDL folder into BBC BASIC's @usr$ directory using cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop in Windows File Explorer.  Disconnect the USB lead and the job's done!

If you want to do it 'wirelessly', without needing a PC, you can do the same thing on the Android device itself with the help of an app like ES File Explorer to extract the ZIP.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

Richard 
Sorry to appear so negative. I am pleased it is still taught in schools - how would I know but none of the small number of children I know have any interest in computing - and I am not surprised at all that there are still niche markets for professional software.  I am excited about the future of BBC Basic on the Android platform and RPI  (I'm not a Apple or Linux user) Thats why I spend time on my tablet, amazon Fire and now my Android TV. Being able to play from the comfort of my armchair appeals!  I am however trying to promote a debate on how we can make it appeal to the younger person. Ceefax, Mode 7 demos etc might excite us oldies but mean nothing to the younger generation. David Williams FOD is exactly what we need but sadly is a bit big to bundle. Therefore we could do with a  more efficient way to download programs to the device and have them appear in the programs list. It was to be honest a bit of a pain to install FOD on the TV.  Having done so yes it was a bit sluggish but still playable and a brilliant demo of the capabilities nonetheless. 

John Alfred
 

Dead serious I'm afraid.

The other replies have gone off-topic. Would you like me to create a new one? (I don't know how)

Cheers !

John



From: Richard Russell <news@...>
To: bb4w@groups.io
Sent: Monday, 5 February 2018, 1:04
Subject: Re: [bb4w] Splash Screen Poll

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 03:31 pm, John Alfred wrote:
could a BASIC Interpreter be developed to run on smart phones and tablets?
You're joking, right?  Especially considering that you're replying to a thread about creating a splash screen for the Android edition of BBC BASIC.....

Richard.


Richard Russell
 

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 03:31 pm, John Alfred wrote:
could a BASIC Interpreter be developed to run on smart phones and tablets?
You're joking, right?  Especially considering that you're replying to a thread about creating a splash screen for the Android edition of BBC BASIC.....

Richard.

Richard Russell
 

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 02:49 pm, wilsr747 wrote:
Paul: I do agree. I'm not saying I like it, but we have to face facts.
What "facts"?  Neither you nor Paul has produced any facts, just opinions (to which you are entitled, but that's all they are).  On the other hand I have produced facts: that BBC BASIC is taught in schools today, that BBC BASIC has been compared favourably with Python for teaching programming, that commercial applications are still being developed in BBC BASIC.  Why don't you face those facts and accept that BBC BASIC does indeed have a relevance today?  Not a huge one - nobody is suggesting that - but one which justifies its continued development and promotion, and is a cause for some optimism.

BBC BASIC for Windows is a tour de force but sadly I don't see the user base increasing much.
I don't suppose it will, indeed not surprisingly it is falling, but BBC BASIC for Windows is not the product that is currently under development!   That is BBCSDL, which supports new platforms and new capabilities (notably being integrated with a high-performance 2D games engine) and opens up new possibilities.  It has been demonstrated that it is capable of creating apps (e.g. for Android) that can compete with those made using more 'modern' techniques.  Would you deny people that opportunity?

Richard.

John Alfred
 

BASIC's demise has been predicted for decades, and it's still around. It's a very easy language to learn how to use, and I used it for running IC test programs internally in Analog Devices back in the 1980's, on a HP-85.

I'm out of touch now, but could a BASIC Interpreter be developed to run on smart phones and tablets?

John




From: wilsr747 <wilsr@...>
To: bb4w@groups.io
Sent: Sunday, 4 February 2018, 22:50
Subject: Re: [bb4w] Splash Screen Poll

On 04-Feb-18 23:22, Paul Marshall wrote:
> I fear the time has passed. Never again will children experience the joy of
> going into Currys and typing  10 PRINT "Hello"  20 GOTO 10  on whatever
> machine was on display!   Programming has come so far it will only ever be of
> interest  to a very  limited number of highly technically minded individuals
> who pursue it as a career and even then Basic will not be one of those
> languages. As a hobby in itself where is it? I dont know how you can make it
> appeal to young people in the way it did to us. What was it that captured our
> imaginations?
> The nostalgia element IS a big part of BBC Basic. I've just had fun running
> the Ceefax demo on my state-of-the-art TV. It works brilliantly but will I now
> use it instead of the red button? No. I love those demos of the Z80 music
> program. For me now age 70 it was at the time amazing (still is) but what
> would a young person think of it now?   Does anyone care about Mode 7 any
> longer?  I'm not knocking the included demos but we do need something more up
> to date to inspire the new user.
> We know BBC Basic is capable of so much more. I recall at work we created
> programs to perform various functions. Then professional programmers were
> called in to build the proper Mark II version. They looked on in stunned
> silence as we demonstrated our 'amateur' software. They never did make it work
> as well as ours.  But those days are gone. I have been racking my brains
> trying to think of something to write for my phone but its all been done
> already or else it's too hard.  We just need that killer app!
> _._,_._,_
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paul: I do agree. I'm not saying I like it, but we have to face facts.

BBC BASIC is an extraordinary programming language for those of us who
self-taught in the eighties to whatever level we wished (in my case fairly basic
:-[ ) but, as you say, programming has become so complex that for most of us who
do it occasionally as a hobby in general it's only for professional programmers.
The Me generation(s) are not interested in exploring, only consuming: curiosity
seems to have disappeared nowadays, and it was that sense of "finding out" that
made programming as an amateur so interesting then.

Richard's BBC BASIC for Windows is a tour de force but sadly I don't see the
user base increasing much.

Rog W







wilsr747
 

On 04-Feb-18 23:22, Paul Marshall wrote:
I fear the time has passed. Never again will children experience the joy of going into Currys and typing  10 PRINT "Hello"  20 GOTO 10  on whatever machine was on display!   Programming has come so far it will only ever be of interest  to a very  limited number of highly technically minded individuals who pursue it as a career and even then Basic will not be one of those languages. As a hobby in itself where is it? I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it did to us. What was it that captured our imaginations?
The nostalgia element IS a big part of BBC Basic. I've just had fun running the Ceefax demo on my state-of-the-art TV. It works brilliantly but will I now use it instead of the red button? No. I love those demos of the Z80 music program. For me now age 70 it was at the time amazing (still is) but what would a young person think of it now?   Does anyone care about Mode 7 any longer?  I'm not knocking the included demos but we do need something more up to date to inspire the new user.
We know BBC Basic is capable of so much more. I recall at work we created programs to perform various functions. Then professional programmers were called in to build the proper Mark II version. They looked on in stunned silence as we demonstrated our 'amateur' software. They never did make it work as well as ours.  But those days are gone. I have been racking my brains trying to think of something to write for my phone but its all been done already or else it's too hard.  We just need that killer app!
_._,_._,_
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paul: I do agree. I'm not saying I like it, but we have to face facts.

BBC BASIC is an extraordinary programming language for those of us who self-taught in the eighties to whatever level we wished (in my case fairly basic :-[ ) but, as you say, programming has become so complex that for most of us who do it occasionally as a hobby in general it's only for professional programmers. The Me generation(s) are not interested in exploring, only consuming: curiosity seems to have disappeared nowadays, and it was that sense of "finding out" that made programming as an amateur so interesting then.

Richard's BBC BASIC for Windows is a tour de force but sadly I don't see the user base increasing much.

Rog W

 

On Sun, 4 Feb 2018, at 12:22, Paul Marshall wrote:

I fear the time has passed. Never again will children experience the joy
of going into Currys and typing  10 PRINT "Hello"  20 GOTO 10  on
whatever machine was on display!   Programming has come so far it will
only ever be of interest  to a very  limited number of highly
technically minded individuals who pursue it as a career and even then
Basic will not be one of those languages. As a hobby in itself where is
it? I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it
did to us. What was it that captured our imaginations? 
One of my hobbies as a child was to build, & operate remote-controlled
models. I couldn't afford new ones so mine tended to be mechanically
clapped-out. Sometimes as an adult I look back on those days and
wonder if I want to try again now that I can actually afford it. And I
decide not; I get the thrill of creating something that does precisely what
I want from programming. Being able to design a program, then tweak it
to make subtle changes to its behaviour is, for me, far more exciting. (And
cheaper & safer than finding that that 'good idea' made a plane unstable in
flight.)

I was slightly too old to have any form of microcomputer as a toy;
instead I met a Commodore Pet, Apple ][ and BBC micros when in
a student holiday job (the Pet was an engineers' toy at a fertiliser
works), the other two part of a teacher training college's teaching
equipment - and I wrote code for all three.

There ARE useful programs that the interested can learn from - pretty
much anything written in an interpreted BASIC, or eg perl or Python
(provided not obfuscated) should be amenable to being taken apart
and fiddled with. Perhaps part of the problem is that few people
expect that a useful application might actually be in a form where
they can do that? Eg (albeit as a retired professional programmer) I
learned quite a lot about perl by developing patches for the get_iplayer
program.

Javascript too... but understanding what's happening on a typical
modern website is very hard - code tends to be compressed and un-
commented, and website creators use sets of libraries that don't
necessarily co-operate well together... and if that's combined with
a server generating pages dynamically I find debugging other people's
site errors ... difficult.

--
Jeremy Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

Richard Russell
 

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 04:25 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
But those days are gone.
Are they?  At last year's International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam and at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exhibition in Las Vegas, Shotoku demonstrated their Free-d² camera tracking system for use in television studios.  That same system was installed in a BBC studio in Northern Ireland only a couple of years ago.  Do you know what it's programmed in?  Yes, BBC BASIC for Windows!

We just need that killer app!
Would you not agree that David Williams' game 'Forces of Darkness' comes close to qualifying?  Not only did it win First Prize in a recent games programming competition, against all-comers, but I was able to make a version for BBCSDL consisting of 100% BBC BASIC code, having a comparable performance to the original.  In how many languages (old or new) could you write a game like that which would run without modification on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android and Raspberry Pi?

Shoot-em-up video games and professional broadcasting facilities may not be your 'thing', and there's unlikely to be one 'killer app' that convinces everybody, but these two very different examples demonstrate the power and continued relevance of BBC BASIC today.  I know only too well how easy - and sometimes appealing - it can be to complain about how things used to be so much better in our youth and how we must abandon all hope.  But there is plenty of good news about BBC BASIC and you could choose to be more positive about it.

Richard.

Paul F Tolson
 

Glad to hear it is still alive and well in schools - horses for courses :)

Paul

On 04/02/2018 12:57, Richard Russell wrote:
On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 04:25 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it did to us
You choose to ignore the fact that BBC BASIC is still, to this very day, taught in a number of schools and until quite recently was actually recommended by the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) examining board as a suitable language for teaching programming for their Computing GCSE.  I have in front of me their coursework book from as recently as 2016 and on page 211 it states "The code samples included in the chapter have been written in BBC BASIC".  It's not only UK schools that teach BBC BASIC either, within the last year or so I sold a site licence to a school in New Zealand!

It's true that Python is currently more popular in schools, but those teachers who remain enthusiastic about BBC BASIC point to BB4W's ability to create compact standalone executables as something that sets it apart - and Python's dependence on whitespace to indicate program structure upsets a lot of educationalists.  This comment was posted to the Computing At School community site only recently: "The best mini course I ever taught and the one we went back to after Greenfoot was BBC BASIC...  The tutorial was excellent: all the boxes were ticked, from matching a specification at GCSE when students go there, to moving from pseudo-code to code, to covering all the basics in an easy way.  I’m all for progress but sometimes, I think we forget we have already invented the best way of doing something, or invented the best language for teaching beginners!"

So whilst nostalgia is not necessarily a bad thing, you do BBC BASIC a disservice by implying that its "days are gone" when there is clear evidence that it is not the case.  One thing's for sure, by being so pessimistic you have a big impact on my own motivation so it could easily become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Richard.

Richard Russell
 

On Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 04:25 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it did to us
You choose to ignore the fact that BBC BASIC is still, to this very day, taught in a number of schools and until quite recently was actually recommended by the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) examining board as a suitable language for teaching programming for their Computing GCSE.  I have in front of me their coursework book from as recently as 2016 and on page 211 it states "The code samples included in the chapter have been written in BBC BASIC".  It's not only UK schools that teach BBC BASIC either, within the last year or so I sold a site licence to a school in New Zealand!

It's true that Python is currently more popular in schools, but those teachers who remain enthusiastic about BBC BASIC point to BB4W's ability to create compact standalone executables as something that sets it apart - and Python's dependence on whitespace to indicate program structure upsets a lot of educationalists.  This comment was posted to the Computing At School community site only recently: "The best mini course I ever taught and the one we went back to after Greenfoot was BBC BASIC...  The tutorial was excellent: all the boxes were ticked, from matching a specification at GCSE when students go there, to moving from pseudo-code to code, to covering all the basics in an easy way.  I’m all for progress but sometimes, I think we forget we have already invented the best way of doing something, or invented the best language for teaching beginners!"

So whilst nostalgia is not necessarily a bad thing, you do BBC BASIC a disservice by implying that its "days are gone" when there is clear evidence that it is not the case.  One thing's for sure, by being so pessimistic you have a big impact on my own motivation so it could easily become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 04:57 am, Richard Russell wrote:
If BBC BASIC has any future it's not by appealing to 50+ year olds nostalgic about a home computer that they fondly remember from their youth.
I fear the time has passed. Never again will children experience the joy of going into Currys and typing  10 PRINT "Hello"  20 GOTO 10  on whatever machine was on display!   Programming has come so far it will only ever be of interest  to a very  limited number of highly technically minded individuals who pursue it as a career and even then Basic will not be one of those languages. As a hobby in itself where is it? I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it did to us. What was it that captured our imaginations? 
The nostalgia element IS a big part of BBC Basic. I've just had fun running the Ceefax demo on my state-of-the-art TV. It works brilliantly but will I now use it instead of the red button? No. I love those demos of the Z80 music program. For me now age 70 it was at the time amazing (still is) but what would a young person think of it now?   Does anyone care about Mode 7 any longer?  I'm not knocking the included demos but we do need something more up to date to inspire the new user.
We know BBC Basic is capable of so much more. I recall at work we created programs to perform various functions. Then professional programmers were called in to build the proper Mark II version. They looked on in stunned silence as we demonstrated our 'amateur' software. They never did make it work as well as ours.  But those days are gone. I have been racking my brains trying to think of something to write for my phone but its all been done already or else it's too hard.  We just need that killer app!

Storer, Darren
 

​...as it happens, back in the 1980s, I specifically purchased a long persistence green screen VDU for use with my BBC Micro​ :-)

(Later I discovered *TV255 and I turned the interlace off in display modes 0 to 6)

Regards

Darren

On 3 February 2018 at 12:57, Richard Russell <news@...> wrote:
On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 04:34 am, Paul Marshall wrote:

my first use of BBC Basic was on a green screen
On a BBC Micro?  That must have been quite untypical because most people either connected it to a TV at home or to an RGB monitor at school.  I primarily associate green screens with mainframe terminals or early PCs.

I am happy to change it to a white page of coloured syntax for a more modern look.
It's too late to change anything, I'm afraid.  Apart from not wanting to assume that a modified version would attract as much support (and I'm not going to re-run the poll!) I've now got it on all my Android devices for testing.  It's not growing on me, I'm sorry to say, but I bow to the majority opinion.

I think the heritage is a selling point
Do you really think so?  In 2018?  Running on Android?  Honestly I wouldn't expect the majority of people who might be attracted to such a product even to have heard of the BBC Micro.  If BBC BASIC has any future it's not by appealing to 50+ year olds nostalgic about a home computer that they fondly remember from their youth.

Richard.


Paul Marshall
 

I am pleased the majority picked my design but disappointed it was not what Richard wanted. I have done a more modern looking variation in which the black slate is replaced by a 'tablet' showing a white background with coloured syntax of the latest IDE,
I hope no one will object if Richard wants to use this design instead. 

David GM6BIG
 

Hi Richard, Paul

I recall when I worked for the BBC the BBC micro we had supplied was green screen.
A mod I think to bring out the video meant for the modulator, directly to a cheap green mono monitor.
I guess my departmentv was not worthy of colour !
(It didnt last long an a colour CUB (?) monitor was "aquired").

Im sure the heritage will catch the eye of many when browsing through the store.
It is indeed far more capable than many of the other BASIC's.

Cheers, DAvid

On 03/02/2018 12:57, Richard Russell wrote:
On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 04:34 am, Paul Marshall wrote:

my first use of BBC Basic was on a green screen

On a BBC Micro?  That must have been quite untypical because most people either connected it to a TV at home or to an RGB monitor at school.  I primarily associate green screens with mainframe terminals or early PCs.

I am happy to change it to a white page of coloured syntax for a
more modern look.

It's too late to change anything, I'm afraid.  Apart from not wanting to assume that a modified version would attract as much support (and I'm not going to re-run the poll!) I've now got it on all my Android devices for testing.  It's not growing on me, I'm sorry to say, but I bow to the majority opinion.

I think the heritage is a selling point

Do you really think so?  In 2018?  Running on Android?  Honestly I wouldn't expect the majority of people who might be attracted to such a product even to have heard of the BBC Micro.  If BBC BASIC has any future it's not by appealing to 50+ year olds nostalgic about a home computer that they fondly remember from their youth.

Richard.

Richard Russell
 

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 04:34 am, Paul Marshall wrote:

my first use of BBC Basic was on a green screen
On a BBC Micro?  That must have been quite untypical because most people either connected it to a TV at home or to an RGB monitor at school.  I primarily associate green screens with mainframe terminals or early PCs.

I am happy to change it to a white page of coloured syntax for a more modern look.
It's too late to change anything, I'm afraid.  Apart from not wanting to assume that a modified version would attract as much support (and I'm not going to re-run the poll!) I've now got it on all my Android devices for testing.  It's not growing on me, I'm sorry to say, but I bow to the majority opinion.

I think the heritage is a selling point
Do you really think so?  In 2018?  Running on Android?  Honestly I wouldn't expect the majority of people who might be attracted to such a product even to have heard of the BBC Micro.  If BBC BASIC has any future it's not by appealing to 50+ year olds nostalgic about a home computer that they fondly remember from their youth.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

I am pleased the majority have gone for my design but disappointed it was not your first choice. The 'green screen VDU' was meant to imply some heritage - maybe I've gone back too far because my first use of BBC Basic was on a green screen. I am happy to change it to a white page of coloured syntax for a more modern look. I think the heritage is a selling point but at the same time yes we want to show it is capable of far more than 'Hello World'. That it IS a 21st century product is demonstrated by the fact that is is here and now running on the latest platforms. The Google Play Store is where the description is going to have to sell the advantages of BBC Basic.  Other Basics on the Play Store look pretty 'basic'!

Richard Russell
 

Looks like we have a clear favourite; here are the aggregated votes from the forum and the group:

Rocket: 5
Roundel: 7
Slate: 13

So congratulations to Paul Marshall (author of Dibley) who submitted the Slate design.

I admit it's probably not the choice I would have made (I didn't vote) because green text on a black background reminds me too much of old VDUs from the pre-BBC Micro era - not exactly the impression of a 21st Century product I might have preferred!

But what do I know? I will go along with the 'will of the majority' as seems to be the trend these days - at least it's not an irreversible decision that will have an adverse effect lasting for decades..... grin

Richard.