Computers for children

From: Megan <>
Date: Wed Jan 13 08:28:33 1999

>The main reason that *I* am aware of with people being down on BASIC is
>that it, in a sense, encourages writing spagetti code (probably with the
>inappropriate use of the GOTO statement.)

It is possible to write really bad code in any language, and really
good code in any language. I've seen (and written) some very modular
stuff in the past in BASIC. I've also seen some of the worst damn
stuff written in C or PASCAL...

The idea that a language (like C or PASCAL) ensures that you will write
good code is a complete falacy...

Years ago, BYTE ran some ads for a C distribution (I don't remember the
name) in which they compared C ('programming by design') versus BASIC
('programming by trial and error'). The task was to write a program
which approximated the drawing of a circle by using straight line

The first half of the page demonstrated the program in BASIC, with an
example run... whoops, the last line segment doesn't meet up with the
first... must be an 'off-by-one' bug in a for statement. So they make
the change and run again... whoops, now the last segment crosses the
first... (and here's where it gets really annoying)... "It seems you
can't do this in BASIC"

... "But in 'C'..." and everything works right the first time.

Anyone with a bit of sense would look at the algorithm used... Lo and
behold, the algorithms were different. If the one used for the BASIC
example had been used for C, and vice versa, the ad could have shown
that BASIC could get it right first time while C probably couldn't
have done it...

I'm sorry, but I truly believe that anyone who looks down on BASIC
because the code *can* be spaghetti-code cannot be considered a real
programmer in my book...

My US$.02

                                        Megan Gentry
                                        Former RT-11 Developer

| Megan Gentry, EMT/B, PP-ASEL | Internet (work): gentry! |
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Received on Wed Jan 13 1999 - 08:28:33 GMT

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