Programming languages over the years

Posted in programming, Uncategorized at 11:09 pm by danvk

This blog is about to take a decided turn for the nerdy…

Last weekend I discovered a disk image of my old circa 1995 Performa 640CD DOS-Compatible Mac. Man was this a trip down memory lane. It was a cool computer. Who ever said that the Intel macs were the first that could run Windows? The Performa had a 68040 for the Mac and a 486 for the Intel. You hit Cmd-Return to switch between the two. I’d learned to program before we got this computer, but not by much, so that disk image had some of my earliest programs on it. I tried to figure out when I’d used each language. Here’s my pre-high school list of languages:

  • GW-BASIC I’m guessing fall 1994 to December 1995. Rumor has it this was the last Microsoft program that BillG wrote himself. In retrospect, it’s an incredibly bad language. Lots of goto’s and no functions! So I moved on to the vastly superior…
  • QBASIC Jaunary 1996 to at least October 1997. Functions! Subroutines! I still remember the ASCII codes for drawing lines on the screen (179=vertical, 196=horizontal). Then my friend David Brown gave me the fifteen-disk (!) installer for…
  • Visual Basic 3 mid-1996 to at least February 1998. It Then I found out that I could write programs for Macs after all
  • REALbasic October 1997 to August 1999. This one was a little less well-established, but at least I tried to do something about that.

After all this BASIC, it’s a wonder I turned out OK. As Mr. Djikstra said, “It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.” Well that’s a bit harsh! At least VB and RB allowed objects.

The real unanswered questions for me in here are

  1. When did I learn C? I think I made a few abortive attempts before I figured out what a pointer really was
  2. When did I start using Perl? I found Perl scripts from as early as 1997, but I don’t know if I actively worked on them.

Now I’m excited to try and extract a disk image from the 386 I learned to program on and the Powerbook I used in middle school.

Comments are closed.