PC Advisor Magazine article

PC Advisor Magazine have published an article about programming using SmallBASIC:

The article is in two parts and will appear in their October and November editions. Each contains a 14-page walkthrough and starts with the assumption you have never written a computer program before. Where possible the author tries to avoid SmallBASIC's extensions and stick with the lowest common denominator although that wasn't possible, of course, with graphics. Most of the two parts pretty much tell you exactly what to enter in order to learn about the most important instructions. From Step 8 onwards, the author guides you in building your own program by just providing hints on how to do it. The end result are programs to draw the whole, and a zoomed-in Mandelbrot Set, respectively.

Hi - I get PC Advisor and learnt to program BBC Basic some years ago. I found the project very difficult because it showed only the result page
for the later exercises that were more complex. I eventually figured out the coding required for the fractals by looking at other material on the
internet. I been trying to find a source document that explains in detail how to use SB code but I haven't found anything so far. This started
when I was trying to understand how to get more than the standard 16 colors, and how the graphics command RGBF works, as I wasn't able to find
any examples.

[Hercules, if you are still around and would like to discuss RGB etc ...]

I learned this way - with BASIC, plinking out tiny programs - in the early 1980s. I did it that way, because the first computers I had, had no software that came with them, except the built-in Operating System, and the also built-in BASIC.

(I also learned quite significantly, with Assembly Language. Folks very commonly combined BASIC with Assembly; and my first PC-type computer came with a full Assembler installed. It's worth noting, and keeping firmly in view, which we rarely see done these days, that IN FACT early 'crud-nic', 'dirt-bag' Basic programmers quickly & fairly easily picked & successfully applied very useful elements of Assembly Language. Early BASICs offered the PEEK and POKE commands, with which even 'weenie' programmers could execute small (and not-small) machine-level Assembly Language code.)

I never learned much, in any organized, structured way. I did not sit down with "a" book, or with one magazine article. At the time, of course, there was no Internet, but magazines were far better-developed then, more of them, and contained huge amounts of variable stuff. Not unlike the Internet today.

I grazed from one little item to another. Mainly, it was a matter of wanting to do some particular thing, and looking at different discussions of that type of thing, until I found ones that made sense to me. I also did a lot of starting with a small program (like from a magazine article: today, that would be from the Code Library, on this website), and then changing it bit-by-bit into something different. Adding parts from one little program, to another little program, fiddling with the combination until ... omg - ITS ALIVE!

It always helps a lot, to start with a working example. Mess with it until it breaks, back up until it works again, then resume tinkering. It is a vastly different thing, to totally create your first programs from nothing, than to start with a tiny example that is actually working. Start with working code-examples.

There can be 'sticking points', like figuring out how RGB works. With most people, there seems to be some underlying drive or motivation, that keeps them working at it and coming back to it, despite the frustrations. It can be said that the psychology of persistence is a core element of the learning of programming.

Even today, many are self-taught. There *should* be simpler, dorkier languages like BASIC, so that folks who cannot spend an open-ended amount of time fooling with programming, can still acquire a measure of useful skills & ability with a computer. BASIC and BATCH FILES and Linux SHELL scripts are ideal for people in this position.

There is probably a perennial, permanent need in society for something like the simpler versions of BASIC, and really, it might as well actually be a simpler version of BASIC. ;)