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Approach Small Basic "Wish List" from the perspective of a kids training tool. RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • First of all, I would like to apologize to Vijaye for my duplicity in asking for functionality to be added to Small Basic based on what I want to accomplish.
    The bottom line of this language is to show the fundamentals of programming.  So I believe our discussions should be centered around "are all of the basic fundamentals of programming covered?"
    After that, any added features and functionality is icing.
    So let's get a list of what really should be included in a starter language - remembering that this is not meant to teach everything about programming.
    So far, in my humble opinion, I have:
    Sub Routines  -  Yes
    Decision making (IF statements) - Yes
    Math Operators - Yes
    Graphics - I say, as an introduction, it is completed.  I would like things, like handling 3D graphics, but there are other languages and tools that teach it - does Small Basic need it, or is it “icing” to the Small Basic “cake” that may be added later?

    There are more, but I am distracted with other work (has taken me 20 minutes to complete this post) so I invite everyone to add what you think has been accomplished and what you feel needs to added to accomplish the goal of a 'introductory to programming' programming language.

    • Edited by Path_drc Monday, August 16, 2010 9:56 PM corrections
    Monday, August 16, 2010 9:54 PM

All replies

  • We also have Loops, Arrays and Stacks, Text manipulation, File handling, Events, Sounds/Music, SilverLight publishing and others.

    Also there is Graduation and Extension capabilities to encourage progression from SmallBasic which I think should be the route for those that want more features or performance.  SmallBasic is not an end, just the starting point for anyone interested in how software works and they should be encouraged to experiment and progress to other languages with confidence and skills gained with SB.

    I think the features are complete - resist the temptation to go the way of most languages - hundreds of commands (many just different ways of doing very similar things) and it then becomes an excersise in remembering commands or spending all your time finding/reading command API rather than thinking about programing and enjoying the pleasure in being creative which is what programming should be.  The power of SmallBasic is it is Small and gives the feeling of being in control and the sense of accomplishment and creativity accessible early in the learning curve.

    One thing from my experience is that the most requests for features and changes come from a small minority of vocal power users, while the vast majority of users just use it as it is or wish 'it wasn't so complicated' or 'it didn't keep changing' or 'it was better documented'.

    Of course there are some polishing and bugs to fix, but the two main areas I would like to see are:

    1] Some sort of debugger - conditional break points, view variables etc.  I can see hard decisions here though (what functionality and how to present it).

    2] Documentation and examples - this forum goes a long way here, but some prefer to work through a structured approach or have a comprehensive reference resource to work with - I can see that the effort to create this isn't really justified until it reaches at least version 1.0 and isn't going to change dramaticallly.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 11:26 PM
    Moderator
  • The language is progressing nicely, I'm more concerned with the GUI (in no particular order):

    1. add find/replace

    2. auto indent source (either automatically or when i click a button go through and indent things properly)

    3. option to turn off intellisence

    4. when i open a document instead of always opening a new window for it, open it in an existing empty window if one exists

    5. add export to silverlight locally instead of publishing online

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:48 PM
  • Wiser3,

    I agree on 1, for 2 - right click and hit 'Format Program' - perhaps this isn't well known.  Also the font can be scaled using <Control>+Mouse Wheel.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:32 PM
    Moderator
  • I also agree with 1, and 5 can be useful for some people.

    And how about another version of Small Basic library without Primitive for advanced kids to use same functions with Visual Studio or Small Basic Visual Studio add-in or something else between Visual Basic and Small Basic?



    Sorry My Bad English
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:35 PM
  • Here's another vote for a single-stepping debugger with variable inspection (by hovering over variable with mouse should be enough).
    Friday, September 10, 2010 2:28 AM