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Mr. Turtle RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • First of all I have to said congratulations to all the team beheind Small Basic.

    I have checked the first version and I love it .

    Specially the Turtle instruction, because LOGO was my first programming language in a Commode64, but I have seen with concern that the instructions that in most LOGO versions works doesn`t do it here.

    I really dont understad why? LOGO had demostrate for over 30 years all its benefits in the educational area and in the thinking building there are a lot of papers, programs and technical articles of many researchers that use LOGO that use the same instructions and there a are tons of kids that already use LOGO all over the world, but their programs doesn`t works in SmallBasic because you dont use the same intructions.
     
    I mean, it will not be a copy/paste problem because you have to use the turtle instruction before the LOGO instruction and of course they are very similar but my feeling is that you don`t have to reinvent the wheel. Why dont just use the standard instructions?? that will give SmallBasic a great scope and buzz in the academic area where a lot of people is working around the world.

    That set of instructions worked for 30 years, do you think they are old stylish, complex, very easy??

    Cheers
    Monday, January 12, 2009 7:25 PM

All replies

  • Imix,

    Thanks for your message.  The vision and motivation behind Small Basic is a little different from that of Logo.  Logo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_(programming_language)) was in reality a very powerful language, but what got wildly popular was their Turtle Graphics platform built on top of that language. 

    With Small Basic, we want to introduce programming in general - not just the turtle graphics.  And to give beginners a flavor of what's to come when they decide to take the next step.  That's why it's based on BASIC and follows conventions that are similar to other higher level languages (be it based on .Net, JDK, etc.) 

    We believe there have been lots of wonderful and successful programming introduction tools over the years.  With Small Basic, we've tried to capture the good points from all (or most) of them.

    Our hope is that the new generation of programmers find it easy to start with Small Basic.

    Thanks.
    Monday, January 12, 2009 8:41 PM
  • Hi Vijaye,

    First of all thank you for your quickly answer it is really good to know that you are considering the feedback and also thanks taking time for your anwser.

    To me is very clear that SmallBasic is about Basic and needs conventions similar to other higher level languanges and I really think that SmallBasic has a lot of potential to be part of something more big perhaps I am exaggerating but I really belive it and of course I understand your point.

    I want to add the fact that beside the turtle graphics, LOGO went very popular because the language was desing to develop matemathical concepts and help the children to develop a reflexible thinking in new different ways than the traditional activites in a kid, so LOGO isn`t about graphics its about helping kids build concepts.

    When I first check out SmallBasic I was very excited about the idea of the project in general, I have been involved in education for various years, I am a very modest .NET developer and I am also a Microsoft fan, and this software seems to be perfect to be applied in education incluiding high school and perhaps secondary school, when I check it out and see the inclusion of the turtle my fisrt thinking was WOW this could also work with a children of 5 or 6 years old and that definitely fit in the beginners group.

    The new generation of programmers now have 5 or 6 years old but perhaps not all the kids will become a programmer, my point here is that perhaps you haven´t see the whole picture and that SmallBasic can be an excellent option, I mean, it is an excellent already, but it could be much more important if you consider the whole picture, after all programming is not just about write lines and lines of code you also need very clear concepts in your head for do it, and if you consider this, well it will be great.

    Anyway this kind of suggestions are only that, I´m happy with the SmallBasic project but it will be very interesting if you consider this point, after all it´s just a series of changes in few intructions.

    Cheers and thanks for developing this kind of things.

    Monday, January 12, 2009 11:01 PM
  • I will make my ponit a little more clear

    in logo you write instructions like

    fd
    rt
    up
    repeat
    to

    in SmallBasic

    turtle.turnright
    turtle.turnleft


    my ideal case

    turtle.fd
    turtle.rt

    so you take the original instructions like basis. I know you will think hey it´s not big deal but it is it. 

    Monday, January 12, 2009 11:14 PM
  • Point well taken, Imix. 

    Designing good APIs can be hard.  If you're introduced to a new language/environment, you discover functionality through the APIs and if the API names are cryptic, it makes it harder to navigate your way in that environment.

    http://lcsd05.cs.tamu.edu/slides/keynote.pdf, slide 17 talks about the importance of naming APIs well.

    For someone who knows and understands Logo, fd could make sense, but for the majority of beginners, it may not.

    Given a choice, Turtle.Move vs. Turtle.Fd, I'd say Move makes me understand what it does much easier than Fd.  We believe even though they have to type a few extra characters, it's worth it because now they can read the code they typed and understand what it's supposed to do.  We've tried to apply this principle to all the APIs in Small Basic. 

    Thanks.
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:26 AM
  • The intelisence will help to write long commands.
    I prefer understandable commands insted of 2 letters

    Friday, January 16, 2009 6:24 PM
  • I initially was in agreement with Imix but after some thought the way Small Basic does it is probably a better methodology.  It is more consistant with modern languages.  I think the old Logo short hand is more a result of making it run on Apple IIe's and the like with tiny RAM where every byte needed to be saved.  i am not to crazy about turtle.move vs turtle.forward though.  Move is fairly generic as far as direction is concerned.  Forward is very clear.  But the whole argument is a bit nit picky.  The Small Basic team is putting a lot of work into a free app that, from what I can see from this blog, is making a major influence around the world. You guys do what ever you want, I and the kids will adjust or figure it out.  Keep up the good (free) work.
    Saturday, January 17, 2009 5:42 PM
  • Hi Vijave Raji,

    Thanks again for your time, I have to said that you really make me re think about my original argument and definitely I´m agree with you for newbies users, the adaptation of the users of LOGO will not be such dificult like I´m checking now.

    András, I´m totally agree with you about the intellisense and my nephews think that a more descriptive instruction work better for they.

    Loyola IT,  I almost totally agree with you, but I have to say that I feel that despite my argument can look a bit nit picky, I consider important that if you have a forum to share and give some ideas or feedback to the developers you have to use it, that was my feeling about mr turtle inplementation and I just want to know the SmallBasic team point of view respect the instructions. I belive this kind of excercises really works and this is a clear example. 
    I´m totally disagree with  "You guys do what ever you want, I and the kids will adjust or figure it out."  it looks a little selfish and I don´t think the SmallBasic teams does it, if you are developing a good product you have to be concerd about the necesities of the future users, the SmallBasic team is concern about this, they have this forums to recive feedback, questions and perhaps suggestions of the people that use or is thinking to teach SmallBasic.

    SmallBasic team congratulations again for this great tool, I will do a traduction of the Introducing SmallBasic.pdf and I want to make some webcast and screencast about the tool, also I want to publish a posts series in my blog with excercises exploring math concepts and space-time concepts. I´m sure like Loyola already said: SmallBasic "is making a major influence aroun the world."

    Thanks

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 8:38 PM