Monday, November 15, 2010

Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a small basic developer


15 years ago I wrote my first program in Turbo Pascal. Nowadays if you have children and want them to learn programming check out Microsoft Small Basic , which combines a simple (but powerful!) language and a rich set of libraries together with a friendly development environment.

The Small Basic language draws its inspiration for an early version of BASIC but it is actually based on the .NET Framework. Like the early variants of BASIC it is based on, Small Basic is imperative and doesn't use or expose beginners to concepts like scopes, types, object orientation, etc.

Even though it is based on the .NET Framework, it really is small and consists of just 14 keywords. In fact, there really isn’t a type system. You can create string and numeric constants and assign them to variables. Operations performed on these variables will be interpreted according to the content. All variables are global and are always initialized, so they can be used before they're assigned.

It’s very easy to build simple games and even share them with your friends by using the Silverlight player. I couldn’t resist to write some Small Basic programs myself…

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