Happy birthday, BASIC

posted May 1, 2014 by Jer


The programming language BASIC is 50 years old today. BASIC was totally my entry drug into software development. As a kid we had a TI-994A home computer. It played games (and other software, but mainly games) and ran BASIC. When I plugged in a cartridge, it gave me two options: 1. Run {name of program on cartridge} 2. Run BASIC. It takes a shockingly short amount of time for a child's curiosity to delve into the visceral joy of discovering stage upon stage of exponentially complicated versions of "push a button, see a thing happen."

Now we live in an era where four-year-olds can use iPads. Some adults fear this, but that's because these tools were invented after we were teenagers or adults. Human children learn the tools of their age. My dad gave me a hammer when I was four; a real actual hammer that hit nails. As a result, I am an adult who can manage most minor home repair. My parents also let me play with a computer, and now I make my living writing software.

If you've got a kid and a smart phone or pad, I VERY STRONGLY recommend downloading the Software Developer's Kit for your device. Just have it around. Learn enough to hook your phone to the SDK and leave it on where your kid will accidentally find it. Don't fear it, facilitate it. You might end up with a couple phones toasted, but you will ABSOLUTELY raise a tech savvy adult capable of ruling the world that comes in 20 years.

That's what BASIC did for me.