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Reply 20 of 30, by gerry

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pan069 wrote on 2021-03-03, 01:40:
BloodyCactus wrote on 2021-03-02, 12:50:
pan069 wrote on 2021-03-02, 02:07:

There are some interesting threads over there but there are only 13 threads in total. 😃

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?1 … ter-Programming

It's kinda interesting. Programming retro computers is such a vast topic and a lot of people were involved in it back in the day, but somehow, hardware seems to be the more popular topic when it comes to retro. Take e.g. YouTube videos on retro, the vast majority is on putting together or bench-marking some old system (not to mention cleaning and Retr0brighting...). Maybe it's just really difficult to produce engaging content for a programming topic. 🤔

scroll to the bottom of the page, change the "Show threads from" box to the beginning, your are only seeing the latest threads, there is loads more.

Holy shit. What horrible unintuitive forum software that is... Thanks for the tip...! 👍

glad i wasn't the only one to find that a strange 'feature', why not just have a standard page size!

incidentally, 3+ months between top and bottom of page 1 in terms of last post, slow forum but maybe still the best match for vintage programming on PCs

Reply 21 of 30, by TheChexWarrior

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I plan big plans!! Soon as the arrival!! https://twitter.com/duke_unreal/status/136694 … 1743738885?s=19
https://twitter.com/duke_unreal/status/135738 … 5542859779?s=19
https://twitter.com/duke_unreal/status/135413 … 3865975810?s=19

Reply 22 of 30, by mr.cat

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-03-02, 02:36:
^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if […]
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^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if I carefully prepared myself.
Always makes me feel disturbing the super users and gurus over there.. The x86 asm magic they practice is just way over my head.
Couldn't imagine to bring myself to post stuff over there about my beloved QuickBasic and VB DOS (not to mention VB6!), because BASIC might be akin to an affront.
You know, BASIC has a long tradition of being hated by these gray beards all over the world.. 🙁

Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. But remember that every guru in there started out as a newbie, once upon the time.
There was also a good reason to hate BASIC back in the old days: Enticing an entire generation to spaghetti code. I don't think that has been a problem for a long time though?
But yeah that's probably not the forum to announce new spaghetti if you're planning to do that 😜

EDIT: About that spaghetti code, I was also one of those enticed and wrote a fair chunk of spaghetti myself until I switched languages
(this was from BASIC/assembly to Pascal and C - a very typical journey for the time period I think).
I did have some bad habits in those other languages too, but I see it as just a part of the learning.

Last edited by mr.cat on 2021-03-15, 13:16. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 23 of 30, by Jo22

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mr.cat wrote on 2021-03-14, 10:06:
Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. But remember that every guru in there started out as a newbie, once upon the time. T […]
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Jo22 wrote on 2021-03-02, 02:36:
^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if […]
Show full quote

^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if I carefully prepared myself.
Always makes me feel disturbing the super users and gurus over there.. The x86 asm magic they practice is just way over my head.
Couldn't imagine to bring myself to post stuff over there about my beloved QuickBasic and VB DOS (not to mention VB6!), because BASIC might be akin to an affront.
You know, BASIC has a long tradition of being hated by these gray beards all over the world.. 🙁

Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. But remember that every guru in there started out as a newbie, once upon the time.
There was also a good reason to hate BASIC back in the old days: Enticing an entire generation to spaghetti code. I don't think that has been a problem for a long time though?
But yeah that's probably not the forum to announce new spaghetti if you're planning to do that 😜

+1

Yes, the problem is ideology (or paradims), as well.
BASIC was all about problem-solving and procedural programming style, I think. 🙃

When it was young, the alternative were ALGOL 60, FORTH and FORTRAN.
Programmed via punch cards or punch stripes that maybe had to be compiled first, even.

BASIC by comparison could be run interactively on a teletype or a luxurious glass terminal.

Java, C++ etc now use a different approach, for example. They rely on object-based style or object-oriented style.

To make matters more complicated, VB6 was object-based, but not object-oriented, for example. 😵

The thing is, that with procedural programming or more precisely that "spaghetti" coding (written in basic, assembly or machine code),
the code is (often) being processed in the same order it had been written.

This is helpful in understanding what the machine is actually doing.
And ironically, the most dirty code with many jumps (GOTOs) is also the fastest. 😉

If you use a PASCAL style programming in which everything is defined first and then combined with actual code it's not really the case.

Nowadays, it's also possible to write nicely organized programs in BASIC.
To do so, you can divide program code into groups. Or sub-routines, so to say.

Modern Basic can also use GOSUB or use GOTO without line numbers. You can even define stuff (DIM, DEF group).

Ironically, though, this became popular with Quick Basic/Turbo Basic (PowerBasic), which VB6 shares a lot with.

Edit: One of the very first micro controllers , the i8051, had a special version calked 8052 AH-BASIC.
It contained a very tiny, but advanced BASIC that acted like a miniature OS, with interrupt handling, EPROM writing/reading capabilities etc.
That BASIC is now released in source code form and can be compiled for comaptible µCs and run in emulation on an XT class PC.. 😀

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_MCS-51#De … vative_features

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM_rzw6WcXib … ry=8052ah-basic

Edit: Originally, assemblers had no ability to pre-define variables. That came with the "macro assemblers".
I mention this here, because nowadays people take macro assemblers for granted. 😉
Edit: Text tidied up.

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Reply 24 of 30, by TheMobRules

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I learned programming as a young teen using Borland Turbo Pascal for DOS, and was completely unaware of the "BASIC hate" in certain circles. It was only several years later when I started college that I heard many teachers dismiss BASIC as a "toy" or something that could not be used for any "serious purposes". Personally I think it's a great language to at least get started in programming, even if it didn't have much influence on me.

Off-topic: incidentally, I said the same thing about JavaScript long ago, and look where it is now! Clearly I had a complete lack of vision, but it boggles my mind how everything is thought in terms of JS nowadays. I always believed the developer should be able to choose the right tool for each job, adapting to it if necessary. Now everything for some reason needs to be adapted to fit JS, as if it was the ideal way to do things in every single case!

Reply 25 of 30, by VileR

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-03-02, 02:36:
^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if […]
Show full quote

^Personally, I really like vcfed.org, too, but I also always feel unconfortable posting there on a casual basis, so I only do if I carefully prepared myself.
Always makes me feel disturbing the super users and gurus over there.. The x86 asm magic they practice is just way over my head.
Couldn't imagine to bring myself to post stuff over there about my beloved QuickBasic and VB DOS (not to mention VB6!), because BASIC might be akin to an affront.
You know, BASIC has a long tradition of being hated by these gray beards all over the world.. 🙁

I find VCF a very friendly place. Plenty of folks there are more into hardware than software anyway, and you seem to know your way around that. (I'm not a HW magician myself, so I sometimes get a similar vibe when faced with the hardcore hardware tweakers).

Also, I can guarantee that discussing BASIC is very far from being an affront on VCF - many of those folks not only grew up with BASIC, but some made it into a career; and of course, many of them collect and tinker with machines where BASIC is the built-in programming language. There's probably more BASIC discussion on VCF than on VOGONS actually (including QuickBasic).

The BASIC-hating types don't tend to be hobbyists/tinkerers/engineers, but the highbrow theoretical computer science types who turn up their noses at "unstructured programming". It's the same crowd that used to poo-poo assembly language, even back in the '70s-'80s, because it has even less 'structure'.
Remember that BASIC and assembly often went hand-in-hand in the early micro days. Especially with the old 8-bits, there were few good HLLs available, so mixing different proportions of BASIC and assembly was often the only way to go. So the average enthusiast on VCFed is more likely to praise either of them than to parrot some dusty article about allergies to GOTO and spaghetti. 😉

Anyways, IIRC you have a bit of a hardware collection yourself? Post an introductory thread if you feel like it, maybe show it off a little. There's actually a dedicated forum for introductions, so if you peek around a little you'll see it's pretty welcoming after all.

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Reply 26 of 30, by mr.cat

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VileR wrote on 2021-03-14, 21:57:

The BASIC-hating types don't tend to be hobbyists/tinkerers/engineers, but the highbrow theoretical computer science types who turn up their noses at "unstructured programming". It's the same crowd that used to poo-poo assembly language, even back in the '70s-'80s, because it has even less 'structure'.

...or the business types who have a team to manage and are concerned about readability and maintainability of the code. There are lone coder heroes still, but projects tend to be bigger nowadays.
(EDIT: These guys ofc won't be hanging around on VCF as VileR pointed out 😀 but this is one root of the "BASIC hate" that was commonly seen at some point.)

VileR wrote on 2021-03-14, 21:57:

Remember that BASIC and assembly often went hand-in-hand in the early micro days. Especially with the old 8-bits, there were few good HLLs available, so mixing different proportions of BASIC and assembly was often the only way to go. So the average enthusiast on VCFed is more likely to praise either of them than to parrot some dusty article about allergies to GOTO and spaghetti. 😉

BASIC was probably the best option available for those miniscule resources that the early machines had. An interesting comparison could be made to that modern Guix bootstrapping toolchain...
That's based on lisp and C I think. The first stages are very minimal, but if you take a 80s micro and try to cram it in there would be no room for anything else.
It's really a wonder they got any work out of those things back in the 80s. Then again, hand-written assembly was often a requirement as you mentioned, so that explains a lot. It was simply the way things had to be.

Btw, it's not quite as bad as that "BASIC hate", but nowadays we have a bit similar situation concerning C...it's frowned upon for being too insecure, error prone, not suitable for interwebz use etc.
OK sure it can be. But same as with any other tool, it all comes down to appropriate use.

Last edited by mr.cat on 2021-03-15, 19:44. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 27 of 30, by VileR

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mr.cat wrote on 2021-03-14, 22:47:
VileR wrote on 2021-03-14, 21:57:

The BASIC-hating types don't tend to be hobbyists/tinkerers/engineers, but the highbrow theoretical computer science types who turn up their noses at "unstructured programming". It's the same crowd that used to poo-poo assembly language, even back in the '70s-'80s, because it has even less 'structure'.

...or the business types who have a team to manage and are concerned about readability and maintainability of the code. There are lone coder heroes still, but projects tend to be bigger nowadays.

Of course; the structured paradigm won out for a reason (I'm still not 100% convinced about OOP, but that's a whole other kettle of fish). 😉 The point I was making is, that consideration isn't going to matter to the type of enthusiasts you tend to find on a vintage computer forum.

mr.cat wrote on 2021-03-14, 22:47:

It's really a wonder they got any work out of those things back in the 80s. Then again, hand-written assembly was often a requirement as you mentioned, so that explains a lot. It was simply the way things had to be.

Yep. Of course business-related concerns were a big part of that too, but from a users' standpoint: assembly-written software meant speed, and time is money. Lotus 1-2-3 is probably the classic example: it dominated everything for years, but the reason for its success was also the seed of its downfall, because eventually that assembly codebase couldn't be maintained.

It's not that the concepts didn't converge, either. MASM (besides its macro features) was procedural, declarative, and did type-checking from the get go (can you call it "strongly-typed"?). And on the other hand, the HLLs that did become successful in the 1980s-90s probably wouldn't have become so if they hadn't developed features to ease the integration of assembly code, either linked or inline. That seemed to be a lot more problematic with earlier compilers.

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Reply 28 of 30, by mr.cat

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I'm not sure if this fits "retro development" exactly, but maybe you'll find it interesting (and hey, DOS target, that's retro, right 😀
https://github.com/jayschwa/dos.zig

...apparently 16-bit is not recommended though, sorry!
Sure, there have been quite many would-be-usurpers to C over the years, and who knows how it will turn out.
For all we know C may keep its throne for another decade or so, insecure or not. But Zig has very good compatibility with C and a design that feels quite close to the original C ethos, so maybe it has a real fighting chance here.

So yeah, I guess you knew it already but I've found GitHub to be a good place to find some retro discussions too 😁

Reply 30 of 30, by kjliew

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Perhaps one had wished more the world would be happy for the performance of Pentium II 233MHz with the "freaking fast" Voodoo3 emulation on Core i9 and Ryzen 5950X from the best PC emulation stuck with 32-bit WIN32 binary built from Mingw32 GCC 4.7.2 toolchain. 😁