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Reply 60 of 89, by gerry

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Jo22 wrote on 2023-09-20, 13:29:

There's also Locomotive Basic 2 on GEM.. It shipped with the floppies of my dad's PC 1512 many moons ago.
Sadly, it's only an interpreter - but with a pretty IDE. Too bad it never evolved into a full-fledged QB alternative.

that took me back! i remember experimenting with freegem/opengem and using locomotive basic 2, it must have been nearly 20 years ago, and being quite impressed with the whole thing

so many basics and basic-like languages around in its heyday, it really started a kind of slow decline in the early 2000's

remembering many discussions online from around 20 years ago, i wonder if the VB6 people all complaining and calling for a branch of their VB to survive after vb.net was launched did, in the end, move on to .net

i do think they were left in the cold but in the end the move was not just from old windows but further away from desktop applications all together, i wonder what they think of it all now

Reply 61 of 89, by pan069

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Re. the original question of this thread; I only use C and Assembler (the Watcom variants) for anything DOS and early Windows programming related. Sometimes I dig into QuickBasic (4.5) out of reasons of nostalgia.

Reply 62 of 89, by gerry

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what do we feel is the value of all these old development tools outside of nostalgia / preservation and so on?

i think perhaps its the porting of software so as to make it available on older machines (lots of software, of course, was developed well after this era)

also the creation of drivers and other systems utilities that allow old hardware to work in ways not possible with contemporary drivers etc

and the fun of games development, naturally

Reply 63 of 89, by gca

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Just two, Pascal (mostly on DOS or Linux) and BASIC on my CPC464. If I were to expand on this I would probably try to get back into COBOL which I haven't really touched since my college days.

Reply 64 of 89, by Jo22

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gerry wrote on 2023-09-25, 16:21:

what do we feel is the value of all these old development tools outside of nostalgia / preservation and so on?

Little selection of alternatives? 😔

Turbo Pascal/QB had fine, tidy IDEs with both an integrated interpreter/compiler and help system.

On Linux, everything is very crude by contrast.
They use text editors with an user-friendliness of EDLINE on QDOS.
It's their weird ideology, after all.

Yes, there's QB64. But QB64 on Windows feels just like an imitation of QBasic.
It's not a state-of-the-art IDE that QB45 was.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 65 of 89, by megatron-uk

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Those 'crude' text files work extremely well with revision control systems, in-place configuration and automation tools (ansible, puppet, chef et al) and mean you don't need a different utility for every different set of applications. Try diffing changes between group policy files on Windows as a similar exercise, for example.

You can use vi and Emacs if you like (and getting to know one or the other was - and still is - helpful when you move between os versions or even different vendors and cannot guarantee your favourite IDE or editor is present. Vi almost certainly will be), or something more modern if you like. But, the big plus is that it is ALL human readable.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 67 of 89, by Ensign Nemo

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COBOL is interesting. I keep hearing that the software engineers who know it are getting older, but that it's still being used today. I wonder if it would be useful for some younger programmers to learn. Might be a need for them in a few years.

Reply 68 of 89, by midicollector

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gerry wrote on 2023-09-25, 16:21:

what do we feel is the value of all these old development tools outside of nostalgia / preservation and so on?

Aside from the stuff already mentioned, it can be fun to change things up. If you work in one language and os all the time, it can be a lot of fun to do something totally different in a different language, different os and ide.

For me, other than nostalgia, it’s also about how cool it is to develop new software for these old platforms. Using the old languages and ides is cool too.

Reply 69 of 89, by theelf

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Ensign Nemo wrote on 2023-09-25, 23:28:

COBOL is interesting. I keep hearing that the software engineers who know it are getting older, but that it's still being used today. I wonder if it would be useful for some younger programmers to learn. Might be a need for them in a few years.

Yes is still used, most of the time for banks and financial company

I dont know in other country, but here in spain i not super easy to get cobol jobs, and is not well paid , like 5-8 euro hour. I cant recommend to anyone at least in my country, most of the months i dont do 800-900 euro

For example i get much better paid for doing access dabatases for small bussiness, like 10-15 euro hour, and is much more easy than cobol stuff

Reply 70 of 89, by gerry

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Jo22 wrote on 2023-09-25, 20:16:
Little selection of alternatives? 😔 […]
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gerry wrote on 2023-09-25, 16:21:

what do we feel is the value of all these old development tools outside of nostalgia / preservation and so on?

Little selection of alternatives? 😔

Turbo Pascal/QB had fine, tidy IDEs with both an integrated interpreter/compiler and help system.

On Linux, everything is very crude by contrast.
They use text editors with an user-friendliness of EDLINE on QDOS.
It's their weird ideology, after all.

Yes, there's QB64. But QB64 on Windows feels just like an imitation of QBasic.
It's not a state-of-the-art IDE that QB45 was.

i still find QB and Turbo IDEs really good even now - one of the reasons i like free pascal is the IDE

i wouldnt say they are better than feature rich modern IDEs but there is something about them being all-in-one and lightweight

i tried qb64 and didnt like it, i didnt understand why it seemed slow to compile and produce monstrous sized exe files, at least when i tried it - i stuck with freebasic for 'modern' basic

Reply 71 of 89, by gerry

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midicollector wrote on 2023-09-25, 23:35:
gerry wrote on 2023-09-25, 16:21:

what do we feel is the value of all these old development tools outside of nostalgia / preservation and so on?

Aside from the stuff already mentioned, it can be fun to change things up. If you work in one language and os all the time, it can be a lot of fun to do something totally different in a different language, different os and ide.

For me, other than nostalgia, it’s also about how cool it is to develop new software for these old platforms. Using the old languages and ides is cool too.

that's it i think - taking software developed after this era and porting it back using these tools

the main challenge would be in the use of libraries rather than the core language i'd think

the other is programming drivers to enable older hardware to use components normally beyond it - but that's no easy task

Reply 72 of 89, by doshea

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midicollector wrote on 2023-09-07, 01:30:

I guess the closest thing that I've actually used would be 6502 asm, but that's not exactly a programming language

Personally, I think it's a language unless you're just typing hex or octal into S-records or a hex editor or something, and Wikipedia calls assembly a language too.

So my answer to the original question is:

Over the last few years I've been doing a lot of work with XLISP-PLUS, which is written in C, and I've been doing Windows builds of it using Borland C++ 4.5 (for the 16-bit version) and 5.0 (for the 32-bit version). I've also been working on a Borland C++ 4.5 IDE addon in C++ which interfaces to the XLISP-PLUS C code. Also written a lot of code in XLISP-PLUS, which is a Lisp variant which had a lot of Common Lisp stuff added to it. Also I write some Emacs Lisp, and write XLISP-PLUS Lisp code to mimic Emacs Lisp.

Recently I wrote part of a Process Explorer-like tool for Windows 3.1 in Delphi 1.0. I hope to port it to OWL using Borland Pascal 7 at some point but it's not high up my priority list to finish this.

A few weeks ago for a bit of a walk down memory lane I started on a GW-BASIC project which fits into that category of pointless project discussed earlier in this thread, but I wanted to see what it's like to try to write a sort of information retrieval system in BASIC, so I want to make a tool which indexes and searches Borland tech notes. I tinkered in GW-BASIC, QuickBASIC and Visual Basic when I was younger and wanted to try getting something a bit more powerful done with them. I set up an emulated Toshiba T3100e in PCem because that's one of the machines I used to have access to and I had nostalgia for the orange gas plasma display 😁 All I've managed to do so far is parse a directory listing though:

gwbasic.png
Filename
gwbasic.png
File size
43.48 KiB
Views
876 views
File license
Public domain

For editing text files outside GW-BASIC, I found an Emacs clone from around 1988 on an old PC-SIG CD, which I thought was funny since I subsequently saw some hate for such editors here 😁

jove.png
Filename
jove.png
File size
30.16 KiB
Views
876 views
File license
Public domain

Also in the last few years I've written some DOS batch files, written a small tool for DOS in Turbo Assembler and hacked a driver for DOS which was written in NASM, written a MAWK (AWK variant) for DOS script, and written a few little utilities for DOS using OpenWatcom 1.9 (cross-compiling from Linux). I recall running Turbo C++ 3 and Borland C++ 3.1 recently but I can't remember why 😁 I think I might have just checked the Turbo C++ documentation to see if what I was doing in OpenWatcom was portable to other compilers.

Reply 74 of 89, by gerry

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doshea wrote on 2023-10-09, 07:18:
Personally, I think it's a language unless you're just typing hex or octal into S-records or a hex editor or something, and Wiki […]
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midicollector wrote on 2023-09-07, 01:30:

I guess the closest thing that I've actually used would be 6502 asm, but that's not exactly a programming language

Personally, I think it's a language unless you're just typing hex or octal into S-records or a hex editor or something, and Wikipedia calls assembly a language too.

So my answer to the original question is:

Over the last few years I've been doing a lot of work with XLISP-PLUS, which is written in C, and I've been doing Windows builds of it using Borland C++ 4.5 (for the 16-bit version) and 5.0 (for the 32-bit version). I've also been working on a Borland C++ 4.5 IDE addon in C++ which interfaces to the XLISP-PLUS C code. Also written a lot of code in XLISP-PLUS, which is a Lisp variant which had a lot of Common Lisp stuff added to it. Also I write some Emacs Lisp, and write XLISP-PLUS Lisp code to mimic Emacs Lisp.

Recently I wrote part of a Process Explorer-like tool for Windows 3.1 in Delphi 1.0. I hope to port it to OWL using Borland Pascal 7 at some point but it's not high up my priority list to finish this.

A few weeks ago for a bit of a walk down memory lane I started on a GW-BASIC project which fits into that category of pointless project discussed earlier in this thread, but I wanted to see what it's like to try to write a sort of information retrieval system in BASIC, so I want to make a tool which indexes and searches Borland tech notes. I tinkered in GW-BASIC, QuickBASIC and Visual Basic when I was younger and wanted to try getting something a bit more powerful done with them. I set up an emulated Toshiba T3100e in PCem because that's one of the machines I used to have access to and I had nostalgia for the orange gas plasma display 😁 All I've managed to do so far is parse a directory listing though:
gwbasic.png

For editing text files outside GW-BASIC, I found an Emacs clone from around 1988 on an old PC-SIG CD, which I thought was funny since I subsequently saw some hate for such editors here 😁
jove.png

Also in the last few years I've written some DOS batch files, written a small tool for DOS in Turbo Assembler and hacked a driver for DOS which was written in NASM, written a MAWK (AWK variant) for DOS script, and written a few little utilities for DOS using OpenWatcom 1.9 (cross-compiling from Linux). I recall running Turbo C++ 3 and Borland C++ 3.1 recently but I can't remember why 😁 I think I might have just checked the Turbo C++ documentation to see if what I was doing in OpenWatcom was portable to other compilers.

all interesting projects and using a variety of dev tools from back in the day! that was a nice read 😀

every time i'm drawn to the latest dev tools i also become drawn to the oldest! it's like i know i never used them anywhere near as much as i "should have"

Reply 75 of 89, by doshea

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gerry wrote on 2023-10-10, 15:34:

all interesting projects and using a variety of dev tools from back in the day! that was a nice read 😀

Thanks!

every time i'm drawn to the latest dev tools i also become drawn to the oldest! it's like i know i never used them anywhere near as much as i "should have"

I know the feeling, the stuff I've been doing with Borland C++ 4.5 is really the first time I've felt like I've been using it properly despite owning it since it came out 😁 I very much had to use Turbo Debugger because XLISP-PLUS's support for Windows 3.1 was broken in its most recent version, and I also used both it and WinSpector (Borland's equivalent of Dr Watson) a lot due to my own errors. I finally got my value for money out of the product!

At some point I decided to keep my old dev tools and start expanding my collection in the hope that eventually I'd end up with projects that required them. That reminds me, I think I ended up using Borland C++ 3.1 a few years ago to tinker with PC-MOS/386 (thread about PC-MOS) when it got open-sourced.

Reply 76 of 89, by BitWrangler

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I do ugly stuff in Qbasic as means to an end once in a while, I never really got into it from ground up, just imported all my bad habits from 8 bit BASICs. In college we used Turbo Pascal a bit, but it was all numerical methods and algorithms with answers output to console, nothing too clever with screen or i/o or anything. So only really have barebones to go back to there. I found the other day though I had a full version of Delphi 2 on CD, so might try learning that when I've got a win 3x box that suits that sort of thing going. The various C dialects are sort of like Italian and Spanish to me, I can read a listing and sort of figure out what's going on, but putting together a statement that is correct fails hard.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 77 of 89, by kant explain

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You can get Delphi 7 online somewhere. Archive.org, Wimworld, the usual places. I think archive has Delphi Studio whatever that is exactly. It takes a bit of fiddlimg, but 7 will install on Windoze 10, and even run to whatever degree. It's always nice when you can run spmething old on newish hardwate and os.

Reply 78 of 89, by gerry

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doshea wrote on 2023-10-10, 22:32:

I know the feeling, the stuff I've been doing with Borland C++ 4.5 is really the first time I've felt like I've been using it properly despite owning it since it came out 😁 I very much had to use Turbo Debugger because XLISP-PLUS's support for Windows 3.1 was broken in its most recent version, and I also used both it and WinSpector (Borland's equivalent of Dr Watson) a lot due to my own errors. I finally got my value for money out of the product!

At some point I decided to keep my old dev tools and start expanding my collection in the hope that eventually I'd end up with projects that required them. That reminds me, I think I ended up using Borland C++ 3.1 a few years ago to tinker with PC-MOS/386 (thread about PC-MOS) when it got open-sourced.

I'll admit i have installed old borland c++ once or twice just to enjoy the install screens (the 'driving' theme 😀 ) and then not really used it much! I did use BC3.1 a fair bit years ago though, trying do something with code for a simple spreadsheet as i recall. There is something "all in one" about those easier borland IDEs from turbo to late 90's that always make me feel good about using them

BitWrangler wrote on 2023-10-10, 23:10:

I do ugly stuff in Qbasic as means to an end once in a while, I never really got into it from ground up, just imported all my bad habits from 8 bit BASICs. In college we used Turbo Pascal a bit, but it was all numerical methods and algorithms with answers output to console, nothing too clever with screen or i/o or anything. So only really have barebones to go back to there. I found the other day though I had a full version of Delphi 2 on CD, so might try learning that when I've got a win 3x box that suits that sort of thing going. The various C dialects are sort of like Italian and Spanish to me, I can read a listing and sort of figure out what's going on, but putting together a statement that is correct fails hard.

delphi 2 was 32 bit i think, delphi 1 worked with windows 3.1 though and that might be bundled with 2. I think delphi 3 added various features (in the IDE too) and it became ever more sophisticated from there while retaining the essential language. Turbo Pascal and Borland Pascal 7 remain favorites

kant explain wrote on 2023-10-11, 00:55:

It takes a bit of fiddlimg, but 7 will install on Windoze 10, and even run to whatever degree. It's always nice when you can run spmething old on newish hardwate and os.

true but for newer systems i really like freepascal and lazarus - i have that on a couple of W7 and Linux builds, makes it easy to port code across - not that i do so very often admittedly

Reply 79 of 89, by Max Headroom

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Guys, try the XPL0 Programming Language just for fun. 😉

XPL0 is similar to Pascal and C. Although not mainstream, over the years it has proven to be immensely useful. It has been used to write everything from operating systems for 6502- and 68000-based computers, to commercial programs for 8088-based (PC) computers, to embedded firmware for PIC and other microcontrollers. Since its inception on the 6502, it has been steadily upgraded and spread to other processors such as 8080, 6800, PDP-10, IBM-360, a couple homebrew machines, 65802, 680x0, PIC, Ubicom, and, most notably, the 80x86 family used by IBM-compatible PCs.

If you're hooked on C, XPL0 might not appeal to you. It doesn't have all the features of other languages. Normally this is not a problem, and it makes the language easier to learn.

XPL0 is by no means crippled. It's a block-structured language that supports recursion. It has two data types: integer and double-precision floating point ('reals' - with and without a math coprocessor). Even the small 16-bit version allows both code and data spaces larger than 64K. It provides generalized device I/O for the console, printers, files, and serial ports. It allows unlimited-dimensional arrays and complex data structures using pointers. It allows up to eight levels of procedure and function nesting (compare this to C which only has two). It has conditional compile, include files, separately compiled modules, inline assembly code, built-in graphic and transcendental routines, peek, poke, and port I/O.

The intent here is not to persuade you to use XPL0, but merely to make the language available. XPL0 is a significant piece of work that continues to be useful despite many other choices for programming languages.

If you're new to programming, you may find XPL0 easier to learn than the myriad of languages called "Basic." If your interest in programming is to make money, you're probably better off with Delphi or Visual C++. The versions of XPL0 offered on this website do not support Windows applications, which are expected on today's PCs. However, if you think programming is fun and want a deep understanding of how programs and compilers work, XPL0 may be for you.

If you're familiar with C, Pascal or FreeBASIC; you might find this chart helpful to see how XPL0 compares.

Last edited by Max Headroom on 2023-10-16, 13:02. Edited 1 time in total.