News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Personal Tech
Is your endpoint data protected?
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Those Were the Days: BASIC Turns 50

Those Were the Days: BASIC Turns 50
By Barry Levine

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

BASIC was a key enabler of what we think of today as personal computing. Before BASIC and the personal computing revolution, computing was largely pursued by guys in white lab coats with pocket protectors. The 50th anniversaries of BASIC and the IBM mainframe represent bookends for the evolution of modern computing, said analyst Charles King.
 



The classic programming language BASIC will be 50 years old on Thursday. But, like many 50-year-olds, it finds itself in a world very different from the one that existed when it was born.

BASIC was developed in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1964 by Dartmouth College professors John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz who created it to help students learn computing. It flourished as the first wave of personal computers rolled out -- Apple II, the IBM PC, Commodore 64, Atari 800, and Radio Shack TRS-80. The name stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

One of the reasons BASIC attained such popularity is that it became a key way for users to modify and add functionality to their personal computers without changing the physical machine, something that had not been available to consumers previously. Even though computers at that time meant giant machines and punch cards, Kemeny and Kurtz believed that a knowledge of computing was part of a liberal education.

Darsimco, DOPE and Demos

The BASIC language was built on the experience of earlier attempts, including Darsimco (Dartmouth Simplified Code) and DOPE (Dartmouth Oversimplified Programming Experiment). The professors also developed Dartmouth's time-sharing system, which allowed more than one person to work on a computer at a time.

At Dartmouth, the birthday is being celebrated Wednesday with a day of events that include the screening of a documentary, demonstrations of innovative computing projects currently at the school, and a panel discussion on the future of computing.

In a 1964 open letter, Kurtz said the purpose of creating BASIC was "to give students a simple programming language that was easy to learn." He noted that this made it appealing to non-students as well, since Fortran and Algol, the official programming languages at the time, were designed for professionals.

The free version was subsequently released in commercial versions, which, Kurtz noted, were built with "operating system-dependent instructions and features." Microsoft BASIC has been the most popular, followed by the original, True BASIC. Microsoft's very first product was an interpreter that ran BASIC on the MITS Altair 8800, and in 1981 IBM bought Microsoft BASIC for its new PC line.

IBM's Anniversary

The Dartmouth teachers helped create the True BASIC commercial company in 1983, and their language conformed to the American National Standards Institute standard.

Kurtz pointed out that no other programming language, with the same source code, has run on as on many operating systems as True BASIC -- DOS, Mac, Amiga, Atari, Windows, OS2 and several flavors of Unix.

Over the years, it has evolved at Microsoft into Microsoft Visual Basic, now one of the half-dozen most popular programming languages.

Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, told us that BASIC was a key "enabler of what we think of today as personal computing." He recalled that before BASIC and the personal computing revolution, computing "was largely pursued by guys in white lab coats with pocket protectors."

King also noted that, just a few weeks ago, there was the 50th anniversary of the IBM mainframe. The two anniversaries, he noted, represent bookends for the evolution of modern computing.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Protect 100% of your Data The prevalence of laptops and mobile devices in the enterprise makes corporate data increasingly vulnerable to loss and breach. And yet, workforce productivity is now inextricably linked to mobility. Click here to access the white paper "Top 10 Endpoint Backup Mistakes" to learn more about how to confidently protect data across platforms and devices while also providing features designed to enhance the end user experience.


 Personal Tech
1.   Bounty Offered for Oculus Rift Bugs
2.   Glass Adds Voice Access to Contacts
3.   Foursquare: All Customer Experience
4.   Sony Intros 'Album of the Day' App
5.   DogVacay Captures Better Dog Pics


advertisement
New App To Manage Time Better
Helping to organize your busy life.
Average Rating:
OkCupid Experiments with Daters
Unethical without user consent?
Average Rating:
Foursquare: All Customer Experience
App's new focus is on recommendations.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Find Malicious Android Apps Can Hack Gmail
A new study shows that a weakness in the Android mobile operating system can be used to steal sensitive, personal info from unwitting users. Gmail proved to be the easiest app to attack; Amazon, the hardest.
 
UPS Stores in 24 States Hit by Data Breach
Big Brown has been breached. UPS said that about 105,000 customer transactions at 51 of its UPS Store locations in 24 states could have been compromised between January and August.
 
Cost of Target Data Breach: $148 Million Plus Loss of Trust
The now infamous Target data breach is still costing the company -- and its shareholders -- plenty. In fact, the retailing giant forecast the December 2013 incident cost shareholders $148 million.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 
Feds OK $2.3 Billion IBM-Lenovo x86 Server Deal
IBM and Lenovo are celebrating U.S. approval of their x86-based server deal, having cleared some major security hurdles. The deal makes Lenovo a major player for enterprise data centers.
 
Three New Lenovo PCs Aimed at Business Users
With businesses wanting computing solutions that do more for less money, Lenovo has unveiled three new desktop PCs that it says offer solid computing at a budget-minded price.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Screen Shortage Briefly Puts Brakes on iPhone 6
RAM? Check. Antenna switch? Check. Screen? Oops. Parts suppliers for Apple have found themselves facing a shortage of screens for the new iPhone 6 as next month's release date for the new smartphone looms.
 
Bounty Offered to Coders for Oculus Rift Bugs
Coders who find bugs in software for the Oculus Rift VR immersive headset could receive a reward of at least $500 under Facebook's White Hat bounty program. Facebook acquired Oculus in March.
 
Google Glass Adds Voice Access to Phone Contacts
The latest update to Google Glass will let users access their top 20 phone contacts with voice commands alone. A user can then choose a phone call, Google hangouts, e-mail or text messaging.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.