We look back on BASIC's 50 years of attracting -- and repelling -- new programmers.
This month, BASIC celebrates an anniversary reached by very few languages: 50 years of continual use. During that long career, whose highlights mostly occurred before the age of 25, it has beckoned millions to the world of programming, most of whom immediately forsook the language for more robust alternatives.
It's difficult to imagine the computing world in 1964. There were no PCs, nor even minicomputers, and networking was for all practical purposes nonexistent. Programming was done on mainframes that could support remote teletype machines over telephone lines. Programs were stored on decks of punched cards, or loops of very carefully handled paper tape. In this rather challenging environment, two Dartmouth professors, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, came up with the idea to create a simple, high-level language to teach programming.
They called the toy language BASIC, which seems fitting — although the term was an acronym for Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Today, I believe most people would be comfortable only with the B in the acronym. BASIC was certainly not all-purpose. I expect that Kemeny and Kurtz might have been tempted to use the modern term "language," rather than "symbolic instruction code," but BAL was already an acronym in use on mainframes (Basic Assembly Language — where 'basic' retains its natural meaning).
Prior to joining Dr. Dobb's Journal, Andrew Binstock worked as a technology analyst, as well as a columnist for SD Times, a reviewer for InfoWorld, and the editor of UNIX Review. Before that, he was a senior manager at Price Waterhouse. He began his career in software ... View Full Bio
The Agile ArchiveWhen it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
2014 Analytics, BI, and Information Management SurveyITís tried for years to simplify data analytics and business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?