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BASIC has come a long way

BASIC has come a long way from the days of GW-Basic to the now popular Visual Basic. Over 15 years ago, there was such a thing as programming line by line and commands such as GOTO that allowed programmers to move around within their code. Now we have GUI objects that are dropped on the screen to build applications before a single line of code is actually written by a programmer. Some argue that using the drag and drop approach takes away from the real art of programming, while others argue that it simply speeds up the time it takes to program.

This new drag and drop approach is called RAD (Rapid Application Development). It no longer takes weeks for programs to be written but days.

RAD software such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic (included in Visual Studio) allows the every day person to cross over to the once “secret society” of the programming world. But what defines a programmer? Just because you can drag and drop an object and it looks “cool” doesn’t give some one the title of programmer… or does it? Well looking back on the days of GW-BASIC, many assembly programmers and C programmers laughed at Basic since it was considered a higher-level language requiring a conversion to a format that the computer could interpret. The C language was considered a lower-level language and closest to the assembly (machine language). You could not get any closer to “speaking computer” than assembly.

Thanks to the many changes and improvements of BASIC from GW-BASIC to Q-Basic to Visual Basic and now Visual Basic .Net, the lines have started to blur and Basic is now on rank with C (or now C# or C++ whichever your flavor). What make a programmer now, is the ability to create an idea from the mind and bring it forth onto the computer. Many college students take beginning programming classes and start with a course on Visual Basic. So BASIC has stood the test of time and is definitely here to stay.

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