There once was a time when computers would boot up straight into a (very rudimentary) programming environment. You learned to write code because, well, that’s what computers were used for. BASIC was king. Gradually, the notion of “operating systems” caught hold, making it easier for non-programmers to use these marvels of technology and to run programs that other people wrote.
Today, Windows no longer includes a programming environment out-of-the-box. Instead, real programmers buy Visual Studio, a “professional” development system. But what if your young son or daughter wants to follow in your footsteps? What if they show an interest in programming? Do you fire up Visual Studio for them and let them play around with interfaces, classes, and services?
After reading "Why Johnny Can't Code," Vijaye Raji, a developer at Microsoft, was pondering the same issue and decided to do something about it. In his spare time, he worked on a small and simple BASIC compiler for Windows, which used .NET and generated Silverlight applications. In this episode of The Knowledge Chamber, we meet Vijaye and discuss with him what Small Basic is, what it is capable of, and how it can hopefully help your kids discover the wonders of programming.
You can read the article that originally inspired Vijaye Raji here:
You can download Small Basic for free here:
You can read more about the Small Basic Computer Games book here:
and another similar book as well:
You don’t even need to install Small Basic to experience what it is capable of. Here are some links to programs you can run within your browser:
And if you want to see the little turtle sample that Vijaye wrote during this episode, you can find it here: