Alternate History

BASIC (Caroline Era)

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BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was a programming language which was briefly popular in the 'sixties and has a cult following today. It was initially designed and written at Dartmouth College and has a total of fifteen statements: PRINT, GO TO, IF, FOR-TO-STEP-NEXT, GO SUB, RETURN, LET, DATA, RESTORE, READ, STOP, END, DIM and DEF FN, along with the usual functions and operators. The intention was to make it easy to use and interactive. However, it was considered to encourage the development of poor coding habits, made it hard to use the full facilities of the hardware on which it was implemented and failed to be particularly interactive because it did not allow user input. There were later attempts to make it more immediate by writing an interpreter rather than a compiler, but this turned out to be unacceptably slow. The final nail in the coffin was driven by a computer scientist who criticised it for including GO TO and using it with the IF statement and it is no longer used.

Note for readers in the Gordon timelines: This BASIC differs from ours in that it uses only the arithmetic IF and not the logical one.

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