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Submission + - BASIC and Why Johnny Can't Code

RAMMS+EIN writes: "There's an article over at Salon
called Why
Johnny can't code. The intro sums it up best:

BASIC used to be on every computer a child touched — but today there's
no easy way for kids to get hooked on programming. Quietly and without
fanfare, or even any comment or notice by software pundits, we have
drifted into a situation where almost none of the millions of personal
computers in America offers a line-programming language simple enough
for kids to pick up fast.

I think it is very right in asserting that it's harder to get started in
programming these days: we've come to expect fancy GUI widgets from our
programs, and if all our program does is write to and read from the
terminal, it doesn't feel like a Real program. While modern programming
languages certainly do make GUI programming possible, they don't usually
make it easy. Thus, either the rewards are less (CLI programs) or the
barrier to entry is higher (GUI programs).

On the other hand, HTML has a low barrier to entry while still offering
the rewards of GUIs, and things like Apple Dashboard, gDesklets and
Mozilla's XUL make it easy to quickly whip up GUIs in XML and then add
functionality to them in some scripting language. I think this will be
the new way for people to get started with programming."

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie