Small Basic

Today my father in law started teaching my 4 year old daughter how to write in Bengali which is her native language. Below is the screen shot of her attempt to write অ আ ই, the first character is written by her teacher and the rest by her.


This got me thinking around when the time comes how do I introduce her to programming languages. A friend suggested I check out Small Basic which is from Microsoft Dev Labs and is a free download.

I downloaded the Getting Started Guide and skimmed though it for around 5 mins. Then fired Small Basic IDE up and instantly loved the UI, it had KISS written all over it. However, I did feel that it made extra effort to look too cute.


I could easily code up the following by skimming through the guide. The only hiccup was figuring out how to get a color from RGB as I didn’t guess that the method would be inside GraphicsWindow.

GraphicsWindow.BackgroundColor = "Black"
GraphicsWindow.Width = 400
GraphicsWindow.Height = 256
For y = 0 To 255 GraphicsWindow.PenColor = GraphicsWindow.GetColorFromRGB(y, 0, 0) GraphicsWindow.DrawLine(0, y, 400, y) EndFor
GraphicsWindow.BrushColor = "White" GraphicsWindow.FontSize = 24 GraphicsWindow.DrawText(10, 110, "Gradient")

The output is the following cool looking gradient effect


The whole language and the pre-packaged classes were very immersive. I really started having fun and could code up a small logo like application in around 10 mins. I could just use the following code (which is a sample from the getting started guide)

GraphicsWindow.BackgroundColor = "Black"
GraphicsWindow.MouseDown = OnMouseDown

' Event handler
Sub OnMouseDown
  ' Get a random image tagged  flower from flickr
  pic = Flickr.GetRandomPicture("Flower")
  GraphicsWindow.DrawResizedImage(pic, 0, 0, 640, 480)

to create a UI where every click gets a random image from flickr

I just loved the whole experience, almost felt like Pop-fly, only way more powerful. I think Small Basic has a lot of potential especially after seeing the samples of what folks have created over at

Comments (3)

  1. angry wpf guy says:

    teach her assembly

    or just binary




    hehe its easy to copy  😀

  2. Jatan says:

    Hey Abhinab,

    This is very good tool and nice examples from you. I remember my old days of learning programming with coding the Basic on Monochrome monitor.

    Thanks for the intro.

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