Going back to the very first Small Basic blog post written in 2006 by the author of Small Basic, Vijaye Raji. It was called Hello World and outlined what Small Basic was all about. Vijaye says that he was inspired by an article he read called Why Johnny Can’t Code by David Brin.
“It all happened in August of last year when someone sent me a pointer to the article Why Johnny Can’t Code and it got me thinking. After all, when I was a kid, I started programming in ZX Spectrum with a built in Sinclair BASIC interpreter and did so until I ran into Turbo BASIC. To me that transformation was groundbreaking and was the single most important reason why I chose to write software for a living, for the rest of my life.“
I went back to this article by David Brin and re-read it, actually read it all the way through for the first time. It really sums up for me what Small Basic is trying to do and how very important it is. Its quite a long article, but here are a couple of quotes I would highlight, one at the start outlining what David sees as a problem:
“Oh, today’s desktops and laptops offer plenty of other fancy things — a dizzying array of sophisticated services that grow more dazzling by the week. Heck, I am part of that creative spasm.
Only there’s a rub. Most of these later innovations were brought to us by programmers who first honed their abilities with line-programming languages like BASIC. Yes, they mostly use higher level languages now, stacking and organizing object-oriented services, or using other hifalutin processes that come prepackaged and ready to use“
And later in the article a clear reference to what turned out to be Small Basic.
“It would be trivial for Microsoft to provide a version of BASIC that kids could use, whenever they wanted, to type in all those textbook examples. Maybe with some cool tutorial suites to guide them along, plus samples of higher-order tools. It would take up a scintilla of disk space and maybe even encourage many of them to move on up. To (for example) Visual Basic!“
Well, thanks to Vijaye and others this is now a growing reality. Maybe one day Small Basic will be part of the standard Windows Operating System.