Last night I downloaded the iPad app called Basic! from the iTunes store to our iPad. It brought back so many memories of the days I spent standing in line at the University of Texas, waiting to submit keypunch cards for an assignment. My husband and I explored this app, inputting and running some simple BASIC programs on the iPad, tapping RUN and watching the results as they appeared on the iPad screen.
We were able to recall some of the early basic commands like IF THEN, FOR NEXT and we even played with some of the more sophisticated commands like COLOR, PLOT and LINE. The app also supplies a list of commands by type. The Editor and Terminal mode are easy to use. The app has several coding examples built in and also allows you to save quite a few of your own programs within the app itself. There demo programs are pretty good and by jarring our memory we were able to do some pretty nifty stuff on the iPad screen. I'm sure there are quite a few 35 to 40 year old men and women that remember writing some of their first code to PRINT "Hello" on their first Apple or Radio Shack or Commodore or Amiga desktop computers.
As we programmed we couldn't help but remember that we had lived in a marvelous time, experiencing almost the entire computer revolution from the huge mainframes at UT to the Macs of today. We recalled
... the keypunch days - the agony of waiting in line to submit keypunch cards that took days to get back.
... the times that we had a keypunch typo and standing in line to resubmit the cards
... the stress of not having our program assignment finished by Friday, because the mainframe went down. Such agony and stress.
... our first Apple II, equipped with a tape input device
... to the evolution to today's methods of wireless transfer of data, cloud technology
... and now iPads that you can use while lounging in bed or traveling the world.
I am so excited about this app, that I am going to try to find some old programs to run on my iPad. If you ever wrote software or dabbled on some of the first computers running BASIC, I suggest trying out this fun app! iTunes Link Here.