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Programming Evolution

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Coaster Kev

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Everyone has to start somewhere. From an early age, I realised that there was no easy way to create something big on the computer. At least not without some sort of knowledge. As I stated with my first post, I began programming in QBASIC (the kind that came with every version of DOS).

How did I run across QBasic? This was back when the Internet was going for the elite, slowly moving its way into the mainstream. I found out about QBasic while flipping through the pages of "DOS for Dummies". There was only a paragraph, but it said to type qbasic at the dos prompt, so I did.

First screen you get is a little about screen saying "WELCOME TO QBASIC!" What it really should say is "Welcome to your programming baby steps. Try not to trip, but if you do, just get back up."

What surprised me about QBASIC was that I had no idea how to use it. Luckily the help file gave a little bit of insight into input and output. I wrote "Hello World" without even knowing it was the cool thing to do for your first program (actually it was more like "Kevin is cool", but the effect is the same).

How does this relate to modern day newbie programmers? Life is a hundred times easier for you all. I don't recall to many "Learn QBASIC in 21 days" type of books when I was learning. I didn't even have an Internet connection when I began. My local library had one or two books on the subject of programming, but they were beyond me. All a person has to do today is google "QBasic Tutorial" and there is no limit to the number of resources available. C++, C#, Java, PHP, ASP, etc, are exactly the same way.

For all newbie programmers who read my journal, remember to start small. QBasic taught me the important concepts of programming you need to know. If you don't understand the concept of variables, conditional statements, loops, or procedure (I'm sure I'm leaving a few other important things out), then you aren't ready to program the next big MMORPG. Once you've master the basic concepts (and they aren't that hard to master), you can move on to other concepts. For example, in C++ you learn about classes or templates, and basic object oriented programming (I think object oriented design is a better trait to learn).

Finally, if you have difficulties understand a particular subject, there are many human resources available to you. The "For Beginners" forum, for instance, is a great place to ask for help. In a helpful message, say "I'm not quite understanding how the if-then statement is supposed to work in C++." Post a little code that doesn't work. We'll help you. We're nice people, really. Anybody who isn't, take them with a grain of salt and move on. They'll be moderated soon enough.

I'm going to quit talking now. If you made it this far into my journal, just take this with you: Start small, and you'll eventually get there.
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I actually learned to program in GWBasic… without a manual or help file. I was going off of an old TSR-80 games programming book. The problem was that there were some commands that worked, and some that didn't. I figured out how to display colors, and to beep. So I made little ASCII movies with music (bad music).

And I must agree that learning to program now, as opposed to the early 90's has changed drastically.

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Guest Anonymous Poster

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While it's nice of you to address a post to newbies in your journal that they might take advantage of your experience and avoid similar pitfalls, newbies don't read journals. They're not smart/educated enough. Hell, they don't even read documentation.

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That's an unfair justification. Anyone can learn something new, but there is a process for it. Saying "They're not smart/educated enough" is just being mean. However, I would probably use the word impatient or lazy as a substitution. Some people choose to learn the hard way, but they're not stupid. I took the path I felt was right for me, and I'm going to detail those experiences later on. If newbies read my journal, and I hope they do, they'll probably get a few bits of useful information out it.

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