Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beginning Programming with Just BASIC -- Tutorial 1: Compiling and Running

Tutorial 1: Compiling and Running Your First Program

So you want to try programming.

In these tutorials I assume you are a complete beginner, although you are able to use all the basic functions of your computer already.

I also am assuming you are using Windows. (Sorry Mac-users, JB only works on Windows. Das ist schade. Not to say that the concepts of programming in these tutorials don't apply universally, though).

Introductions aside, let's get started.

The first thing you are going to need is a compiler. A compiler is a program that takes the written commands from the programmer, analyzes it and looks for stuff it doesn't understand, and then turns it into machine language (namely, 1's and 0's). In these tutorials, we will be using a language called Just BASIC, which is a variant of the original BASIC programming language of the 1970's. You can download the compiler here. This language is an excellent choice for beginners because it is
  1. Free
  2. Easy to learn
  3. Offers a wide variety of functions including basic GUI's, graphics commands, sprite programming, and sound effects.
So as you can see, it's great for beginners and yet is complex enough to continue using it even as you get more advanced.

Once you've downloaded the compiler, open it up. It's time to write our first program. Most peoples first programs print the words "Hello, World" on the screen. But if you want your program to be unique, have it write something more creative than that. In the video I use the more informal "Howdy." No matter what you have it say, here is how you have it say it:

print "Howdy, World!"

What this does is it tells the computer to display the text "Howdy, World!" in the main window, and then it ends the program. Easy, right?

You're right, it is easy. But in the future, things won't be so easy, so enjoy how easy it is while it lasts.

Congratulations! You've just written your first program. You are now well on your way to becoming an excellent computer coder (if you keep reading, that is).

goto [nextTutorial]


  1. I learned with my first commodore 4K
    Been hooked on it since!

  2. I learned with my first commodore 4K
    Been hooked on it since!