BASIC vs Python

Andrew Dalke dalke at
Sun Dec 19 08:23:47 CET 2004

Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
> 	Ah, but you said "standard" module for Python... The
> graphics/sound extensions on your TI 99/4A were not "standard" BASIC...

I assume by "standard" you mean some sort of formal standard,
like ANSI Basic or ISO C?  If so, well, there's no "standard" Python.

What I meant is a widely used implementation.  Perhaps "off-the-shelf"
would have been an alternative word choice.

On thing I should mention is that I'm talking about Extended
BASIC, which came on a cartridge and was much more fun than
the built-in BASIC.

Ahh, and while I gave an example with the PLAY command that
was from GW-BASIC on my Heathkit.  For the TI you needed to
enter the frequencies.  I still remember that A is 440 Hz
and C is 262.

> Go to a different computer, and the commands would likely be much
> different -- and if the command was the same, the range of pixels might
> vary.

Or even the shape of the pixel, as the TRS-80 had distinctly
rectangular ones.

I don't follow your point though.  In the early 1980s there were
no microcomputers with standard anything.  What programs, other
than some trivial BASIC ones, could be ported to other platforms
without change?

> 	Hmmm, as I recall, the 99/4A didn't use BASIC as the "native"
> level, but actually ran it on top of another specialized interpreter.

Don't know.  I had migrated to a Heathkit running DOS long
before I could understand those details.  I've heard that,
and looking around now I see you're right.  BTW, from
here's the specs for that machine
  3.3MHz, 26 K ROM, 16.25 K RAM, 32x24 character display @ 16 colors,
40x24 @ 2 colors, 256x192 graphics, 3 channels of sound, 
US$525 in 1981.  Worse than just about any mobile phone
these days.

And there's even an emulator, for people with the old
ROMs hanging around.  Wonder if my parents still have my
old computers ..... 

				dalke at

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