BASIC vs Python

Adam DePrince adam at
Fri Dec 17 19:54:45 CET 2004

On Fri, 2004-12-17 at 12:52, Mike Meyer wrote:
> Peter Hickman <peter at> writes:
> > Mike Meyer wrote:
> >> BASIC as implented by Microsoft for the Apple II and the TRS 80 (among
> >> others) is simply the worst programming language I have ever
> >> encountered. Assembler was better - at least you had recursion with
> >> assembler.
> >
> > Basic has progressed much since you last looked at it, time to update
> > your facts. Basic has recursion, it compiles to native code, it has
> > objects, can be event driven and everything else you would expect of a
> > language.

What you describe isn't everything that I'd expect of a language. 
Again, this is what I meant when I suggested that making basic your
native language limits your horizon.

1. First class functions
2. Full functional programming support ala Standard ML
3. Portability
4. Elegance

Please try to understand that Python is not created to kowtow to the
political and financial needs of any one entity.  It is a group of
hackers that for reasons of ego satisfaction alone wish to create a
language that incorporates the best practices of every other language
they have a collective awareness of.  

The only really common implementation of BASIC that exists is MS Visual
Basic.  Its goals are a bit different - the furtherance of its author's
financial ambitions is its primary goal, and its geek appeal has
suffered as a  result. 

> That's why I said "as implemented by". I'm well aware that BASIC has
> changed a lot since then, adding structured programming facilities,
> local variables, and even objects in some cases. But we were
> discussing languages of the mid-80s, not what's currently available.
> > Computing changes too fast to allow you to think you know it all. Keep
> > up to date granddad.
> You should be sure of your context before making snippy comments.

I'd like to ask everybody a simple question.  How many computer
languages are you completely and utterly fluent in?  The reason I ask is
I'd like for everyone who has participated in this discussion to
introspect and ask themselves why they hold the views they do. 

Does your opinion come from a deep understanding of computer languages
as a whole, or is it a reflection of the small list of languages you
happen to know?

Lastly, Mike, please refrain from "argumentum ad hominem."  You never
know where life will bring you.  Wouldn't it suck to find your dream
job, only to meet "Granddad" at the interview?

Need I point out that wandering onto python-list at and having
strong opinions in favor of BASIC is sort of like wandering into a
Hasidim temple on Yom Kippur and talking about the salvation of Jesus
while munching on a ham and cheese sandwich?  Don't be surprised if you
have trouble making friends.

Adam DePrince 

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