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What Was Your First Programming Language?

Following up on last week's "What was your first computer?" question (the VIC-20 was a clear winner), this week's question is "What was your first programming language?"

Thinking back, I initially thought it was Level Basic for the TRS-80, but Eric's post reminded me the first thing I programmed was an HP calculator, mostly so I could use it to cheat in class :-) After the TRS-80 I programmed my Apple IIe in Applesoft Basic, which was much better than its predecessor because it could do floating point numbers. Does anyone remember numbering your lines counting in tens so you had room to add other lines in the middle?

Applesoft Basic Aloha World:
20 ? "Aloha World!"
The first time I saw Amiga basic I was thrown by the fact there were no line numbers.

AmigaBASIC Aloha World:
PRINT "Aloha World!"
The progression of languages I learned from grade school to today:

Level I Basic (TRS-80) -> Applesoft Basic -> Amiga Basic -> Pascal -> Objective C (remember NeXTcube?) -> Python -> Java & C#

How about you?

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Tags: C#, Java, Objective C, basic, pascal, programming, python


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Comment by Chris Runnells on February 11, 2014 at 9:49pm

My first language was Basic on an Apple Macintosh Classic.

Comment by Joseph White on November 5, 2013 at 6:46pm

Apple Assembly language & Basic on the good ole Apple IIe

Comment by Steve Craven on October 28, 2011 at 7:52am
Fortran 4H on the UH mainframe when I was a grad student in 1972.
Comment by Thomas Olausson on May 4, 2011 at 1:37pm

My first programming language was Basic on a Commodore VIC-20.


Like many computers of that era, you booted your machine to a prompt where you could type code right away.

I loved that simplicity.

Comment by GB Hajim on April 7, 2010 at 6:31pm
This thread is turning into a geek version of macho bravado. Basic was really my first language that I learned, but I concurrently learned Assembly and Machine language. I remember my first project in Machine was to come up with my own character outside the ASCII. Built it bit by bit with 010101101s.
Comment by Mary St. John on April 7, 2010 at 4:37pm
These are some dusty brain cells but let's see.... BASIC on an Apple IIe in junior high at school and an IBM PC (one of the first?) at home. I remember "goto" and my first infinite loop too. "To infinity and beyond!" But most of that sector in my brain has since been reformatted and overwritten with things like dirty jokes or quotes from Buzz Lightyear. Although I did meet a guy the other day named Pascal and asked: "like the programming language?" (vs. the scientist or the unit of pressure) so maybe their are still a few fragments that remain...

Progression: BASIC -> Pascal -> C -> Ada -> Visual Basic -> C++ -> php -> 12-step program for recovering programmers :)

Side note: when I worked for JPL/NASA from 1991 - 1993 my timecards (which I wrote on) consisted of some kind of punch card with the lopped-off corner and a few mysterious rectangular holes!
Comment by Francis L. Camacho on April 7, 2010 at 4:18pm
Comment by Ken Berkun on April 7, 2010 at 4:16pm
Excuse me, we wrote text games in Microsoft Basic on Altairs and IMSAIs. Whoops, showing my age. Actually my first game was tic-tac-toe written in Algol running on a Burroughs mainframe (B6700) and displayed on Tektronix graphics terminals (the famous green flashers). The graphics interface was my final project for my computer graphics class, circa 1976. You used wheels to move the x/y indicators to where you wanted to move, no graphics cursor on that device.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on April 7, 2010 at 4:07pm
Hi David - That looks like a lot more fun than the way guys my age were introduced to programming. We wrote text games on TRS-80s :-) Thank you for sharing.
Comment by David on April 7, 2010 at 4:04pm
My first exposure to any type of programming was in my high school days with Starcraft's map/campaign editor. The editor was amazing because anyone without experience in programming could still create mini-games like Pacman, poker, or even lengthy RPGs.

The editor had if-else statements, loops, and switches. I remember my first encounter with an infinite loop that caused a whole bunch of units to spawn and max the map out. It was very similar to assembly language, plus I didn't have any concept of organization or abstraction at the time so debugging was a complete nightmare.

I also did some Visual Basic programming for a class in high school. It only covered if-else statements and printing so I didn't learn much. Java was my first official language that I learned at UH. I'm currently learning C, C++, and plan to add on a few database and scripting languages before I graduate.


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