Re: Ask "them" directly...

Here you can talk about anything related to BBC BASIC, not covered in another category
Hated Moron
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu 07 Apr 2022, 10:10

Re: Ask "them" directly...

Post by Hated Moron »

kigohhere wrote: Hello, I want to talk about a post in another thread:
Hated Moron wrote:
Wed 15 Jun 2022, 15:00
I'm all out of ideas. :(

I'm pleased with BBCSDL's performance, productivity and compatibility, and I don't think there is much that needs to be 'fixed' in those areas.

I've done what I can to 'spread the word' by posting about BBC BASIC on Social Media (where the enthusiasm seems much higher than here).

I've - contrary to my better judgement - given a presentation to ABug which was recorded and is available for anybody to view. :shock:

If there's anything more that I could have done, I don't know what it is.
The title is "Ask 'them' directly". 'them' means: people who downloaded BBCSDL to try but finally decided not to learn and use BBCSDL. Getting honest feedbacks from these people can make the author of BBCSDL realize real weakness or flaws of BBCSDL. The author will therefore know what should be done for the future versions of BBCSDL.

BBCSDL needs sincere, honest and objective feedbacks.
If by "them" you mean existing users of BBC BASIC for Windows who have chosen not to try BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0, surely by posting to this forum (plus being automatically cross-posted to the Discussion Group) I have already 'asked them'. I could make the question more explicit by creating a poll, but past experience suggests that polls don't attract many replies, and they are not very well suited when the possible answers cannot be easily categorised.

On the other hand if by "them" you mean people who are not existing BBC BASIC users, but who have downloaded BBCSDL and then decided not to use it, how can I contact them to ask the question? More than likely they didn't join this forum (or any other) either, so they are not going to see these posts. I have no way of knowing who may have downloaded it; I'm not even sure I can find out how many 'genuine' downloads (by a human rather than a bot) there have been.

The underlying implication in your message seems to be that BBCSDL has serious "weaknesses or flaws" and that they are the main reason why the take-up has been disappointing. If that is the case then of course I would like to know what those shortcomings are. The language is inevitably constrained by 'history' so I'm not going to be doing anything that is not in the 'spirit' of BBC BASIC or which introduces avoidable incompatibilities with other versions. :?
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Hated Moron
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu 07 Apr 2022, 10:10

Re: Ask "them" directly...

Post by Hated Moron »

kigohhere wrote: BBCSDL needs sincere, honest and objective feedbacks.
I should add that, as you may have seen, I did receive some feedback from an ex-user, but he was somewhat untypical in having decided to move from BBC BASIC to C++! His main criticisms of BBCSDL seemed to be twofold: firstly that he "needed a better editor and debugger" and secondly that it is a "one-man show".

He didn't explain in what ways he found the editor and debugger lacking. It's certainly true that the BBCSDL debugger isn't as sophisticated as, say, gdb that one might use when programming in C or C++, but as i pointed out in my reply it shouldn't need to be! The kinds of catastrophic crash that can so easily occur in C or C++, and require deep debugging to diagnose, should never happen in BBC BASIC (unless you use low-level features like indirection, which I don't recommend).

But my general reaction to comments about the BBCSDL editor(s) and debugger is to point out that they are themselves written in BBC BASIC - indeed (in the case of the editors at least) in sufficiently portable BASIC that they will run equally well in BB4W or BBCSDL. So they are eminently able to be adapted, extended or customised by any competent BBC BASIC programmer. I would be only too pleased to receive submissions of improved versions that I could consider incorporating in the standard editions.

As far as being a "one-man show" is concerned, I have done everything in my power to encourage others to contribute. The code (at least that used for the 64-bit and ARM editions) is Open Source and available at Github. The internals (e.g. code architecture and data structures) are documented in more detail than is often the case. And I am always prepared to provide any additional information that may be needed.

Indeed my BASICs aren't entirely a one-man show anyway because the version for the Raspberry Pi Pico was developed by 'Memotech Bill' and is also available at GitHub. Should I cease to be available to provide support he knows a great deal about the internals, and has even experimentally modified the core interpreter to reduce its stack usage when run on machines with limited memory.

If there's anything more I could have done to promote and support BBC BASIC, I would like to know what! :?
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Hated Moron
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu 07 Apr 2022, 10:10

Re: Ask "them" directly...

Post by Hated Moron »

On 29/06/2022 13:51, Ivan wrote (cross-posted from Discussion Group):
when I realized BBCBASIC only was maintained for errors, I had to drop it.
All the early incarnations of BBC BASIC, going back forty years or more, were programmed into ROM; not only that, the ROM was completely full! So it was impossible to extend it, or even to fix bugs. This was of course the norm for home computers of the day, nobody thought of it as a limitation or disadvantage.

Indeed I have always considered stability and freedom from bugs to be far more important than bloating a language with more and more features. So I don't agree that being in a 'maintenance only' phase, and therefore effectively 'frozen', is a reason not to use BBC BASIC for Windows. Quite the contrary!
The last language C/C++ was relatively easy to do a rewrite of some of BBCBASIC programs.
Fine, but that would only be true of a small subset of BBC BASIC programs, basically those that use only console I/O. Programs that make use of graphics, or sound, or 3D animations, or networking, or proportional-spaced fonts etc. would be much harder to write in C or C++ than in BBC BASIC. Not impossible, of course, but difficult.

If you add to the mix a requirement for your program to run on a range of platforms (e.g. Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS etc.) then it would be harder still. In contrast BBC BASIC provides all these capabilities either built-in or by means of standard libraries which are supplied with it. Cross-platform compatibility comes for 'free' and there are 160 example programs illustrating virtually every kind of application.
I was of that impression that Richard was the only person, who is developing SDLBASIC.
I think several popular and successful BASICs are largely the work of just one person. Acorn's versions of BBC BASIC were written by Sophie Wilson, Liberty BASIC largely by Carl Gundel, Power BASIC largely by Bob Zale, SpecBas by Paul Dunn; I'm sure there are plenty more examples. At least in the case of BBC BASIC the language itself, if not specific implementations like BBCSDL, is very widely understood and supported.

If you are going to limit yourself only to languages developed by large teams, you'll have a much smaller choice.
Because of my dyslexia I badly needed a better editor and my programs gets bigger and bigger. C++ have strong features to handle multiple files and I ended with CodeBlocks, because of it can be customized – in my case minimised and changing of colours, indentions and much more.
As I'm sure I've said before, neither BBC BASIC for Windows nor BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 forces you to use any specific editor. It's perfectly possible to use both with alternative editors, indeed there's an example of that in SDLIDE_for_BB4W which is BBC BASIC for Windows but using one of the editors from BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0.
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kigohhere
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:56

Re: Ask "them" directly...

Post by kigohhere »

Hated Moron wrote:If by "them" you mean existing users of BBC BASIC for Windows
Hi, no, I mean outsiders who are long-term users of other BASIC dialects but accidentally downloaded BBCSDL and then tried it. Although BBCSDL is a freeware for cross-platform and there are a lot of nice source code examples in the zip file and BBCSDL is always in active development, they still decided to uninstall or delete BBCSDL. I mean this group of people.
how can I contact them to ask the question? More than likely they didn't join this forum (or any other) either, so they are not going to see these posts.
Yes, these people did not register at this forum. They did not want to spend their time on writing reviews or comments as well.

However, there is a suitable place called LB Booster forum. The software Liberty Basic is weird. It is not free. Moreover, the development process of its new version is very, very slow. The alpha stage started in spring of 2019 and this new version is still in the alpha stage!!!!! Nevertheless, their forum is quite active. It seems that those LB users still love Liberty Basic very much.

I believe that most LB Booster users were curious about BBCSDL. I also think that this group of LB Booster users downloaded and tried BBCSDL. BBCSDL is free and more versatile than Liberty Basic(old version or alpha version). I guess that almost all LB Booster users downloaded BBCSDL to try but most of them uninstalled BBCSDL at last. Why not open a topic to ask what these people think of BBCSDL in the LB Booster forum? Ask them to compare BBCSDL and LB alpha version and ask them what should be improved in BBCSDL. Really useful!
The underlying implication in your message seems to be that BBCSDL has serious "weaknesses or flaws"
Ha.., no. I only don't understand. I mean that I have two questions: BBCSDL has been actively developed for several years but the forum is not too active. Moreover, not too many new forum members joined the forum for the last several years.

Some free BASIC dialects: their authors' development speeds are so slow but there are still many enthusiastic forum members in their forums(also new forum members) and their forums are really active.
His main criticisms of BBCSDL seemed to be twofold: firstly that he "needed a better editor and debugger" and secondly that it is a "one-man show".
The user is a very responsible user! You at least knew why this user had left BBCSDL.
If there's anything more I could have done to promote and support BBC BASIC, I would like to know what!
BBCSDL needs many enthusiastic forum members. These people will be able to give you plently of good suggestions and opinions on BBCSDL. They will also help you to promote BBCSDL everywhere. This forum lacks this group of members. The situation is not good.