Conversions, suggestions, etc.

Posted on 2003-03-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-17

First off, any and all recommendations are welcome.


I decided (about a year and a half ago) to start learning to write programs...
With a half hearted attempt, I quickly realized programming tools etc aren't cheap.
Considering that I din't want to go to school or devote a tremendous amount of time and money learning how to do these things, I decided to pull out my old copy of DOS 6.22 and such, put a new partition on my hard drive strictly for working with DOS 6.22, and start with Qbasic. (Very Old, but free, and I figured it would at least help me learn the basics.)

Since then, I've written a few extremely basic (but fun for me) programs. One which takes the current date and time and your entered birthdate, then calculates your age in seconds,minutes,hours, days, weeks, months, and years, as well as telling you how many leapyears you've lived through, another that takes any range of number you give it and lets you know what numbers within that range are prime.

Using Qbasic, I was able to create .exe files from my little programs, but they still used a DOS window to run in Windows 9X and later. (although I've never had a problem running them)

So, now the fun part:

My programs have some limitations due to the fact that they were created with Qbasic.(which doesn't support numbers as large as I'm hoping to be able to work with etc.)

I've yet to figure out how to do some of the graphics for a game I wish to create. (I'm hoping it's a simple enough game for me to fiddle with and actually make)

Due to the limitations of Qbasic, I'm looking to move on, so I was hoping someone would be able to recommend a good programming language for me to use that won't be too hard to understand, and hopefully won't be too hard on the pocketbook.

Also, I'm somewhat pleased with the results of my little programs, as basic and simplistic as they may be to anyone else, and would like to keep / upgrade them. (Such as the one that searches for prime numbers being able to search through higher numbers than the limitations within Qbasic) So can any of your recommend a means of converting these programs to another language?

I am self taught, without any teachers other than those I can find online, so easier to understand is better.

I'm placing a value of 200 points on this question, if this is not enough, please state what would be appropriate.

Thanks for your time.


Question by:Christopher McKay
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Expert Comment

ID: 8242821
It's good that you've taken the initiative to teach yourself programming.  I suggest that you now start with C as you can download it free and quite similar to Qbasic, but more powerful (of course it means a little more complicated coding).  Books on C language are also relatively cheaper.

Visual Basic is highly recommended, if you have budget.  Very user friendly, and would not require you previous programming knowledge to make your first simple programs.  Internet references also teem in abundance.  The lines of code you write in C can be reduced to almost half if you use Visual Basic.  Not to mention, the graphic appeal of the system you can make with Visual Basic.  However, the cost for license is a little expensive.  If budget permits, try to invest in VB, it's worth it.

Both C and VB can be very lucrative if you really intend to master any of the languages.

Another suggestion, try HTML and web programming!!!
(Why didn't i think of that?!) So fun yet so cheap.  You would only need a notepad and a browser.  No software needed to create your web page!
LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 8242967
Turbo Pascal and Turbo C are available for free from the Internet.


You will probably have to register (this is free) to access these products).

You'll have to find a manual for these, your local library may have reference books, but there are numerous tutorials on the Internet.  But they do support graphics under DOS.

If you learn C, then you have the basics of the Java language.

Various Delphi versions are also free.  Pascal like, they are Windows compilers.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8243061
My first jump around 10 years ago was from qbasic to Turbo pascal... then from pascal to c.  then c++ and many more languages.

I would sugguest moving to c, or c++.

free compilers for each are easy to find anywhere. just do a search for

"free c compiler" or "free c++ compiler" or "gnu gcc" or "gnu compiler" or whatever.

From my experience, i've come to learn that once you know how to program in one langauage, and you can really program (not just copy other people's work and change a couple of things around) then you should be able to do it in any language, just learn the syntax.

I would also sugguest c or c++ not only because they are easy to find free compilers for, but because of the plethora of free knowledge and help you can find.  for instance, here, the c and c++ topics are booming with questions and answers if you want to ask them.

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Expert Comment

ID: 8243402

I would like to chime in with java being an excellent choice to use as you first high level language. Java has been evolving over the past 5 years or more and has become really powerful.  Compilers are free, Jbuilder, an IDE, is free for personal use, and there is a lot of information to be had out there. I learned the basics in school in no time and every complex programming situation i come to, i have found it easier to stick with Java.  with java, there are no pointers or references, no destructors and it is all streamlined to make for quick program writing. It offers pretty much all of the options available in c and c++ but you dont have all of the problems like memory management.  a garbage collector takes care of all of this.  At first the Object Oriented side of it can be a little daunting, but you can write a straight-foward program quickly.  if you want to do database access, it is relatively fast and you can do it in about 30 lines of code.  web services can be created in java as well. as far as the programs you have, i have written programs just like them in java in school and you may be surprised at how easy it is to do in java. I too cut my programming teeth on qbasic and then soon jumped the cobol wagon before going on to java and havent looked back. if you need some help with graphics programming in qbasic, i could dig out the old manuals on that and java graphics are really easy to do.  good luck with your programming adventure.

Expert Comment

ID: 8243668
I recommend either MS Visual Basic (either version 6 or .NET) or Sun Java. I taught myself QBasic, and moved on to VB - that process is quite easy, but possibly doesn't lead to a good understanding of modular or event-driven programming. I was taught Java at uni. It's a simple language, and though it would be a fair deal harder for you to pick up than VB, it will be a lot easier than C, and indeed it will make C/C++ a fairly easy step after you've mastered it. There are a lot of resources out there for Java - JBuilder is an excellent IDE, the standard library documentation make it almost as easy to learn how to do new things as QB, and for the initial learning phase, you can't do much better than Bruce Eckel's Thinking In Java; add to that millions of online homemade tutorials, and surely half the online world will be delighted to answer your learning Java questions. All these resources should be fairly easy to google up. Good luck with whatever you do! GEEK!! (Man, that term is nowhere near as harsh as it used to be...)

Expert Comment

ID: 8244415

I personally use Delphi but here is my recommendation.

I am not sure the language matters too much although many people go the route of :=
pascal -> to train on
then either C/Delphi/Visual Basic

What I would say is that if you are looking for a cheap but complete and usefull package look to the computer magasine free discs.

I have found Borland Java/Delphi/C all on free CDs. Ok the version is not the most up to date but it can do everything and is ideal for learning on. No worries about downloading it and some help in getting going is often provided within the same magasine.

LVL 22

Author Comment

by:Christopher McKay
ID: 8329921
Ok, so far I read the following as options:
Visual Basic (6 or .net)
HTML (** see note)
Turbo Pascal
Turbo C
Sun Java

(I may have missed some, but things like Borland Java, and Java..... I don't understand the difference).

**Note: I do know HTML... although I haven't actually used it in ages. I used to write my own HTML for my site, but it has long since got the cyber heaven, due to a lack of upkeep. :o)

I, due to the lack of responses regarding them, have decided to abandon the idea of converting my old Qbasic Programs. They can go in my "Things I'm proud of, but will only remember when I stumble across them when searching for something else." pile.

Now, with the list above, and hopefully a bit of advice from you all, I'm hoping to pick one of the languages, and "jump in the water", as they say.

I'm requesting, and hoping that at least one (hopefully more) of you can provide me  with an idea of advantages and disadvantages with these languages vs. each other.

Or, barring a comparison, perhaps someone can tell me what else I should be searching for? Or am I making this more difficult that it needs to be? If I start one language and decide it's not that easy, can I easily switch to another? Or is that not advisable? Have I confused anyone yet? ~LOL~


Accepted Solution

burtdav earned 800 total points
ID: 8331682
> If I start one language and decide it's not that easy, can I easily switch to another?
Yes. Knowing one language will make the second heaps easier, and the third even easier...
Now, comparisons:

Similar to QBasic - you can use most of the functions and statements you're familiar with - but at the same time introduces "event-driven" programming, and building a Windows interface. You can get tutorials on the net quite readily, too. Definitely my recommendation for you (see my earlier post). You'd have to buy it, though.
The JDK (Java Development Kit) is free from Sun, and so is JBuilder. It'll take longer to write a working program, and be more difficult than Basic, but not as bad as C/C++. Also, after learning Java, C/C++ will be a lot easier to pick up. Also recommended.
I'd recommend C++ rather than C, but Java's a lot easier. Definitely more hardcore. If you want to do some serious programming, and consider efficiency of your code, etc, you're probably going to go here, but you're probably not going to be entirely self-taught, either (although you could be, I suppose).
Don't bother. It's not a toy - it likes making reports and stuff.
Don't bother with Pascal. You're just better off with Java. Delphi's comparable to VB, but it's a different language, and I don't think there's any benefit compared to VB, and there's a learning curve learning Pascal - a waste of time, I think.
Don't think I'd recommend trying to do stuff with DHTML for this kind of application. It's too hard to figure out what you did wrong - if you make any mistake, it just won't do anything.

Then you've got a few duplicates in your list:
Turbo C = C (Borland's version)
Turbo Pascal = Pascal
Sun Java = Java
LVL 22

Author Comment

by:Christopher McKay
ID: 8383267
Thank-you all for your input. It gives me an idea of where to start anyways. :o)

Points for all involved:
ralamis see here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Q_20594220.html
dbrunton see here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Q_20594221.html
substand see here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Q_20594222.html
imfrazier1 see here:http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Q_20594223.html
Griffon see here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Q_20594224.html

burtdav, for your additional assistance in responding a second time, you get awarded the points from this question.


Cheers everyone!



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