Do you think that exposure to BASIC can mutilate your mind? [closed]

Posted by bigown on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by bigown
Published on 2010-09-28T02:42:03Z Indexed on 2012/10/02 3:55 UTC
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It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration

-- Edsger W. Dijkstra

I have deep respect to Dijkstra but I don't agree with everything he said/wrote. I disagree specially with this quote on linked paper wrote 35 years ago about the Dartmouth BASIC implementation.

Many of my coworkers or friends programmers started with BASIC, questions below have answers that indicate many programmers had their first experience on programming at BASIC. AFAIK many good programmers started at BASIC programming.

I'm not talking about Visual Basic or other "modern" dialects of BASIC running on machines full of resources. I'm talking about old times BASIC running on "toy" computer, that the programmer had to worry about saving small numbers that need not be calculated as a string to save a measly byte because the computer had only a few hundreds of them, or have to use computed goto for lack of a more powerful feature, and many other things which require the programmer to think much before doing something and forcing the programmer to be creative.

If you had experience with old time BASIC on a machine with limited resources (have in mind that a simple micro-controller today has much more resources than a computer in 1975, do you think that BASIC help your mind to find better solutions, to think like an engineer or BASIC drag you to dark side of programming and mutilated you mentally?

Is good to learn a programming language running on a computer full of resources where the novice programmer can do all wrong and the program runs without big problems? Or is it better to learn where the programmer can't go wrong?

What can you say about the BASIC have helped you to be a better/worse programmer?

Would you teach old BASIC running on a 2KB (virtual) machine to a coming programmer?

Sure, only exposure to BASIC is bad. Maybe you share my opinion that modern BASIC doesn't help too much because modern BASIC, as long other programming languages, gives facilities which allow the programmer doesn't think deeper.

Additional information: Why BASIC?

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