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Re: Programming language recommendation?

At 05:55 PM 10/4/2008, Alan P. Biddle wrote:
>We have a lot of folks here who do programming at a variety of levels.
>After a 20+ year hiatus, I am looking to get back into doing a bit of
>programming.  The intent is not to get into it at a professional level, but
>to be able to rip off quick and dirty small programs.  Data acquisition,
>taking the output of a program and merge and reformat it for specific
>purposes, which of course I can do in some cases with Excel, are a couple of
>things which come to mind.  It will need the ability to interact with
>external hardware.  However, the primary purpose is as a brain stretcher for
>someone who once thought F*RTR*N was a real language.
>I am tempted to say that I am looking for the current generation BASIC, but
>I am want something a bit beyond that, though of course the ability to print
>"Hello World" with less than 10 lines of code is a plus.  ;)  And it needs
>to be something I can get into using a free or low cost compiler.  I am not
>much interested in spending a few hundred dollars.
>People have recommended Python, older versions of Delphi, early version of
>C, etc, as what I should do.  Well, maybe.  So if anyone has a good
>recommendation, please contact me OFF LIST.  And did I say, it needs to be

Hi Alan,

If you don't mind a little learning curve,
C++ will give you the most control and once you
learn it is pretty easy to use. You can download
Visual Studio Express C++ for free from the Microsoft
web site. If you decide to go this way, buy
"Programming Windows" by Charles Petzold. This has
been the PC programming "Bible" since Windows 3.1.
The current version is the 5th edition.

C++ is not that complicated but Windows is a little
nasty to get used to. DOS is much easier (and DOS
programs will still run under Vista) but you
have to look around for something that will compile
a DOS program. I used the now ancient Microsoft C++ V7
for InstantTune in 1994. Perhaps you could find it on eBay?
I still use it under WinXP when I get the occasional
change request (believe it or not I still get them!)

Another alternative if you are only doing simple things
is the MixSoftware C compiler which is still available
and only costs $20. I actually used this for professional
projects many years ago and the manual is probably the best
C run-time library manual ever written. I still use
it even on current projects as a reference.

I hope I see you at the Symposium this year! If you
have any questions, please fell free to email.

Tony AA2TX

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