From: Chuck Simmons
Organization: You jest.
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (X11; U; Linux 2.0.33 i586)
Subject: Re: Basic Stamp vs Pic processors
References: <3D9F33B3.E4B561BB@webaccess.net> <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 21:15:07 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 14:15:07 PDT
Frank Bemelman wrote:
> "Chuck Simmons" schreef in bericht
> > Jim wrote:
> > >
> > > Is there any relationship between what I can do (other than cost)
> > > the Basic Stamp and any number of Pic's?
> > >
> > > What I mean is that I feel I need to come up to speed in hobby hardware
> > > design by using programmable chips. I don't presently own any Basic
> > > and haven't done any Pic programming, although I have used Pics in
> > > projects....I've been able, so far, to get hold of the HEX code and have
> > > someone else load it into the chip.
> > >
> > > I do programming in Quickbasic, but no assembler, but I have
> > > PicBasic in case I want to go that route. I REALLY don't want to learn
> > > new language at my age for something that I will just be using
> > > occassionally.
> > >
> > > I see on the web a good bit of BS2 code for the Basic Stamp for projects
> > > am interested in. Is this code portable over to Pics in any way? I
> > > wouldn't mind investing in Stamp stuff to do some development and
> > > breadboarding, but wouldn't want to buy a Basic Stamp to go into every
> > > project I build.
> > I don't know squat about PIC but I would say that you should use native
> > tools. By native, I mean tools specific to the processor and its I/O
> > scheme. I'm an old fart too and don't like to learn new computer
> > languages but I would have to be 90 years older than God to let that
> > stand in my way. Look a little closer at PicBasic. Basic is Basic (sort
> > of), so learning PicBasic should not be too much trouble.
> > You may not wish to do assembly language at all. I've done a lot of
> > assembly over the years and I still have to be retrained after coffee
> > breaks. I'm not sure that language makes much difference to the
> > readability of code. I've seen hopeless spaghetti code written in just
> > about every language including Basic. I personally won't use Basic. At
> > the best of times, it is even more ambiguous than Fortran which is an
> > incredible feat. Still, if you know it, leverage on it.
> > BTW, "structured Basic" is an oxymoron.
> 'Modern' basics don't use linenumbers, so you write something
> like 'gosub myfunction' etc. I think it can be as structured
> as you want it to be. You are right about the spaghetticode,
> which tells more about the programmer than the language. OTH,
> nothing wrong with the goto statement, which is used far too
> *less* by programmers that have between, eh, 2-4 yrs of
> experience. Ditto for setjmp() etc. But I'm drifting off.
> I think the OP should investigate that PicBasic he mentions, so
> he can use the PIC's he already has. I know that the first generation
> of basicstamps used a PIC too. I once used one at home, to control
> my gardenlights. Very easy to use. The later basicstamp2 uses a
> scenix/ubicom processor IIRC. This is a *very* fast processor, so even
> with an interpreted tokenized basic, and running plain stupid 'unstructured'
> basiccode it should do miracles, I'd guess. It must be much faster
> than the first basicstamp, but perhaps comparable to any PIC running
> *compiled* picbasic.
> Whether these PIC's or 'Stamps' are fit for their task, also depends
> a lot on the programmer's skills.
We are agreed that the OP should take a very close look at PicBasic
however much I dislike Basic.
The loss of line numbers from Basic would seem to render it purposeless.
After all, Basic was invented to teach students how to increment line
The "goto" statement has always been incomplete. It hardly makes sense
without a "comefrom" to complement it.
Back in about 1974, I was learning Forth and Fortran at the same time.
Forth, at that time, did not have anything resembling a "goto" even in
the built in Forth assembler for the underlying machine. Fortran,
naturally, is written entirely with "goto" and "gosub.' You can
literally spend weeks writing "gosub" and "goto" before you finally get
around to writing a single statement that does anything useful. Forth,
in contrast, lacking the "goto" and "gosub" statements puts the
programmer under immense preasure to get to the point. This is highly
unwelcome if you are used to programing by copy/pasting miles of "goto"
and "gosub" statements. Naturally, when the need for Fortran in my life
ended, I forgot it within an hour of writing the last statement I wrote
In the late 1970s, I was a test engineer at Burr-Brown Research. The
automated test equipment used Basic because it was a standard portable
language. The result was that the entire test engineering department
spent all of its time converting test programs from one Basic to
another. The massive task was the result of the slight differences
between one Basic and another. When I left Burr-Brown, I vowed never to
write another line of Basic ever.
Of the high level languages, Forth and C are my favorites. Unlike
Pascal, C allows you to shoot yourself in the foot. This latter ability,
oddly, is precisely where C and Forth derive their great power. A
language that is so anal that it won't let you do something stupid tends
to be incapable of doing anything useful.
Years ago, assembly language was about all there was. You used it and
you were happy (maybe). Assembly language, though very primative,
refines the art of shooting yourself in the foot. The legends of real
programmers come from the days when assembler was king. Today, assembly
language is for snobs or so it would seem. I think this is a lot like
people who work in offices dressing like cowboys. The basic trouble is
that the horse is dead and no amount of flogging will resurrect it.
These days, I write a lot of assembly but I consider it rather a pain.
Probably because I have impeccable aim at my foot. I tend to like Perl
and will write C when I can. Assembly language and migrains seem to be
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons firstname.lastname@example.org