Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

October, 2008

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Announcing Small Basic From Microsoft DevLabs


    Do you remember the old days of learning how to program with a simple, easy to use, uncomplicated version of BASIC? A lot of people including a lot of teachers (and more than a few professional developers) do. But in general companies are working on more and more powerful version with added complexity. Here now is step sideways. Not all the way batch to the command line but not so far forward that it takes a trained professional to use Small Basic is a new development tool for beginners. For over a year Small Basic was a part-time project by a software developer at Microsoft. He had a small number of people who experimented with it, tried it with their kids, and provided feedback. Today Microsoft released it into “the wild” as part of the new DevLabs portal. (Nice video there with Microsoft engineers talking about innovation and inspiration.

    A little more information from the Small Basic portal site:

    Small Basic is a project that's aimed at bringing "fun" back to programming. By providing a small and easy to learn programming language in a friendly and inviting development environment, Small Basic makes programming a breeze. Ideal for kids and adults alike, Small Basic helps beginners take the first step into the wonderful world of programming.

    • Small Basic derives its inspiration from the original BASIC programming language, and is based on the Microsoft .Net platform. It is really small with just 15 keywords and uses minimal concepts to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.
    • The Small Basic development environment is simple, yet provides powerful modern environment features like Intellisense™ and instant context sensitive help.
    • Small Basic allows third-party libraries to be plugged in with ease, making it possible for the community to extend the experience in fun and interesting ways.

    You will find a getting started guide at the Small Basic Portal BTW. Check it out and send me you feedback or discuss it in the Small Basic forums or the Small Basic Blog hosted my the developer behind it.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Free E-books on Visual Studio 2008 and MS Robotics Studio


    Microsoft Press is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with some free e-books. Two that may be interesting to educators are one on MS Robotics Studio and one on Visual Studio 2008. These offers expire on October 22nd so act now. And tell others who could use these books about it. The two books are:

    Programming Microsoft Robotics Studio by Sara Morgan: Visualize, build, and deploy the next innovation in robotic applications with this practical guide to Microsoft Robotics Studio. Available for free until October 22nd, 2008.

    Get a head start on working with Visual Studio 2008 with this new e-book. It includes excerpts from three recent Microsoft Press titles and provides a wealth of information and insights from top experts.
    The free e-book offer includes content from:
    •    Programming Microsoft LINQ by Paolo Pialorsi and Marco Russo
    •    Introducing Microsoft Silverlight 2, Second Edition by Laurence Moroney
    •    Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 by Dino Esposito

    This one may be available longer but I recommend acting soon.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    C# Yellow Book


    Looking to learn or teach C#? Rob Miles announced that the C# Yellow Book which “is used by the Department of Computer Science in the University of Hull as the basis of the First Year programming course” is available as a PDF file. I went and grabbed a copy. I happily recommend all of Rob’s work.

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