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.