Today, we have a special guest blogger, Philip Conrod! He is sharing with us an excerpt from their book for kids, Beginning Microsoft Small Basic by Philip Conrod and Lou Tylee. This section is available as part of Chapter 1 of "Beginning Microsoft Small Basic". You can find their books and other materials at the Computer Science For Kids web site. Thanks to Philip for sharing. Please enjoy!

 

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We could very well just ask the question – Why Learn a Programming Language? A programming language is used to provide instructions to a computer to do specific tasks. There are several reasons for doing this. First, if you know how to program, you will have a better understanding of just how computers work. Second, writing programs is good exercise for your thinking skills – you must be a very logical thinker to write computer programs. You must also be something of a perfectionist – computers are not that smart and require exact, perfect instructions to do their jobs. Third, computer programmers are in demand and you can make a good living. And, last, writing computer programs is fun. It’s rewarding to see your ideas for a certain computer program come to life on the computer screen.

So, why learn Small Basic? One big reason is that it’s free from Microsoft. Another reason for learning Small Basic is that it is one of the easiest languages to learn. Small Basic is a simple language. There are many built-in elements that make your work simpler and the language itself is very simple – only 15 reserved keywords. But, just because it is a simple language doesn’t mean it lacks capabilities. You will see throughout these notes that you can build some fairly complex programs.

Because of its simplicity, you can learn to write Small Basic programs very quickly. But, just because you can write your first program quickly doesn’t mean you’ll learn everything there is to know about Small Basic. This course just introduces Small Basic. There’s still a lot to learn – there’s always a lot to learn. So, consider this course as a first step in a journey to becoming a proficient computer programmer.

And, once you’ve mastered Small Basic, you can graduate to its more capable big brother VisualBasic, another Microsoft product used to develop GUI (graphical user interface) based applications. These are applications with menus, toolbars, buttons, scroll bars, and other controls which depend on the computer mouse for input. Examples of GUI applications you may have used are word processors, spreadsheet programs and computer games.

 

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Excerpt © Copyright 2012-2013 By Kidware Software LLC  All Rights Reserved.  Philip Conrod & Lou Tylee have co-authored dozens of books and tutorials for beginning Microsoft Basic, Small Basic, Visual Basic, and Visual C# developers of all ages for over 25 years.