My first experiences programming where on a Commodore 64 and an Apple II+. In both cases there was no separation of the end user interface and the development interface…you could just start entering code at the command line and it would begin building. Things have come a long ways since then – this is good and bad. It is no longer quite as easy or essential to get involved in programming, on the other hand one can much more rapidly build complex applications.
If you ever long for the throw back days you may think of QBasic, which became ubiquitous due to its inclusion with Microsoft DOS…but all these concepts are so from yesteryear – in computer terms they are almost millennia away.
So what if you want to do some simple programming these days with a BASIC feel to it? One good option is FreeBasic. FreeBasic was built to be largely backwards compatible with Microsoft’s QBasic and thus can run many old QBasic programs with only minimal modifications, but FreeBasic has also gone far beyond this and delivers a fairly powerful development environment.
If you do decide to use FreeBasic I recommend downloading a free copy of FbEdit as well. See development usually consists of at least two components – the compiler and the editor. A compiler is the program that takes your code and turns it into an executable program while an editor is what you write the code in. Granted, you can write your code in any plain text editor – but trust me, FbEdit will be a big help.
The FreeBasic forums have a very friendly and active community that will help you along through the learning process. Just take some time to explore the entire site and community, it is pretty impressive.
All this said, FreeBasic isn’t the language I primarily use for development – or the language I would recommend. In general, I’m a Microsoft .NET guy – mainly ASP.NET and VB.NET. Microsoft offers free copies of the lite versions of these applications as well, and while I say kudos to the FreeBasic team and hope they keep up the great work, if you are looking for a job in technology, you might be better off starting with a Microsoft .NET technology. Actually, probably C#.NET instead of VB.NET as I do (old habits die hard).
I was recently looking for ASP.NET components and figured I’d share some of the resources I came across. I’ve attempted to only include some of the big name / best out there. Hope these are helpful!
Obout – Offers a large variety of controls, several for free. They also offer free licenses to students. A few of their controls are: Grid, TreeView, HTML Editor, Spell Checker, Calendar, Easy Menu, AJAX Page, and Splitter.
Karamasoft – Offers a large variety of controls for ASP.NET including UltimateAJAX, UltimateCalendar, UltimateEditor, UltimateEmail, and UltimateTabstrip.
Telerik – A huge variety of controls for ASP.NET AJAX, MVC, Silverlight, WinForms, and WPF. Also have a number of other productivity tools for development. Some of their controls include Calendar, Captcha, Compression, Editor, FileExplorer, Grid, SkinManager, and StyleSheetManager.
DevExpress – Offers a set of sixty controls for free. Has a large variety of premium controls available for ASP.NET, WinForms, WPF, and Silverlight. Some of their controls include Charting, Grid, Data Editors, Calendar / Scheduler, Gauges / Dashboards, and Utility Components.
ComponentOne – Large variety of controls and tools. Includes calendar, expander, formdecorator, gridview, headercontent, splitter, superpanel, and tooltip amongst others.
For those who are Christians or who are interested in understanding Christianity, there are few sites on the internet more valuable in learning and growing than the Biblical Studies Foundation (bible.org). While the resources available to understand and practice Christianity are extensive generally, the availability and freedom with which the BSF makes its resources available is practically unparalleled. I have used the BSF site for years and continue to utilize it regularly and rave about its magnificent capabilities.
Let’s take a look at a few of the BSF’s many features:
New English Translation (NET) – A brand new translation of the Old and New Testaments from the original manuscripts. The NET is readable and yet precise, but what really makes the translation stand apart is the 70k+/- footnotes that are throughout the text. These footnotes are not commentary on the text but rather explain the translators decisions, especially on controversial verses. They offer deep insight into the original texts and are an amazing aid to the bible student or translator.
Book Commentaries – Contemporary commentaries written by sincere bible students/scholars are freely available on the BSF website. While there is great value in the two thousand years of commentary we have on Scripture, these commentaries offer an additional perspective including the latest manuscript and archaeological evidence, contemporary illustrations and applications, and so on while maintaining fidelity to the Scriptures.
The Theology Program (TTP) – An extensive theological training program meant for churches to utilize in training lay individuals in theology. The course is in-depth, practical, and understandable. Its meant to help those who want to push on in their theological understanding but cannot afford the expense or time commitments of a college education at this juncture in their lives.
These are only a few of so many wonderful things you will find at the BSF. I insist, you must visit!