April 02, 2008
Who will write tomorrow's code?

Who will write tomorrow's code? Perhaps no one will need to, thanks to Proj-o-matic!

Seriously, there's a good point here. When I was a kid I had a ZX81. You couldn't play any worthwhile games on it, so the only real fun you could have with it was to program it, if you were so inclined. (Lord, did I dream of getting a QL. I mean, 128K and 2 built-in microdrives? Wow! Never could afford one, though.)

Programming requires a certain way of looking at a problem, a certain approach to breaking it down into automatable chunks. I firmly believe that this way of thinking can only be developed by exercising it, and that it's most easily learned as a child, while your thought processes are still developing. I hold this belief with no evidence whatsoever. Hey, it's my blog! So sue me. ;-)

These days, more kids have a console than a general purpose computer. Most of those that do have a general purpose computer are running Windows on it, so they don't get built-in development tools. Of course, you can simply download something for a general purpose computer, and even for a console there might be solutions for anyone who's really keen. But either way it's much easier just to fire up Call of Duty and blast stuff. So, what's going to happen?

Posted to Software development by Simon Brunning at April 02, 2008 03:48 PM

Of course, with a next generation console[1] and things like the XNA[2] you can in fact now develop for your console at home, and even publish them and sell them for money!

And yes, I can't believe that I'm promoting or supporting a Microsoft solutions, but lets face it, Nintendo and Sony have totally let down the home brew game developer community.

P.S. The commenting thing on blogs works a little better when you're not sat next to the blogger, who is criticising your comment before it's posted!

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/xbox
[2] http://creators.xna.com

Posted by: Michael Brunton-Spall on April 2, 2008 04:19 PM

These days more kids have computers than had computers 20 years ago. And there are a myriad of free development tools any kid can get. Every computer comes with Javascript, for instance ;) I think HTML is also underappreciated as a stepping stone to programming (or at least as an introduction to formal expression of ideas).

Posted by: Ian Bicking on April 2, 2008 05:48 PM

I have started pretty much in the same sort of environment (although I had an 8086 laptop with basic on it). I remember reading a book called Basic For Kids while I was 6 or 7, and it all sorta made sense.

Nowadays, I'd get the kids some Lego Mindstorms or something like Nodebox. Too bad none of that comes out of the box (and even less so in a console...)

Posted by: Carlos Villela on April 2, 2008 09:28 PM

I completely disagree Simon. :-)

I had a Commodore 64 which had loads of games, but I still found time to write my clunky music database in Commodore Basic.
So I reject the "only programmed as I had no games" argument.

Agree you had to have the inclination - my mates had no interest in coding.
But think how much easier it is to program now than back in the day: code snippets, online forums, Googling of error messages.
All we had back then was the book that came with the computer and typing in code from magazines.
It's amazing any of us stuck with it!

Posted by: Darren on April 2, 2008 10:31 PM
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