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#1 Cynosure  Icon User is offline

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BASIC was interpreted, but why?

Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:42 AM

I fully understand what an interpreted language is and what advantages one could have over a compiled language.

However, this assignment is asking me why BASIC used to be an interpreted language. I can make guesses but I don't know the actual answer and can't seem to find it anywhere.

My best guess, at this point, would be that the memory constraints during that time didn't allow for the code to be compiled.

Anyone know of a source for the answer?

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Replies To: BASIC was interpreted, but why?

#2 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: BASIC was interpreted, but why?

Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

read this
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#3 Cynosure  Icon User is offline

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Re: BASIC was interpreted, but why?

Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:06 PM

I've now read through the entire thing twice and used the "find" function to search for the word "interpret" and still don't yet have a definite answer.

The closest thing I got was needing to convert the command-line interpretation into a batched-programing language (I assumed to be interpreted) since users were no longer interacting with the computer directly due to the time-sharing methods.

However, this was wildly abstracted from the text.
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#4 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: BASIC was interpreted, but why?

Posted 26 July 2012 - 09:59 AM

what characteristics has your book told you that BASIC had? the primary reasons to be dynamic instead of compiled is gain more dynamic features like dynamic code evaluation and ease the implementation of highly dynamic features like dynamic typing, garbage collection, etc... quickly being able to execute code is also an important feature.

from what I know about the original basic(I've actually read though the ECMA-116 standard before) each name was global and had a static type(numeric array, number, or string) and you had to put line numbers manually to jump too. sense all memory was static, and so was typing, and there was no EVAL command, my only guess is that a compiler was just overly complicated for what was needed.

another thing to consider is what your book has said the advantages and disadvantages of each are. your book may not have the same standard on the advantages and disadvantages of interpretation vs compiling that I do.

This post has been edited by ishkabible: 26 July 2012 - 10:01 AM

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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: BASIC was interpreted, but why?

Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:15 AM

One reason - probably not the one your assignment was looking for - would be that compilers were still pretty new technology in 1964. They'd been around for a few years, but the first complete compiler, according to The Knowledge was Fortran in '57.

For your assignment, I'd think about ease of use. Think of the target users of the language. Was the compiler step considered an obstacle? Compare to today's "scripting languages".
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