How did the 1st coders get along without google

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#1 DarenR   User is online

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How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:14 AM

so while I was coding today and using google i thought how the hell did the 1st coders get along without google.

the coding today is so vast that no one can know everything and that is where google comes in to find the answers. however i am curious as to how the original coders ever retained all that information without the use of the google helping hand...

has anyone ever really thought about the amount of crap they had to remember? or do you think it was because there really wasnt that much for them to remember?


thoughts?

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#2 NeoTifa   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:29 AM

Books? The programming was, I would argue to a degree, quite simpler, since there was less to the language, and fewer languages out there. There weren't 1500 frameworks built to do the same thing, all the complicated api's we have now, etc. You had the standard calls, maybe some libraries, and some books. It took a lot more brainpower back then to get things working as you wanted, but then again the uses for the languages tended to be for easier, more straight forward things, like math equations and maybe some networking or database stuff.
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#3 DarenR   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:35 AM

ahh yes books but remember a lot of those coders started with nothing including books
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#4 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:18 AM

I mean if you go back far enough there were manuals for systems.. that way you knew which jumpers to plug in and where.. A little later things got a bit more easy with chips and so on. Yeah, but diagrams and what not were a thing
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#5 jimblumberg   User is offline

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:30 AM

In the days before the internet just about everything came with comprehensive manuals. I remember that the first C compiler I used came with a set of about 6 manuals each about 300 - 600 pages, every "standard" function has at least one example, many had several. It also had what seemed like one hundred floppy disks for just the compiler/linker.


"standard" in this case means all the functions provided by the compiler, this was after all prior to any C standard.

Jim
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#6 no2pencil   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:56 PM

@DarenR; have you never worked with a proprietary API from a 3rd party resource that isn't publicly researchable? That's how one did it pre-Google. It's not that mind-blowing.

View PostDarenR, on 22 May 2019 - 01:35 PM, said:

ahh yes books but remember a lot of those coders started with nothing including books

If you remembered, then you wouldn't be asking the question. Accept the answer.

Also understand that the 'first' developers were in the 60's. Well, even earlier really. Remember that the internet was created in 1969 with ARPANET.

My first programming books were purchased mid 90's, & I read them & replicated, using my logic how I figured the program would function. You're suggesting that this didn't happen?

View Postjimblumberg, on 22 May 2019 - 02:30 PM, said:

In the days before the internet just about everything came with comprehensive manuals.

Yes, remember having to set IRQ & DMA? If you lost the manual that went to your logic board, it was toast.
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#7 Martyr2   User is offline

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:08 PM

*
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Want to know what it was like? You could ask. I was programming back before Google was really a thing. Back then we in fact did use books, very very thick books. Oh my I was such a nerd. As I was waiting for a college class to start on history I would be sitting there with a monsterous 1000+ tome of old VB 4. You have to remember that Google just makes things easier to find, but if you do programming as you should, testing and written documentation is all you really needed. We also had forums that we could ask questions on.

As NeoTifa had said, things were a bit more of a straight forward process instead of a "stack" of 3rd party frameworks/libraries. It was a simpler time in one way, but also difficult in another.
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#8 jimblumberg   User is offline

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:34 PM

Quote

Yes, remember having to set IRQ & DMA?

Yea, and the more features the board has the more jumpers.

Quote

I was programming back before Google was really a thing.

Youngster, or did you mean before "Google was even a dream", or maybe even before VB was a thing?

Quote

You have to remember that Google just makes things easier to find,

Possibly, but the trick is figuring out how to filter out all the bad information.
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#9 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 05:45 PM

And it was even harder being in a 3rd world country where often the latest books and magazines needed to be smuggled in during the 80's. I had to depend on a lot of black market books and pirated software. And when BBS'es started up, I had to make sure to use the computer late at night since there was only one phone line at home. With two younger sisters, you can imagine the competition for the phone line. When I was in college, the boarding house shared party line with three other neighbors -- again had to plan any BBS-ing late at night or early in the morning.
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#10 no2pencil   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 06:31 PM

mmm, single line systems. Did you have to hand dial the rotary & place it down on the acoustic coupler?
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#11 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:14 PM

I was lucky enough not to have to do that with the modem I had.
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#12 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 23 May 2019 - 10:17 AM

View PostDarenR, on 22 May 2019 - 12:14 PM, said:

so while I was coding today and using google i thought how the hell did the 1st coders get along without google.


Same way programmers get along today. They know how to understand systems and how to solve problems.
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#13 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 23 May 2019 - 01:21 PM

Probably a lot less Gimme-the-codez back then... Unless you consider taking a roll of paper tape containing Altair BASIC as an early form of "Gimme-the-codez"... :)

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#14 NicVene   User is offline

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 28 May 2019 - 11:04 PM

The first developers on electronic computers would have written in assembler for a computer that was basically hand built with vacuum tubes, back in the 40's.

By the 50's there were multiple languages and operating system. At that time when a computer was purchased, almost always by an institution, university or corporation, the owners were expected to make their own operating system.

You don't have to go back to that far, though. As others have pointed out, the pre-Google era was not that long ago. Most of us (I started in the late 70's) had a few dozen or more books, each at 1,000 pages average. In the mid 90's, when the Internet was new to the public, 32 Mbytes of RAM (that's mega, not giga) was over $1,000.

One key moment worth considering was 1976 with the release of the Cray 1. It could be described as a quad core 64 bit CPU with a few MBytes of RAM and a few Gigabytes of storage (if you paid extra, maybe less than 1 Gbyte in many cases) for somewhere between $5 million to $10 million. It ran at 80 Mhz.

It is key because it otherwise exhibited most of the properties we consider common for modern computers, except for the clock speed. Software was generally written in C, and the operating system was their own version of UNIX. It would be somewhat familiar.

You'd be surprised how much has not changed despite what new advancements have happened. One constant is that the next languages and technologies are built on the previous generation, which makes much of it related and therefore recognizable. It is far more important to comprehend the technologies than to know all of the specific details, because the latter generally follow the former.

Where the Internet did not exist, there were various hypertext help systems (and some older text based systems), if you had the storage.

There is a slight negative side effect of the modern availability. We know it is always there, so many search for the reference, apply it, and then go no further. There's a tendency to be quick, and out (or on to the next) that study isn't as deep. If you measured it I'm sure you'd find many who search the same material many times, usually separated by days or weeks, because they don't retain the reference as knowledge.

Sometimes that's fine, because some of these technologies don't last. I've forgotten languages I once used, and they don't matter anymore. I've learned languages I've only used a short while. The same is true for operating systems and frameworks. All of that happened to me both before Google existed, and after. Now, I'm back at a deep study of C++ 20, plus new frameworks and API's. I need 3 monitors so I can devote one just to the research on these studies and work. It is fortunate that I no longer have to wait for a book to be published before I can begin to use the new technologies that matter to me.

It isn't just programming, either. For most areas of study this same leverage and end effect applies.

Lately I've been volunteering to teach programming robots at a local high school robotics club. Once I started, though, it became clear that the teacher didn't have enough time to run the club, so I picked up the mechanical design and construction, too. Using CAD tools I was able to get the kids to visualize their design and plan the construction. I took the design files to fashion a 3D simulation using a popular game engine, so they could practice strategy for the contests they build the bot for. A few custom parts were 3D printed. Design adjustments implied by the game simulation were feed back to the CAD design, which generated an updated simulation, better strategic results and ultimately working robots ready for battle.

Some of that would have required super computers in the 90's or before. Rapid feedback from simulation to redesign would have been impossible in the time available (they would have missed the contests).

Google is great at finding material, but don't forget the sites you're visiting which provide the actual information, and then mix in just what we do with these machines. Even the controller on the robots these kids put into contests would have been an impressive machine in the 90's. It's about half of a smart phone today.
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#15 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: How did the 1st coders get along without google

Posted 29 May 2019 - 06:06 AM

Also recall that even with Internet but before there were search engines, there were various distribution lists, communities, and forums which packed a lot of information. They just weren't readily searchable.
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