FreeBASIC Frozen

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Conexion
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FreeBASIC Frozen

Postby Conexion » Dec 15, 2008 9:35

I started coming to http://www.freebasic.net around Christmas of 2005. I had been browsing Overclocked Remix, a Video Game Music Remix website that I have browsing since 2001(?). I don't remember who it was, but at the time, someone had posted demo that they did in FreeBASIC. It was a tank game that I really enjoyed. Thinking back, it was most likely made in OpenGL, and I loved driving it through the water and sand. Very simple, but after asking the author about it, he told me about FreeBASIC.

Before FreeBASIC I had a basic understanding of programming. I had been a hobby QBasic programmer on and off throughout the 90's and I really enjoyed the familiarity. Sure, I had experience in HTML/CSS, etc... but that doesn't really apply to software programming.

Immediately upon joining the forums, I had some great help. Things were pretty active and help happened pretty fast. I continued to program, but after taking a small break, I came back just over a year later. Help was still there to my surprise as my previous experiences with Open-Source projects were... not as pleasant.

I released my first program (Pong) and I got a lot of help here...

But there is a pattern I'm noticing. There is always great help on this forum... But yet, since I started coming here in late 2005 there has been ONE general news update.

In the past 9 months, there has only been ONE major update. (18.6 to 20.0)

I'm not sure if this bothers anyone else, but this bothers me.

FreeBASIC, (not to preach to the choir) is an incredible BASIC engine compared to almost any open-source BASIC engine I've seen out there.

But the fact that besides a few updates, the entire engine, the website, the forums, and the wiki have seen almost no real changes in 3 years, that really bothers me!

Now, sure, I might be able to write a tutorial or edit the wiki a little bit, but what does that really do when nothing else is moving?

This site is SO lucky. It's amazing how many people stay around here helping people and chat on the IRC channel when there really hasn't been much progress.

Now, I do not mean ANY disrespect to the developers. I greatly greatly greatly appreciate the time they have put into this... but at the same time, I get frustrated with how many people there are that are active here, yet the community as a whole doesn't seem to discuss direction, changes, or what in the world needs to happen in the future.

Every time I have asked to do something to help out FreeBASIC, the reply is always the same. Tutorials, Post on the Forum, and Wiki.

Well I think every user needs to be able to do more than if FreeBASIC doesn't want to become obsolete.

I've heard some people voice opinions saying that we need to completely re-write the compiler in C. I've heard some people say that developing a standard FreeBASIC Grammar is important if we are to develop FreeBASIC into a more modern language. Others say that we need to completely re-design the website if we are to gain popularity over other compilers such as DarkBASIC. I've heard a whole bunch of things. The point is:


TL;DR People, start reading here:
------------------------------------------------------------------

We need to have a resource that actively shows what is going on in development and what needs to be done. Clear outlines of the future need to be set, and major decisions voted on.

Once a decision is made, we stick with it unless another vote says otherwise.

If there are places that this stuff is already located, then it needs to be one of the first things that you see when you get on this site. Nobody should need to visit the Wiki or SourceForge to know exactly what is going on in development.

I'm tired of FreeBASIC being frozen and I'm tired of the average user here not having immediate access to knowing what they can do to help.

--

Alright, so now I'm done with that. What do you think?
Gods and Idols
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Re: FreeBASIC Frozen

Postby Gods and Idols » Dec 15, 2008 10:31

Conexion wrote:Nobody should need to visit the Wiki or SourceForge to know exactly what is going on in development.

I'm tired of FreeBASIC being frozen and I'm tired of the average user here not having immediate access to knowing what they can do to help.
Hear hear!
marcov
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Re: FreeBASIC Frozen

Postby marcov » Dec 15, 2008 10:36

One update in 9 months is not even that bad. It's could be more a sign of maturity. (if the mutation rate of CVS/SVN is still high)

The site is indeed not that frequently updated, and that could be better;

But signalling a problem is easy. Solving it is harder. What are you going to do about it? Will you be the new webadmin?
rolliebollocks
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Postby rolliebollocks » Dec 15, 2008 12:08

Well, there doesn't seem to be any focus or strategy. To the developer's credit, the design model doesn't require a lot of updates to the compiler itself, and support comes from the community in the form of library integration and tutorials and help.

Here are some obvious areas of development for FB.

-FB would be a great tutelary language if and only if it had a practical manual to teach itself to kids. Right now it has no such manual. It has a composite of goal oriented tutorials that are useful to those who already know what they're doing. It would find its most comfortable home in educational institutions that want to teach computer programming to pre-college kids. If someone could compile a manual out of the tutorials... Then you would see FreeBASIC being used in schools, just like QuickBASIC was. This is the kind of thing that for my part, I would be willing and capable of doing. My background is in writing/English.

There seems to be an insularity that is preventing FreeBASIC from expanding further.

Needless to say, I came to FreeBASIC while looking for an old version QB to play around with. I took C++ in college and FreeBASIC was a composite of power and nostalgia...

I'm willing to bet that in 10 years or so there are going to be kids like me out there looking to rediscover something of their past.

So my suggestion is to pander to Educational institutions, turn FB into a solid tutelary language, and let the developers keep track of all the innovations in programming and keep FB up to date...

rb
Mysoft
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Postby Mysoft » Dec 15, 2008 12:17

well... as me experience with that kind of research... my idea is to leave that "teaching" to the freebasic IDE, im sure that an interactive teacher will be much better than a simple tutorial... and at same time something advanced for the future... my plans on my especial IDE contain those learning basis for kids... and at same time helping they with basic style... and how powerful things can be, so that's something that already in my IDE project, but the integraion with the compiler... its essencial i think... afterall you will be always be able to compile using the console... and if doing it the right way it will not cause any trouble for "portability"...

one side... at least =)
edexter
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Postby edexter » Dec 15, 2008 12:39

There are a couple of places that would print a manual on a on-demand basis.. If you see a problem you own it and there is a way to use a blog also for a little profit from advertising as part of your tutorial.. I look forward to seeing your manual.

I don't know why you would want to make major changes to the website. the links to different tools may need updating though going through the projects is probily not the way to do things. If you are realy board I am working on a music editor tool that compiles to free basic.

http://dexrowem.blogspot.com/search?q=colin1911
rolliebollocks
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Postby rolliebollocks » Dec 15, 2008 14:49

Mysoft -

Your concern about leaving teaching to IDE is not entirely irrelevant, although perhaps short sighted. As far as the states go there aren't a lot of public schools which offer computer programming as an elective. But then you have math and physics teachers who might want to spice up their curriculum by applying acquired knowledge to something fun like video game programming. And this is where we would hook them, because once the kids start responding better on test scores because they are applying what they learned to relevant situations which are visible to them and not just vacantly writing answers on a page...

I think you're right to an extent. It needs to be more than just a manual. It would require creating a curriculum for supplementing Algebra 1/Trig/Pre-Calc and Physics with FreeBASIC exercises which reinforce the lessons that a class was already learning.

It would require more than just a how-to guide. An interactive IDE would be good, something that could load specific modules for different lessons, that would explain how the code was working, and could track the lines as it was compiling... Something with a built in interpreter... Something not geared toward programmers but math and science students... Something that involved making video games out of math and science...

As we all know Microsoft offers their software free under educational licenses. Tactically, people get used to using it, don't want to switch, and they have a customer for life...

I'd be willing to create lessons basically that would become the basis for an entire curriculum. We could set up a page, and try to reach out to teacher's resource pages and whatnot.

I would use examples from our own code library connect them with some textbook chapter and viola- instant lesson plan...

As far as putting a tutorial together goes, I could not be as relevant. It would largely have to be compiled in advance and then I would be able to organize it into a book. I am not a professional programmer. I know some C++ and QuickBASIC which is why FB is the greatest thing ever to me... I can learn it very quickly. But I'm still learning, and do not have the requisite background to fabricate a professional quality beginners guide off the top of my head, as even the most minimalist of beginners guides usually end with the beginner being more or less not a beginner.

I'm not necessarily bored but I'm definitely willing to help, and I do have time, and I do think the aims are worthwhile enough to invest time in.

For my part, I begin looking into algebra curricula and generating relevant code. Like lesson 1... Graphing calculator.

There would also have to be some resource for the teachers to guide them in using the lesson plants as part of their curriculum.

Any suggestions would be helpful, comments, feedback, support, code, ideas...

dave
MichaelW
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Postby MichaelW » Dec 15, 2008 15:49

I think if you actually appreciate what the developers are doing, you should stop complaining about what they do, and stop trying to control what they do. Design by a self-appointed committee can never be anything but a disaster, because such committees invariably include too many members who are not qualified and/or have unreasoned biases and/or have ulterior motives and/or are more or less insane.

While I would have had somewhat of a problem with FB being “frozen” at the pre 0.17 level, I would have no problem with it being frozen at 0.20. In my view FB is close to “ideal” as it is now, and making it more “modern” is unlikely to improve it.
Mysoft
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Postby Mysoft » Dec 15, 2008 15:59

lot of valid things there... something need to be looked and looked and planned according...

but afterall... we're nothing intended to go against the wishes... but
despite of the maturity point... freebasic is really slowing down a lot... cuz it now need some new charge of power... and i want to help at that point.. cuz i studied lot of those aspects for basically "all my life" so that will be great if i could help to break that barrier now, and add a next step to make freebasic be a good independent language... maybe even a new concept of programming... a true general purpose language ;)
vdecampo
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Postby vdecampo » Dec 15, 2008 16:01

I am more or less insane! :)

Anyway, I too am happy with 0.20.0 and am not concerned that FB is not changing rapidly. Adding a bunch of C+ stuff to FB does not, in my opinion make a better BASIC, just makes FB more like C.

Plus there is nothing keeping anyone from branching the source code and remaking FB to their liking.

IMHO
-Vince
Mico
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Postby Mico » Dec 15, 2008 16:42

For a number of good reasons (basically, too much work!), I've been lurking from time to time and my last post was ages ago, but I MUST say that I completely agree with MichaelW and vdecampo.

FreeBASIC is my preferred language unless I really need a complex GUI, and version 0.20.0 is just fine. And I confess that adapting to new releases, when they were more frequent, was a bit annoying, although certainly needed.

However, my point of view is probably somewhat biased, as I'm mainly using FreeBASIC for my work, not for fun. So, I don't care too much about what's next, while I know that other people might found interesting exploring new features. So, I understand the spirit of the first post in this thread.

Just my 2 cents,

Mico


P.S. And thanks (always and forever!) to the dev team for the work they're doing.
marcov
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Postby marcov » Dec 15, 2008 17:00

MichaelW wrote:not qualified and/or have unreasoned biases and/or have ulterior motives and/or are more or less insane.


Huh? I didn't apply?
E.K.Virtanen
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Postby E.K.Virtanen » Dec 15, 2008 20:45

Not sure does my 2 cents mean much since i do program only for fun and hobby. To be honest, i havent needed practically anything more after .16b. I could use it still today for my programs, but naturally i do update to the latest after something new is released.

Website needs something new. It is boring, too boring. Someone would like to say it looks professional? I hope not, since then, professional means boring.

Take a look at thinbasic website. You see huge difference? I bet that because of the website, tb gets attention and interest way more than only because of the software itself. Nothing bad to put product in a nice box if it is a good product?

I think it was over a year ago when i suggested that there would be placed a site menu at the top of forum. Kind of frustrating since i cant even get to freebasic.net directly from forum. Back then my idea was crashed by someone who sayd that "hacking phpbb is like hacking a gwbasic program". Hell, all of us does hack phpbb?

There is nothing wrong with the product itself. New version drops after 6 weeks or 6 months, i dont see that so important as long new versions are better than old ones. Make surroundings in same level than product. Would give a good push for the community.
Conexion
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Re: FreeBASIC Frozen

Postby Conexion » Dec 15, 2008 20:56

marcov wrote:One update in 9 months is not even that bad. It's could be more a sign of maturity.

But signalling a problem is easy. Solving it is harder. What are you going to do about it? Will you be the new webadmin?


I would love it if the maturity was getting solidified. More time to focus on other things with the site.

Unfortunately the developers that I have talked to are saying things like "FreeBASIC is dead"... not a great sign.

I have a few ways of going about solving this, but I want to listen to what people have to say about this before addressing that issue.

-

rolliebollocks, FreeBASIC would be a wonderful tool for teaching kids how to program. Having an instruction manual for kids sounds like a great addition to FB. I can see your concern for the IDE, but I think even a basic interface that looks friendly and supports their code would be beneficial, as a command line really does intimidate both students and teachers. Practical application in algebra, graphing, trig, etc... really does sound great. I'm a visual learner myself, and being able to actively see what math produces really helps me personally to understand it [math].

Mysoft, from what I've heard, your planned IDE sounds like it would be a great tool to assist in educational development as well as giving a strong support for beginners.

-

edexter, To be honest, I think the website could use a total revamp. Completely redesign the front page and forums that represent FB's simplicity and power. There are some incredibly impressive things that people have made in FreeBASIC, and showing off screen shots and downloads on the front page would be a wonderful way to feature them.

-
MichaelW wrote:I think if you actually appreciate what the developers are doing, you should stop complaining about what they do, and stop trying to control what they do. Design by a self-appointed committee can never be anything but a disaster, because such committees invariably include too many members who are not qualified and/or have unreasoned biases and/or have ulterior motives and/or are more or less insane.

While I would have had somewhat of a problem with FB being “frozen” at the pre 0.17 level, I would have no problem with it being frozen at 0.20. In my view FB is close to “ideal” as it is now, and making it more “modern” is unlikely to improve it.


I have the utmost respect for the developers of FB. Without them I would not be near the programmer I am now (Not that I'm a great programmer). FreeBASIC changed the was I look at programming and I couldn't be anything but thankful for the time that they have put into this project.

I think you are trying to guess what the next step would be unfortunately. Personally, I do not believe in appointing committees for open source projects. I also do not believe in there being a 'lead developer' or anyone to be above anyone else in terms of where an Open Source project should go. I will cross the bridge of a solution when it comes to it, but right now, if people don't believe there is a problem, then there is no 'solution' to be had!

-
vdecampo, You have an excellent point. Personally, I wish FB to stay away from C as much as possible. It is a BASIC language and should stay that way.

My biggest problem is the incredibly messy source code. Broken commands that are put together by hacks. Obscured source. A website that doesn't foster the power that FB actually has. No plans or set ideas of where the project should go... I mean, if it is a stable product, how about we just make the next update 1.0?

I personally may consider branching off and redeveloping the compiler. But for right now, I don't think that would be a wise choice considering FB isn't "Dead".

--

Mico, Agreed :)

--

E.K.Virtanen, I would agree with you. Of course, everyone hacks PHPBB to get it to do things. I've designed a few sites based around PHPBB, and the limitations [features] pretty much require you to 'hack' it. Of course, I've never really thought of it as hacking... but then again, who really wants to program an entire PHP message board just to avoid editing the PHPBB code? :P

--

After I get some work done today, I am looking to work on a possible outline of where FB is at and where it should go. Of course, if people don't like it, then I'm not going to force it on the community. But I believe FB still has a ways to go to being a stable and polished product, and would like to see it develop into such.
rolliebollocks
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Postby rolliebollocks » Dec 15, 2008 21:49

What we've determined really is that the best way to encourage the development of FreeBASIC is developing programs with it, and for it, and maybe tinkering with the webpage.

This "rhetoric of death" as regards the development of FreeBASIC is a little pre-emptive. I think it might be taken poorly.

I'm just guessing though, you never know. Maybe the developers enjoy this kind of bluster somehow...

rb

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