What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

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Tourist Trap
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby Tourist Trap » Aug 16, 2017 18:32

coderJeff wrote:Couple years old, but I came across this article about running on raspberry pi. You may recognize the names. Point is, people are doing things with FreeBASIC, and not necessarily waiting around for others to do it for them.

I agree entirely with what you said, for every parts. There is one thing that I'm wondering again, that in general I wouldn't have mentionned because I think that the best way to make suggestions is to give one first try of what is expected. But I miss time, and it seems that it will be so for ever now with the aging ;) That's why I'll put again some of my ideas on the table.

There is one issue in my mind about Freebasic. The language works really and works rather fine. Ok we lack *the* IDE, we know that but this is development of the few, and I can't say anything very far because I will probably never be able to start working on something like an IDE. However, here is what people like me should really be able to do, without any effort, rather with a lot of fun. To make it explicit what I'm thinking of very often, I ask this question:

  • Why don't we launch limited time challenges with silly projects?

For instance, this week let's make a pacman remake. Let/s open a proper topic, let people make offer on what part they will be coding or supplying (if sound and sprites). Any beginner can make the title page ( press start to play in big uggly font ;) ), and men of talent could optimize the final shot when the allocated time is ellapsed, say 10 days for instance.

Then what? Let flood Sourceforge with community made goodies of this sort. And, if done well, in less than one year FB will regain popularity, as a language that makes stuff that wanders around on the form of free games, little utilities and so on.

What's hard in doing this. Nothing. What's the gain? Fun, satisfaction of seeing work done, gain of learning by doing also (which for itself alone is already quite valuable)

So what is missing? I don't know, someone who can animate such a thing, a leader to get the others started. That is where I'm probably out of it. Anyway it's my proposal here. Because also this kind of thing are a requisite if people want in a second step contribute to the core of the FB project. In other words, so we are looking at more people got involved? Why not starting by dummy projects for fun, and see what projects are about, and then see who is capable? Whatever the final result, getting things be done in FB, must be quite emulating. That's what I would have like to see around here on a more regular basis.

[edit] Why not doing some survey of this kind of events and contribute by any means? --> viewtopic.php?f=15&p=235289#p235289
BasicCoder2
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Aug 18, 2017 19:46

coderJeff wrote:Couple years old, but I came across this article about running on raspberry pi. You may recognize the names. Point is, people are doing things with FreeBASIC, and not necessarily waiting around for others to do it for them.

I remember D.J.Peters was using FreeBasic on his Raspberry Pi
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=25022&hilit=Raspberry
Yes people may well be using FreeBASIC because they can and may not be interested in sharing on the forum.
Apart from perhaps having the language in common a lot of users have a very narrow interest in what to use it for.
Mostly it does what they want it to do and only come here if they have a particular question about FB.
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Josep Roca
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Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby Josep Roca » Aug 18, 2017 20:40

> Mostly it does what they want it to do and only come here if they have a particular question about FB.

Because this forum lacks a feature to attach files, people has to find another place to upload them and post a link, and links became obsolete very often. Therefore, the code becames dispersed.

I have written a framework for Windows that is being hosted in the Paul Squires forum.
BasicCoder2
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Aug 18, 2017 23:17

Yes I understand the forum cannot host a project and that people such as yourself do use the forum to announce your projects which you host elsewhere.

With regards to Window API projects I am unable to make full use of them in my own programs because for some reason I couldn't get my head around the windows API. Before finding FreeBASIC I was trying to use the windows API using the C++ language but if I wanted to do something that was not covered in the tutorials I was unable to figure out how to do it myself from the api docs alone. It was all magic numbers and cryptic labels to me and very long winded. So it doesn't matter if I am using FB or C++ the problem for me remains with regards to using the window api. Also other FB users use Linux so cross platform libraries are probably a better choice?

FreeBASIC hides all that complexity while retaining the ability to use it if you know how but still allowing an old QBASIC and C programmer to program the way he did on the old machines but with more memory, speed and high resolution graphics. I have even found using the few libraries others have made .bi files for easier than setting them up to work with CODE::BLOCKS


The kind of thing I am talking about might be shown in this thread,
viewtopic.php?f=6&p=235166#p235166
When I run my win32 freebasic program the window with DROP_SHADOW class have a shadow on right and bottom borders
like in XP and Windows 7. Anyone knows how can obtain the shadow around all the window? Is there a new API ?


Now if you have rolled your own window on the old machines (or using FB's graphics on a modern machine) you don't have to find the API you just code the shadow routine yourself. Not all that practical for a commercial program but ok for an old qbasic programmer to roll his/her own GUI interface.

Thanks to people like yourself and Paul Squires FreeBASIC can be used by professional Windows programmers to write professional commercial software as they might with C++ although I am not sure how many actually do?

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Last edited by BasicCoder2 on Aug 19, 2017 6:07, edited 1 time in total.
Josep Roca
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Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby Josep Roca » Aug 18, 2017 23:37

> Also other FB users use Linux so cross platform libraries are probably a better choice?

They are a better choice for people wanting to write cross platform applications, but not for Windows only users.
St_W
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby St_W » Aug 19, 2017 12:27

BasicCoder2 wrote:
coderJeff wrote:Couple years old, but I came across this article about running on raspberry pi. You may recognize the names. Point is, people are doing things with FreeBASIC, and not necessarily waiting around for others to do it for them.

I remember D.J.Peters was using FreeBasic on his Raspberry Pi
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=25022&hilit=Raspberry
Unfortunately there's still no official release of FreeBasic for ARM although all the necessary code changes have been merged into the master branch a long time ago. So people are using outdated versions of FB like the mentioned one by D.J.Peters because external sites (RPI forums, blogs, ...) are refererring to these old builds without any notice that the version they are downloading is outdated.

Tourist Trap wrote:Why don't we launch limited time challenges with silly projects?
I don't think that a bunch of rubbishy software would contribute to the success of FB in any way. I rather think that such actions would damage the reputation of FB.

Josep Roca wrote:Because this forum lacks a feature to attach files, people has to find another place to upload them and post a link, and links became obsolete very often. Therefore, the code becames dispersed.
I fully agree and unfortunately a lot of code has been lost due to that. There have been several discussions in the last years, but nothing has been changed. There's not even a known reason why attachments are disallowed here.
counting_pine
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby counting_pine » Aug 19, 2017 14:52

Currently the freebasic.net web site has a 2GB space quota. I'd say that the concern with attachments is how likely the space is to fill up if attachments are enabled, how it would affect the site bandwidth, and how easy is it to manage them.

It may be that Plasma would be willing to provide more space as needed, but I don't think the question has ever been raised.
BasicCoder2
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Aug 19, 2017 18:14

All this time I haven't really thought about who hosts the web site. I couldn't find many posts by Plasma. Are there any "in the cloud" public places FB code of some worth might be retained? I don't know much about all this stuff. I seem to remember Yahoo hosting groups? It would be interesting to have an overall snapshot of those who actually use FB and what their skill sets are. I don't mean a personal profile just the FB profile. All I can get is a rough idea from those who actually post to the forum. For example does anyone use FB for any practical purpose? I know Dinosaur does?
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St_W
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby St_W » Aug 19, 2017 19:29

counting_pine wrote:Currently the freebasic.net web site has a 2GB space quota. I'd say that the concern with attachments is how likely the space is to fill up if attachments are enabled, how it would affect the site bandwidth, and how easy is it to manage them.
Thank You for giving a reason. Disk space shouldn't be a big issue nowadays - at least not for something like 50 GB, which would last a while. And I'm sure that FB users would donate some money to support the hosting.

counting_pine wrote:It may be that Plasma would be willing to provide more space as needed, but I don't think the question has ever been raised.
It has been requested multiple times by various users, for example here back in 2010:
http://www.freebasic.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15102
or here in 2016:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=24642
For myself, I mentioned it here:
http://www.freebasic.net/forum/viewtopi ... 17&t=24698
counting_pine
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby counting_pine » Aug 19, 2017 19:46

Sorry: as far as I know, it's never been raised with Plasma.
BasicCoder2
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Aug 19, 2017 22:50

Tourist Trap wrote: To make it explicit what I'm thinking of very often, I ask this question:
  • Why don't we launch limited time challenges with silly projects?
For instance, this week let's make a pacman remake.

If you want to promote a language you must show its power over another choice to achieve some goal.

Most of those who used to use FB to write games and still want to write games have moved on. I see little games like pacman useful for a beginner to hone some skills but not much else. I never took on FB to write games as I had other interests. If I did come up with a brilliant game idea I would want to run it on a mobile phone as that appears to be the future when it comes to personal computers.
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angros47
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby angros47 » Aug 19, 2017 23:23

I think that adding a sound library to the core language (to make sound control as easy as graphic control) might help
BasicCoder2
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Aug 20, 2017 1:22

angros47 wrote:I think that adding a sound library to the core language (to make sound control as easy as graphic control) might help

Realistically I would say you use SDL2 for games and let FreeBasic be like C or C++ otherwise you end up with a bloated command set trying to compete with BlitzBasic. If anyone had the ability and interest FreeBASIC would already have those extra commands. I wouldn't know how to add them myself but I wonder how hard it would be to learn how to implement and keep up to date those .bi files that give you access to the many libraries that are available to C++ ? If importing a library was as simple as typing import sdl2 then I think those of us without advanced knowledge would use them particularly if there were enough users who could add tutorials. Unfortunately I don't have the knowledge to do that myself. I wanted to make a little data base with mySQL but couldn't find any FreeBasic tutorials on how to do it. In other words I think the community lacks the number of members with that ability who have done just that and have the interest in sharing with those with less knowledge and skills.

I noticed ecxjoe used the sdl library in his toad on fire game.

It was the existence of a .bi file that caused me to convert from programming in C to FreeBASIC.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13530&hilit=escapi.bi

D.J.Peters has been one of our biggest contributors of potentially useful stuff.
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=24043
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Tourist Trap
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby Tourist Trap » Aug 20, 2017 8:41

BasicCoder2 wrote:
Tourist Trap wrote: To make it explicit what I'm thinking of very often, I ask this question:
  • Why don't we launch limited time challenges with silly projects?
For instance, this week let's make a pacman remake.

If you want to promote a language you must show its power over another choice to achieve some goal.

If you want to promote a language you must first promote it, I mean there is nothing at all made in freebasic in most of the download channels.

What I can say is that Pygame, a popular game utility library for Python started by promoting really simple stuff (in big quantity) on its website to show that something was possible. Then its popularity could grow, and ourdays I think there is a lot of people knowing about this lib and using it. But at start it simply exhibited stuff, and in my opionion of poor interest (pac man like and other basics).

What I do myself is browsing randomly for content made in languages new to me at sourceforge or anywhere (if the source is provided). So if FB had nothing to be browsed there, I could have missed it by this way, despite of my search for this kind of languages. Of course, if we werent a little low in contributors those days as the topic is assuming I wouldn't promote quantity over quality. And I think that visibility may call for curiousity and interest at a wider range than confidentiality, whatever the true merits of the language are.

St_W wrote:
Tourist Trap wrote:Why don't we launch limited time challenges with silly projects?
I don't think that a bunch of rubbishy software would contribute to the success of FB in any way. I rather think that such actions would damage the reputation of FB.

The pygame libraries provided rubbish stuff at first. That apparently motivated people to give a try. Ok the popularity of Python of course helped much to the success of this lib.

Anyway I'm totally for distributing content of quality (which is absolutly possible in FB), but for the goal of just being reported by the browsers (you know, you type Freebasic in the searchbar and you obtain 1329 entries found, for instance), I think the simple fact of submitting something is better than leaving the place empty.
angros47
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Re: What to do about a lack of developers for the compiler?

Postby angros47 » Aug 20, 2017 9:19

BasicCoder2 wrote:Realistically I would say you use SDL2 for games and let FreeBasic be like C or C++ otherwise you end up with a bloated command set trying to compete with BlitzBasic.


With such a premise, even the graphic library should not exist. Also, SDL is a low level library, it allows you to use pre-loaded images and sound, or to draw an image pixel by pixel, or create a sound sample by sample. The main feature of a basic language is the availability of primitives to make those tasks easier: most old school basic dialects featured primitives to draw circles, lines, rectangles and other basic elements, and they featured primitives to create square waves, sawtooth waves, white noises, and to give them an envelope. FreeBasic features several graphic commands, I think it should feature equivalent sound commands. Commands like PLAY and SOUND.


If anyone had the ability and interest FreeBASIC would already have those extra commands. I wouldn't know how to add them myself


I already built a set of function to implement those commands, and I have those routines on the forum. I am suggesting that, since some of them implement commands that are core features of many other basic dialects (including Quick Basic, and QB64), perhaps they might be a core feature of FreeBasic, too.

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