PowerBasic - will it recover or is the Air out?

Started by Theo Gottwald, December 06, 2012, 09:40:33 PM

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Theo Gottwald

Where light is there is mostly shadow.
Lets remember the light and forget the shadow.
And hope there will be more light  ;D

Eric Pearson

I realized very early that Bob could be a difficult personality to deal with.  I always kept that in mind, and my 25 years of dealing with him were consistently straightforward and pleasant.  Yes we had some significant conflicts, but I always treated him professionally, with the genuine respect and trust that I felt for him, and he responded in kind.

He didn't like direct criticism, especially criticism that he could not answer.  He was very receptive to suggestions, but preferred creative questions.  He was The Boss, at least under his own roof.

Fact is, I hope somebody with an equally strong hand takes over where Bob left off.

-- Eric

Charles Pegge

What I would like to know is whether writing compilers eventually causes brain damage and consequent changes to the personality. The task is so complex - do the neurons eventually tie themselves in knots.  :o


Theo Gottwald

Alcohol causes brain damage ... not writing software.
This is a general statement as i have no direct informations about Bob himself.
Anyway if you ask me for my personal opinion, thats my statement.
If you have to do with a very polite person, that you can hardly believe its the same person some hours later, Alcohol is a possible explanation.
Besides that ... did you notice that newer employees at PB have names like "Jeff Daniels" and "Jim Bailey"?
What does it remind you to?
Was it possibly a hidden call for help?
We'll possibly not be able to find it out, possibly its also too private to look closer.

@Charles: Neurons will never get lost in complicated stuff. If you want to now more, WHY the possibilities of the human brain are in fact unlimited, see videos from Doug Bench.
Below is a starting link. Think like that: A moquito has a brain and if you want to catch it, you will find out how clever and how fast it is. Now how much lager is your brain?

Doug Bench

Jeff Hawkings - How brain science can change computer science.

This is not really something new. We are just re-finding old "knowledge".

Quote"An ultimate desire is nothing but the existence of the mind working. One can even say that this is the proof that the person has left His mind uncontrolled. Or one can say that this is the stage where the mind is present, or a plus mind stage. The person progresses when he achieves the minus-mind stage, when the mind is not present at all. Naturally, now he will not get the impacts of either happiness or un-happiness. This minus mind state is also called Amanska Sthiti. But how to achieve this Amanska Sthiti? Mind travels from one thought to another, but the time between this travel, when not thinking anything, is known as Amaska Sthiti . Once you achieve this state of mind, achieving Samadhi Sthiti will not be difficult, and the whole purpose of life should be only to achieve this state of mind. Bringing back the mind from the directions after which it is running, and controlling it, and then forgetting it, is what is known as Nir Vikalpa Sthiti . If one achieves this, either happiness or unhappiness will have no effect on the person. There won't be any desire left, and there won't be any cycles of birth and rebirth. Then alone will one get the Atma Darshan (Self Realization). The sole object of life should be to realize this again, again, and again. This is the real objective of life, and once you achieve it, heaven is with you."

Chris Holbrook

I've just realised that Theo has a sense of humour. Keep 'em coming, Theo!

Theo Gottwald

I have added up, Chris :-).

José Roca

> A moquito has a brain and if you want to catch it, you will find out how clever and how fast it is.

Each summer, a Tarentola mauritanica, a specie of gecko native to the Western Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarentola_mauritanica ), keeps my house clean of mosquitoes and other insects.

Theo Gottwald

I love geckos, Jose. Once i had some in my house, phelsuma laticauda madagascariensis.
Can you believe they can not resist if you feed them honey?

And because they watched me with so big eyes, i gave them honey three or four times.
Soon they got Parodontitis (Gingivitis).
Once i found out it was from the honey it was too late. All of them died.
From them i learned how dangerous it is to eat too much sugar and to fullfill all wishes.

I also had some of those geckos that you had.

In the night when its dark, they cry as loud as if they would be children.
I don't know if they locate Insects this way or if they call their mate.

It was funny because i had no idea WHO was crying.

And always when i made light the crying stopped immediately.
Later i realized it were the geckos.
Their cry is like from a child that is crying. And its so loud, you can hardly believe its from that small animal.

James Klutho

Bob Zale struck as a passionate and focused individual who had more talent at programming than any us.  It would have been nice if he had a better bedside manner but artists are sometimes a little hard to deal with especially when critiquing their work.  Bob's work was probably a large part of his identity.  I will miss him.

Christopher Boss

I think it might be good to give PowerBasic a break here.

First, they are likely still reeling from the loss of Bob Zale. Remember, he was not only their boss, but their friend. Don't think things will get to normal over night.

Second, most of us don't realize what it is like to be the developer of a tool which is used by so many programmers with so many different views. Everybody is a critic ! One may be able to deal with it when it is all new and you are young, but over the years I am sure it takes a toll. It is easy to become overly sensitive to criticism.

Also remember the history of Powerbasic. Borland could not hold on to TurboBasic simply because it was just too hot a product to deal with. QuickBasic was Microsoft's baby and the business world can be very cut throat and it was in those days. When Bob got the compiler back and started PowerBasic, he was "going against the tide". Since the advent of managed languages, even Microsoft is trying to put such languages (like VB classic) in the past and burry them. PowerBasic stands out as uniquely different and likely Bob Zale was not going to have a lot of friends in the software industry being supportive (other than his customers).

For example, I have written a number of articles for betaNews.com and every time I even mention the word BASIC, I got so much grief from commentors that is was disturbing. You get called names and people treat you like you are ignorant. Imagine what it has been like for PowerBasic all these years. The only comfort you have are your customers and when they start getting critical, how is one to feel ? Now this does not excuse Bob when he at times may have pushed back too hard, but one can definitely understand the feelings.

The problem with customers is they often want to do more than make suggestions. They may want to push you to make the product exactly to their specs, forgetting about all the other people who also use the product which may want things differently. The only way to deal with this is to simply make the choices yourself as a developer and to go with your own gut feelings about the product. You can't please everyone, simply put.

For example, I may not always like every aspect of DDT and its implimentation, but I do appreciate its purpose and recognize that PowerBasic had good reasons for its design. I have also learned to not be too disparaging of DDT when posting on the forums, or even on my own, since I appreciate how core it is to the compiler. You have to have some kind of GUI command set in a compiler. You can't just expect everyone to just use the API. I had to deal with than in the old days when using PB 5.0, before DDT, which is why I created my own GUI engine. I surely wasn't going to code SDK style for the rest of my life. My SDK style coding is only so I can build a better GUI engine, not because i like it.

DDT was necessary !

DDT works !

Not everybody may like it, but you don't have to use it, which is the beauty of PowerBasic.

So how about the IDE ?

Why PB Forms ?

I can also see why PowerBasic did not got the route of a full blown visual environment. Too much of a "black box" and too restricting. PowerBasic was made for coders, not "drag and droppers", which is what most programmers today in the Microsoft world have become. Programmers want "application builders", not compilers today. That is not what PowerBasic is all about. Yet again, the beauty of PowerBasic is that one can "addon" using all sorts of tools and Bob Zale obviously appreciated that. His provision of the Third Party forum for example. They want third party developers.

The purpose of third party developers is to coexist with PowerBasic, not compete with it.

When I pushed too hard, Bob Zale communicated with me. He was polite, but firm and in most (if not all) cases it was my own fault. I had no desire to push back, even if I disagreed. I simply wanted to work closely with PowerBasic as best I could.


Theo Gottwald

James, yes "Artist" is a good word for Bobs programming.
His compiler will possibly never be beaten and it was never beaten.
Especially not in terms of speed of compilation.
If we remember earlier days (possibly not the last versions), then also reliability was unmatched in the market.

However the speed of development decreased last time and also there were some bugs that i think would not have happend in earlier times. As said i have made my own conclusions why things were like this.

Bob will be remembered as an artist of computer programming.
In his case i am not sure if it was really a talent. I think it  was rather hard work over lots of years.

If somebody is talented, then he is born with a talent.
You get born with a Talent. In indian Mythology you get born with a talent from hard work in your past life.
You see these cases if small children can play the piano like nobody else.
Everybody wonders about their Talent. You need to get born "with a talent".

While Bobs code was really fast code, possibly the fastest code.
I believe he was an artist by hard work and  unmatched experience in compiler building.
Hard work, over long years, realy long years. He took the challenge and he did it, no matter how hard it was.
He never chose the easy way. This is how we knew Bob.

If you see a person that is talented, you will see a higher speed of output.
I know talented persons here, and we all know them. They move a mountain in short time.
What looks so hard for the average person, looks so easy if they do it.
Bob was rather a person who worked hard, but the development speed of new PB versions was traditionally not so high.
Personally I would have loved a double speed of new versions.
If we take a look on PB, it was great and unmatched, but the development speed was never fast compared to a person with a real "Talent" by definition. PB was always the product of hard work and never choosing the easy way.

Patrice Terrier

All the tools that have been available to C++ programmer for years were also necessary to PB's, DDT not, because there was nothing with it that couldn't be done with the existing API, that's my point.

For me PB is just a tool among others from my toolbox, i would never select it to build complex CRM database applications, however it is the best tool when i need to create small and fast DLL, or when i have to work around the bugs of the other languages.

Moreover, using different programming tools, has forced me to become objective, some of you have too much affect with PB and this alter your perception of the truth.

Patrice Terrier
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Frederick J. Harris

I like your advice and take on this Chris.  You talk a lot of sense.  I was wondering on what you meant by this statement though ...

Also remember the history of Powerbasic. Borland could not hold on to TurboBasic simply because it was just too hot a product to deal with.

I feel bad that at the time I was a Microsoft 'groupie' and was loving my QuickBasic.  I was aware of TurboBasic, but didn't know anything about it except that Borland made (actually marketed) it.

Christopher Boss

Turbo Basic (and Borland) was basically constantly on the defensive when it came to Microsoft. It was a threat that Microsoft took seriously and the competition was just too much for Borland. Sadly, businesses can play dirty, so from the days of Turbo Basic likely Bob felt the effect of that. Consider this, if Bob had not worked as hard as he did to keep Powerbasic (aka. TurboBasic) alive, it would have disappeared a long time ago. Likely this made him very protective of his "baby", which could explain why he may at times have been a little too strong when dealing with critics of PowerBasic.


Patrice Terrier

Up and down, up and own, up and down.

Saturday morning down again, probably until monday, or perhaps after the vacations  :-X


Patrice Terrier
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