Practice — 1 Displaying text
Welcome to your first lesson! In this lesson, you’ll get an introduction to a programming language named Small Basic. Just like there is a different language named Small Basic. Just like there are different spoken languages for different countries like English or Spanish, computers have different languages for different tasks as well. You can also think of a language as a tool, like a hammer or a wrench. You’ll need to use different tools for different purposes. There are block-based programming languages, like Scratch and Code.org, where you drag and drop blocks of code. You might use a block-based language to learn programming concepts. Small Basic is a text-based language that exists to make it as easy as possible to do text-based coding. Small Basic is more complex than a block programming language, but it’s not as complex as Java or C++, which are used in more advanced classes and by professional programmers.
Downloading Small Basic
First, download Small Basic from smallbasic.com. Click the Download button and run the installer. You’ll need a Windows computer or tablet. If you don’t have one, click Start Coding Online to use the online version of Small Basic, instead of installing it.
Follow the instructions to install Small Basic. Then, look at your Start Menu for Microsoft Small Basic.
Running Small Basic should open a screen like this:
You can type your code into the window (marked Untitled) and press the Run button to run your code. Or press F5 on your keyboard. Let’s try writing your first program. Type the following into your editor and press the Run button:
You should get a window that has the following:
If you got an error, look and see if your code looks like this:
The code in the parentheses is green because two single quotes were used instead of a double quote. The text needs to be enclosed in double quotes, which are made by pressing shift and the single quote key at the same time. A single quote is used to add comments to your code and will turn your code green. To Small Basic, it’s like that commented-out code doesn’t exist. That’s why you’d get an error. Make sure you use the double quote for strings like this. We’ll talk more about using comments in a later lesson. Now let’s make things more colorful:
A program is a series of instructions. The computer first sets the background of the text to be dark green, sets the foreground of text to be green, and then prints Hello World! to your window. It looks like this:
Next, try changing the code above so that it uses your favorite colors. There are 16 colors available, as shown in the chart below: Black, DarkBlue, DarkGreen, DarkCyan, DarkRed, DarkMagenta, DarkYellow, DarkGray, Gray, Blue, Green, Cyan, Red, Magenta, Yellow, and White. The colors aren’t case sensitive, which means you can type them in all lower case, upper case, or any combination of the casing (so it could be BLACK, Black, black, or even BLacK). However, you can’t include extra spaces.
Now let’s try making some shapes and text:
The green text is a comment. See below for more info.
You should get a graphics window that looks like this:
Let’s look a little closer at the code: did you notice the two numbers you added before “Hello World!”? Those numbers indicate where you want the text displayed on your screen. The first number represents the x-axis, or where you want it displayed horizontally. The second number represents the y-axis, or where you want the text to appear vertically. Have you made graphs in math class before? This may be familiar then! If not, we’ll talk about this a little more in-depth in the next chapter. Now let’s add some color, a shape, and increase the font size. Feel free to add the lines of code one by one to see what each of them does. Type in each line of code, one at a time, and then run your program to see what happens:
Both codes are the same only, due to the screenshot, it happened
You should get a graphics window that looks like this:
Let’s look a little closer at the code: in the first three lines, it looks like there are random characters after a # where you might expect to see color names. Remember how we talked about how you can set colors with names, like “DarkBlue” but there are only 16 options? What if you could get a whole lot more? Using color codes like the above gives you many more options! These are called “hex” or “hexadecimal” color codes and are used by many different programming languages and even computer programs to set colors. There’s also a third way to set colors in Small Basic, by using the Red, Green, and Blue components (RGB). These values go from 0 to 255 for each.
You can set colors in Small Basic in three ways:
(1) Using pre-defined color names:
(2) Using a Hex value code:
(3) Setting the Red, Green, and Blue components (RGB):
The computer first sets the background to light blue, the brush color sets the color of the text, and the pen color sets the color of the rectangle lines. The rectangle is set by the measures given by you. Lastly, the text starts on the X, Y-axis that you specified. Try playing with these numbers to see the effects.
Did you notice that none of the green text showed up on the graphics window? That’s because it’s a comment. Comments are made by putting a single quote (‘) in front of the text. The computer then knows to skip that and continue to the next line of code! So what do you use comments for? Professional programmers use them all the time to explain their code to one another. Just like people write differently, people also code differently, and this is one way to explain what you’re doing. It’s also a good reminder when you come back to some code you haven’t worked on in a while! You can also use comments to build a framework for your code, even before you write it! This helps break down a complex task into smaller tasks and helps you make a plan so that you’re solving lots of little problems instead of one big one — it may be easy to say “I want a blue screen with an orange rectangle around the words “Hello World” in maroon,” but hard to do once you sit down to write the code. Here’s an example of how you can use comments to break down and explain the work you want the computer to do, using the code above:
Again, due to the screenshot, the same thing happened
I hope you guys liked my blog, I wrote now 5 blogs out of 6 blogs so yeah, 1 more left. Stay tuned!