It’s true, I started coding using a TRS-80 Color Computer, with a whopping 4K of memory. After Dad sat down and tried to type in a problem and ran out of memory, we both decided to move to the 16K Extended Basic (it could draw circles and shapes, too!).
My first program, I’m pretty sure, was something like:
10 PRINT “Eric was here!”
20 GOTO 10
Whee! Look at that go! Okay, now, how do I stop it?
Maybe today’s crazy kids start by getting an existing program, studying it, and then starting to hack and modify it. But man, your first memory corruption issue… oh, wait… your first hard to figure out mystery exception being thrown can make most budding programmers bitter enough to reconsider business school.
Basic was good enough and the platform limited enough that it didn’t get overly complicated and that was perfect for learning. I don’t see how Basic could emerge again today. There’s too many directions. Maybe. Maybe someone will decide that with just the right intersection of features, a new viral programming language for beginners can be written that is loose and forgiving and doesn’t require OOP and exceptions and all that crap we know we need now we’re all grown up.