Saturday, January 23, 2010

Compilers, coffee and cookies

As Mr. Alessi and I proceeded with development of Forecaster-Buy we decided that we wanted to use a BASIC compiler instead of using the built-in Applesoft BASIC interpreter. This protected the source code of the program so no one could steal it. It also made the program run faster, but honestly because most of the time was spent entering data, waiting for disk access and printing stuff on a slow dot matrix printer it was pretty hard to tell it was faster.

The only real choice if you wanted to compile Applesoft BASIC was to use Microsoft's Applesoft BASIC Compiler. Imaginative name, right? This was a very nice product. Back in those days, compilers made your program run faster, but they made development very slow. You tried to cram as much work as you could in between compiles because each line of code took 3 or 4 seconds to compile. Each next line would appear on the screen, and then the floppy drive would go brrrr, brrr, mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm. Repeat.

Now this actually had a nice benefit. Every half an hour or so you would compile the program, and then run off and have a coffee break. I drank soooooo much coffee, and Keebler fudge cookies were consumed in large quantities also. I wish I could still eat like that. ;-)

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