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01-21-2007 21:41

Posted by:
paulS

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Hello - I'm working on setting up a high school intro programming class for our small school. After numerous searches, I came across TnT. The class content will only cover the basics (loop control, subroutines, etc...).

Is this a package that you'd recommend for what I'm looking for?

Thanks,
Paul

01-21-2007 23:03

Posted by:
allnodcoms

Location:
hertfordshire (England)

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Hi Paul

First off I have to make sure you know that this is a Mac Application and not Windows compatible. If you got this far you probably do, but it's always best to check.

There are not too many free basic implementations out there for the Mac, and TNT is one of the friendlier ones, but to honestly answer your question I'd need to know a bit more about what you want to use it for and what systems you are running. Other implementations you might like to look at are Chipmunk Basic (available here or the now defunct (but still download-able) Metal, a very good system that sadly went by the wayside. You can check that out here.

TNT itself is a great introduction to programming, but as a 'true BASIC' learning tool it has some peculiarities that are not consistent with more ANSI standard versions, there is no GOSUB command for instance, and it uses a very PASCAL approach with the addition of 'procedures'. TNT is not, therefor, a classic BASIC implementation (while the other offerings listed above are), so if you are trying to teach 'programming' then TNT may well be for you. If however you are trying to teach 'Old School BASIC' then you may be better off with another system.

Based on what I've said already I'd check out our learning zone link and see if it's for you first, then look at the offerings I listed earlier to compare.
TNT has a well supported forum, and there are always people about to answer your questions. We are an active project (if this is important to you) and we are still very much in development, in fact I'm one of the developers.

To answer your question as best I can I would definitely recommend TNT as a general learning tool; it is well featured, easy to learn, well documented and it's still supported. BUT if you need true ANSI BASIC compatibility then I would have to say no, TNT takes too many liberties with the language to be useful to you.

If you have any other questions or concerns then please feel free to post again or mail me direct and I will do my best to help.

Danny (nods)

01-22-2007 00:59

Posted by:
paulS

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Hi Danny,

I appreciate your detailed response. Yes, this has to run on a Mac.

After looking deeper into the documentation, I may have hit a road block. We're running OS-X and there is mention that TNT isn't yet compatible with this OS. Is this still the case? If it only has limited capability, do you think it'd be able to do what I describe below?

As far as ANSI compliance, we're not overly concerned about that. We just need something the kids can use to get a basic understanding of high level programming. Things like formatted printing, control loops (while, for, etc...), populate an array with inputted data, sort an array, simple arithmetic. I think you get the picture. We're not interested in doing anything with graphics and such in this class.

If TnT isn't going to work out for our needs, do you still recommend either the Chipmunk or Metal packages based on my further description?


Again, thank you for your help.

Paul


01-22-2007 01:05

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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TNT DOES run on mac OS X - it's probably outdated documentation that you've seen

The real disadvantage to TNT is that development has got slower, and it is to expect massive addition of new features soon. My opinion on TNt is that it can't do everything, but what it does, it makes it easy to learn.

01-22-2007 01:05

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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and it is *not to expect massive addition of new features soon

(still no editable posts? ;) )

01-22-2007 01:07

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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but i just read you're not going to do any graphics, so that porbably won't bother you ;)

01-22-2007 01:13

Posted by:
swagIT

Location:
Great Wet North (Vancouver)

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My Two bits worth:

TNT runs fine on OSX
TNT is easy to learn
The learning zone and online help area is very good.

The best part about TNT is that even though there aren't a ton of active forum posters - those that do post often and give excellent responses (Danny,Someone) showing A LOT of patience.

Nothing worse than hostile or snobby replies to honest beginner questions.

cheers

barry

01-22-2007 07:33

Posted by:
allnodcoms

Location:
hertfordshire (England)

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OS X is fine...

Hi again Paul, the OS X thing only applies to input devices (joysticks or gamepads) for games. TNT still relies (at the moment, but I'm working on it!) on Apple's legacy 'input sprocket' which was dropped in X. Apart from that everything works as expected.
It's also not a Universal Binary, so suffers a bit of a speed loss on Intel Macs (especially with floating point math) but this shouldn't effect what you need it for. Everything else you mentioned is supported, there are the full range of loop constructs, single and multi-dimensional arrays and excellent string management. If you can forgive the lack of a GOSUB and work around the 'procedure' thing (which I'd recommend you look at as they are 'procs' not C style functions) then you should have no problems.

So to fully answer you, it's a resounding "Yes" with regards to a recommendation... Happy TNTing!

Another thing you may find useful, if you are going to be using the documentation as a teaching aid, is my .pdf version of the software manual and language reference. You can get a copy by clicking here. It's a direct copy of the separate HTML versions, and is fully linked and indexed, but it's a lot easier to print than the on-line version, so it might help you out. It's got a snazzy cover too!

Anything else you need just drop us a line, there's always someone about (eh 'someone'? ;) )

Danny (nods)

01-22-2007 12:43

Posted by:
paulS

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All,

Based on these comments I'm going to forge ahead with TNT.

** Just for some quick background, up until two days ago my last experiece with Macs was almost 12 years ago. I mentined that I'm helping to get this class set up but that is not my regular job. During the day I develop firmware for embedded 8-bit microcontrollers. Most of this is written in C.

So, last night I downloaded the app and the program samples into a folder and uncompressed the app. The Getting Started section says to click on the Hieroglyph icon to open the project window. When I clicked on the icon, I got no response. Do I need to "install" this program so the OS will launch it?

I looked through the Sample Program folder and clicked on one of them. What looked like the Hieroglyph window did come up. I didn't go any farther than that.

I'm just trying to create a project and be able to code and run a "Hello World" type program to begin with.

Thank you,
Paul







01-22-2007 23:10

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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>
The Getting Started section says to click on the Hieroglyph icon to open the project window. When I clicked on the icon, I got no response.
>

Since you're not used to OS X, i can imagine at least one things from the top of my head.

What do you mean by 'no response'?

Double-clicking on an app on mac does necessarly create a window, contrarely to other operating systems. If the hieroglyph icon appears in the dock (the bar at the bottom of the screen) then the app is open. You then need to use the menu at the top of the screen to create a new document.

01-22-2007 23:15

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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*Double-clicking on an app on mac does *NOT necessarly create a window


(still no editable posts? ;) i make mistakes everytime i post)

01-23-2007 00:22

Posted by:
allnodcoms

Location:
hertfordshire (England)

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Check for the flashing green bloke...

You do not need to install the app, just decompress the archive and drop the folder into your Applications directory (for convenience, or anywhere else you want it).
When you double click the Hieroglyph icon in the Finder the app launches, this happens in X or Classic, in X you get confirmation in the Dock (bouncing icon) and in OS 9 Hieroglyph is added to the Finder menu. When it boots you should get a little animated green man "Walking like an Egyptian...", and to confirm this it will say "Hieroglyph" in the menu bar between the Apple menu and the file menu. At this point, hit apple + N (or select "New" from the file menu) to get a new project window, as 'someone' says it does not automatically open a new project (at the moment...)
The "TNT Basic.app" does not need to be run, this is the engine / interpreter and is called when needed, all you need is Hieroglyph, which is the editor / IDE. For now just hit the 'code' tab and start typing...

As a little aside Macs are not that different from Wintel PCs nowadays, I've used Macs since the late eighties (Yes, I'm old!) and they 'were' very different, but not any more. If in doubt remember that you can right (control) click on things to get a contextual menu of options (as in Windoze et al) which may help you to start with...

Well good luck with the "Hello World" and make sure you encourage those kids to try more of TNT's features.

Danny (nods)

01-25-2007 02:19

Posted by:
Jacob

Location:
San Francisco, CA

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And don't hold the Command/Apple key while opening.

01-27-2007 15:16

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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so? could you get it to run?

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