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'There was something amazingly enticing about programming. You created your own universe and you were the master of it. The computer would do anything you programmed it to do. It was this unbelievable sandbox in which every grain of sand was under your control.' - Vint Cerf

'Programming... struggling with an obstinate system that can do what you want but only if you can figure out the right thing to say to it.' - Will Crowther

Ah... computer programming. What a love/hate relationship that is. It's funny, in the good old days (ie the 1980s), most home computers shipped with a version of BASIC in ROM so you could play around with programming straight away. You could even buy, type in and run program listings from magazines and books (if they worked ). But hey, today we have Facebook & Linkedin so that's OK

Programming can be immensely frustrating (computers are so literal-minded) but also immensely satisfying when you see your little creation running on the screen, fast, tight and bug-free (which always takes about ten times longer than you think it will ). It's just cool telling the computer what to do for a change.

Click on the programs below to get started. All are ZIPped Windows executables that can be run straight away (no installing). There are also links to the source code. These are real simple little programs, just for fun. I make no claims to be a coding wizard!

Here are some programs I've written in Visual Basic 6 . My VB6 Notes may be interesting to any VB6 programmers out there.

Dancing Lines A hypnotic display (Source)
FF Adventure Sheet Adventure sheet for Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (Source)
Hello World! The most basic program of them all... (Source)
Polygon Displays different sided polygons (Source)
Psychedelia Trip out (Source)
Spinning Polygon Displays different sided rotating polygons (Source)
Spiral Draws a spiral! (Source)

The programs below are written in my favourite language, BBC BASIC . Originally designed for Acorn machines like the BBC Micro. Any kid who went to school in the 1980s may be vaguely familiar with it. You can even get a version for Windows! A well designed, well structured, easy to learn programming language, highly recommended if you fancy the idea of having a go at programming but may have been a bit daunted by the complexity of languages like C++ or even Visual Basic.NET. I also have some BBC BASIC notes.

Animated Icon Simple moving icon demo (Source)
Balloons Watch 'em float around (Source)
Circles Various coloured circles (Source)
Hello World The definitive BBC BASIC version ;) (Source)
Lines Hurts the eyes after a while.. (Source)
Polygons More spinning polygons (Source)
Spirals This one hurts the head after a while.. (Source)
Triangles Every BBC BASIC programmer starts out with this one! (Source)