METAL BASIC

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Post: #1
Note #1: Please be aware that this project is currently on hiatus.

Note #2: I've just posted the (horrible, horrible) source code to METAL Help 'Mogrifier to GitHub.

Note #3: I've just posted a System 7 (and maybe earlier...?)..Mac OS 9 executable of METAL Help 'Mogrifier to GitHub.



Greetings, I'm currently working on an assignment for a (sub-degree level) course I'm studying, an assignment which requires the development of a program and third-party feedback on the design of the program, the program, and the documentation to the program.

I'm most likely going to indulge in a little retro-programming and develop a pre-compiler for METAL BASIC to try to improve the language through the addition of a little syntactic sugar, so I'm going to be looking for feedback from anybody who used – or still uses... – METAL BASIC.

What would you need to do?
  • You will be asked a few questions about your use of METAL BASIC, what you feel were the limitations of that language/the reasons why you stopped using that language (if you stopped using that language...);
  • you will be presented with the design of a pre-compiler for METAL BASIC and asked a few questions about whether you believe it would have lifted any of what you feel were the limitations of that language/whether you believe it would have prolonged your use of that language;
  • finally, you will be provided with the pre-compiler, and the documentation to the pre-compiler, and asked to evaluate it, viz. asked whether it would have lifted any of what you feel were the limitations of that language/whether it would have prolonged your use of that language.

I don't believe any of these tasks will take more than a hour to complete, and there is quite a long time in which to complete them (the marks for the assignment are to be submitted in either mid-January or mid-May 2013...)

So, if you might be interested in providing feedback, please email me at F454@sealfin.com.

Thank you for reading Wink

Mark Bishop
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Post: #2
You have awaken me from my looooong slumber. Great to hear about this project. What ever happened to to original dev? Marin? Would like to see someone also reboot TNTBasic and ColdStone Engine. This is just great though... It's like getting Game of Thrones Season 3 right now. lol

Carlos A. Camacho,
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Post: #3
Thanks for the reply Carlos Smile If you're interested in providing feedback – and having your feedback influence the form the pre-compiler takes – email me Wink

I'd recommend you temper your enthusiasm though – whilst I doubt it would be impossible to reverse engineer the bytecode METAL BASIC produces to develop an alternative compiler or an alternative (Intel-native...) interpreter, it would be outside the scope of the assignment; most likely (depending on the answers I receive to the questions I'll be asking...) the pre-compiler will introduce support for multiple files, variable declaration (and scope), parameterised sub-routines, a few postfix and infix operators, and a few mathematical sub-routines...

Mark Bishop
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Post: #4
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH METAL BASIC CODE I HAVE WRITTEN?!!

A lot, that is how much.

It was ages (and ages and ages) ago, but I'd be happy to lend a hand.

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Post: #5
Thanks for the reply stevejohnson Smile I forgot to mention in either of my emails, but I already intended to contact you due to you mentioning METAL BASIC in this Wink

Mark Bishop
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So what's the deal with Metal anyway? I Googled and it seems to have died off? Anyone know if the guy has open sourced it or anything?

I was always surprised how much was done with it back then!
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Post: #7
@SethWillits: Unknown – according to archive.org, Marin Saric's website was last updated in 2002, and their website was last captured by archive.org in 2008 Sad I was surprised, but METAL BASIC runs under Rosetta – prior to beginning this assignment I decided to try to run (with little expectation of success) an old app I coded back in secondary school...

[Image: 1997-called-it-wants-its-app-back.jpg]

Mark Bishop
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Post: #8
Would reimplementing METAL BASIC be too much for the project? (I don't know how rich its language was.)
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Post: #9
@SethWillits: I don't think reimplementing METAL BASIC would be too difficult, especially if I were to build off of SDL/_image/_mixer/_gfx; the difficulty is that the assignment has a pretty strict specification – I'm bending it a bit to submit this, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to gain no points for a few minor sections (not that I'm concerned as I expect I'm going to gain full points in more major sections Wink)

(It would also be 'interesting' to reimplement METAL, as how METAL functions doesn't have a 1:1 relationship with how the documentation states METAL functions, so there would be a decision to make regarding whether to maintain bugs for backwards compatibility...)

Also, is there any demand for a reimplementation of METAL? The answers I've received to the first of the three questionnaire so far indicate that there isn't... There's already Chipmunk* if you're looking for a minimalist learning environment, and BlitzMax if you're looking for something more akin to METAL...

*And I've just learnt that there's HotPaw BASIC for iOS by the author of Chipmunk Blink

Mark Bishop
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Post: #10
(Jun 14, 2012 04:11 PM)sealfin Wrote:  Also, is there any demand for a reimplementation of METAL?

Is there any demand for a METAL preprocessor? Rasp

But obviously the assignment dictates what you should do. Hope it goes well for you.
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Post: #11
(Jun 15, 2012 12:37 PM)SethWillits Wrote:  
(Jun 14, 2012 04:11 PM)sealfin Wrote:  Also, is there any demand for a reimplementation of METAL?
Is there any demand for a METAL preprocessor? Rasp

There is Wink (One person being interested in the pre-compiler means that there is demand for the pre-compiler, right? Sneaky)

Mark Bishop
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Post: #12
I'm still hoping for feedback from maybe one more person, so I've just posted the first (of the three) questionnaires - I'm particularly interested in feedback from a person who can answer "Yes" to 6f. and to any of 8 Smile

Mark Bishop
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Post: #13
Just posting to say that this project isn't dead - the first draft of the more important half of the design document has just been sent to those people who've been in contact with me so far - but that I'm still particularly interested in being contacted by/feedback from people who can answer "Yes" to 6f. and to any of 8. of the questionnaire I linked to in my previous post Smile

Mark Bishop
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Post: #14
Marin Saric, the author of METAL BASIC, just started working at Yelp. Anything I should ask him? Smile

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Post: #15
Huh. Small world.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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