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Simon Foster
Simon Foster

Posted on • Originally published at funkysi1701.com

Back to BASIC

I can't remember the syntax for BASIC, luckily I have been able to find the Manual.

All the commands are listed inside so lets see what we can do.

The Lynx presents you with a command prompt in which you can type text. Back in the 80s we had a tape player to load programs from tape, however I don't have one today so only programs I write can be run.

PRINT - To write Hello World, you can just type PRINT "Hello World" and Hello World appears on the screen. To Write a program that displays Hello World, you just write the line number first.

10 PRINT "Hello World"
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To run this you type RUN
To view the code you type LIST

To Edit a specific Line you can use Ctrl+E and type the line number, or you can just write the line out again.

CLS - This command clears the screen

INPUT N - stores text typed by the user and stores it in the variable N

GOTO N - Execution of code continues at Line Number N

The first Program I wrote with a bit of help from my boys.

10 CLS
20 PRINT "What is your Age?"
30 INPUT N
40 IF N>5 AND N<41 THEN PRINT "a good age" 
50 ELSE IF N<6 THEN PRINT "a spaceman"
60 ELSE IF N>40 THEN PRINT "too old"
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My 4yo didn't like being "too young" in the original version, so my 6yo helped me change him to be a "spaceman".

Not bad and it was fun pair programming with a 6yo, all my typos were quickly spotted, and he easily understood the logic of IF/ELSE/THEN statements.

The Lynx comes from 1983 and has just 96k of memory. I am very lucky it actually still works, however I have been able to find an emulator so I can write Lynx BASIC from the comfort of my laptop. jynxemulator, it is also on github but it doesn't include the ROMs so getting from the website is a better option.

The developer experience today is so much nicer than it must have been in the 1980s, however back then distractions must have been much reduced.

  • No internet or google to get answers to your questions
  • No Copy/Paste of text
  • No Load/Save (unless you have a working disk drive or tape player!)
  • No IDE
  • No Build or Release process just type RUN

Top comments (2)

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patricktingen profile image
Patrick Tingen

Never had a Lynx computer (I did have an MSX2 which also had a z80 processor), but I really love the manual. First I thought someone had written additional notes in the manual (which is true) but there are also hand-drawn illustrations, like the one in ch16. Beautiful! (see i.imgur.com/ZQyBWKn.png )

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funkysi1701 profile image
Simon Foster

They don't make instructions manuals like that anymore!

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