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What was your first project?

nombrekeff profile image Manolo Edge ・1 min read

What was the first project you did? Either personal or professional, and not counting course and degree exercises.

Mine was an html preprocessor, I did it just after finishing my degree just for fun, it's not even finished but it was a good start.

It's not the best code in the world, but for the time I was quite proud:


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My first personal software project was a PCB design and layout software, written in 6502 assembler running on BBC Micro. The 6502 has a 64kb address range, and the BBC came with 32Kb RAM and then up to four ROM slots that could be paged into the &8000 to &BFFF address range. My Beeb had an adapter putting RAM in one of those slots, so I could load my program into that. I think the assembler itself was in another ROM, but I don't recall that 100%. My application registered a "star command", and could then be invoked from the command prompt with "*pcb". Very, very cool stuff, for 1984.

The designer itself worked on the basis of 0.1 inch grid. I built a character set of all possible combinations of line going from the centre to left, right, up and down. Each then had a variant with a standard through-hole in the centre. There as also a completely blank character, and one with only the hole.

A PCB design was then basically a 2D array of these special characters. Considering the computer only had 32Kb (kilo not mega!), this allowed for pretty big PCBs. The software supported two PCB layers, because I wanted to be able to make double sided boards.

A real novelty for that time - it used a mouse.

I also built a X-Y Plotter, using stepper motors. The plotter accepted three commands - Move To, Pen Up and Pen Down. It connected to the BBC Micro via the parallel printer port. The controller used a Z80 CPU. The pen itself with supposed to deliver ink on to an acetate sheet (which could then be used to photo etch the PCBs), but I never got the ink delivered consistently or opaquely enough. It never got finished, as I went off to uni.


Cool stuff man! Thanks for sharing your stories!


Without knowing too much about JS, I made my first REST API with Express to communicate between Oracle and MSSQL :)


Cool! not bad for a starter project!