Friday, September 7, 2018

The Edit, Cookies, Debug Cycle

Yes, you read that right!

Back in the day, when I used to write business software for the Apple II computer (and the IBM PC, let's forget I said that) we used to use the Applesoft BASIC Compiler from Microsoft.

Typically I would print out the program listing, or part of it.  Go away and mark it up, planning what I was going to do next.  Then I would sit down and make my edits using the Applesoft interpreter and run the compiler.

This was a disk-based compiler, before microcomputers had enough memory to hold the code, the compiler and everything else in memory.  That meant that the compile was really, really slow.

So when you start the compiler it reads a line of code and displays it on the screen, and then you hear the floppy drive do its grinding sounds.  Rrrrr, rrrr,  rrrrrrrr,  rr.  Swish, swish, swish.  Repeat.

Each line of code was 3 or 4 seconds to compile, and when it was finally done with that it had to do a second pass to finish compiling.

It took a half hour to compile the code.  I can't say I really minded so much because this was an ideal time for some coffee and cookies (Keebler fudge covered cookies).  Or I would watch TV with my boss and we would talk politics.

Then once the program was compiled it would get tested, and the cycle would repeat.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a lot of Z80 assembly on a TRS80 Model 1 and I do remember a lot of coffee breaks. But not with my boss. He was an ass of a different mother.