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looking for a free programming language


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Howdy! I been trying to code a few little things here and there lately... trying to gear up for something decent enough to actually share with the world....

I have been learning VB.NET 2003 in school last time I was there... so I was wondering if there is a language that would make smaller footprint apps... a *very* basic app (187k supposedly) takes over 16megs during runtime...

and I dunno what vbrundlls are needed to use an app from this verison on 98....

So I'm wondeirng if there are any decent free programming languages kicking around... the more documented it is, the better... and a guide for a VB developer crossing over to this new language would kick butt.

I don't know about VB6.0

I mean, I got LOTS of books on it... but no CDs...

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There are alot of languages out there that you could learn,, and would be compatible with Win 98 - XP (unsure of Vista at the mo). The problem you have is, as you say, the size of the app when you are done.

For example you could use something like Delphi (Free compiler), that has alot of documentation on the net but would bloat your final exe.

The there is C# or C++ with MFC that will give a smaller app size but would take longer to learn (as there are a lowr level than VB or Delphi). C# and MFC are both well documented on the internet as well, with free compilers for them too (Mono 2.0 was release for programming .Net on Linux).

I guess the real question is, do you want to learn a real programming lanugage, or do you want info on a language like VB (sorry to all VB developers, but VB in my mind is not a real lang as it removes some control from the user. You use a RAD to drag and drop blocks, then add code as needed but then you get bloatware when your finished compiling).

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The memory column in Task Manager CANNOT BE TRUSTED, if you want the true value an app uses, get System Internal's Process Viewer.

Yes, the first instance of a .Net app that runs will use 10+mb of ram, and if you look at task manager and run a second instance, that will say 10+mb as well, but if you use a proper tool like Process Viewer, you'll see that it really uses like 2mb of ram, or less.

The problem is Task Manager takes shared memory and assigns it to each process, so instead of 10 .Net apps uses 10+mb each, it's really 1 using 10+mb and then 9 more using 2mb each.

If this still seems like a lot, keep in mind as .Net becomes more and more popular, the .Net framework will be running all the time, especially in Vista. Heck I would even consider it a smart "hack" in Vista with 2gb of ram to force the .Net framework to run at bootup so that when you do launch a .Net app, if that's even possible.

On another note, just grab that free copy of Visual Studio 2005 Express and code away, it's a great IDE, I've yet to see a better IDE since Delphi, which is actually made by the same guy. Embrace .Net, it's very popular in business and it's best to stick with the skills that pay your bills.

But if you absolutely have to write a tiny footprint app, well Assembly is your best bet (writing Windows apps in assembly is for masochists) or perhaps C/C++.

Edited by travisowens
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Xblite looks like a good language. Ill stick with C and C++ myself, but for those who want to learn something like VB (with all the simplicity and ease of use) should give it a try.

It seems xblite can do everything VB can do, and its free :) It also has a 400 page help file with alot of examples to help the user (from what is on the site).

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  • 2 weeks later...

good links... good ideas....

The request for small footprint applications stems from me wanting the code to run properly and easily on a 32meg or less box...

I have heard about Delphi before (Win3.x shell replacement called Calmira was written with it)....

any more information about it?

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Well first of all I find "free" pretty vast describtion. My first thoughts went straight to open source.

But since you seem to be looking for a free-of-charge programming language and this is a Microsoft centered website I recommend

Microsoft Visual Studio Express

I have no idea about the limitations but it is free-of-charge for as long as you don't use it to write software you are trying to sell.

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DeadDude- Delphi is like VB in many ways. Like VB its built upon a decent programming language (Pascal was a bit of a dead language for a while with only a small following but since a few other compilers can be found now for Object Pascal its is starting to get a bit of a revival).

Delphi has RAD environment like VB, but like VB you really need to learn a bit of the underlying language to get the best from it (in case you didnt get it from the last bit, delphi sits on top of pascal). It is pretty simple to whip out a program in Delphi, much like VB, and you can also get Delphis younger brother Kylix for linux. Borland who made Delphi has discontinued development of Delphi as of last year, so that is a bit of a downside.

To get more info follow these two links to wikipedia.

Delphi or Kylix

Nephilim-You mentioned open source. I did mention C++ with MFC, but he's also looking for something he can pick up easily and comes from a VB background. MFC may not be open source, but you will find that c/c++ were the original open source languages (since thats what most *nix kernel were written in, and what most *nix software is still written in). Also just so you know Delphi is a RAD (most poeple refer to it as a language),the language is Object Pascal, and wouldn't you know it there is GNU Pascal.

At the end of it all, there are alot of languages out there, and if you are willing to put in the time searching the net you can find how to write good apps in almost any language. Its really just (as is said in Ireland) much of a muchness. Take your pick to which suits you. (I forgot there is also python, perl, ruby, lisp, cobol, fortran, java.......:))

Edited by phkninja
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Well you could go with VB6 as it's not very bloated and wouldn't be too hard to write an app in. 32mb is a pretty serious limitation and I think you should really considering bumping that box to 64mb, it will be well worth the money.

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travis- some people dont only program on Computers :) 32MB is alot of memory for an embeded system (and if i was doing that sort of stuff id use C or C++)

VB 6 is still more bloated than the BASIC's mentioned by jaclaz. Also he's looking for something that will run on any machine really (dont think the 32MB is a serious cut off, its more of an example as it says 32MB or less)

Edited by phkninja
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travis- some people dont only program on Computers :) 32MB is alot of memory for an embeded system (and if i was doing that sort of stuff id use C or C++)

VB 6 is still more bloated than the BASIC's mentioned by jaclaz. Also he's looking for something that will run on any machine really (dont think the 32MB is a serious cut off, its more of an example as it says 32MB or less). The problem with VB is it requires windows and lots of DLL's to run. So you can have compatibility problems when using the created apps on other machines.

Edited by phkninja
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Let me clarify, okay?

I would *love* to find a programming language/suite that will run on an old laptop I got for tinking on....

It is a lowly P166MMX, 32megs ram.

I have a high end, sweet Duo laptop for heavier stuff (VB being one of them)

I know that at one point, this laptop (the 166MMX) was more than capable of being used to code more than capable apps...

I know for a fact a version of Delphi exists that would be pimp on it, for instance...

I would like to know what languages are available for such a modest environment...

Hell, I would even consider dropping it down to Win3.11 if needed...

The bottom line is, I at least need to be able to code apps that can easily run on this machine... at least.

I am testing it's battery pack now... seems to be somewhat OK... has been on for nearly 30mins and reports 85% left.... wow... could I be so lucky?!

While I *do* have a VB background of sorts, I broke my teeth on Commodore BASIC... The big deal of VB for me is I finally learned an object oriented language... so I guess methinks I got enough courage to self-teach another object oriented language....

How hard *is* C? I mean, can you link me up to darn near everything I would need from the ground up? I might be interested then...

From what I understand, C is more *nixish than other languages... (maybe that should be reversed?)

And Delphi looks like an option... still gotta check that link that was posted, though....

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OK, as above Object Pascal will run on your machine. The free basic versions will work on the P166.

C or C++ are the founding blocks of *nix but they are also the founding blocks of Windows. They are not always easy to learn (it can take a while to grasp stuff above the intermediate programming) and there isnt always alot of examples online for the more advanced stuff (i write encryption programs and am in the middle of writing an archiver....if i ever get time away from engineering i might just finish it). Both will run and almost every hardware available (ive had c and c++ running in an 8MB flash memory for a programmable IC)

Python, Perl and Ruby are like Java or C#. They are not compiled languages they are interpreted, which means they run fast but require you to install an interpreter.

If you want to try C/C++ here is some info.

Windows Compilers

Dev C++ (IDE and compiler)

Code::Blocks (IDE and Compiler. get the version with mingw installed)

DJGPP (command line compiler)

They will get you started. If you use *nix you got compilers already installed :)


C Programming

The Free Country

All Free Tutorials

Free Books


Thinking In C

Thinking in C++, Vol 1 & 2

Give me a while and ill see if i can dig out some more. This should get you started. If you need more or need some help, just post and you will get answers :P

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