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How Programmers code in 1985

How Programmers code in 1985

If you’re a programmer today, you probably have all the luxury of using mighty softwares that helps in developing a certain program. But how did they do all the coding when all of that wasn’t commercially available in 1985?

Coding today is definitely not it was like back in 1985. The futuristic tools and advancements weren’t there, and all you have is knowledge and… paper. Basically, you’ll imagine and form up an idea on your mind and you need to write it down by hand on a piece of paper.

John Graham-Cumming shared his story back when he was directed to develop a program that will make a machine put labels on bottles. It was a 6502 assembly and there wasn’t an assembler KIM-1 only had a hex keypad and a relatively tiny display.


What does that mean? Yes, he wrote the code by hand and in a paper first. He needed to write the code (which is the blue) then convert it to machine code (in red). During that time, he doesn’t have a calculator that can do hex with him so he did all that computation manually.

Of course, writing code like this is a pain. – JGC

All sorts of great things really come from small beginning and this is only one of the thousands proof of that idea. Today programmers have the privilege to code easily and some not so trained people can do simple programs on a computer or laptop as well. However, even though they have a better platform, we still have to praise the effort and knowledge they have that resulted in ridiculously awesome technologies.

This experience taught Mr. Cumming two things which he still practice until now. First, we should always try to get it the first time. The second one, which I every programmer should learn, is to run the code in their head so that they can be more proficient in coding and developing programs.

We all enjoy the gadgets and Internet today and it’s such an amazing journey to see how far we’ve come in the past 30 years. Well, I think we should all look back to this day 30 years from now and realize what we are before all of this.

Programming isn’t an easy task. It’s hard, especially if you’re asked to write your code in a paper like our professors do during quizzes and exams. It’s harder to spot the wrong codes, but it will teach us to improved our critical thinking and creativity.

[Source: John Graham-Cumming]


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