Take me to the Pilot

ok… probably an obscure (for some of you) reference to an Elton John song…

But thought I’d describe my progress on writing a PILOT interpeter for the iPad

PILOT is similar in some respects to LOGO (mentioned by Emile on another topic post), but it seems to have a more simple syntax, but do quite a lot of the same stuff.

For the most part PILOT statements consist of

  • a command (usually a single letter, although there are some longer ones)
  • an optional conditional
  • a mandatory colon [:]
  • an option argument
T:This is a test

would T]ype “This is a test”

The standard version has 3 types of variables

  • String -> $variablename
  • Integer -> #variablename [short Integer 16bit]
  • System -> %variablename (colors, cursor position etc)

For some reason String variable can have long names, but Integer variables are limited to a single letter [#X]… my version is going to allow long names for both.

So far I have a “terminal” like entry screen… and have most of the “direct” commands working

  • NEW
  • LIST
  • DIR
  • NAME old AS new
  • LOAD
  • SAVE

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For me Pilot was a pen / was also a printer (an Apple Printer), but my memory may be wrong.

The below text follows the two conversations: “Teaching coding to a 5 and 8 year old” and “Take me to the Pilot” (this one) and combine them / push them a bit further.

The first step is to ask a good question and that was done there: “Teaching coding to a 5 and 8 year old”.

The second step was to have a good development environment for kids (welcome Dave).

The third step is with the two above, how can I welcome kids and make they want to use it / come back to it ?

The answer for this step, IMHO, is to speak to them: givin them things they like.

Example: how do I draw Mickey ?
How do I create a (simple) game ?
How do I improve the example game(s) ?

Walking in the stairs of programmation :wink:

In clear: provide example they will like to follow / use.

And what about tester ? Having a school handly is a mandatory (IMHO)

Conclusion (funny):

Providing a good language is one step;
to make sales (a viable business), we have to provide much more that the develipment environment:
Language References Books / Activities Bookss are as important as the Development environment :wink:

I stop here before before I fall into another thread :wink:

You have something here Dave, but as usual, this ask for work, hard work.

Success is key to generating interest
Its one thing where Xojo gets decent marks
You start a “project” and hit run
Yay look at that you built an app !!!
It doesn’t DO much but its a full blown app
Now you want it to say hello world ?
You drop a label on the window set the text and run

That is immensely powerful and interesting to a young mind
Not all want to learn to code (my grand daughter would rather play soccer or games on the iPad and school on a computer or iPad is just hell … literally)
But her younger sister ? OMG ! She loves this stuff

Pilot and Logo etc are all aimed at captivating those young minds
Have fun !
You never know where this could go

So far this has been an interesting experiment… I didn’t have to start at ground zero, since I had a lot of “bits” from when I ported my Xojo RetroBASIC project a few years ago…

I am basing this on the ATARI implementation, but if anyone can find a downloadable copy of the “APPLE PILOT LANGUAGE REFERENCE” (not the EDITOR guide). I would appreciate it…

Also, if anyone would like to SERIOUSLY be a Testflighter (in a few weeks)?

Ebay seems to have a number of apple pilot user manuals
Odd as this might seem I wonder if a local library would have a copy of such an old reference you could borrow ?

EDIT : WOW - published in 2019

Thanks… didn’t want to “buy” one if I could avoid it…
FYI… thanks for that link… but no where is there a price or way to actually buy it (404 errors)

figures - I just found the page and didnt actually check to see about buying it :slight_smile:

The library and maybe a loan from anther place the retains historical copies might be the “free alternative”
A lot of these materials predate the internet so its amazing what we CAN find

You might want to check the Internet Archive. It has indexed quite a bit of material that has been scanned in from various sources. I needed a copy of the DEC Systems and Options Catalog from the mid-90s last week and it directed me to a PDF scan it had in its database.

I miss my Vaxen :frowning:
and alphas

they were such versatile machines esp in a cluster

True. I have several customers still using them (thus the need for the old SOC).

Cool project @DaveS. Is this written in Swift?

Yup… it is written in SWIFT… I used the core project for the XOJO -> SWIFT port I did of my retroBASIC interpeter… But due to the lexical differences had to make some changes to my tokenizer and expression evaluator …

Well I got the A: (accept) and T: (type) commands working properly.

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ascii art - gotta love it :slight_smile:

Hey remember… PILOT was born in the early 80’s …
but not to worry this finished app will support “real” graphics too

I’ve decided to create a “virtual canvas” the will be (0-999 by 0-999) and will adjust to each device size… .so the same graphic results will look relatively the same regardless the size of the iPad

heh … so was the Macintosh and the Lisa so … :stuck_out_tongue:
I get it :stuck_out_tongue:

great… :frowning:
I can’t seem to figure out a way to implement the equivalent of “Refresh” in Swift
My PILOT app works fine … until the entered PILOT code contains a “goto”.
The program runs (output can be seen in the debugger)… but my “terminal” object doesn’t update. SetNeedsDisplay is the equivalent of INVALIDATE. so if I break the loop, Poof the display catches up … :frowning:


Check there:


In that page, you will find a Pilot manual, two floppies, etc.

for the pdf manual, look here:

I do not read it, yet and I hope this is what you want. Note that this cover is unknow to me (probably recent than the other one I recalled earlier, hours ago; I certainly saw it 35 years ago when I was working at Apple France). It was an A5 book with spinning iron (not glued).

I am stoned to see how many old stuff are in sale (and the prices)… I have tons of oldies from that epoch; I may be rich if I sold them all !

Name: Apple Pilot - Editors Manual
Part #: 030-0369-00

I will search a little bit in case…

I am looking for “APPLE PILOT LANGUAGE REFERENCE” (not the EDITOR guide).

but thanks

I understand, but who knows, there may be valuable information here.

I’ve not found anything more. Time to dinner.