Programming With

BASIC256 Home Page

BASIC-256 Home Page

A book to teach ANYBODY how to program a computer.

The original vision for this book was to create a hands-on introduction of computer programming for Middle School and High School students. It has been written without much of the jargon and complexity of many programming books and will be suitable for anybody 10+ who wants to learn to program and is ready to experiment.

Programming a computer is considered by many to be a task that is beyond a typical middle grades learner. I personally know this is not so because, I learned to program my TRS-80 home computer during those years of my life. Programming was different: simpler in that we didn't need to worry about hard disks, color, or graphics; and harder for the same reasons.

This book attempts to engage through programming media (sound, color, shapes, and text to speech) and then working in the typical concepts of programming (loops, conditions, variables...) to make animations, games, and fun applications. Full source code to example programs are given so that experimentation can really hone the skills learned.

The Second Edition has been updated through version of BASIC-256 and includes functions, subroutines, printing, and many other new features.

James M. Reneau Ph.D.-

Current Version Available in Print.

Monday, November 01, 2010, 15:19

Current Version Available in Print.

Just published the current edition of the book at "Createspace". is an company and will be distributing copies of the current edition. The book would make a great gift.

Jim Reneau

Thursday, September 09, 2010, 19:04

Networking, Error Trapping, and Databases

Just finished reformatting the book for printing. Added chapters 18 (Error Trapping), 19 (Database), and 20 (Network Sockets). These new chapters have not been proofed and are a bit rough but I wanted to get them out there for everybody to look at.

This semester at school is a heavy load and my dissertation is taking much of my time. I do not know how much will get done over the next few months but changes are in the works.

Jim Reneau

Sunday, July 11, 2010, 19:07

Update to the book.

Uploaded a new version of the book. Two new chapters covering sprites (12) and data structures/sorting (17) were added to the book.

This really brings the book to the place that I wanted it to be by the end of my summer break. There will be many additions and corrections but it is now complete.

I am very encouraged by the number of downloads but have not received much feedback from the community. What do you all think?

Jim Reneau

Teaching a group from the book.

Monday, June 21, 2010, 14:08

Teaching a group from the book.

Last week I lead a group of 12 middle school students through an introduction to BASIC programming using the book. We had a great time and the experience seemed to be a great success.

Thursday, June 17, 2010, 08:48

Working on revision & teaching a class using the book.

I am currently working on two new chapters and several revisions of the book. I am inserting a new chapter 12 that will cover Images, WAV files, and Sprites (recently added to the language). Also I am adding a new chapter at the end that will cover stacks, queues, and a couple of sorting algorithms.

This week I am also teaching an summer enrichment class to 12 middle-school kids using the book (without the new additions) and they are having a really good time. Several of them are programming at home and really shining. I will post a more complete discussion of how it went and how the schedule worked, once the week is over.


Sunday, June 06, 2010, 04:46

New domain name.

Moved the book project to the domain name I really like that it reflects what this project is all about.

Monday, May 31, 2010, 11:29

Chapter 4 - Thinking Like a Programmer.

Just uploaded new version with a new chapter added on flowcharting and pseudocode. Have also added a couple of flow charts later in the book. Will be adding more as I revisit chapters.

Was thinking about a couple of new chapters to go at the and and was hoping for some input.

Proposed chapter X: Elementary data structures (stack and queue) implemented on top of arrays and sorting (using bubble and insertion sorts). I can see this chapter as an introduction to CS101 topics at a level for the advanced users of this book can use. It would include flowcharts, pseudocode, sample programs, and re-usable gosubs.

Proposed chapter X': Graphics ^ 2: BASIC-256 has several graphics statements that have not been covered in the book. GETSLICE/PUTSLICE allow us to copy sections of the screen to a string variable and then paste them back later. These with the IMGLOAD statement (added today) will allow for more advanced animation and game control. Also the WAVPLAY and WAVSTOP commands for asynchronous sound playback would be explored.

What do you all think?
Jim -

Thursday, May 20, 2010, 18:37

New chapter on pseudocode and flowcharting.

I am working on a new chapter 4, that will slide the rest of the book out, on how to think like a programmer.


Monday, May 17, 2010, 08:25

Book proof finished

The first full proofing for grammar is complete. I have released a new PDF.

Tonight my 13 year old daughter is giving a presentation on programming using chapters 1-3 at her middle school "Technology Fair". I am so proud.


Saturday, May 08, 2010, 21:21

Minor update to book.

Minor edits to chapter 13 and 14 of the book and added a couple of more games.

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So You Want to Learn to Program? by James M. Reneau is licensed under a
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