SiMPLE (a recursive acronym for SiMPLE Modular Programming Language & Environment) is a programming development system that was created to provide easy programming capabilities for everybody, especially non-professionals.

History

In 1995, Bob Bishop and Rich Whicker, (both former Apple Computer Engineers) decided to create a new programming language that would be easy enough for everyone to understand and use. (They felt that additional existing languages such as C++ and their environments were far too complicated for beginners.) The programming language that they created was called SiMPLE.

SiMPLE is vaguely reminiscent of the AppleSoft BASIC programming language that existed on the old Apple-II computers. Notwithstanding SiMPLE isn't (and was never intended to be) merely a "clone" of Applesoft BASIC. It was merely "inspired" by it. There are a large number of features of Applesoft that needed to be improved. For example, Applesoft was an interpreted language, and so it ran somewhat slowly (even for a 1MHZ processor). SiMPLE, on the additional hand, compiles into an executable (.EXE) file. So it not only produces programmes that run faster, but those programmes can even run on computers that don't have SiMPLE installed.

Another difference between the two languages is in the use of line numbers. Applesoft required them; SiMPLE doesn't even use them. (Instead of typing programme statements onto the black Apple screen, SiMPLE uses a text editor.) Furthermore the "FOR-NEXT" loops in Applesoft have been replaced by "Do-Loop" instructions in SiMPLE. (But they function in much the same way).

However, aside from a few differences in their outward appearances, writing programmes in SiMPLE has a similar "feel" to what one experienced when writing programmes in Applesoft. For example, when using SiMPLE in command-line mode, a programme is run by simply typing the word "RUN" on a black screen (just as was done on the Apple!)

The Three Faces of SiMPLE

"Simple" is a generic term for three slightly different versions of the language: Micro-SiMPLE, Pro-SiMPLE, and Ultra-SiMPLE.

(a) Micro-SiMPLE is an introductory programming language designed to use only 4 keywords: Call, Set, If, and Goto. An example of a Micro-SiMPLE programme listing (and a snapshot of the output display it generates) is shown in the figure below:

(b) Pro-SiMPLE is the DOS-based version of SiMPLE requiring the use of only 23 keywords. Its graphics capabilities are limited to only 16 colours with a resolution of only 640 x 480 pixels. Its sound capabilities are limited to simple "beeps" through the computer's built-in speaker.

(c) Ultra-SiMPLE is the Windows-based version of SiMPLE. It utilises exactly the same 23 keywords as Pro-SiMPLE. Its graphics capabilities allow millions of colours in whatever resolution the user's system provides. Its sound capabilities allow the user to play any type of media file (including movies).

Prior to 2011 June, SiMPLE was available only for 32-bit computers. Since then, a newer version (which can be used on either 32-bit computers or 64-bit computers) is now the standard version. In this newer version of SiMPLE, the terms "Pro-SiMPLE" and "Ultra-SiMPLE" have been replaced by the terms "Dos-SiMPLE" and "Win-SiMPLE" respectively. Notwithstanding in an effort to provide as much backward compatibility as possible, both of those obsolete terms ("Ultra-SiMPLE" and "Pro-SiMPLE") are still accepted as being legitimate compiler directives.

In addition, the design of the newer version of SiMPLE is more "streamlined". The old original version of SiMPLE was designed to be used only in the closed environment of Command-line mode. (The "Drag & Drop" mode of operation wasn't added until a large number of years later.) Consequently the old SiMPLE's Command-line mode required dozens of commands (to support such capabilities as deleting source listings, renaming files, creating new project folders, etc.). The newer version of SiMPLE integrates the SiMPLE environment with the Windows environment so that a large number of of the old SiMPLE's Command-line commands are no longer necessary and have been eliminated.

Modes of operation

SiMPLE programmes can be run in either "Drag & Drop" mode (intended primarily for beginning programmers), or in "Command-Line" mode (for more advanced programmers):

(a) In "Drag & Drop" mode, the user simply creates a programme source listing (a text document), and then runs that programme by dragging the source listing document onto a special icon.

(b) In "Command-Line" mode, the user creates and runs programmes by typing commands and listings into a DOS window.

The 23 keywords used by SiMPLE are

And                    Break                    CallCommon                 Continue                 DisplayDo                     Else                     EndFloat (or Decimal)     Float2 (or Decimal2)     GotoIf                     Int (or Whole)           Int2 (or Whole2)Loop                   Or                       ReturnSet                    Step                     TaskText                   To

SiMPLE will run on Windows 95 and newer systems.

An example programme is like the following:

Do n = 240 To 25     stars @     rocket (320, 2*n, -3) @     ufo (295+n, 25, -8) @     delay (20)  Loop n  explode (320, 35) @  quit  Append G: toys

which will give you this output: