Computer Science Canada

What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:09 pm ]
Post subject:  What do you think the future of Turing will be?

I really enjoyed learning how to program with Turing back in high school (and even as a kid in my case), and I still enjoy using it. I feel that if I had learned a language like Python instead, it would have been a rather different experience. Also, while Python is easy to learn, I don't believe it prepares programmers as well for languages like C and Java.

What do you think the future of Turing is? It seems like there are still schools that use it, but for how long? OpenTuring was a great development, but that does not seem to be going anywhere. There is also Turing+ for Mac and Unix, which is available to download from the Queens University website ( ), but there seem to be almost no resources for that. I wouldn't mind putting some time and effort into supporting the language, but as I did not end up completing my degree in computer science, I feel that anything I could do would be limited.

But enough of my opinions... what are your thoughts?

Author:  Dan [ Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Turing+ that you link to is an interesting development. I was not aware it was still being updated (at least as of 2018).

If Queens is still updating it and using it, it might have some future. However, I think educational programming tools and languages and largely moved on from Turing.

It would be interesting if there were any studies in the effectiveness of using Turing v.s. modern approaches (e.g. Scratch or diving right into Python) to introduce programming concepts but all I can find form a quick search is one form 1996 on Turing v.s. Pascal [1] and a 1994 work by Holt on using it to teach OOP [2].

[1] Martin, Jacqueline L. "Is Turing a better language for teaching programming than Pascal." Honours Dissertation, University of Stirling, Department of Computer Science (1996).

[2] Holt, Richard C. "Introducing undergraduates to object orientation using the Turing language." Proceedings of the twenty-fifth SIGCSE symposium on Computer science education. 1994.

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Yes, James Cordy (the one who made Turing with Ric Holt) works at Queen's university, and I think he's the one that has maintained Turing+ over these years.

There are certainly some high school teachers still using Turing, but it is impossible to know how many. Every time I meet someone in Ontario who studied programming in high school, all of them seem to have used Turing in one way or another.

I agree: It would be interesting to see studies which compare Turing with languages like Python. Personally, I think Turing would better prepare someone for languages like C and other languages influenced by C. Python is easier to learn, but it is also rather unique in its syntax and use of whitespace.

Author:  TokenHerbz [ Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:30 am ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

i think the future of "learning" programming languages is going to be starter java using things like "BlueJay" and with the rapid development of everything going on in the world, for example the web languages, html5 and rails will probly hit big,

but i think the huge push on on learning wont be so language based more like a mash of using pre-existing engines such as unity or unreal4 engines.

thats my opinion tho. which is a shame, because understanding how to even get to that engine, is very important. but i dont think they'll be covering the roots to much in the future.

Author:  [Gandalf] [ Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Everything I've seen around introductory programming lately focuses on Python or JavaScript. Given the vastly larger communities and plethora of learning resources available for both, it's debatable whether there's a need for niche "learning" languages. Keep in mind Turing was adopted by schools before the Internet had taken off, and good learning tools were not as widely available. A lot has changed.

I see more of a future in learning-oriented tools and IDEs built around languages like Python. There was some research around this at UofT when I studied there. Something in the vein of Ready to Program or DrScheme / DrRacket, better debugging tools, tailored libraries, etc.

Author:  CodeMonkey2000 [ Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

The trend definitely is JavaScript and Python. Though this is more of a practical/industrial reason rather than teaching reasons.

Javascript blew up in the past decade with because of front end.

Python blew up because of data science and ML.

Plenty of bootcamps have popped up around these things. I think this is very short sighted, we can easily abandon JS and Python in any moment, these are temporary trends. It's more important to understand, so that you can adapt. Gotta stay trendy.

Overall, I don't think there is a future for Turing. It's not practical enough where there is a pay off in learning it (like js and python), and it doesn't introduce enough important concepts for teaching use.

I had Rick Holt as a prof back in the day, promoted concepts from Turing time to time.

Author:  TokenHerbz [ Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

yea no turing but i'll keep it still to leach my kid, afterall its where i grew my desire

Author:  TokenHerbz [ Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:20 am ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

PS "|DAN|" send me your email i'll send you months or two website costs.. (maybe 4):

Author:  yyzkevin [ Sat May 16, 2020 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

I also learned Turing during highschool.

My interest is a bit different, I am trying to recreate/preserve a similar environment as I used in highschool. Through mostly actual disks and old drives I saved and have been hauling around for a decades now, I have managed to bring a netware server online running ibm classroom lan administrator.

I have a copy of the Turing that I used in school, it was for dos v7.2c. Of course I am unable to open it as it indicates it is unable to read the registration information. my interest is to get this specific version/copy working.

I spent a little time working with it in a disassembler after unpacking the executable. It seems to have been based on disk serial numbers but my experience with asm is very limited, and the environment I am using to debug (dosbox) does not properly implement some of the int21 calls being used.

Were any of the older versions of turing source code released, or does anybody know any other details about the anti-copy functions that were implemented. This is purely for personal purposes to restore to a using state the backup copy I have.

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Thu May 28, 2020 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Gandalf: I agree that the internet has changed things. But even though there are a lot of resources for learning Python and Javascript, that is different that learning how to program.

CodeMonkey: Going to have to disagree with you. Turing teaches a wide range of introductory concepts, and more. But I'd be interested in reading some of your examples of what it lacks.

TokenHerbz: Yes! Turing gave us the desire to program. It's fun, especially since it's ready-to-go as far as graphics goes.

I also want to add something that no one has pointed out: I think learning Turing better prepares students for tackling ANY language they choose later on, whether it's straight C, Java or Python. I think Python and Javascript make it harder to learn strongly typed languages later on, and strongly typed languages are not going away anytime soon (nothing replaces C for creating operating systems, for example, and C# is extremely popular right now with Unity).

So in short, I think a learning language like Turing can be relevant to teach the kind of programming foundations that prepare students for a wide range of languages. I've done a foundations course on using Javascript, and while it was well done, the instructor had to continually explain concepts that were foreign to Javascript, like fixed array sizes, saving files to the disk,etc.

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Thu May 28, 2020 11:47 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

yyzkevin: I'm also interested in DOS Turing. I have Turing 7.0. Would you be interested in sharing your executable with me?

As far as I know, the source code for DOS Turing is missing. When I emailed Dr. James Cordy, he asked me if I had it, but I only have executable files. I have a couple of other versions of Turing as well, such as Turing 6.something and Object Oriented Turing for Windows 3.1.

I have no experience with a disassembler, but from my understanding, wasn't Turing written in C?

Also, I assume your executable file for Turing runs in DosBox, correct? I'd be interested in knowing exactly what you are trying to do and why the source code would be useful to you. If you do ever get the source code, Dr. Cordy wants it to be published on Git-Hub so anyone can access it.

Author:  yyzkevin [ Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:35 am ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

yes turing was written in C. I have disassembled the binary, but I am not attempting to decompling it, the resulting code would not be useful for much. I am simply trying to determine the copy protection method so I can either generate a valid license or defect the protection in the binary I have. there is no prospect of getting usable source code from what I am doing. I am sure I will solve it, just a matter of setting some time aside to finish.

I am just attempting to build an environment of all the old software and technology I used over the years. some of this is virtualized and some is physical legacy hardware. i have a website friends can goto, which spins up a virtual machine at the datacenter that RPL boots from an actual netware server. from there I have been installing everything I can recover from discs or find in online archives. some friends want to login and relive turing, even open some of the old programs I recovered from a box of floppys i have been dragging around. Some want to just play sim city, some an ipx game of doom. its just a bit more authentic than loading it all onto dosbox locally. using ibm lan classroom as the front-end is really a blast from the past.

The copy I have is from highschool it is listed as version 7.2C May14, 1996. I am not sure if I copied it from the school computers or from a friend or what.

I am happy to share the files I have, and I would love to get working copies of any other versions.

I have also reached out to a few friends that may have copies they purchased, but this is decades ago I am not sure any of them would have kept any of it.

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

yyzkevin I sent you a pm.

Author:  Brightguy [ Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What do you think the future of Turing will be?

I also have fond memories of learning Turing in high school. In 2011 I sent Tony the copies of DOS Turing that I had (versions 8.0C, 7.05A, and 6.62) but I see they never made it onto the HoltSoft Downloads page. Dan, can you add them to the page?

I've uploaded them here: Turing 8 and Turing 7 and 6. Hope you find them useful. Smile

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Brighguy: That's great. I didn't know there was a Turing 8.

When I loaded Turing 8 I got the message that it is unregistered and it asks to reinstall it from the original disk. Are these just the installed files or do you have the original files from the disk itself?

Author:  Brightguy [ Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What do you think the future of Turing will be?

The original disk should be in storage somewhere but I doubt it still works. I did find another archive I had with an installer but I think it just creates the files I posted previously.

By extracting the archive into a directory and then running 'dosbox turing.exe' Turing 8 did run for me.

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Strange that it won't work for me. I have a folder where I keep all Dosbox programs. I extracted Turing8 into its own folder and then ran Turing from Dosbox. I get the 'Turing has not been installed properly and is unable to receive registration information' prompt. The other archive you posted seems to do the same. I even tried using the installer, and it says that 'a needed file on the disk has been modified' and it won't allow me to go forward.

I even tried making Dosbox an environment variable and running it just the way that you did. Same result.

Anyone else getting this error from trying to install this version of Turing8 in Dosbox?

Author:  scholarlytutor [ Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  RE:What do you think the future of Turing will be?

Update: Solved the issue!

Very strange. I've been extracting the archive using the typical unzipper that comes with Windows 10. I tried unzipping using 7-Zip instead. And it works! I have no clue as to why this should make any difference, but it does. So I'll recommend to anyone who is unzipping the file to use a program such as 7-Zip rather than the normal file extractor in Windows 10.

Brightguy: Thank you again! Turing 8! Woohoo!