Back in 2007, the TI-Nspire was released, with very minimal programming capabilities. Afterwards, TI refused to add more programming capabilities to that platform and at one point it seemed like they were phasing out the Z80 and 68K models (and oh, they did try, only to be met by public outcry from the TI community then reverting web page changes they had made about it
Somewhere around 2010, TI also started to introduce new TI-Nspire OSes preventing downgrades to OSes that supported Ndless and even sent a cease and desist letter to a TI website for hosting a copy of OS 1.1, back when it was the only OS that supported Ndless.
That C&D letter only targeted OS 1.1, not the copies of OS 1.7 and 2.0 that that website was hosting as well.
At that point in 2010, it was widely speculated in the community that Texas Instruments' primary, and perhaps only reason for locking down their calculators, was to eliminate calculator gaming, not cheating.
Then in 2011, came TI-Nspire Lua, then TI-France eventually became closer to the TI community, via TI-Planet, and in 2015, they finally started to listen to bug reports by TI community members, fixing many reported TI-84 Plus CE bugs
. While TI-Nspire Lua is not Ndless and that TI-84 Plus CE bug fixes are not third-party Flash APPS, it seemed that TI had started taking a few steps towards us... then customers, as TI-France has been slashing French calculator prices over the last two years.
Today, they have taken another step in our direction, with the opening of TI Codes, a guide to help students to learn TI-84 Plus CE BASIC, with several PDF files also available for teachers and a TI-Nspire Lua section. This new guide is intended to promote calculator programming and programming in general to students and teachers and guess what? TI Codes will even show you, step by step, how to make a Snake game
No. This is not an April Fools joke. You really read "game". While we haven't gotten enough time to go through the TI-BASIC tutorial to see how it compares to established TI community BASIC resources, this move by Texas Instruments is a big step further from even the days where the TI-83 Plus Guidebook vaguely mentioned "video games" when explaining the GetKey command and especially their TI-Nspire days.
As a website formed of former or current calculator programming enthusiasts, as well as computer and mobile programmers, we are happy by this move. We believe that TI, Casio and HP calculator programming, especially on the models that provides full on-calc programmability, is a great way to introduce people to programming and that it provides them the base to jump into more advanced languages, either for calculators, computers, mobile platforms or consoles. In the past, several prominent TI community programmers have begun programming careers after doing TI programming or are attempting to do so. Some are sticking with calculators as a vintage computing platform as well, while others have programmed them for over a decade (for example, Kerm, BrandonW, tr1p1ea or myself). We hope that those extra tools encourages more students to program.
TI Codes webpage: https://education.ti.com/en/us/solutions/ti-codes
TI-BASIC tutorial: https://education.ti.com/html/webhelp/EG_TI84PlusCE/EN/content/eg_splash_page/ti-progguide_ce.HTML
P.S: When this news was brought up on #codewalrus IRC @CVSoft
was jokingly asking an ETA on when I would post it, and I joked back, saying it would be published before the next ticalc.org news article. It looks like @Travis
finally beat me by a few minutes