In the past, you might very well have started programming in Basic. It wasn’t very powerful language and it was difficult to build big projects with, but it was simple to learn, easy to use, and the interpreter made it easy to try things out without a big investment of time. Today you are more likely to get started using something like an Arduino, but it is easy to miss the accessible language and immediate feedback when you are doing simple projects. Annex WiFi RDS (Rapid Development Suite) is a scripting language for the ESP8266 that isn’t quite Basic, but it shares a lot of the same attributes. One example project from [cicciocb] is a scrolling dot matrix LED clock.
The code is really simple:
' Simple program using Annex and a MAX7219 dot matrix module ' by cicciocb 2019 'Set 4 8x8 displays with GPIO15 as CS pin MAXSCROLL.SETUP 4, 15 INTENSITY = 5 'Set the first message with Annex MAXSCROLL.PRINT "Annex" MAXSCROLL.SHOW 31, INTENSITY PAUSE 1000 'Set the refresh rate of the display (50 msec) - lower values -> scroll faster TIMER0 50, SCROLLME WAIT SCROLLME: 'Scroll the display with the intensity defined before MAXSCROLL.SCROLL INTENSITY ' Set the text with the Date and Time MAXSCROLL.TEXT DATE$ + " " + TIME$ RETURN
Of course, one reason it is simple is that Annex has a built-in set up for the LED drivers (MAXSCROLL). It also integrates with a remote web browser very easily, so you can embed HTML output in your projects.
If you look at the project’s main page, there is support for a lot of things including devices such as Neopixels, servos, LCDs, and temperature sensors. There’s also support for a lot of protocols and algorithms ranging from MQTT to PID controllers.