It's the goal of this site to eventually cover all information on TI-Basic programming for the 68k calculators. However, an excess of information can be overwhelming. So this page gives a suggested reading order (as well as necessary tidbits) so you don't get lost.
There are two alternatives for those who have just ventured into programming for these calculators. While you might want to just jump in, we have two tutorials that explain the basics of TI-Basic.
The first, the TI-Basic Starter Kit, teaches TI-Basic without assuming any previous programming experience. In fact, the very first page explains the basics of how a program works. After reading this tutorial carefully, you should be more than ready to handle the rest of this site.
The second tutorial is called TI-68k Programming for TI-83 Coders. As the name suggests, it is an introduction to programming for the 68k calculators, for those who have already gotten pretty good at programming for the TI-83 series calculators. This is a fairly common situation: often, people get a new calculator when taking a more advanced math class. This tutorial explains the differences between TI-83 and TI-68k programming, so that you're not confused by the new features.
At this point, you should be familiar with more than a few TI-Basic commands. It might be a good idea to just jump into the command index and click on commands that sound interesting — you can really improve your TI-Basic knowledge that way. Or, select a category from the Commands menu in the top navigation, and read about commands in a more general way.
Looking at code examples is also a good way to learn. Sample Programs and Technique Examples are a good place to find such example code. See the Routines page for several short routines to get simple things done in the best possible way.
Use the glossary whenever you come across a term you're not familiar with. If it's not there or the entry doesn't help, drop a note in the forums and (usually within a day) helpful people will explain it and hopefully improve the glossary as well, so no one else has the same trouble.
Writing a Program
Of course, the best way to learn these topics is to come up with a project of yourself (check the projects page if you have no ideas), and go through the steps as you're doing it:
- Look at Planning when you're thinking about how to approach the problem.
- Consider Commenting code when you're writing it.
- If bugs arise (and they most likely will), see the section on Debugging.
- When the program works, add Setup and Cleanup to it, and check the section on Usability.
- If the program is too slow (and maybe even when it's not), see Optimization and Code Timings for ways to improve it.
- Finally, see Releasing Your Program for how to earn TI-Basic programming fame by making the program public.
These are listed in the Writing Programs section of the side navigation menu.
The "Special Topics" section (in the side navigation menu) discusses some advanced issues in TI-68k programming. You should probably have a good grasp of programming before venturing into these pages, but they are worth reading. Give them a glance to see how much you can understand.
Each special topic is mostly a stand-alone page. Here are the relative difficulties of the pages:
- Subprograms — an idea you should be familiar with by now.
- Saving Data — almost as easy as just storing to a variable.
- Assembly — I'm not saying writing assembly is easy, but learning about it sure is.
- Sprites — a matter of learning several commands, and where to use them.
- Animation — a natural second step from the above.
- Dialogs — again, just learning a few commands.
- Compression — if you wanted, you could get into some heavy theory with this.
- System Variables — almost more useful as a reference tool than anything else.
- Tokenization — not much practical use, but it's useful to understand how things work.
- Cross-Compatibility — if only more people were aware of this…
The pages in the Reference section of the side menu are probably not ones you'd read for fun. Take a look at them at any time to see what they're all about, and then check back when you need to know more.