BASIC: Making a case for an old favorite

Are you looking for a way to increase productivity when it comes to your software development? Are you willing to try something different? How would you like to speed up software development, decrease time spent on software maintenance and improve the reliability of your software?

Many a long-time C programmer will likely tell you that C (or C++, C#) is the only serious programming language worth using today in business or the enterprise. To even suggest otherwise would likely make one a laughing stock by one's peers. Yet think about this for just a moment: Of all the software projects you or your company have undertaken, how many of them have come in over budget? How many have actually failed completely? How many, though finished, were plagued with bugs that never seem to get resolved? How easy has it been to maintain such projects, years after they were developed?

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If you or your company has never experienced any of these problems, then congratulations. You need not read any further, since you obviously have a good team of programmers who have earned their keep.

But if you have experienced these problems and possibly even in excess, then, please, for a moment be willing to consider a different approach to software development. I would like to reintroduce you to a programming language, despite all the efforts to make it go away. It is a language that most of us once knew, which we may have forgotten about, which has grown and matured while we have been courting the current generation of programming languages.

It is kind of like a young boy, who befriended the girl next door when they were children. They played games together and laughed together and were best friends. But as they grew older, they left their childish ways behind and grew up, going their separate ways. But a strange thing happened one day. As young adults, they happened to meet again and started sharing their memories of the past. As they begin to learn more about each other, they realize that both had matured and that they see new things in each other, which makes them appreciate one another even more. They begin to develop a deeper affection for each other beyond what they had when they were children. You know how the story ends, don't you?

Nice Story But What Does It Have To Do With Programming?

Actually a lot! Some developers have actually experienced something similar with programming languages. When I mention the name of one specific programming language, I think some of you will get the point of the story immediately. If you don't get it, I doubt you ever will, so don't read any further and please don't ruin this beautiful story for the rest of us who do.

BASIC

What? You have to be kidding right? Actually, no I am not and if you consider the story above, I think you know where I am going with this. Now some may say, isn't the BASIC programming language truly obsolete and old fashioned? Shouldn't BASIC finally be let out to pasture? Isn't BASIC a bad programming language?

That's what some of the educators in our colleges may tell you. Thats what professional programmers, the elite of the developer world, may tell you.

I read an interesting blog, where an article discusses this subject and the author quotes someone who supposedly said the following:

It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC; as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.

The author's reply impressed me, when he stated "I grew up on BASIC" and proceeded to explain about his feeling towards it.

Going back to my story earlier, one can imagine the boy when grown older, despite maybe not seeing the girl for years, because of his fond memories of her he is willing to defend her reputation to anyone who may attempt to say a bad word about that girl next door.

So why so much passion and feeling for a programming language, which by all rights is suppose to be dead and obsolete?

"I started learning programming using BASIC!"

I find it interesting that many an experienced programmer, when describing how they first learned to program a computer, often says something like "I started learning programming using BASIC". Often their story ends with them moving on to other languages that they may refer to as being more modern, professional or mainstream. Programmers who move on to languages like C++ may even deride their first language (BASIC) as being obsolete, deserving to be forgotten forever.

BASIC Has A Rich Heritage

No matter how any developer today views BASIC, one thing that is indisputable is the long and rich heritage the programming language has. Personally my first exposure to BASIC was in 1975, over 37 years ago. I learned how to write simple BASIC programs on a terminal connected via a phone line to a college mainframe computer. My high school math teacher wanted to expose his advanced students to programming.

Years later my next exposure to BASIC was my first home computer, a Texas Instruments TI-99A computer. Then came an Atari 400 and a Commodore 64. Some may be surprised to learn, that even back then BASIC was more than simply an interpreted language burned into a ROM chip. Abacus created a real BASIC compiler for the Commodore 64 and that was my first experience using Basic as a compiled language. That compiler produced some very fast running code.

Over the years I moved on to GW Basic, QBasic and then my first truly professional programming language Microsoft QuickBasic. My last DOS BASIC compiler was the Microsoft PDS 7.1 compiler. I wrote a lot of custom software over the years using PDS 7.1.

Then Came Windows

When Windows came along, now it was time to move to a GUI based programming language. The transition to Windows was difficult at first, because some of the Basic languages I tried were not as easy to learn as their DOS cousins were. I experimented with GFABasic and CA Realizer. But it was Visual Basic which finally caught my attention and VB 1.0 was quite easy to learn and use. The problem with the early versions of VB was that they generated PCode and not machine code, so speed was an issue. I was spoiled by DOS BASIC compilers. My last version of VB was 5.0 Professional and that could generate quality machine code.

A lot of programmers made a good living using Visual Basic, but sadly it died a slow death when its .NET cousin came on the scene. Many long time Basic programmers may feel like me, that BASIC lost its way when VB went the route of .NET.

So Is BASIC Dead Now?

What is so amazing about BASIC is that no matter how many people try to put it out to pasture, there are those who keep bringing it back to life and often with some amazing results. Also like the girl next door in my story, at least one (possibly more) Basic programming language never disappeared, but simply grew and matured over time, never losing what made it BASIC, but simply improving with time.

While Microsoft has left BASIC as we know in the dust, other companies, some simply one-man operations developing indie versions of Basic, keep bringing BASIC back and today it has many different flavors, from scripting languages to full-blown Windows compilers. Some of these BASICs amazingly maintain the ability to be backward compatible with BASICs used over 20 years ago, while providing many modern constructs found in more main stream languages like C++. If you like BASIC, then likely there is a flavor just for you. So where are all these BASIC programming languages and why even consider them?

Why BASIC?

Going back to my original questions, BASIC has something that other languages have often failed to appreciate. The reason BASIC was so popular in the past and the reason it is so popular today is one simple thing: It is a natural language. Let's be honest here. When you look at a language like C++, while it is a very good programming language, it can never compare to BASIC in its naturalness. It was designed to be easy to learn, easy to read and easy to code. That is why it is one the favorite languages for hobby programmers. Now some may suggest that this is the very reason BASIC is not well fitted to professional programming.

But like the king in the story "The Emperors new clothes", maybe it takes a child to remind us that things may not be as they appear. In an effort to find something better, the king and his court ended up a little bit embarrassed. Maybe the simple and obvious is not so bad after all.

The purpose of this article is to debunk that reasoning. BASIC's ease of use and excellent readability is actually a pro and not a con. If you ask a professional programmer who still uses BASIC today, why he or she uses it, most of the time the first answer will be its ease of use, its naturalness. You can write code in BASIC, shelve it for a couple of years, then come back to it years later and usually pick up right where you left off. Its naturalness is a benefit. It increases productivity significantly. It improves code maintainability significantly. It is also easier to code for many and it even can be fun.

The naturalness of a programming language is something few consider today, but it really does make a difference. I know. I have been seriously coding in some flavor of BASIC for over 20 years. I used a BASIC compiler in the days when most were only using the interpreted Basic in ROM's (ie. Commodore 64). I even wrote my own BASIC like compiler, using the Abacus Basic compiler (for C64) just so I could create an even faster basic so I could write a video game. It actually earned me over $1,000 when I sold the game to the Compute Gazette magazine. I was writing commercial quality applications for local businesses using BASIC even before the IBM PC became popular (on Kaypro computers running CPM).

To quote Richard Mansfield: "Given the freedom to choose, the public -- amateurs and small business programmers -- greatly prefers Basic and 4GLs". Why? Because there are advantages to "languages that are deliberately constructed to resemble natural human language as much as possible" as Mansfield suggests. I agree.

After all these years of programming using BASIC, I can attest to its ability to be used to write commercial quality software and I still write software using BASIC today. Its naturalness is not only appealing, but it increases productivity significantly.

The Girl Next Door

Like the girl next door in the story, BASIC has grown and matured over the years. What one loved about her in her youth, is still there, but today she has qualities that make her even more beautiful than ever. Yes, she has turned out to not only be a beauty, but also a faithful friend, a devoted worker and she has new charms one never thought she ever could have. She has even more reasons to be loved today, than she did in her youth and her beauty is not just skin deep. It runs to the core of who she is.

This is no fairytale, no imaginary story. She really lives (I mean BASIC of course).

BASIC still lives on because it is an excellent and productive programming language. Its lives and breathes ease of use and naturalness. If BASIC is so easy that a child can use it, imagine what a professional can do with it?

This much I can say from experience. BASIC's naturalness is why I use it professionally. Code readability is exceptional with BASIC, which makes coding faster, in my opinion. Believe it or not, when I get in a real coding mood (productive) I almost think in BASIC. The code flows.

BASIC Here, BASIC There, BASIC Everywhere!

Whether for Windows, Linux or the Mac, there is likely a BASIC somewhere just for you. Please check out the following web sites and their extensive list of BASIC programming languages:

Some of these BASICs deserve special mention. While I have not personally used these Basic languages, from my own research I have found that they are quite popular with many users, so they deserve to be highlighted.

(If you have found another flavor of Basic which you think deserves mentioning, please post a comment to this article and note it.)

My Personal BASIC Favorites

So what about me personally? What are my favorite BASIC languages? The first one, I am only in the learning process with it, but it still is a favorite simply because of how it was created and the popularity it has developed. The language is called ThinBasic.

It is free and a BASIC scripting language. It was written using my favorite BASIC language (see below) and if you are a hobby programmer who wants to learn BASIC, I think it might just be the one for you. It has an excellent website with an online forum to help you get started learning how to use it. It is a quality scripting language and very well designed.

The language can even be extended with modules; for example there is an excellent 3D graphics module available. I feel that it would be an excellent BASIC to use in educational settings, too, so if you are a teacher and want to start teaching your students how to program using BASIC, then please check out ThinBasic. It also should be noted that the ThinBasic language was patterned after the professional version of BASIC that was used to create it. Students who enjoy ThinBasic, can later move on to a professional compiler with a similar language and syntax.

So what BASIC do I use professionally ? It is called PowerBASIC and, boy, does it have a rich heritage. Back in the DOS days, if you were programming then, likely you heard of Borland's famous TurboBasic. It was the only BASIC compiler that some may feel ever came close to unseating Microsoft's QuickBasic compiler.

Borland sold the rights to TurboBasic back to its developer, Bob Zale, and he renamed it PowerBASIC and he started his own company to sell this powerful compiler. PowerBASIC is a small company that has had to work very hard to build its reputation over the years without the backing of a huge software corporation behind it. Today it is one of the software industries best kept secrets. Why?

Because there are a few things that make PowerBASIC stand out from the rest. First is its commitment to quality. I personally am a stickler when it comes to reliable software. My goal is to create software which is as close as possible to being 100% bug free. The programming language one uses is critical to this goal. PowerBASIC has proven itself to be reliable. I have used PowerBASIC for a good 10 years now, and I can honestly say I have been very satisfied with its reliability.

Second, is executable speed. As long as I have been programming, I have concentrated on developing software that runs as fast as possible. In my opinion, PowerBASIC produces fast executables, which are on par with what any C compiler can produce today and if you find you can't get enough speed out of the compiler using BASIC, then it also supports inline assembler.

Third, I want to write software with as small a footprint as possible and once again PowerBASIC has come through. I know this from experience. PowerBASIC programmers like to joke about being able to write large software applications which can still fit on a floppy disk. If you want to write applications which are well-suited to the limited hardware of todays Windows tablet PC's, then PowerBasic is worth your investigation.

PowerBASIC also has an online peer to peer forum, which over and over again has proven itself to have a community of programmers with some of the most experienced Windows API programmers I have come across. PowerBASIC takes this community forum so seriously, they even do not permit members to use an alias. It is a community of real people, who over the years have been sharing their knowledge and experience with one another.

PowerBASIC also has in recent years been supported by some quality third-party developers who have produced tools and libraries for use with Powerbasic (I am one of those developers). You can find more information about these add-ons for PowerBASIC on their website, but just to name a few that I am most impressed with there is an excellent Grid control called EGrid, an amazing Graphic engine called GDImage, a powerful skin engine called WinLift, an excellent third party Visual Designer called FireFly and others.

If you are a Visual Basic programmer who still uses VB 6.0, then PowerBASIC would be a great addition to your toolbox for building fast DLL's. With PowerBasic you have full access to the Windows API, plus a rich BASIC command set.

Maybe you doubt that any business with any sense would use Basic. Well take a look at this list of PowerBASIC customers and see if there are any reputable companies on it.

BASIC Still Lives!

Yes, BASIC is not only still alive, but it is thriving. There is likely a BASIC which can fit your specific needs, whether it be for Windows, Linux , Mac or even Android. Why not check out the lists provided in the links above and download a few versions today.

Photo Credits: Lilya/Shutterstock (top); chaoss/Shutterstock

Chris Boss is an advanced Windows API programmer and developer of 10 year-old EZGUI, which is now version 5. He owns The Computer Workshop, which opened for businesses in the late 1980s. He originally developed custom software for local businesses. Now he develops programming tools for use with the PowerBasic compiler.

29 Responses to BASIC: Making a case for an old favorite

  1. andrew__des_moines says:

    I played with BASIC when I was a kid on an Atari 800.  Those skills lay dormant for years and later allowed me to quickly learn Excel VBA.  I am a mechanical engineer, not a programmer, but I have still found many useful applications at work for this.  It is great to develop something (usually on weekends) and see everyone in the office using it.  I am sure a programmer would consider VBA completely different, but for an amateur like me, it layed an important groundwork for the one coding language everyone has at their fingertips -- but few venture to utilize.

  2. Loic Duval says:

    Come on… VisualBasic.NET is the most advanced Basic and probably the most readable language. How can you stay stuck in the 80's and write about BASIC without even giving some words on VB.NET? Basic is alive and quicking thanks to VB.NET. VB.NET is a premium language for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.I do use RealBasic sometimes for cross-Platform development and PowerBasic for fast standalone exe… but VB.NET is far more better for Windows dev.
    And there is another Microsoft BASIC for youngs http://smallbasic.com

    • pmdci says:

      The thing is, VB.NET is not really basic, because it is object oriented.

      • chrisboss says:

        IMO Basic should have objects as an option, rather than it be at the core of the language. VB.net depends upon OOP. Unlike PowerBasic, where you can write 100% procedural style code or if you wish use classes and objects when it really makes a difference. Remember that "ease of use" and "naturalness" have been Basics strength, so when a language is overly dependent upon OOP, it tends to work against this.

      • moversinhamilton says:

         what is VB.net i have no idea.
        http://moversmovingcompany.ca

  3. psycros says:

    Pretty much mirrors my own experience with so-called "modern" programming languages.  Their either hopelessly overcomplicated to the point that it requires complex tools to even debug them, or their totally dependent upon not just a particular platform, but usually a particular variation of that platform.  I gave up on programming seriously long ago but I was more productive with BASIC than anything I've used since.  Funny thing is, the only thing I use with any frequency these days are high-level script languages that mimic BASIC and Pascal structures.  I didn't realize that there actually was a BASIC of this kind.  Might have to give ThinBASIC a look.

  4. Aires_OFFICIAL says:

    100 GOTO 10

  5. Thomas Lake says:

    Thank you for that article! I'm a professional programmer and I use BASIC exclusively (mostly VBA and Visual Basic.NET these days) I think linearly, so why not code that way? My users appreciate the fast turnaround on bug reports and new feature requests. Since I write application programs not systems programs, I have no need of pointers or other fancy things of other languages. Recently I've started using QB64, a BASIC compiler that compiles to true Windows machine language programs and has almost the exact syntax of QuickBASIC. In fact, that's the goal of QB64; to eventually be totally compatible. With all the modern control structures, it's a great dialect and old-time BASIC progammers will feel right at home as well. The best thing of all - it's free!

    • chrisboss says:

      Thomas, Q64 appears to use a C++ backend. You might want to check out the PowerBasic compilers. They have a console version for DOS style apps and a Classic version for hobby programmers (or those on a budget) for GUI apps and the latest GUI compiler. It is does not use any C backends, but is a 100% assembler written compiler (their IDE is written in PowerBasic).

  6. chrisboss says:

    To spur on discussion, for those who simply want to make this article look like it is some "old timers" decades old fondness for a "dead" language, I should point out that some of the Basics mentioned in this article are being used by professional programmers who write quality commercial software, which is being used in a variety of commercial settings. I know personally of some who have commercial applications written in Basic being used by some big name companies and institutions.

  7. Han says:

    I liked the way VB.NET reads on the screen. It was the language I briefly used between switching from classic ASP (VBScript) to C#. But in the end, it was about which language would help my career. And yeah, there will be a need for VB people indefinitely, just like how the Powerbuilder people still make money jumping from one company to another fixing up legacy systems... but C# allowed me to think better in OOP, be a better software engineer (not just programmer), and use a language that's close to Java in case some sort of zombie-java apocalypse happens and I have to switch.

  8. chrisboss says:

    In all fairness, it should be noted that some programmers have little choice of what language they will use, since most companies today prefer the managed languages (ie. C#) or some other mainstream language (ie. C++, JAVA, etc.) depending up the platform they work on. But for those who do have a choice (there are a lot of independent programmers), Basic does offer some advantages worth considering.

  9. pmdci says:

    If I have to be unbiased, I reckon that Java should be on the list of serious languages. Not that I care much for it (I do prefer C#) but that doesn't mean it is bad or not a serious language.

  10. Robert Claypool says:

    qb64.net

  11. AndrewC73 says:

    I learned programming in 

  12. AndrewC73 says:

    I am curious why the author totally left out vb.net. 

  13. It's interesting that you believe Microsoft has put BASIC out to pasture, when in reality Microsoft is actively promoting BASIC with VB.Net and SmallBasic ( http://www.smallbasic.com/ )  as others have said below in the comments.

    • chrisboss says:

      I have tried Small Basic and I was not impressed. It is too heavy with high level built in objects, which give the impression one is programming, while it is lite on the actual Basic language. The idea of intellisense with something like Small Basic is not the best approach IMO. One of the problems I see today in programming is that programmers are so attached to a visual IDE and intellisense code editors, they at times lose the freedom and power of simply being a "coder". The power in programming is in the code, not the UI. Anybody can draw a UI, visually, but to learn to code is a different matter. A good coder,should be able to write 50 to 100 lines of code per hour easily. Besides you can't even install Small Basic on older computers running Windows XP from what I can tell.

  14. StockportJambo says:

    OK, so you establish that Basic is easier to read & probably learn. But you don't say anywhere where using a classic "procedural" based language is any better for maintenance than C#. 
    You started your article by justifying the case for Basic, in that C# (or C, C++, ...) projects overrun and are over budget. Two questions off the top of my head: How do you divide work amongst a team if there are no objects? How do you provide an interface to other developers so that bottlenecks don't happen? 

    I get that Basic is your language of choice, but after reading your article you don't really explain anything about the language that makes a worthwhile case for it... other than it might be more readable to non-techies. Um... that's not really a case, is it?

    I've been a professional software developer for 15 years, and for at least half of that time I've been fluent in C#. By that I mean, I can write code to solve a problem without ever having to think about syntax. I can read anyone else's code and figure out what it's doing in a reasonable amount of time. Any developer worth their salt can do the same... it's not a magic trick. It comes with skill, knowledge, and above all, experience. Language readability doesn't really come into it.

    Where there is an issue sometimes, is if a developer has written a piece of code & not explained what it's actually meant to do, in context of the wider application, in comments. You would have the exact same problem in any language.

    • chrisboss says:

      Because of BASIC's more natural syntax it lends itself to easier to read code, which also improved code maintenance. Also I personally feel that object oriented code can have some drawbacks. I know most don't agree with this idea, but some programmers do feel that procedural code styles lends to faster coding and easier to maintain code. Now this does mean OOP is all bad, but for some OOP gets in the way. I am a 100% procedural style programmer and I don't believe that OOP would increase my productivity nor would it increase code readability. Likely Visual Basic programmers who could not make the shift from VB to VB.net find that the language changed too much from what they know. Interestingly, I have read multiple accounts of those who more easily made the jump to vb.net who once they grasped it, actually found it better to just move on to C#. Likely this indicates they have a different mindset where Basic is just not their thing, but C# is.

      • StockportJambo says:

        I guess you don't work in a team then.

        Many years ago, I used to have a project manager who thought just as you do. In those days, Delphi was the language of choice, and 'Tees' as he put it were the work of the devil. If you don't know Delphi, 'T' was the letter that you typically put at the front of every type class (object) you defined. I remember the abject horror on his face as I explained to him that we could do his project in four weeks using objects, when he had budgeted six. Thing was, the project still overran - but that was entirely down to the constantly changing client requirements. However, he saw it as a victory against OOP.

        It requires a different mind set, one which both you and he clearly don't seem to have. The majority of the world disagrees with you though, and for that I am grateful, however it worries me that non-computer types (you know, directors of companies and heads of development) may see this article and be blinded by the light.

      • Symeon Breen says:

        @StockportJambo:disqus  you still work in teams in procedural languages - it is not all one big top down program, you have subroutines and functions, and dlls and all sorts of shared sets of code, so individuals can work on separate parts, and even the same part, and then merge back in to the main trunk, modern application development isn't just about oop !

  15. DigitalSin says:

    Chris - I checked out PowerBasic after your last article and bought a copy. It's pretty powerful, and I'm impressed. I'll eat my crow for dinner and say that I underestimated it and was a bit arrogant thinking C# / .NET was the only way to go, and anything BASIC was antiquated. 

    It's not what I'm used to (.NET dev since 2001, though I did VB /COM for a couple years before that), but I like the fact it makes you really understand the Windows API at a more fundamental level but using a pretty natural looking syntax. I also like the fact that PB makes such small, ridiculously fast executables that require no runtime. 

    I'm pretty used to having some kind of UI designer, so I wrote a utility app to convert Visual Studio designer files to PB code. Though it only knows how to translate a few controls right now, the fact I had it working in a couple hours attests to the simple but powerful syntax of PowerBasic (ultimately though, I did buy a copy of FireFly designer so I could spend more time on learning PB and making decent UIs).

    While I still have to use .NET professionally, I'm going to look into ways to slide some PB into newer and upcoming projects. 

    To those of you who are skeptical and hard core .NET / Java developers: seriously take a look at PowerBasic. Keep an open mind about it, play with it a bit, and see if it has a place in your dev arsenal. It's a serious language and a serious compiler and (especially the compiler) it's earned my respect. I feel like we've become so accustomed to bloat in our apps that we just accept it. PB is a refreshing look at just what a really lean compiler can get you.

    • DigitalSin says:

      Also one thing which I haven't found yet, is how to fit PB into the web stack for development. I suppose if I wanted to write business / backend objects in PB, they'd have to either be COM objects or executables running via CGI. I'm not terribly crazy about either of those approaches - COM versioning sucks, and CGI I don't feel is really scalable. 

      Chris - do you know any alternatives to COM / CGI for using PB on the web?

      • chrisboss says:

        They key to using PowerBasic is to learn from some of the different advanced programmers who contribute on the forums. Jose Roca for example has his own forum, which many PowerBasic programmers visit and he knows a lot about COM. He even has his own versions of the WIndows API includes (headers) which open up more possibilities. As far as graphics go, there is Patrice Terrier, who designed WinLift and GDImage which for use with PowerBasic and they are powerful graphic tools, which few C programmers will come close to matching. There is an excellent third party grid control called EGrid, which is quite amazing. Any if you don't appreciate yet, I am a third party developer for PowerBasic with my own GUI engine and Visual Designer. My product is the only GUI framework designed specifically for Powerbasic. It can be used to build your own Visual Design tools, build complex UI's, has its own graphic engines include OpenGL 3D. It should be noted that all the third party tools I mention, were all built using PowerBasic too. The more experienced PowerBasic programmers learn the "in and outs" of the Windows API's and each use their unique experience to develop addon tools for PowerBasic. The fact that all of these third party tools were built using PowerBasic, rather than say using C++, attests to PowerBasics capabilities.  There is a lot of stuff that PowerBasic can do, that I personally haven't even used yet, such as FTP, UDP communications (ie. build CGI capable apps for web servers).

  16. Harven says:

     He is playful,right? he is a hot member of the celeb dating club _Ageless'date . ℃○M _ .he has dated several hot girls on that club.

  17. Shirondale Kelley says:

    I learned how to program in GWBASIC from a program in Detroit called DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program). It was awesome, I was only 11 or 12 at the time but I learned how to program on a Sun Microsytem Workstation. I've been a tech and computer information junkie from that point forward. 

    I've also used but never became as much as a novice in QBASIC. I made many games and study aids in the BASIC language built-into my TI-83+. It was very fun programming on my calculator and then using the program to make my life easier. I didn't bother with a manual or online tutorial at that point, I experimented based upon previous knowledge. I made simple algebra programs, biology and chemistry aids, and my favorite - "Big Pimp", my unofficial sequel to Pimp Quest. It was hilarious and spread throughout Cass in my freshman year like wildfire.

    Jonathan Harbour introduced me to Dark BASIC at UAT. I didn't respect BASIC much as a serious tool for game programming until after I completed his class. I love Dark BASIC and I have actually had to switch to GL BASIC, another fine language, for cross-platform support. I'm now working on my first commercial game projects with GL BASIC and am also planning to learn D, OpenGL and a few other open and cross-platform (like OpenAL) technologies to try to build my own tools which will use a BASIC syntax.

    I tinker with everything that I own, I'm only moving away from other strongly developed tools just to understand programming and computing better while gaining more control over my environment. I'll probably never run away from BASIC development.

  18. Will Johnson says:

    Chris just to hammer in your point, the Pick/Universe embedded systems, all use BASIC as their only programming language.  Enormously complex systems have been built on BASIC and still run hundreds of companies, mostly because it's much cheaper.  Here's a list of some of the companies that use Pick.
    https://sites.google.com/site/pickuniverse/companies-that-use-pick

    • James Westley Farrell says:

       InterSystems is making inroads into the MV world. I spent thirtymumble years
      in the Pick/MV world (including some time at Ultimate and McDonnell Douglas).  
      There are no more powerful string handling/slicing/dicing languages than Pick
      BASICs.

       

      I've been coding MV applications with both CacheBasic and Cache MVBasic for
      some time now.  MVBasic codes like BASIC, is fully compatible with legacy Pick
      BASICs, but adds a load of OOP features and syntax to exploit the Cache database
      fully.  Currently I'm in an M/MUMPS shop.  What M/MUMPS won't do and even the
      most primitive Pick BASIC will is a lot.  Le Sigh.  (M/MUMPS reminds me much of
      what Henry Eggers once said about PROC:  "It may be a language of only forty
      words, but you CAN write poetry in it."Of all the languages I can and do
      use on a regular basis, give me a Pick BASIC any day -- and MVBasic better than
      that.  I love it when I can revisit code five or six years later and understand
      it exactly without having to run it in my head first.  I miss Data/UV/MV-BASIC
      terribly.

       

      Cheers!

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