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Just BASIC -- Free BASIC for Windows

I can remember when every computer came with a copy of the BASIC programming language. Heck, my first computers (a VIC-20 then a C-64 then an Apple IIe) booted into BASIC. DOS and Windows 3.1 computers came with a powerful BASIC even though they, fortunately, did not boot into BASIC. Unfortunately, programming for all versions of Windows required complex object oriented languages that required too much effort for the average user to learn enough to code even a simple program, so BASIC disappeared from the operating system and became an expensive add-on for professional programmers.

The company that makes Liberty Basic has decided to change that with a somewhat reduced feature set freeware version of Liberty Basic called Just BASIC. Just BASIC is a 32-bit Windows programming language that allows one to write straightforward Windows programs -- both console and GUI -- without having to first learn hundreds of Windows API calls or a complex object-oriented coding framework. Programs written with Just BASIC are not going to set any speed records, but they are fast enough many real world uses -- even games. Speed, of course, is not the point of Just BASIC. The point is making Windows programming available to just about anyone willing to spend a reasonable amount of time at it -- college level programming courses not required.

While Just BASIC is "feature limited" compared to Liberty Basic, chances are it will do everything the average hobby programmer needs. Here are the features listed on the Just Basic web site:

* FREE to use for personal or commercial programming
* Great for learning and teaching programming with the included detailed tutorial
* Wonderful online community
* Syntax coloring code editor
* Create simple text mode programs or GUI applications
* Create structured programs using subs, functions, SELECT/CASE, DO/LOOP, and more
* Create standalone programs
* Includes a great source level debugger, including breakpoints
* A built-in sprite engine for creating animation
* Plays MIDI music and wave audio files
* Includes a GUI forms editor written in Just BASIC - You can customize it!
* Support RS-232 serial ports

The major features of Liberty Basic left out of Just BASIC seem to be advanced features professional programmers need: things like hardware port I/O and access to Windows API functions or external DLLs. If you've wished for a way to write quick Windows programs like you used to be able to write quick Basic programs in DOS, Just BASIC is for you. If you have always wanted to try Windows programming but it looked far too complex (and expensive) to even get your feet wet, Just BASIC is worth a look. If you have taken a look at Microsoft freeware Visual Basic Express edition and had your eyes glaze over, Just BASIC is definitely worth the download, If you'd like to get an idea of what simple Just BASIC programs look like, take a look at the Just BASIC Newsletter.

Rating: 4.0
Operating System: Windows 95+
License: Commercial Freeware
Price: Free
Version: 1.01
Web Site: http://www.justbasic.com/

[tags]Windows, Windows Programming, BASIC, Just BASIC, Liberty BASIC[/tags]

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Blog | by Dr. Radut