Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New web BASIC launched!

The new Run BASIC site is now up! This site is a starting point for new web technologies that use Liberty BASIC is the core language. The site is a modest (but very cool) demo of what's to come. If you have always enjoyed programming in BASIC we think you'll like Run BASIC. Check it out! http://www.runbasic.com

-Carl Gundel and Scott McLaughlin

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tiny BASIC Revisited

Scott and I decided to port Tiny BASIC over to Liberty BASIC last week. What we have is mostly working now and I'll make it available after I've polished it a little more.

In the Wikipedia article I mentioned before there are two versions of Tiny BASIC implemented in BASIC. The one we decided to use is here: http://www.aldweb.com/articles.php?lng=en&pg=7407 We decided to use this one because it is simpler. It is also open source.

So what we have is a cute little line numbered BASIC interpreter. In fact the version of BASIC used in the original TRS-80 Model I computer was Tiny BASIC. So if you've ever used this machine or anything like it (VIC-20, C64, Atari 400/800, Sinclair ZX81, etc.) you remember entering code a line at a time each with a line number, typing LIST and RUN. You also have immediate evaluation, which is a nice feature that most languages (even BASIC) don't have today.

The limitations? Single letter variable names. No string variables at all. Only about 100 lines of code per program (a completely artifical limit left to the reader to remove). No GOSUB/RETURN.

Okay, so why do this at all? Clearly this is not a useful programming language, right? I'm not so sure.

First, as an example of how to create a simple programming language it is great. The code is pretty well written (even though it looks like it is also written in a version of Tiny BASIC) and I had no trouble following it.

Then, when I consider just how small this program is I am impressed. In very little code the author has created an interactive programming environment.

If someone wants to use this as a platform to experiment it is wide open. One could try extending the language with string variables, add graphics support, or build a programmable robot battle game on top of it. Perhaps it could even be used to support scripting for Liberty BASIC applications.

Very cool. :-)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

BASIC and iPhone

Well, my post the other day about the iPhone wasn't about BASIC programming, but now that I've had a chance to think about it this new device does have some implications. One interesting thing about iPhone's introduction is that nothing was mentioned about development tools. This is a little bit of a contradiction since the iPhone runs Apple's OS X, a full blown Unix operating system. Since this new device is more computer than phone you would expect there to be some way to at least customize it by installing software, or perhaps by scripting. This would also make it easier to justify spending $500. On the other hand you must be a Cingular customer. Hmmm. :-/

It would be great if Apple decides to support this. Imagine Liberty BASIC on the iPhone! If software installation isn't a feature of the iPhone at least you will be able to run our web BASIC on it using the Safari web browser since you'll have an always-on internet connection. :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Apple Phone

I admit this has nothing to do with BASIC, but go to http://www.apple.com and see what their new iPhone looks like. I'd be tempted to think this whole thing is an April fool's joke, but it's only January.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A sneak peek at our web BASIC

Alyce Watson asked if she could post about the sneak peek we gave to her of our server in action. Have a look at what she had to say.


We plan to unveil this web BASIC as a free site this month. Later we will sell personal licenses perhaps an affordable subscription service. After that, who knows? ;-)