41 Facts About BASIC interpreter


BASIC interpreter is an interpreter that enables users to enter and run programs in the BASIC language and was, for the first part of the microcomputer era, the default application that computers would launch.

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BASIC interpreter helped jumpstart the time-sharing era, became mainstream in the microcomputer era, then faded to become just another application in the DOS and GUI era, and today survives in a few niches related to game development, retrocomputing, and teaching.

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In contrast, an BASIC interpreter would take fewer computing resources, at the expense of performance.

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Introduction of the first microcomputers in the mid-1970s continued the explosive growth of BASIC interpreter, which had the advantage that it was fairly well known to the young designers and computer hobbyists who took an interest in microcomputers, many of whom had seen BASIC interpreter on minis or mainframes.

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BASIC interpreter was one of the few languages that was both high-level enough to be usable by those without training and small enough to fit into the microcomputers of the day.

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One of the first microcomputer versions of BASIC interpreter was co-written by Gates, Allen, and Monte Davidoff for their newly formed company, Micro-Soft.

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Integer BASIC interpreter was released on cassette for the Apple I, and was supplied in ROM when the Apple II shipped in the summer of 1977.

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Tiny BASIC interpreter was published openly and Wang coined the term "copyleft" to encourage others to copy his source code.

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Microsoft BASIC interpreter had hundreds of thousands of users around the world.

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Sinclair BASIC interpreter was developed for the ZX-80 by John Grant and Steve Vickers of Nine Tiles.

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Functionally identical to IBM BASICA, its BASIC interpreter was a fully self-contained executable and did not need the Cassette BASIC ROM found in the original IBM PC.

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MacBASIC interpreter featured a fully interactive development environment for the original Macintosh computer and was developed by Donn Denman, Marianne Hsiung, Larry Kenyon, and Bryan Stearns.

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MacBASIC interpreter was released as beta software in 1985 and was adopted for use in places such as the Dartmouth College computer science department, for use in an introductory programming course.

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The overall design for Tiny BASIC interpreter was published in the September 1975 issue of the People's Computer Company newsletter.

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Sinclair BASIC interpreter used as its language definition the 1978 American National Standards Institute Minimal BASIC interpreter standard, but was itself an incomplete implementation with integer arithmetic only.

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The length of the whole BASIC interpreter program was only 120 virtual machine operations, consisting of 32 commands.

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Misunderstanding of the Apple II ROMs led some to believe that Integer BASIC interpreter used a virtual machine, a custom assembler language contained in the Apple ROMs and known as SWEET16.

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Altair BASIC interpreter 8K had an EDIT command to shift into an editing mode for one line.

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Integer BASIC interpreter, included the AUTO command to automatically enter line numbers at a given starting number like AUTO 100, adding 10 to the last number with every new line.

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In contrast, Palo Alto Tiny BASIC interpreter accepted traditional keywords but allowed any keyword to be abbreviated to its minimal unique string, with a trailing period.

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Tiny BASIC interpreter was on the simple end: it only converted the line number from its decimal format into binary.

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Sinclair BASIC interpreter modified this slightly, removing spaces from the stored code and inserting them in code during a LIST, such that PRINTA would appear as PRINT A yet not take up the extra byte in memory.

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In contrast, Integer BASIC interpreter would convert the line 10 GOTO 100 entirely into tokens that could be immediately read and performed.

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In contrast, Integer BASIC interpreter tokenized numeric variables, avoiding this conversion and speeding up execution.

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BASIC interpreter'spardson referred to this early-tokenizing concept as a "pre-compiling interpreter"; statements with syntax errors could not actually be stored, and the user was immediately prompted to correct them.

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String variables are usually distinguished in many microcomputer dialects of BASIC interpreter by having $ suffixed to their name, and values are often identified as strings by being delimited by "double quotation marks".

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Tiny BASIC interpreter only used 26 single-letter variables, variables could be stored as an array without storing their corresponding names, using a formula based on the ASCII value of the letter as the index.

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Palo Alto Tiny BASIC interpreter took this a step further: variables 'two-byte values were located in RAM within the program, from bytes 130 to 181 .

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Altair BASIC interpreter let users reclaim the space for trigonometry functions if those weren't being used during a session.

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Second version of Dartmouth BASIC interpreter supported matrices and matrix operations, useful for the solution of sets of simultaneous linear algebraic equations; MAT matrix operations such as assignment, addition, multiplication and evaluation of a determinant were supported.

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Integer BASIC interpreter supported arrays of a single dimension, limited in size only by the available memory.

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Tiny BASIC interpreter Extended supported two-dimensional arrays of up to 255 by 255.

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Altair BASIC interpreter 4K supported only arrays while the 8K version supported matrices of up to 34 dimensions.

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Simplest string handling copied HP Time-Shared BASIC interpreter and defined string variables as arrays of characters that had to be DIMensioned prior to use.

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In contrast, Integer BASIC interpreter supported color graphics, simple sound, and game controllers.

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Dartmouth BASIC interpreter lacked a command for getting input from the keyboard without pausing the program.

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Integer BASIC interpreter supported a game controller, a paddle controller, which had two controllers on a single connector.

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Integer BASIC interpreter ROMs included a machine code monitor, "mini-assembler", and disassembler to create and debug assembly language programs.

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One of the unique features of BBC BASIC interpreter was the inline assembler, allowing users to write assembly language programs for the 6502 and, later, the Zilog Z80, NS32016 and ARM.

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The assembler was fully integrated into the BASIC interpreter and shared variables with it, which could be included between the [ and ] characters, saved via *SAVE and *LOAD, and called via the CALL or USR commands.

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Range of design decisions that went into programming a BASIC interpreter were often revealed through performance differences.

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