21 Facts About Tiny BASIC


Tiny BASIC is a family of dialects of the BASIC programming language that can fit into 4 or fewer KBs of memory.

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Tiny BASIC was designed in response to the open letter published by Bill Gates complaining about users pirating Altair BASIC, which sold for $150.

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Tiny BASIC was intended to be a completely free version of BASIC that would run on the same early microcomputers.

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Tiny BASIC was released as a specification, not an implementation, published in the September 1975 issue of the People's Computer Company newsletter.

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Tiny BASIC implementations are still used today, for programming microcontrollers such as the Arduino.

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Tiny BASIC approached Dennis Allison, a member of the Computer Science faculty at Stanford University, to write a specification for a version of BASIC that would fit in 2 to 3 kilobytes of memory.

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Tiny BASIC was designed to use as little memory as possible, and this is reflected in the paucity of features as well as details of its interpreter system.

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Design Note specified a virtual machine, in which the Tiny BASIC interpreter is itself run on a virtual machine interpreter.

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The choice of a virtual machine approach economized on memory space and implementation effort, although the Tiny BASIC programs run thereon were executed somewhat slowly.

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Some programmers, such as Fred Greeb with DTB, treated the IL program as pseudocode for the algorithm to implement in assembly language; Denver Tiny BASIC did not use a virtual machine, but it did closely follow the IL program.

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Tiny BASIC was first published in a newsletter offshoot of the People's Computer Company, a newsletter which became Dr Dobb's Journal, a long-lived computing magazine.

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Tiny BASIC was not distributed under any formal form of copyleft distribution terms but was presented in a context where source code was being shared and modified.

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Tiny BASIC encouraged others to adapt his source code and publish their adaptions, as with Roger Rauskolb's version of PATB published in Interface Age.

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Tiny BASIC himself published a third version in PCC's Reference Book of Personal and Home Computing.

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Wang wrote a STARTREK program in his Tiny BASIC that appeared in the July 1976 issue of the People's Computer Company Newsletter.

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Palo Alto Tiny BASIC was adapted for many other implementations, including Level I BASIC, BASIC for the Sharp PC-1211 pocket computer, and Astro BASIC.

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Tiny BASIC later expanded the language to 4K, adding support for floating point; this implementation was unique among BASIC interpreters by using Binary Coded Decimal to 9 digits of precision, with a range up to 10, and by being published for free as a "Floppy ROM" magazine insert.

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The Tiny BASIC initiative started in response to the $150 charge for Altair 4K BASIC.

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Integer Tiny BASIC was originally published on Compact Cassette in 1976.

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Tiny BASIC implementations have been adapted for processor control and for microcontrollers such as the Arduino:.

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In 2002, Emmanuel Chailloux, Pascal Manoury and Bruno Pagano published a Tiny BASIC in Developing Applications with Objective Caml as an example Objective Caml application.

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