Future Basic: It's not your father's basic
Author: George Glaser
Date: August, 1993
Keywords: programming language application software compiler review zedcor
Text: Programing a DOS machine is intimidating to a non-programer, but programing a Macintosh is intimidating even to experienced DOS programers. The programmer must work extra hard to make the Macintosh user friendly. For example, to display ''Hello World'' to the screen on a DOS machine is a simple Pascal program that consist of four lines of code. To do the same simple task on the Mac, with all of the familiar Mac interface, requires about four pages of code. This has kept many of us enthusiastic Mac users from dabbling with Mac programing. A number of products have been developed to ease the arduous process of writing ''user friendly'' Mac programs. These are referred to as high level programing languages; they shield the programer from the details hidden behind each command. Zedcor's Future Basic* (FB) is aimed at both the novice & experienced Mac programers. It is a higher level language than C, therefore it lets you do more with fewer lines of code. FB has the deceptive ease of good 'ole Basic, but it's powerful commands make quick work of programing the Mac. Experienced programers have found that FB is a great tool where time is essential. Writing the same ''Hello World'' program with FB takes about a page of code, and that includes all of the Mac interface goodies. It still takes more lines of code than a DOS type machine, but you are getting more out of your program than in a DOS environment. As a novice at programing, I found the ''Getting Started'' tutorial clear and easy to follow. I was surprised that I never called my programmer friend for help! That says a lot about the manuals! The program comes on three 800k disks and is installed with an extraction window. Future Basic is 6 MB total. The debugger is easy to use with helpful suggestions and it highlights the line in question. Stand alone applications created with FB carry an overhead of 5k with the trim run time version, or 40k with the expanded version. The expanded version is more tolerant of code deviations. Future Basic differs from old Basic in many areas. The most noticeable is the way the code looks (and works). Instead of the old 10 ..., 20 ..., 30 ..., there is obvious modular construction with Constants, Globals, Functions, and Main sections of each program. This gives the ability to store and access libraries of code for frequently used procedures. There are many other wonderful new features that my programer friend raved about, most of it however would only make sense to experienced programers. Future Basic is just what this novice needed to take the plunge into the cryptic world of Mac Programing. For a more expert evaluation of Future Basic, check out the following sources: MacWorld, July '93, page 176, (4 star rating). MacTechMagazine, May '93, vol.9 #5, page 56, Tools of the Trade dept.
System Requirements: Mac Plus or higher, 2 MB RAM recommended, Hard drive recommended, System 6.05 or higher, fully supports System 7.0 Future Basic* $299, Available from Zedcor, Inc., 4500 E. Speedway, Suite 22, Tucson, AZ 85712-5305, (602) 881-8101
Copyright © august, 1993 by George Glaser