What is QuickBasic?
The Short Version:
QuickBasic is a programming language developed by Microsoft for use in the MS-DOS operating system. It is the successor of earlier forms of BASIC (Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), a simple programming language for beginning programmers. QB is an ideal programming language for beginners because of its intuitive commands, simple structure and flexibility. It is well-documented, and hundreds of tutorials and sample programs are available for download on the Internet.
The Long Version:
In 1985, Microsoft released the first version of QuickBasic, a faster and more feature-rich version of BASIC. It replaced GW-BASIC, which had been the reigning version of BASIC for MS-DOS for several years. During the late 1980's, Microsoft published several updates of QuickBasic until late 1988, when QuickBasic 4.5 was released. This is considered by many to be the last true version of QuickBasic. Microsoft continued development of the QuickBasic language through its Professional Development System (PDS), the last release of which was version 7.1. The PDS version has sometimes been called QuickBASIC Extended. QuickBasic 4.5 is the version of choice for most QB programmers because of its built-in compiler and ability to load external QuickLibrary (.qlb)extensions.
What is QBASIC?
QBASIC is a a stripped-down version of QuickBasic that Microsoft released in 1991, which was included for free with MS-DOS 5 and later versions. It also comes packed-in with the Windows 95 and Windows 98 operating systems.
QBASIC is shareware. The latest version, Version 1.1 is available right here (287KB).
What is the difference between QBASIC and QuickBasic?
While QBASIC is shareware, QuickBasic is commercial software. Compared to QuickBasic, QBASIC is limited as it lacks a few functions. QBASIC can only handle programs of a limited size, it lacks support for separate QuickLibrary modules other than the standard QB.QLB, and it is a program interpreter only. (It can execute raw source code, but it cannot be used to produce executable files directly.)
How can I get started programming in QBASIC?
It's quite easy, actually!
First, download QBASIC from right here (287KB). This is QBASIC 1.1, the same version that is provided for free with Windows 95 and 98, as well as MS-DOS 5+.
Next, head on over to the beginners' tutorials section and start reading the tutorials from the beginning. Follow the instructions in the tutorials to write your first few programs. That should give you a good start!
After you've had a bit of experience, I suggest downloading and trying some other peoples' QBASIC games, and reading more advanced tutorials to learn even more advanced techniques. Keep at it and, you'll soon be an ace at QB programming!