The Advantages to QuickBASIC

Some might ask, "Why use an ancient programming language with limited power like QuickBASIC?" This is not an easy question to answer, but I will attempt to protray my views on the subject:

1. QBASIC is easy.
One who has never touched a computer before can open up QBASIC and start messing around...within a few weeks he/she has simple text games to show for it. This may be true in other languages as well, but the task is greatly simplified in QBASIC. PRINT "HELLO WORLD" is all you need. In other languages, include files are needed for each function, etc. In QBASIC, it really is "basic."
2. Sure QB has its limitations...but who doesn't need a challenge now and then?
While QB may be easy to get started in, some say there is a point at which each programmer must move on to bigger and better languages. While it may be true that a programmers' skills have advanced so far as they could produce marketable programs in other languages, QB becomes a challenge to any who stick to it. Eventually, it is not the ability of the programmer that hinders him/her from a masterpiece, but the language. A compiled QB program allows about a half megabyte of RAM for the program. One half of a megabyte. I've got more pictures than that...good thing I'm using XMS. Even the assistance of libraries that enable XMS & EMS still have their drawbacks. While allowing unlimited access to memory for the tons of graphics in a program, the code has to go somewhere. QB only allows about 300K for code. Libraries eat up that space. For example, the SVGA library takes about 100K away from memory, thus allowing 200K for the actual program. A use for the remaining memory doesn't take long to find. Therefore, it has become quite a task trying to jugle all these variables to make the most efficient program. In other languages, the programmer can be careless and sloppy; using QB helps build important skills.
3. QB is almost a relic.
Keeping it alive is almost as much work as working through its limitations. But, its cheap (you can find it just about anywhere on the internet), easy to get started, and facilitates the passing of ideas from newbies to veterans. Hundreds of sites are readily available on the internet (try searching for sites about other languages and come up dry). And best of all, its fun for all ages!


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Copyright 1999 by Timothy D. Mowrer for Secret Weapon Software.