May 22, 2024

The myth of BASIC and why it is still alive

Software developer Chris Boss has lectured on the myth of the BASIC programming language over the years, and recently added a chapter explaining why BASIC is far from dead.

Chris Boss is the owner (and programmer) of a small software development company in rural Virginia, Computer Workshop. He is an experienced Windows API programmer (in his words: “fairly low level”) with experience writing GUI engines (forms/controls) and drag-and-drop visual designers.

The special thing: He programs in BASIC, using a computer he bought for $100 that is no longer usable in any modern development environment. His first experience with BASIC was in 1975 and he has remained loyal to the language to this day.

Over the years, Boss wrote three major articles under the title “The BASIC Myth.” The most recent ones were just added at the end of February:

His contributions paint a picture of the BASIC programming language that is worth reading. Speaking of decades of experience. This is his conclusion from the third part of his series of articles:

“The bottom line is that BASIC is not a dead language and should not die. Since I am over 60 years old, I may be nearing the end of my programming career and no longer keeping up with new programming languages, but I do know one thing. Like many other BASIC programmers, I've lived with BASIC for decades and pushed it to its limits. I have clients using a GUI framework that I developed that they can use to create complex business applications that are being used all over the world, some in mission critical environments. If I had One hope in the programming world would be to take a second look at BASIC and see why it has stood the test of time. [… ]Other programmers are free to recreate the application using the software you use, but with one restriction: the entire application (excluding graphics and media) must be less than 2 MB in size and run on all versions of Windows from Windows XP to Windows 11.”

In his opinion, the reason Microsoft neglects BASIC today is that the ability to work cross-platform was required Read for yourself.