TweetFollow Us on Twitter

System Snoop
Volume Number:4
Issue Number:11
Column Tag:Basic School

System Snooping in MS QuickBasic

By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Editorial Board

MS QuickBasic Arrives!!

It’s been a long wait (nearly a year and a half) but Microsoft has finally upgraded their infamous compiler. The best part is that it has really improved!! Microsoft took their interpreter which has always been an excellent product, and combined their compiler to produce what they are calling a new product named QuickBASIC 1.0.

There are some major changes that have taken place and many things have remained the same. The programming environment includes the same “pretty-printing” editor (with some improvements) which was included in earlier versions of the interpreter. There are still two versions of basic, the binary version and decimal version. Programs written using earlier versions of MS BASIC still function properly and in some cases they even work better. When you start listing all of the changes you can easily see why Microsoft chose to call it version 1.0 instead of MS Compiler version 2.0.

The first obvious change is the manual. MS QuickBASIC is now packaged as a shrink wrapped book and disk like their competitors. Most of the fancy packaging on software goes in the trash most of the time anyway. If removing the expense of the packaging lowers the price like it did for this one, I vote that all software companies do the same on all their software. QuickBASIC is priced at a mere $99!! Registered users of either MS Basic Interpreter or Compiler may upgrade to MS QuickBASIC 1.0 for $40. Upgrades are free to any registered user who acquired either of Microsoft’s BASIC products for the Macintosh after August 1, 1988. MS QuickBASIC now requires at least 1 MB of memory. The new manual includes two books in one. The user’s guide includes a description of how to use the interpreter/compiler functions, a tutorial on developing programs using QuickBASIC, a tutorial on debugging your program, creating a stand-alone application, documentation on how to access the Macintosh toolbox, and documentation for ResEdit (an older version is included with QuickBASIC) and Edit (QuickBASIC includes the latest version of the MDS editor which bombs on the Mac II). The second part of the manual is the BASIC Language Reference which includes a description of Basic variables, syntax, a statement and function reference, and appendix. The appendix contains documentation for invoking ROM routines and the Toolbox library, also some very good information about creating your own Libraries (similar to the old BMLL document) including how to write your own routines from Assembly, C or Pascal. Instructions are also given to install your own icon after compiling your stand-alone application.

The menu bar has now changed. As a matter of fact, when programs are run, a default menu is used which includes File and Edit menus. QuickBASIC removes its own menus so you no longer have to clear the menus when running your program as in earlier versions. Using the compiler options, you may disable the default menu and window for compiled programs.

The ‘Search’ menu contains new menu items, ‘Get Info’ and ‘Set Info’ which allows the user to add new items into the Help data base, or add comments to the help that already exists. The text added is stored in the BASIC source code itself so Help can be different for different programs. It is not known if the Help text can be moved from one source code file to another. The ‘Set Info’ item cannot be found in the manual and in some respects does not seem to work properly. Once it even corrupted the default help info which is stored in the QuickBASIC application. It is handy to type cmd-I (Get Info) while editing and get a dialog explaining the command that the cursor is pointing to. Another nice feature is the bookmarks. You can set a bookmark to force BASIC to remember the page that you are on so you can return there quickly.

The interpreter is able to help debug your program. For example, before executing the program, breakpoints may be set by inserting a stop sign icon. When the program stops at a breakpoint, or encounters an error, the value of key variables may be displayed. (This smells like Lightspeed doesn’t it?) You may then change the value of any variables and continue execution. The highlighted tracing option which was available in earlier versions of MS Basic is still available in QuickBASIC too.

Figure 1. Example Listing

One of the most needed enhancements was HFS support. Now, MS Basic is smart enough to find files anywhere. If you have a LIBRARY statement you don’t have to include the full path name because the first time your program is run, if QuickBASIC can’t find your library file, it asks you to look for it. Then it does something even better. After you find the file for QuickBASIC, the path is stored away automatically in your source code file and used the next time the program is run. There may have to be some slight modification to some programs written in earlier versions of BASIC, so QuickBASIC provides a way to disable the File Not Found Dialog option in the ‘Options’ menu item of the ‘Run’ menu.

The compiler is built in so it is very easy to get a stand-alone application up and running. There are several options available when compiling, including 68020 and 68881 support if you can use it. Most of the same compiler options are available here that were available in MS Compiler 1.0. As mentioned before, you may choose to use the default window or use the default menus (File and Edit) if needed. Library resources may be included if the ‘Include MBPCs and MBLCs’ option is selected. (All the CLR Toolbox libraries have been updated and the resource type changed to MBLC (Microsoft Basic Library Code????) resources. The MBPC type is used to denote pure code resources which can be created with some compilers. A utility program is included to scan a QuickBASIC source file and remove library and toolbox resources which are not used by the application. This will reduce the size of the stand-alone application. ALSO, the toolbox library (formerly called ToolLib) is now installed as MBLC resources in the QuickBASIC application. Therefore, all the toolbox statements are available at all times. You now need to specify a type (‘&’,’!’, ‘#’) for a library call only after DEFSTR; DEFINT no longer requires a type. For example:

DEFINT a-z
DrawText “No more exclamations on library invocations!”

There have been several new MBLC routines added to QuickBASIC since the last release of MS BASIC. One of these new statements is the Toolbox statement which allows access to other Toolbox ROM routines which are not specifically available as MBLC routines. You will need Inside Macintosh to make full use of this statement. Routines marked NOT IN ROM are not accessible from QuickBASIC with the ToolBox call. You must write an MBPC or MBLC to do this. The syntax for the ToolBox statement is:

ToolBox calltype$, trapnum%, arg1, arg2, ... , argn

The calltype$ argument is a BASIC string variable indicating the type of the ROM call. Procedures are indicated by either “P” or “S”, Functions returning boolean results use “B”, functions returning integers use “W” and functions returning a long integer (LONGINT) use “L”. The trapnum% is the trap address of the ROM routine as found in Inside Macintosh. A few samples are given in the manual of some ROM calls. The number of arguments in the ToolBox call will vary depending on the routine that is called.

Sample programs using the ToolBox call are shown below. The first program shows a call to the ROM routine that gets the names of fonts if given an id. The program really isn’t of much value except to demonstrate an example use of the ToolBox call. [Make sure to remove all non-printable fonts from the system (i.e. postscript escape fonts) or it will crash; I think it has something to do with zero width fonts.- ed] The second program uses the ToolBox call to get the Macintosh tick count. By using this the benchmark times could have been measured more accurately. The remainder of the program demonstrates the use of the SYSTEM function. The SYSTEM function is used to get system environment information for your program. Getting screen size is one use of the SYSTEM functions available. Other environment information is also available as shown in the program. These functions and the ToolBox calls are explained in more detail in the QuickBASIC manual.

Your old CLR libraries and other libraries you may have created can still be used with QuickBASIC without converting them to the MBLC resource type. Be sure to check to see if the routine already exists in QuickBASIC as a MBLC before using your old routine unnecessarily. You may print lists for comparison purposes with the new version of the Statement Mover program. Statement mover has also been updated to support the MBLC and MBPC resource types.

You’re probably wondering how QuickBASIC does in the benchmark tests. Table 1 shows the benchmark results for QuickBASIC , True Basic and ZBasic. ZBasic and True Basic times have appeared in previous issues of MacTutor and were not retested for this table. I have included them here for comparison purposes. Keep in mind that any one benchmark test does not determine how good a language is. All tests were performed on a Macintosh Plus Computer.

BENCHMARKMS QuickBASIC*True BasicZBasic
FOR Loop (Real)3 sec1.6 sec.15 sec.
Array Lookup (static)2 sec.20.67 sec.1 sec.
Math Operations
Addition9 sec.22.15 sec.52 sec.
Subtraction10 sec.23.23 sec.64 sec.
Multiply12 sec.25.55 sec.211 sec.
Divide35 sec.35 sec.446 sec.
String Operations
Concatenation34 sec.10.3167 sec.10 sec.
Pattern Matching25 sec.12.15 sec.6 sec.
Graphics
Line (Basic stmt)7 sec.61.25 sec.6 sec.
Horizontal line15 sec.38.867 sec.5 sec.
Circle20 sec.13.4667 sec.15 sec.
Set Pixel
(PSET or PLOT)38 sec.119.3 sec.19 sec.
File I/O (Floppy Disk)
Random READ2 sec.24.5 sec.8 sec.
Random WRITE24 sec.43.48 sec.114 sec.
Seql. PRINT#3 sec.17.0667 sec.9 sec.
Seql. INPUT3 sec.17.45 sec.???
Sieve of Eratosthenes8 sec.118.917 sec.7 sec.
Accuracy Benchmark
x503.54380215503.54380215503.54380215
s1.231.2249999999999661.23
time 1 sec..88333 sec.4 sec.

* NOTE: QuickBASIC compiled binary version used for all tests except accuracy benchmark.

To obtain optimal performance from compiled QuickBASIC for execution speed it is advisable to use static arrays, turn off array bounds, turn off event checking, generate 68020 and 68881 code if applicable, use SELECT CASE statements instead of IF/THEN/ELSE statements inside loops, and use SHARED (global) arrays when passing to subprograms.

‘ Display Fonts
‘ ©Copyright 1988 MacTutor
‘ by Dave Kelly
‘ This program will display all your system fonts
‘ with a sample and by name.
‘ This program uses the ToolBox statement in
‘ QuickBASIC version 1.0

ToolBox “I”    ‘ Initialize Toolbox
DEFINT a-z
x=0
FontName$=””
FOR i=0 TO 254    ‘ Cycle through all the fonts
    TEXTFONT(i)
    GOSUB GetFontsname
    IF FontName$<>”” THEN
        PRINT “This is a sample of font #”;
        CALL TEXTFONT(0):PRINT i;”  “;FontName$
        IF x/10 >1 THEN
             x=0:PRINT “Click mouse button to continue...”
             WHILE MOUSE(0)<>1 :WEND:CLS
         ELSE
             x=x+1
        END IF
    END IF
NEXT
WHILE MOUSE(0)<>1:WEND
END
GetFontsname:    ‘Get the name of the Font with ID = i
TrapNo%=&HA8FF
ToolBox “P”,TrapNo%,(i),FontName$
RETURN


‘ System Configuration Demo
‘©1988 MacTutor
‘ By Dave Kelly
‘ This program displays all of the system configuration
‘ data which is returned by the SYSTEM Function.
‘ Also the number of tick counts is read from the
‘ Macintosh directly to get a more accurate time.

ToolBox “I”:    ‘Initialize the toolbox call
start&=0&:finish&=0&
CALL GetTickCount(start&)   :’Call the tick count routine
Screenwidth=SYSTEM(5) :  ‘ get screenwidth
Screenheight=SYSTEM(6) :  ‘ get screen height
WINDOW 1,”System Configuration”,(4,41)-(Screenwidth-8,Screenheight-8),1
PRINT “Macintosh System Version:”;SYSTEM(0)
machine=SYSTEM(1) :   ‘ get machine type
SELECT CASE machine
    CASE 0
        machineType$=”Unknown”
    CASE 1
        machineType$=”Mac 512K”
    CASE 2
        machineType$=”Mac Plus”
    CASE 3
        machineType$=”Mac SE”
    CASE 4
        machineType$=”Mac II”
END SELECT
PRINT “Machine type: “;machineType$
PRINT “Running QuickBASIC version “;SYSTEM(2)
Math=SYSTEM(3):    ‘ Get Math type
SELECT CASE Math
    CASE 0
        MathType$=”Binary Math”
    CASE 1
        MathType$=”Decimal Math”
END SELECT
PRINT “Using “;MathType$
environmentFlag=SYSTEM(4)
    IF environmentFlag=0 THEN
        PRINT “Program is being run from the QuickBASIC environment”
    ELSE
        PRINT “Program has been compiled.”
    END IF
CALL GetTickCount(finish&)
PRINT “Total time to run this program was “;(finish&-start&)/60;” seconds”
END

SUB GetTickCount(Ticks&) STATIC:’Get the real number of ticks
    TrapNo%=&HA975
    Ticks&=0&
    ToolBox “L”, TrapNo%,Ticks&
END SUB

LETTER BAG

Your review of True Basic 2.01 was of special interest to me because I’ve been trying to port a library of thirty astronomical programs from CBasic (remember?) and MS Basic to the Mac. As you pointed out, the math libraries and advanced toolkits make True Basic very useful for scientific tasks. However, the many arbitrary differences in syntax from standard Basics has made the translating task very time-consuming and the source level debugging using DO TRACE is crude compared to MacPascal or LSP.

My greatest disappointment has been the poor speed performance. My Mac has the Turbomax accelerator board and 68881 coprocessor both rated at 16 mhz. Since my work involves heavy use of transcendentals, I use the Savage benchmark; here are some results:

MacPascal 2.0 30.1 seconds interpreted

True Basic 2.01 29.1 seconds *

Excel 1.04 12.6 seconds supports 68881

LS Pascal 1.1 4.7 seconds compiled

* This is “It’s even faster than before.” as their ad claims?

Incidentally, they carefully modified the Geneva font so that the capital O and zero [0] are identical; a real ‘gotcha’ when trying to debug. --Leonard Kalish

Maybe QuickBASIC will be better for you as it can be compiled. Also if you use CLR Libraries MathStatLib you get some of the math routines back. The difference in the Basic syntax is because of the ANSI standard influence of Thomas E. Kurtz, one of True Basic’s authors. It is interesting that most of the other Basics out there are enough different from the ANSI standard to make translating a difficult task. Thanks for your comments. DK.

 
AAPL
$103.24
Apple Inc.
+0.74
MSFT
$44.90
Microsoft Corpora
-0.53
GOOG
$576.67
Google Inc.
+5.07

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

NetShade 6.0.2 - Browse privately using...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0 - Copy, backup, an...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
pwSafe 3.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
StatsBar 1.8 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Path Finder 6.5.5 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder is a file browser that combines the familiar Finder interface with the powerful utilities and innovative features. Just a small selection of the Path Finder 6 feature set: Dual pane... Read more
QuarkXPress 10.2.1 - Desktop publishing...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
Skype 6.19.0.450 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Modern Combat 5 Gets a Major Multiplayer...
Modern Combat 5 Gets a Major Multiplayer Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD Review
Alien Creeps TD Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EXPENSIVE DEFENSESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Alien Creeps TD would be a fun if unremarkable Tower Defense game, but its heavy focus on... | Read more »
The Journey Down: Chapter Two Review
The Journey Down: Chapter Two Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DARK YET ENTICINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s a little dark, in every sense of the word, but The Journey Down:... | Read more »
Function Space, a Social Network App for...
Function Space, a Social Network App for Science, Launches on iOS Posted by Ellis Spice on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Stupidfast – How Taylor Martinez Switche...
How do you make an Endless Running game more than just another Endless Running game? By adding real life prizes to it, of course! That’s the thinking behind StupidFast: a game designed for football enthusiasts, and the brainchild of former college... | Read more »
Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge Review
Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASUAL RAIDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Combining simple combat with village building is a potent combination for... | Read more »
Treasure Tombs: Ra Deal Coming from Bulk...
Treasure Tombs: Ra Deal Coming from Bulkypix and Dark Tonic This Fall Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Dark Tonic and | Read more »
Pirate Bash Review
Pirate Bash Review By Nadia Oxford on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: BAD PIRATES, GOOD TIMESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Pirate Bash’s turn-based battles add an intriguing twist to a typical physics game.   | Read more »
Tiny Tower Vegas Review
Tiny Tower Vegas Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY DEVELOPMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Build a huge tower again but Vegas-style in Tiny Tower Vegas.   | Read more »
The Manhattan Project Review
The Manhattan Project Review By Andrew Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ROCKET SCIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Manhattan Project offers a great Euro-style gameplay experience, but it is totally... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished iPads available for up to $...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Are We Now In The Post-Post-PC Era?
A longtime and thoroughgoing laptop aficionado, I was more than a little dismayed by Steve Jobs’s declaration back in 2010 when he sprang the iPad on an unsuspecting world. that we’d entered a “post-... Read more
PC Outlook Improves, But 2014 Shipments Still...
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -3.7 percent in 2014. To hat’s actually an improvement from the... Read more
IDC Lowers Tablet Sales Projections for 2014...
Following a second consecutive quarter of softer than expected demand, International Data Corporation (IDC) has lowered its worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast for 2014 to 233.1 million units. The... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Bad Driver Database App Allows Good Drivers t...
Bad Driver Database 1.4 by Facile Group is a new iOS and Android app that lets users instantly input and see how many times a careless, reckless or just plain stupid driver has been added to the... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.