TweetFollow Us on Twitter

FutureBASIC
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:5
Column Tag:Tools of the Trade

Z z z FutureBASIC

An industrial strength BASIC built for Macintosh

By Dave Kelly, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s FutureBASIC. Never before seen on this planet, FutureBASIC goes where no other BASIC has gone before. FutureBASIC (version 1.01) is not simply an upgrade of ZBasic. Although ZBasic programs can still be run with FutureBASIC, there are plenty of enhancements to interest any programmer, with any level of experience. I’ll refer to FutureBASIC as FB for the remainder of this article.

If you’re new to programming the Macintosh, FB now provides the easiest and quickest way to produce real Macintosh applications. Zedcor has put a lot of work into producing a set of manuals that not only provides documentation for the FB language, but also teaches structured programming methods. When getting started with FB you’ll want to start with the “Getting Started” manual. In this manual, you take a walk through three sample programs. You won’t even have to open any of the other manuals to start seeing results.

The “Getting Started” section emphasizes the importance of organizing and structuring your programs. Structure is something that doesn’t come natural to BASIC, but the FB manuals show you a consistent way to structure your programs. Programs are divided into sections split by remarks (see the example at the end of this article). A typical structured program will have a Constants section, Global variables section, Functions section and Main section. Zedcor, who has always promoted these programming practices, has done a great job in maintaining these structured practices.

After you go though the “Getting Started” manual, you’ll want to look at the FB “Handbook”. The Handbook will help you learn how to program the Macintosh. This manual isn’t just for beginners; there is information here that applies to all programmers. In particular, there are sections on writing INITs, cdevs, and Desk Accessories (yes, you can now create INIT, CDEV, DRVR and CODE resources), HyperCard XCMDs and XFCNs, how memory is organized, and Debugging (using FB’s Debugger and MacsBug). Beginners probably won’t start out writing INITs, but the manual includes everything you need to do it. The strength of the handbook is that it ties together the information that is in Inside Macintosh with the FB Reference manual. The Handbook is organized by subject (Windows, Menus, File Handling, Resources, QuickDraw, Etc.).

The “Reference” manual covers each FB command similar to the old ZBasic manual, but completely rewritten. It’s not like the Microsoft manuals that spend the first half of the manual explaining the programming environments (how the editor works, how to compile a program). Only the first 28 pages are dedicated to explaining the FB application, the remaining 375+ pages (plus appendixes) are strictly for reference. Each command is presented with a short example.

If you’re a Pascal, C, or Assembly language programmer (or any other language for that matter), FB will interest you too. First and foremost, FB is fast! It’s nearly as fast as Pascal and C. In benchmark tests that I performed, I was pleased with its performance in every test case I tried. The tests that I ran were derived from tests that I’ve run in the past. I’m not including those results here since there isn’t any close competition with FB anyway.

Experienced programmers will like the professional look and feel of the FB compiler. Some examples of this:

Resources are included in an FB program by including a one line statement such as:

RESOURCES “Resource File.rsrc”

The resource file can include any resources that you’re used to using in C or Pascal.

CALLs to assembled CODE resources - you can include any assembled code in your program.

In-line assembly language code: FB allows you to enter assembly language mnemonics directly into your program (THINK Pascal won’t let you do that!). Standard M68000 family statements and functions are fully supported.

APPL, INIT, cdev, DRVR, WDEF, CDEF, MDEF, CODE resource types can be created. This is what really makes FB a big league player. There are two different runtime packages that can get included at compile time when creating applications. You can choose the Standard-runtime package that takes up over 40K of space or the Mini-runtime version that is less than 5K. The difference is that the Mini-runtime must use Macintosh Toolbox routines for handling events. The reference manual distinguishes between the commands that are supported by the Mini vs. the Standard runtimes by putting a lower case m next to the command name. The extra memory saved may be worth it in some situations, but the expanded command set makes life much easier. Most of you will still want to compile with the Standard-runtime package. The RESOURCES statement at the beginning of the program tells the compiler which type of resource to compile.

Project Manager tool: FB’s Project Manager automatically keeps track of source code files used in a project. A project consists of all the files in a particular folder. The Project Manager makes it easy to open source code files and mark the files that need to be compiled. You can compile and run all related files in a project. So, if you have separated your various routines into separate files, then you can run the main program by selecting it in the Project Manager window and any files that are included (using the INCLUDE statement).

Cross Reference tool: The Cross Reference tool displays an alphabetical list of functions, labels, variables, or constants that are used in the current Editor window. You can search for an item by clicking on it.

Editing is completely new for this version of FB. The ZBasic editor was never as stable as this one. Most notable is that keywords are recognized and indentation is applied to the source code automatically. You can adjust the spacing for indented lines using the preferences dialog. Full Search and Replace capability can search in both directions. When an error occurs in your program, the cursor points to the line where the error occurred.

The Help system provides a ready reference to all FB commands. An additional bonus is that sample source code is included with the information in the Help file that you can paste into your program. You can even add your own stuff to the Help file.

Page Layout can be customized to print source code with header, footer, date, Program Name, page numbers, boldface keywords, and automatic indentation.

LOCAL FN is a new statement that lets you pass a list of parameters to a subroutine that will only be used locally. That means that variables used in LOCAL FN routines are only defined within the subroutine. You can now use libraries of LOCAL FN routines and not have to worry if there is a conflict between your program’s variables and the subroutine’s variables. LOCAL FN is a very powerful statement that can also be used recursively. LOCAL FN virtually makes using GOSUB and LONG FN obsolete (GOTO was obsolete along time ago). FB still supports GOSUB, GOTO, and LONG FN, but you are strongly advised against their use because of the great benefits of LOCAL FN.

Constants are now presented in a consistent manner. In older versions of BASIC only numbers could be used for constants. In FB you can assign integer and long integer constants a name to make them easier to remember and more understandable. You can tell a constant because it always starts with an underline character. Besides the fact that you can define your own constants, FB comes with hundreds of predefined named constants. Many of them correspond to constants in Inside Macintosh.

Record types are defined using the DIM RECORD statement. Any record type in Inside Macintosh can be defined with this statement. Records can be passed between functions by passing the record’s address.

QuickTime™ movie calls are included for playing QuickTime movies.

Balloon and Apple Event calls are part of the extensive Macintosh Toolbox support. However, the manuals show you how to create your own calls just in case Apple adds a new one.

Word Solution Engine™ functions are build in to FB as USR functions. Word Solution Engine is NOT included with FB. You can use these routines to access Word Solution Engine (if you have it) to create a professional looking word processor.

Debugger: FB’s own debugger is great. If you like the debugger in THINK Pascal, you’ll like this one too. You can set break points and step through a program. You can follow variable changes as they happen.

There are simply thousands of features packed into FB. I’d love to be able to show you a sample of each, but Zedcor has done a great job of that on the example files included with FB. I will include one here that can give you a sense of what FB can do. In particular, the ability to create cdevs is one of FB’s new features. The following code is an example of a cdev (from Zedcor).

‘CDEV example     7/07/92
RESOURCES “FB CDEV.rsrc”,”cdevhack”,”cdev”,-4064,”FutureBasic™ CDEV”,_resPurgeable%
OUTPUT FILE “myCDEV”

‘--------------- Globals ------------------
BYEBYE = _false
END GLOBALS

‘--------------- Functions -----------------
LOCAL FN doKeys (theEvent&)
  ‘first, get the character
  message&   = [theEvent&+_evtMessage]  
  ‘then see if the command key was down
  modifiers% = {theEvent&+_evtMeta}     
  tempChar$  = CHR$(message& AND &FF)  ‘mask for character
  LONG IF modifiers% AND 256           ‘test for command key
    %theEvent&,_nullEvt
    SELECT tempChar$         ‘set appropriate message
      CASE “X”,”x”             ‘cut?
        message% = _cutDev     ‘pass menu event back to cdev
      CASE “C”,”c”             ‘copy?
        message% = _copyDev    ‘pass menu event back to cdev
      CASE “V”,”v”             ‘paste?
        message% = _pasteDev   ‘pass menu event back to cdev
      CASE “Z”,”z”             ‘undo?
        message% = _undoDev    ‘pass menu event back to cdev
      CASE “W”,”w”             ‘close window?
        BYEBYE = _true         ‘pass menu event back to cdev
    END SELECT                  
  END IF
END FN

‘is it time to go bye bye?
LOCAL FN checkBYEBYE(cdevStorage&)
  LONG IF BYEBYE                       
    LONG IF cdevStorage&             ‘valid handle?
      mErr= FN DISPOSHANDLE (cdevStorage&) ’dump it
      IF mErr THEN BEEP:BEEP:BEEP
    END IF
    END
  END IF   
END FN          

LOCAL
DIM rect;0, T,L,B,R
LOCAL FN showMsg (msg$)
  CALL SETRECT (rect,110,110,220,160)
  CALL ERASERECT(rect)              ‘erase last message
  PRINT%(L+(R-L)/2-24,T+(B-T)/2+4);
  PRINT msg$;                       
END FN                    

‘---------------- Main ------------------
ENTERPROC%(message%,item%,numItems%,CPanelID%,
  theEvent&,cdevStorage&,CPDialog&)
  ‘softmask =&0000 and hardmask = &FFFF
  LONG IF message% = _macDev  
    returnVal& = 1               ‘works on every machine
    lastPass& = cdevStorage&
  XELSE
    LONG IF cdevStorage& <> lastPass&   ‘
      SELECT cdevStorage&  ‘check for errors when the 
        CASE _cdevGenErr   ‘Control Panel sends them to you.
        CASE _cdevMemErr
          ‘do an error message
        CASE _cdevResErr
          ‘do an error message
        CASE _cdevUnset
          ‘ignore this
      END SELECT
    END IF
    LONG IF cdevStorage&       ‘inialize storage for cdev
      lastPass& = cdevStorage&
      SELECT message%
        CASE _initDev          ‘initialize cdev
          ’create private storage
          cdevStorage& = FN NEWHANDLE(2)
          ‘we work on every machine
          returnVal& = cdevStorage&  
        CASE _hitDev          ‘button or text field clicked
          ’subtract Control Pan items
          msg$= “_hitDev item=”+STR$(item%-numItems%) 
          FN showMsg (msg$)
        CASE _closeDev        ‘close down the cdev now
          BYEBYE = _true                  
          FN showMsg (“BYE!”)
          BEEP :DELAY 1000
        CASE _nulDev                 ‘do null events here
        CASE _updateDev              ‘update your stuff
          FN showMsg (“_updateDev”)
        CASE _activDev               ‘activate controls 
                                     ‘deactivated below
          FN showMsg (“_activDev”)
        CASE _deActivDev             ‘deactivate controls
          FN showMsg (“_deActivDev”)
        CASE _keyEvtDev              ‘respond to key down
          FN doKeys (theEvent&)
          FN showMsg (“_keyEvtDev”)
        CASE _undoDev,_cutDev,_copyDev,_pasteDev,_clearDev
          FN showMsg (“__someEditDev??”)
        CASE _cursorDev              ‘cursor over cdev area
      END SELECT
    END IF
  END IF
EXITPROC% = returnVal&
FN checkBYEBYE(cdevStorage&)
RETURN

For More information

Contact Zedcor, 4500 E. Speedway, Suite 22, Tucson, AZ 85712. Voice: 602/881-8101, Fax: 602/881-1841, Applelink: ZEDCOR.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

FileZilla 3.27.1 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.27.1: Fixed Vulnerabilities: Change client... Read more
Merlin Project 4.2.7 - $289.00
Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
Dashlane 4.8.4 - Password manager and se...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more
f.lux 39.984 - Adjusts the color of your...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more
Sketch 46.2 - Design app for UX/UI for i...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
Microsoft Office 2016 15.37 - Popular pr...
Microsoft Office 2016 - Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote provide the best of both worlds for Mac users - the familiar Office... Read more
Slack 2.7.1 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.7.1: You're nearly finished signing in when suddenly – bonk... Read more
Google Chrome 60.0.3112.101 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Sound Studio 4.8.10 - Robust audio recor...
Sound Studio lets you easily record and professionally edit audio on your Mac. Easily rip vinyls and digitize cassette tapes, or record lectures and voice memos. Prepare for live shows with live... Read more
Slack 2.7.1 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.7.1: You're nearly finished signing in when suddenly – bonk... Read more

Bottom of the 9th (Games)
Bottom of the 9th 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Play the most exciting moment of baseball in this fast-paced dice and card game! | Read more »
The best apps for viewing the solar ecli...
If you somehow missed the news, many parts of the United States will be witness to a total solar eclipse on August 21 for the first time in over 90 years. It'll be possible to see the eclipse in at least some capacity throughout the continental U... | Read more »
The 5 best mobile survival games
Games like ARK: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles have taken the world of gaming by storm. The market is now flooded with hardcore survival games that send players off into the game's world with nothing but maybe the clothes on their back. Never... | Read more »
Portal Walk (Games)
Portal Walk 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Portal Walk is adventure and relaxing platform game about Eugene. Eugene stuck between worlds and trying to find way back home.... | Read more »
Technobabylon (Games)
Technobabylon 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: City of Newton, 2087. Genetic engineering is the norm, the addictive Trance has replaced almost any need for human interaction,... | Read more »
5 reasons why 2v2 is the best mode in Cl...
Supercell has been teasing fans with 2v2 windows that allow players to team up for limited periods of time. The Summer of 2v2 was just this past July, but players are already clamoring for more of that sweet, sweet team-based action. The fans have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
It seems like the week's only just started, and yet here we are with a huge pile of discounted games to sort through. There are some real doozies on sale this week. We're talking some truly stellar titles. Let's take a look at four of the best... | Read more »
Cat Quest Guide - How to become a purrfe...
Cat Quest is an absolutely charming open-world RPG that's taken the gaming world quite by storm. This game about a world populated by furry kitty warriors is actually a full-length RPG with sturdy mechanics and a lovely little story. It's certainly... | Read more »
Silly Walks Guide - How to strut your st...
Silly Walks is an all new adventure game that lives up to its name. It sees you playing as a variety of snack foods as you teeter-totter your way to rescue your friends from the evil blender and his villainous minions. It's all very . . . well... | Read more »
The best mobile point-and-click adventur...
Nostalgia for classic point-and-click adventure games has reached an all-time high in recent years, and the rise of mobile games have provided a perfect platform for this old-school genre. This week we're going to take a look at some of the best... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New iOS 11 Productivity Features Welcome But...
The iOS community is in late summer holding mode awaiting the September arrival of the iPhone 8 and iOS 11. iOS 11 public betas have been available for months — number six was released this week —... Read more
Samsung Electronics Launches New Portable SSD...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the launch of Samsung Portable SSD T5 – its newest portable solid state drive (PSSD) that raises the bar for the performance of external memory... Read more
TrendForce Reports YoY Gain of 3.6% for 2Q17...
Market research firm TrendForce reports that the global notebook shipments for this second quarter registered a sequential quarterly increase of 5.7% and a year-on-year increase of 3.6%, totaling 39.... Read more
Sale! 10-inch iPad Pros for $50 off MSRP, no...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $599, save $... Read more
Sale! 2017 13-inch Silver 2.3GHz MacBook Pro...
Amazon has new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Silver MacBook Pro on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. Their price is the lowest available for this model from any reseller: – 13″ 2.3GHz/... Read more
WaterField Unveils Collaboratively-Designed,...
In collaboration with customers and seasoned travelers, San Francisco maker WaterField Designs set out to create the preeminent carry-on system to improve the experience of frequent fliers. The... Read more
Miya Notes Mac-Client for Google Keep (Launch...
MacPlus Software has announced te launch of Miya Notes for Google Keep 1.0, a powerful Mac-client for Google Keep. Millions of people use Google Keep on their phones and online, but a convenient Mac... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available starting at...
Apple has previous-generation Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available starting at $849. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more
2017 13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 of...
B&H Photo new 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP, starting at $899: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off MSRP – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A... Read more
12-inch MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP
Amazon has 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBook: $1198 $101 off MSRP 12″ 1.2GHz Gold... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Customer Experience (ACE) Leader - A...
…management to deliver on business objectivesTraining partner store staff on Apple products, services, and merchandising guidelinesCoaching partner store staff on Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Poole -...
Job Summary The people here at Apple don't just create products - they create the kind of wonder that's revolutionised entire industries. It's the diversity of those Read more
Business Development Manager, *Apple* iClou...
Job Summary Apple is seeking an entrepreneurial person to help grow the Apple iCloud business, a service that is integral to the Apple customer experience. Read more
Product Metrics Manager - *Apple* Media Pro...
Job Summary Apple is seeking a product manager responsible for overseeing the instrumentation and analysis of usage data, in order to make data driven product Read more
iOS Wallet & *Apple* Pay Engineer - App...
Job Summary The iOS Apple Pay & Wallet team is looking for talented,...now add credit and debit cards to Wallet using Apple Pay. You can use Apple Pay in Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.