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GBIC >> QBasic
The QBasic Information Center is one of my latest sites and provides a wide range of information that will help you understand and use QBasic effectively. The site provides beginner's advice, history, tutorials, annotated sample applications, source code, book reviews, and much more!

QBasic vs QuickBasic
QBasic is not QuickBasic. QuickBasic was released in 1985 by Microsoft as a commercial product. But in 1991, Microsoft created a subset of QuickBasic to include in future versions of MS-DOS. The subset was called QBasic and was included in the MS-DOS 5.0+ releases.

Generally, the differences between QuickBasic and QBasic are very minor. The one big difference is that QBasic does not come with a compiler to create stand-alone executable (EXE) files. QuickBasic does.

I've made a list of the differences between QuickBasic and QBasic.

Why QBasic?
Now, let's answer the hard question. Since the last version of QBasic (v1.1) was released 1993 and is no longer supported by Microsoft, why then should you bother using it? There are thousands of QBasic programmers still using QBasic and here's what they say.

  • It's Free
    QBasic has far fewer commands than modern languages, making it easy to learn! Microsoft has placed QBasic in the public domain, free for anyone to use. You can download it here. There's no installation. Just unzip it into any folder and it's ready to run.

  • Easy To Learn
    QBasic has far fewer commands than modern languages, making it easy to learn!

  • Educational
    For aspiring programmers, kids and adult beginners alike, QBasic demonstrates most of the basic concepts needed to master more difficult programming languages.

  • Utility Value
    QBasic commands work on Windows (thru XP) and can be used to write all types of command line utilities. File editing, calculations, simple graphics and games, and automation scripts are all possible using QBasic.

  • Historical Value
    Understanding the capabilities and limits of QBasic helps a programmer better understand and utilize the programming tools available today.

QBasic Limitations
The overriding limitation of QBasic (and QuickBasic) is that while it has some graphics capabilities, it cannot create standard Windows executable programs with a graphical user interface (GUI). It's great for learning, fun to use, and can produce limited, but useful games and utilities. It is totally unsuited for creating the demanding applications of today's professional programmer.

Personally, I enjoy the occasional use of QBasic. I like it's simplicity and I enjoy seeing what I can make it do. For my professional work I use one of a dozen other programming languages. But I crank up QBasic when I want to have some fun while I complete some lesser tasks.

Other BASIC Dialects
Since QBasic was released in 1992, many new BASIC dialects have been released, particularly those which can be used to create true Windows programs with modern graphical capabilities.

I've compiled a summary of available dialects, both free and commercial. While QBasic is still very popular, most programmers have moved to one of these newer releases in order to take advantage of the graphical features of Windows. My summary categorizes the dialects and provides guidance on which are most popular with programmers.