PowerBASIC Information Center Tutorials
These tutorials were written to help you get a quick, but thorough, understanding of PowerBASIC -
the scope of the language as well as it's specific capabilities.
First of all, let me say that PowerBASIC is aptly named. Though it uses
familiar BASIC syntax it has far more features and requires far more knowledge
about the Windows operating system
to use than other BASIC languages which have preceded it. It provides
faster and smaller executables than most languages (not just BASIC languages)
and has the added feature of not requiring distribution of run time files on
the target PCs. It provides threading, inline assembly, and COM support.
It supports serial communications and includes Internet networking features.
That much power comes with a price. Unlike Visual Basic, PowerBASIC does
not provide a particularly easy means of creating a user interface. It does not
as conveniently handle the details of responding to events. It does not
aggressively protect the user against coding/execution mistakes. And it requires
more attention to detail during the coding process.
Visual Basic programmers will be disappointed with the less sophicated
IDE - particularly with the awkward split between the source code editor
and the GUI creation tool. They will also be surprised/disappointed with
the lack of intrinsic database tools.
In return for those inconveniences/limitations, you get power and you get control
over the finished product to a degree not available with any BASIC dialect and which
rivals the results of any other language.
Is it worth it?
Judging by Google search results, there might be as many as a half
dozen BASIC dialects which are more popular. If all a programmer needs to do is
create a simple user interface with some simple code behind it, then other
BASIC dialects can more easily satisfy the need and provide a shorter learning cycle.
On the other hand, those who use PowerBASIC regularly seem to be fiercely loyal to
the product. I've found that first time users tend to shy away from it whereas more
experienced programmers are drawn to it.
For the most serious programmers, who want precision control over their finished
product and want to get the most performance possible from their applications, the answer
seems to be YES! - It is worth it!