History of BASIC

Lots of laughs — History of the BASIC family of languages:

1983 – Microsoft produces their first BASIC compiler for the PC. They are so embarrassed about it, they convince IBM to sell it under the IBM brand. The IBM Basic Compiler 1.0 is launched. It allows programs to have a maximum size of 64K, which is enough space for a complete, working Star Trek game to be developed.

1985 – Seeing the success of Turbo Pascal for the PC, Microsoft continues their tradition of copying ideas, and creates a mouse-driven development environment for their BASIC compiler. IBM is having second thoughts about being associated with the BASIC langauge, so Microsoft has to put this product out under their own brand. They call it QuickBASIC. They label the first version 2.0, since it is the successor to the IBM BASIC Compiler, and since they forgot that no one knows about that but them. Programs now have a 64K program space and a 64K data space, allowing the most impressive Star Trek games yet seen to be written.

1987 – Microsoft introduces a repackaged version of QuickBASIC called the Professional BASIC Compiler. This is the first known use of the words “Professional” and “BASIC” right next to each other.

1990 – Alan Cooper begins work on a development environment in which even the screen layout of a Windows-based UI is mouse driven. It’s intended for programmers too lazy to write code to produce a UI. Accordingly, he decides the language used for the product should be a variant of BASIC.

1991 – Based on Alan Cooper’s work, Visual Basic 1.0 is introduced. Programmers can install it and immediately write beautiful Windows programs that don’t do anything useful, since they can’t get to any standard databases. However, VB 1.0 does allow the first graphical Star Trek game to be written.

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