With Antic Publishing's acquisition of GFA-BASIC. GFA's former distributors have developed some very powerful competition. Mich Tron (576 South Telegraph. Pontiac, Michigan 48053; 313-334-5700) is marketing HiSoft BASIC ($99.95) and HiSoft BASIC Professional ($159.95) in the United States. Both BASICs are virtually identical, except you can build libraries with the professional version if you know assembly language.
HiSoft is a compiled language and comes with an editor, compiler, and the necessary libraries. It incorporates all standard features of BASIC as well as optional line numbers and DO. WHILE/WEND, and REPEAT loops. The DO LOOP can use the modifiers WHILE and UNTIL to specify loop conditions at either or both ends of the loop. Multiple-line IF statements. CASE SELECT, subprograms (similar to GFA BASIC's PROCEDURES) and user-defined functions are supported. You can pass variables and constants to the subprograms and functions as parameters, and the functions can pass results back to the main program.
Interrupt programming (such as GFA BASIC's ON MENU command) isn't supported, but full access to all GEM VDI and AES is. Some knowledge of GEM is required because the documentation doesn't attempt to make you a GEM programmer. The VDI and AES functions are stored in external libraries, and you only need to include them in programs that use those functions. These functions are simpler to use than unadorned GEM because HiSoft takes care of some of the nasty details, such as handles. Still, in order to install and use menus and dialog boxes and to receive GEM messages (window resized, slider box moved, and so on), you must set up and use the included AES functions. The manual included with HiSoft is excellent.