Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 123 / NOVEMBER 1990 / PAGE 17

Battling BASICs

I'm curious about the compatibility of the various implementations of BASIC used on the IBM PC. How compatible are BASICA, GW-BASIC, Microsoft QuickBASIC, Microsoft Professional BASIC, and PowerBASIC?

Is QuickBASIC really outselling and outperforming PowerBASIC? How about Microsoft Professional BASIC? Does it have all of the features of QuickBASIC and PowerBASIC? How much does it retail for?


BASIC for the PC has been constantly evolving for the past seven years. The first PC BASICs—BASICA and GW-BASIC—are both interpreted languages and are quite similar. The only real difference between the two is that part of BASICA is stored in ROM while GW-BASIC resides completely on disk.

Microsoft QuickBASIC and Borland's Turbo BASIC were introduced to provide BASIC programmers with compilers and high-quality development environments. QuickBASIC has continued to evolve, and its current version, 4.5, has the power of Pascal but keeps BASIC'S traditional ease of use. Turbo BASIC has recently been released in a new version with the name PowerBASIC. QuickBASIC is certainly outselling PowerBASIC, but PowerBASIC has some excellent features and many devoted fans.

Microsoft Professional BASIC 7.0 is a landmark product. With it, Microsoft has created a BASIC compiler for commercial development, complete with many of the tools found in Microsoft's other professional languages, such as C and assembly language. The suggested retail price of Microsoft Professional BASIC 7.0 is $495.