BASIC (an acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use.
In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.
Versions of BASIC became widespread on microcomputers in the mid-1970s and 1980s. Microcomputers usually shipped with BASIC, often in the machine's firmware. Having an easy-to-learn language on these early personal computers allowed small business owners, professionals, hobbyists, and consultants to develop custom software on computers they could afford.
BASIC remains popular in many dialects and in new languages influenced by BASIC, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic. In 2006, 59% of developers for the .NET Framework used Visual Basic .NET as their only programming language.
--- Before the mid-1960s, computers were extremely expensive mainframe machines, usually requiring a dedicated computer room and air-conditioning, used by large organizations for scientific and commercial tasks. Users submitted jobs, on punched cards or similar media, to computer operators, and usually collected the output later. A simple batch processing arrangement ran only a single "job" at a time, one after another. During the 1960s faster and more affordable computers, still mainframes, became available, and time-sharing—a technique which allows multiple users or processes to share use of the CPU and memory—was developed. In such a system the operating system gives each of several processes time on the CPU, then pauses it and switches to another; each process behaves as if it had full use of the computer, although the time to complete its operation increases. Time-sharing was initially used to allow several batched processes to execute simultaneously.
Time-sharing also allowed several independent users to interact with a computer, working on terminals with keyboards and teletype printers, and later display screens. Computers were fast enough to respond quickly to each user.
The need to optimize interactive time-sharing, using command line interpreters and programming languages, was an area of intense research during the 1960s and 1970s. --- The original BASIC language was designed on May 1, 1964 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz and implemented by a team of Dartmouth students under their direction. The acronym BASIC comes from the name of an unpublished paper by Thomas Kurtz. BASIC was designed to allow students to write mainframe computer programs for the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System. It was intended specifically for less technical users who did not have or want the mathematical background previously expected. Being able to use a computer to support teaching and research was quite novel at the time.
The language was based on FORTRAN II, with some influences from ALGOL 60 and with additions to make it suitable for timesharing. Initially, BASIC concentrated on supporting straightforward mathematical work, with matrix arithmetic support from its initial implementation as a batch language, and character string functionality being added by 1965.
The designers of the language decided to make the compiler available free of charge so that the language would become widespread. (In the 1960s software became a chargeable commodity; until then it was provided without charge as a service with the very expensive computers, usually available only to lease.) They also made it available to high schools in the Hanover area, and put a considerable amount of effort into promoting the language. In the following years, as other dialects of BASIC appeared, Kemeny and Kurtz's original BASIC dialect became known as Dartmouth BASIC. --- Knowledge of the relatively simple BASIC became widespread for a computer language, and it was implemented by a number of manufacturers, becoming fairly popular on newer minicomputers such as the DEC PDP series and the Data General Nova. The BASIC language was also central to the HP Time-Shared BASIC system in the late 1960s and early 1970s, where the language was implemented as an interpreter. Also at this time it was ported into the Pick operating system where a compiler renders it into bytecode, able to be interpreted by a virtual machine.
During this period a number of simple computer games were written in BASIC, most notably Mike Mayfield's Star Trek. A number of these were collected by DEC employee David H. Ahl and published in a newsletter he compiled. He later collected a number of these into book form, "101 BASIC Computer Games", which was first published in 1973. During the same period, Ahl was involved in the creation of a small computer for education use, an early personal computer. When management refused to support the concept, Ahl left DEC in 1974 to found the seminal computer magazine, Creative Computing. The book remained popular, and was re-published on several occasions. ---
Ok That's All For Basic, For Now.
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