Sunday, 29 March 2009


Something about software as promised. QBasic is a thing designed to be used with QD to parse, QSAVE and liberate the SBASIC file being edited in QD. If this is gibberish I guess you don't use a QL in any form. Have a look at Dilwyn Jones site. Just type Dilwyn Jones and QL into Google and click on I'm feeling lucky. I promise nothing bad will happen to you or your PC.

SBASIC is the basic language for modern QL systems but can also be retro fitted to older systems which have SuperBasic built in. SBASIC and SuperBasic are probably some of the most important bits of software for QL systems and one of the reasons the QL has not passed on to QL Heaven. Both are powerful enough to allow the development of major applications such as Turbo, the Editor, Launchpad and Liberator. As such they continue to be an educational tool in programming and a source of new development for QL systems. Enough background.

QBASIC does what it says on the box and I now can't do without it. I find this amazing because what it says it does does not seem that interesting. After all you can compile with Qliberator quite easily without QBasic. But adding the luxury of a seamless IDE which then reduces development time considerably makes the feel of the process completely different.

One or 2 quirks with QBasic. The parser is not as smart as the SBasic parser. It does not spot incorrect line numbering, so that if when editing a program, copying and pasting lines you end up with 2 line numbers the same, QBasic and Qliberator will hang but not crash. You can remove line numbers but that makes data statements difficult. If the basic file contains a corrupt character, that is a non printable character, QBASIC will refuse to compile. Fair enough, but other than halting it gives no indication of what has gone wrong. The only way to find out quickly is to load the file into the SBasic editor which quickly locates the line or lines with a MISTake marker.

Setting it up is easy, just configure it using menu config and LRESPR it in the boot. Then either hot key a startup command string for QD to tell it to use QBASIC or launch it through Launchpad which will also pass a command string. I prefer Launchpad as I can have 2 icons one for QD with QBASIC and one for QD with SBasic yet the same QD program file but each QD configured through the command line for the job in hand. Neat

Hot keys now there is something that is significantly complex and powerful on QL systems.

Thought for the day. Is it possible to put a program to sleep on a hotkey but without creating a button in the button frame, or anywhere else. Off to the EE (extended environment) manual.

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