FreeBasic for Windows 1.09.0 Full Description
Elegance, Power, Speed; Choose all three.
FreeBASIC is a free/open source (GPL), 32-bit BASIC compiler for Microsoft Windows and Linux.
When used in its "QB" language mode, FreeBASIC provides a high level of support for programs written for QuickBASIC. Many programs written for QuickBASIC will compile and run in this mode with no changes needed. However, for compilation in the FreeBASIC default language mode, most substantial programs will require changes.
FreeBASIC is a self-hosting compiler which makes use of the GNU binutils programming tools as backends and can produce console, graphical/GUI executables, dynamic and static libraries. FreeBASIC fully supports the use of C libraries and has partial C++ library support. This lets programmers use and create libraries for C and many other languages. It supports a C style preprocessor, capable of multiline macros, conditional compiling and file inclusion.
FreeBASIC has been rated close in speed with mainstream tools, such as GCC.
The FreeBASIC project is a set of cross-platform development tools initially created by Andre Victor, consisting of a compiler, GNU-based assembler, linker and archiver, and supporting runtime libraries, including a software-based graphics library. The compiler, fbc, currently supports building for i386-based architectures on the DOS, Linux, Windows and Xbox platforms. The project also contains thin bindings (header files) to some popular 3rd party libraries such as the C runtime library, Allegro, SDL, OpenGL, GTK+, the Windows API and many others, as well as example programs for many of these libraries.
FreeBASIC is a high-level programming language supporting procedural, object-orientated and meta-programming paradigms, with a syntax compatible to Microsoft QuickBASIC. In fact, the FreeBASIC project originally began as an attempt to create a code-compatible, free alternative to Microsoft QuickBASIC, but it has since grown into a powerful development tool. FreeBASIC can be seen to extend the capabilities of Microsoft QuickBASIC in a number of ways, supporting more data types, language constructs, programming styles, and modern platforms and APIs.
Most Important Features
FreeBASIC is not a "new" BASIC language. You don't need to learn much new if you are familiar with any Microsoft-BASIC variant. You can use either "-lang qb" for compatibility, or (default) "-lang fb" for some of the new features, but it also brings some restrictions and some similarity with the "C" programming language. FreeBASIC is case-insensitive; explicit "main" procedure is not required; most of the graphic and console statements and procedures found in Microsoft QuickBASIC are implemented, et cetera. Only with "-lang qb": scalar variables don't need to be dimensioned and suffixes can be used; line numbers are supported; On Error and Gosub supported.
Only a small number of keywords have been added. All procedures are implemented as libraries, so for the most part, there are no new intrinsic routines, and therefore there is a low chance of having name duplication with old code.
Thin bindings (header files) to existing C libraries and APIs
No wrappers or helpers are necessary, just a ported header file, making usage of external C libraries very easy. The official distribution comes with several bindings to existing C libraries already, see External Libraries TOC for a complete up-to-date list.
FreeBASIC currently runs on 32-bit Windows, Linux, and DOS (a 16-bit DOS is good enough, although FreeBASIC itself and compiler output are 32-bit) and also creates applications for the Xbox console. More platforms to come. The runtime library was written with portability in mind. All third-party tools used exist on most operating systems already as they are from the GNU binutils.
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