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PowerBasic

Anybody here used the console version or any other version of PowerBasic?  I thought it looked interesting, being able to generate a self contained .exe etc.

Any things to be aware of?

Mike
Thursday, August 07, 2003

PowerBasic is outstanding. It is everything they say it is. If you're coming from VB, there's a bit of a learning curve since you'll have to learn how Windows actually works, but it's not too much to handle. It's just a shock when you're accustomed to the VB IDE.

When they say it makes tiny, fast, standalone executables, they mean it. I regularly produce full-featured utilities that are in the 20 - 50K file size range.

The forums are excellent there. People are very helpful, and I've learned a lot by reading their posts. It's the only board I know where you can post a programming task, simple or complex, and get a dozen helpful, explanatory replies with source code.

I purchased their visual designer tool too, but have only used it once. I'm now so accustomed to building my GUIs in code (with simple one-line-per-control statements) that I stuck with that. There are excellent inexpensive third-party add-ons for PB, such as the fantastic JellyFish editor and Lynx project manager.

The compiler and language directly support COM automation, but not visual controls like OCXes. However, a fellow has been recently posting excellent wrapper routines (and a utility too I beleive) to add that capability. At first I thought I would sorely miss OCXes, but I really haven't. Most of what you'd have used a control for in VB either has direct language support in PB, or can be provided for through custom controls (dlls) or third-party addons.

I know I sound a little over-enthusiastic, but I enjoy PB that much. I also have VS6, VS.NET, Borland C++ 5 Pro, and who knows how many other languages and compilers. But when it's time to get something done, PB is the language I pick.

Troy King
Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thanks Troy.  Do you have the console version or the version capable of gui.  If you get the version capapble of gui, can you still make stand alone .exe console apps?

Mike
Thursday, August 07, 2003

Mike,

Make sure you also take a look at PureBasic.

www.purebasic.com

Ged Byrne
Thursday, August 07, 2003

Mike, I have the 2.x console version but not the 3.x. I have the 6.x and 7.x for the GUI version. Someone posted source I beleive to let you make a console app with the GUI version, but I never tried it. A lot of the guys in that forum know some real Windows wizardry.

Troy King
Thursday, August 07, 2003

Ged, what is your comment regarding PureBasic?

killerbee
Friday, August 08, 2003

KillerBee,

PureBasic is a great economical language that doesn't cost must (59 euro).  This covers all future updates as well as the Linux and Amiga version (these are a little behind the Windows version)

It produces extremely tight GUI executables.  Smaller than anything else I've seen.  Performance wise on a par with C or Delphi.

Full access to the windows API is there.  You don't need to declare any of the functions like VB, they're just there.

For the Games programmer there are Direct X functions for 2D and 3D.  I've not looked at these much, but the demos look good.

There is built in ODBC support.  This means that you can easily build database apps that can access almost any database.  The only restriction is that you can only work through a DSN - no connection strings allowed.

Extending the language is incredibly easily.  You just follow a few naming conventions in your C or ASM and compile to an OBJ file.  Bind this to a simple text file describing the functions and bind together using the command line tool provided.

Voila, your new commands are available.  No need to import, there just there.  Your extension will only be bound to the executable if you actually call any of its functions.

Visual elements, called Gadgets, make window building easy.  With a few extra providers, building your own gadgets follows the same process as a new function.

You can also compile and call Dlls.

It has its limitations.  It's produced by a small outfit which mainly consists of one man and a handful of volunteers.  It is highly optimised for the hobby programmer.  No OO, just small, fast executables.  In some ways this is what makes PB so great, since it avoids all of the overhead required by a 'serious' language.  It just concentrates on being easy to write with and being able to produce highly optimised binaries.

In addition, it has an extremely active and supportive community.

Ged Byrne
Friday, August 08, 2003

What Troy said! PowerBasic is a very powerful language with the best user support I've ever seen, both from other users and the company.

I use PowerBasic 7.x for all my new projects and I'm converting my VB6 apps over as time and need permits.  The size and speed differences between the PowerBasic and VB versions of the same program are just amazing. Plus, with PowerBasic no more DLL Heck or installation & Registry problems.

Over my too-many years I've programmed in Fortran, C, Unix shell scripting (does that count as programming?) QuickBasic, Visual Basic (from 1.0) and now PowerBasic.  PowerBasic is my favorite of them all.

Mark Newman
Friday, August 08, 2003

If this language is good why it's not popular?

litacool
Friday, August 08, 2003

litacool -- that's a good question. I beleive PowerBasic (the company)'s stance is that it IS popular, judging from their client list. I suspect it's because they don't advertise much. Also, a lot of programmers shun anything with the word "BASIC" just on misguided principle.

They also sort of have dual identities, and I wonder if that helps or hurts them. On the one hand, they bill themselves as an alternative to VB for programmers that want smaller, faster, standalone apps, but on the other hand they bill themselves as the way to Windows programming for DOS programmers.

Judging from the activity in the forums, it's clear there are a lot of PB users. At the very least, they're enough to support a company with a bunch of employees. The list of companies that have purchased PowerBasic is quite long: http://www.powerbasic.com/powerwho.asp . I've had a couple C++ programmers that gave in and tried it, and they were impressed.

Troy King
Friday, August 08, 2003

I'm a hardcore C guy, and I was very impressed with PowerBASIC.  My only problem with it is that honestly I'm more of a 'herd' guy.  I want to use tools that other people use - more job opps, less fear of the tool being discontinued, etc.

But if I ever had the time to write little solo projects on the side, I'd use PB for sure.

"
Friday, August 08, 2003

Additionally, it'd be nice if PureBasic and PowerBasic were meant OO. Going from eg. VB, it's a pain to have to hit Petzold again :-)

Otherwise, those two are very nice tools to procedure small and fast Windows EXEs.

Frederic Faure
Friday, August 08, 2003

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