A few years ago, I noticed an opensource project out on the internet called QB64. It was a project that was working toward modernizing the old abandoned QBasic/QuickBASIC system from Microsoft, which had not been updated since the early 1990s. I have been watching it closely because of the large amount of experience I had as a young teenager, from about age 14 on, with QuickBASIC 4.5 in MS-DOS and Windows 95.
Immediately after I located it, I converted a couple of my late 1990s programs, BibleSMART II and Bar Clock into it, which took some work, as some critical things (like subprogram support) did not yet exist. I released a version of Bar Clock back in July 2009 and mentioned QB64 at that time.
Work on QB64 has continued since that date, and it is now really coming into its own and is a great replacement and modernization of QuickBASIC for those of us who like to hobby in it a bit today. The IDE itself is nearly identical to the original qbasic/QuickBASIC IDE, although it supports many more lines onscreen than the original program does, and includes more innovative search options. Also, there is no "Immediate", this area is replaced by a status area. This is due to how QB64 works; it essentially converts the code written into C++ and compiles it. It will do this each time you press F5 to run your program.
QB64 is an innovative, fun way to update your "retro" code if you have any, and an excellent tool to create classic-feeling software either for fun or for serious work if necessary. It is based around the venerable SDL library, and is cross platform. Your QB programs are no longer limited to DOS!
When QB64 reached nearly full compatibility with the original QBasic, the developers began adding more and more modern features to the programming language. Some of these include:
- Rich sound options
- Database compatability
- TCP connectivity
...and many more. I have created a simple client/server system that can send data between two remote internet points based around simple tutorials on the qb64 forums. This is something that was not fathomable in QuickBASIC, and opens up lots of possibilities for text RPG development and other game ideas I started back in the 1990s but never developed to their full potential (mostly because I got a life around 2000!)
If you ever had any interest in qbasic, have a look at qb64 and play around with it. It is very advanced and very fun to play with. It makes me want to break out some of my old unfinished QB projects and update them to 2012 internet connectivity eventually.
The IDE will even update itself with the latest version upon launch if one is available. Very, very nice.