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BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of high-level programming languages designed by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz in 1964 in order to be easier to understand compared to low-level languages. One way BASIC languages do this is by affixing symbols to variables so their type is immediately distinguishable. Although BASIC wasn't designed by Microsoft, the company was by far the largest developer of the language, making versions for a couple dozen computer platforms.


The first programming language I ever saw was Color BASIC on a TRS-80 Color Computer, but I didn't do any programming with it. After that, I saw Atari BASIC and wrote only the most rudimentary of programs. Next, I used GW-BASIC and wrote a fair amount of simple programs, but the prime of by BASIC coding was in my teens when I wrote dozens of programs in QuickBASIC. In my late teens and early 20s, I focused more on Visual Basic before Microsoft discontinued it for Visual Basic.NET which isn't really a BASIC language at all. Although I'm a professional programmer now, and don't use BASIC for work, I will still often turn to FreeBASIC for simple tasks or prototyping because it can produce working usable programs so quickly. My dream is to create a modern form of BASIC which has a very large command set, which I call VeryBASIC.

List of BASIC languages

This list is not expected to be complete. It lists those versions of BASIC that are important to me as well as very important versions of BASIC.

Name Released Developers
Applesoft BASIC 1977-??-?? Marc McDonald, Ric Weiland
Atari BASIC 1979-??-?? Paul Laughton, Kathleen O'Brien
Color BASIC 1980-??-?? Microsoft (Bill Gates)
Commodore BASIC 1977-??-?? Microsoft
Darmouth BASIC (original) 1964-06-?? John Kemeny, Thomas Kurtz
FreeBASIC 2004-??-?? The FreeBASIC Development Team
GW-BASIC 1981-??-?? Microsoft
HP Time-Shared BASIC 1969-11-?? Mike Green
Integer BASIC 1976-??-?? Steve Wozniak
N88-BASIC 1981-12-?? Microsoft
QB64 2007-??-?? QB64Team
QuickBASIC 1985-08-18 Microsoft
Visual Basic 1991-??-?? Microsoft




BASIC games of the 1970s.
The 8-bit Guy.