Microsoft Legacy Basics for DOS

Microsoft has played a pivotal role in the history of the BASIC language. This page addresses some of the most popular legacy BASICs: QBasic, QuickBasic, Professional Development System, and Visual Basic for DOS.

It does not cover older basics, although there are a number of them, developed by Microsoft NOR newer basics including Visual Basic (for Windows) or Visual Basic .NET.

Timeline of Microsoft Legacy BASICs

Below is a simplified history of Microsoft’s legacy BASICs. Microsoft had numerous different BASICs floating around as it was used pervasively on personal computers including the Altair, Atari, and Apple. The focus here is primarily on QuickBasic.

The information for this timeline is drawn heavily from EMS’s Microsoft BASIC Version Information page.

  • 1975 – Microsoft’s first BASIC interpreter.
    • It came in a variety of “versions” that worked with specific processors.
  • 1981 – Microsoft’s BASICA (Advanced BASIC) is bundled with IBM PC’s.
    • Microsoft makes a similar version available for IBM PC Compatibles – GW-BASIC.
  • 1982 – IBM releases BASCOM 1.0, also written by Microsoft.
  • 1985 – IBM releases BASCOM 2.0, still written by Microsoft.
    • Microsoft makes a similar version available for IBM PC Compatibles – QuickBasic 1.0.
  • 1986 – Microsoft releases QuickBasic 2.0.
    • Adds an editor, dynamic numeric arrays using far heap, multiline IF...THEN...ELSE..END IF statements, support for EGA graphics, and the BLOAD/BSAVE statements.
    • Microsoft releases patches for QuickBasic 1.0 – 1.01 and 1.02.
  • Early 1987 – Microsoft releases QuickBasic 3.0.
    • Now includes a compiler and interpreter, enhances the editor (includes a debugger), and adds SELECT CASE, DO LOOP, and CONST statements.
    • Microsoft patches QuickBasic 2.0 to 2.01.
  • Late 1987 – Microsoft releases QuickBasic 4.0.
    • Adds threaded p-code tech, supports multiple modules in the editor simultaneously, adds support for Hercules graphics. Adds support for recursive SUB procedures, user-defined types (TYPE...END TYPE), larger dynamic arrays, fixed-length strings, CALLing to other languages, improved debugger, and on-line help.
    • Microsoft also begins releasing their Professional Development Systems (various languages), this includes BASIC 6.0 which supports OS/2.
  • 1988 – Microsoft releases QuickBasic 4.5.
    • Improved on-line help, less print documentation, small improvements to IDE, fixes a number of major bugs.
    • Microsoft bundles QuickBasic 4.00a with Microsoft’s Basic Compiler 6.00.
    • Microsoft releases QuickBasic 4.00b
  • 1989 – Microsoft releases Microsoft Professional Development System 7.0.
    • Adds support for placing strings into FAR memory, adds DIR$, provides a LINK that allows building larger applications and the IDE is improved.
  • 1990 – Microsoft releases Microsoft Professional Development System 7.1.
    • Includes the Programmer’s Workbench and the CodeView debugger.
  • 1991? – Microsoft bundles QBasic 1.0 with MS-DOS.
  • 1993 – Microsoft bundles QBasic 1.1 with MS-DOS.

Books on QBasic/QuickBasic

  • Alice M. Dean, Gove W. Effinger. Common-sense BASIC: Structured Programming with Microsoft QuickBASIC. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991. 415 pages.
  • Bob Albrecht, Don Inman. Mastering QBasic and QuickBasic. Glencoe, 1994. 551 pages.
  • David I. Schneider. Microsoft QuickBASIC: An Introduction to Structured Programming. Dellen Pub. Co., 1989. 443 pages.
  • David I. Schneider. Handbook of QuickBASIC. Brady, 1991. 797 pages.
  • David I. Schneider. Microsoft QBasic: An Introduction to Structured Programming for Engineering, Mathematics, and the Sciences. Dellen Pub. Co., 1991. 578 pages.
  • David I. Schneider. QBasic: With an Introduction to Visual Basic. Prentice Hall PTR, 1994. 642 pages.
  • David I. Schneider. A Brief Course in QBasic: With an Introduction to Visual Basic. Prentice Hall, 1994. 363 pages.
  • Don Inman, Bob Albrecht. Using QuickBasic 4.5. McGraw-Hill, 1989. 432 pages.
  • Don Inman, Bob Albrecht, Arne Jamtgaard. Advanced QuickBASIC. Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1989. 364 pages.
  • Don Inman, Bob Albrecht. QBasic Made Easy. Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1991. 422 pages.
  • Douglas Hergert. Microsoft QuickBASIC: Developing Structured Programs with Microsoft’s Advanced BASIC. Microsoft Press, 1987. 370 pages.
  • Douglas Hergert. Microsoft’s QuickBASIC Programmer’s Reference. H.W. Sams, 1990. 480 pages.
  • Douglas Hergert. QBasic Programming for Dummies. IDG, 1994. 399 pages.
  • Fred L. Scott. QuickBASIC: A Structured Programming Approach. Scott, Foresman, 1988.
  • Fred Sexton, Jr. QBasic Games and More! Que, 1993. 304 pages.
  • Gary B. Shelly, Thomas J. Cashman, Kevin M. Gleason. QBasic: An Introduction to Programming. Boyd & Fraser, 1996. 464 pages.
  • Gary Cornell. QuickBASIC 4.5. Windcrest, 1991. 353 pages.
  • Gary W. Martin. Qbasic: A Short Course in Structured Programming. Dryden Press, 1994. 195 pages.
  • Greg M. Perry. QBASIC By Example. Que, 1994. 620 pages.
  • Greg M. Perry. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to QBASIC. Alpha Books, 1994.
  • J. Patrick Fenton. QBasic for Beginners. Benjamin/Cummings Pub. Co., 1993. 170 pages.
  • James S. Quasney. Programming in QuickBASIC. Boyd & Fraser, 1991. 120 pages.
  • James S. Quasney, John Maniotes. QuickBASIC Fundamentals and Style. Boyd & Fraser, 1991. 554 pages.
  • James S. Quasney, Roy O. Foreman, John Maniotes. QBasic Using Subprograms: With an Introduction to Visual Basic. Course Technology, 1997. 592 pages.
  • James William Cooper. Microsoft QuickBASIC for Scientists: A Guide to Writing Better Programs. Wiley, 1988. 281 pages.
  • John Clark Craig. Microsoft QuickBASIC Programmer’s Toolbox. Microsoft Press, 1988. 497 pages.
  • John R. Ottensmann. QuickBASIC Quick Reference. Que, 1988. 154 pages.
  • Jonathan C. Barron. Understanding and Using QBasic. West Pub. Co., 1994. 266 pages.
  • Joseph H. Noggle. QuickBASIC: Programming for Scientists and Engineers. CRC Press, 1993. 377 pages.
  • Judd Robbins. Understanding Microsoft QuickBASIC. H.W. Sams, 1989. 368 pages.
  • Julia Case Bradley. QuickBASIC and QBASIC Using Modular Structure. Business and Educational Technologies, 1994. 545 pages.
  • Julia Case Bradley. QuickBASIC and QBASIC Using Modular Structure with Visual Basic. Irwin, 1995. 586 pages.
  • Ken Knecht. Microsoft BASIC. Weber Systems, 1987. 312 pages.
  • Kenneth A. Craven. Programming in QBASIC for Engineering Technology. Prentice Hall, 1998. 451 pages.
  • Kevin Lee. QBASIC: A Step by Step Reference. Lulu, 2004. 53 pages.
  • Kris A. Jamsa. MS-DOS QBasic. Microsoft Press, 1991. 188 pages.
  • Larry Joel Goldstein. Hands-on QuickBASIC. Brady, 1989. 549 pages.
  • Manfred Tornsdorf, Helmut Tornsdorf. QBasic for Beginners: Learning to program Using the Language Included with Every DOS 5.0 System. Abacus, 1992. 331 pages.
  • Michael Trombetta. Qbasic for Students. Mitchell McGraw-Hill, 1994. 534 pages.
  • Mitchell Waite, et al. The Waite Group’s Microsoft QuickBASIC Bible. Microsoft Press, 1990. 940 pages.
  • Namir C. Shammas. Teach Yourself QBasic in 21 Days. Sams, 1993. 806 pages.
  • Nancy B. Stern, Robert A. Stern. Introducing QuickBASIC 4.0: A Structured Approach. Wiley, 1989. 730 pages.
  • Nancy Stern, Robert A. Stern. Getting Started with Structured Basic. Wiley, 1993. 128 pages.
  • Noel Kantaris. Programming in QuickBASIC. Babani, 1990. 160 pages.
  • Olga Melnikova. The Beginner’s Guide to QBasic. Wrox, 1994. 547 pages.
  • Penny Fanzone, Thomas D. Hankins, Carl Diekhans. QuickBASIC 4.5. Mitchell McGraw-Hill, 1991. 556 pages.
  • Phil Feldman, Tom Rugg. Using QuickBASIC 4. Que, 1988. 713 pages.
  • Rita Belserene. Mastering QuickBASIC. Sybex, 1990. 447 pages.
  • Robert Arnson, Christy Gemmell, Harry Henderson, et al. The Waite Group’s MS-DOS QBasic Programmer’s Reference. Microsoft Press, 1991. 619 pages.
  • Robert J. Bent, et al. Microsoft QuickBASIC: An Introduction to Computer Programming on the IBM PC. PWS-KENT, 1993. 485 pages.
  • Robert J. Bent, George C. Sethares. QBasic. PWS Pub. Co., 1995. 260 pages.
  • Seth M. Hochwald, Howard Dachslager, Richard H. Yuhnke, Jr. QBASIC Beginning to Advanced. Access Pub, 1994. 535 pages.
  • Stephen Morris. Using QuickBASIC 4.5. Newtech, 1991. 287 pages.
  • Stephen Prata, Harry Henderson, et al. The Waite Group’s QuickBASIC Primer Plus. Microsoft Press, 1990. 594 pages.
  • Steven Nameroff. QuickBASIC: The Complete Reference. Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1989. 593 pages.
  • Stewart Venit. Programming in QuickBASIC: Problem Solving with Structure and Style. West Pub. Co., 1991. 418 pages.
  • Stewart M. Venit. A Short Course in QBasic. West Pub. Co., 1995. 300 pages.
  • Susan K. Baumann, Steven L. Mandell. QBasic. West Pub. Co., 1992. 514 pages.
  • Tony Hawken. A Course in Programming with QBASIC. 229 pages.
    • Originally published in 1995 in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Vladimir Dyakonov. The Revolutionary Guide to QBasic. Wrox Press, 1996. 577 pages.
  • Wayne M. Zage. Programming with QuickBASIC. Mitchell McGraw-Hill, 1991. 200 pages.

Books on VisualĀ Basic for DOS

  • Namir Clement Shammas. Visual Basic for DOS. Windcrest/McGraw-Hill, 1993. 342 pages.

Other Related

  • Edward G. Nilges. Build Your Own .NET Language and Compiler. Springer-Verlag, 2004.
    • This is demonstrated by creating a QBasic compiler.