Best of FreeBASIC IDE’s, Tools, Libraries, Resources, and More

FreeBasic?

FreeBasic is a free and open source compiler that works with Windows, DOS, and Linux. It includes a QuickBasic emulation mode but also has many features of contemporary languages. The most recent version is 1.06 from Feb. 18, 2019. Development appears to have slowed to a crawl.

Integrated Development Environments

winFBE

  • Last Release: 2019
  • Version Control Repository: GitHub
  • Notes:
    • Written by Paul Squires who is also the author of (the now deprecated) JellyFB and Firefly Visual Designer.
    • Written by Paul Squires who has written several other IDE’s for FreeBASIC.
  • UI feels more modern.

FBedit (Author: Ketil Olsen, KetilO)

An IDE for FreeBasic built on RadASM, an IDE that was originally written for Assembly, also by Ketil.

  • Last Release: 2009
  • Version Control Repository: SourceForge
  • Notes:
    • The repository has seen some activity over the years, but the only “release” appears to be from 2010 – 1.0.7.6c.
    • I’m particularly fond of:
      • simplicity of the user interface
      • window showing all functions within app.
      • ease with which one can compile/run apps from the IDE.
    • Unfortunately, while there have been a number of websites, including fbedit.freebasic.net, none of them are functional. You can view an old copy of one site at The Wayback Machine.
    • There are several forks of FBEdit, none of which I have had opportunity to try including FBEdit Mod (SVN) and a fork of this fork, FBEdit Mod (Cherry Version) (GitHub)

FBide

  • Last Release: 2013
  • Version Control Repository: SourceForge
  • Notes:
    • There is a functioning website hosted by freebasic.net unlike FBedit.
    • Features include autoformatting, auto code indenting, configurable syntax highlighting, compile error reporting, code browser, etc.

Discontinued

  • Firefly Visual Designer (by Paul Squires)- No updates since 2016, appears that WinFBE is its planned replacement.
    • Similar to Microsoft’s Visual Basic IDE.
  • JellyFB (by Paul Squires)- No updates since 2010, appears to be deprecated in favor of WinFBE.

Other IDEs

  • PosideonFB – Last Updated: 2019.
  • wxFBE – Last Updated: 2013.
  • FbEditMOD – Last Updated: 2016.
    • Fork of KetilO’s FbEdit.

Libraries

Debuggers

Testing

  • fbcunit – Last updated was 10/2018.

Resources

You Should Know This…

True Basic

I was recently evaluating True Basic for its potential to migrate an old DOS application to Windows, here is what I learned:

  • True Basic was Basmark Basic back in the day.
  • There is almost no activity on the support forums.
  • The software doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2013.
  • The basic version doesn’t include the ability to create executables.
  • A thirty day demo is available.
  • Once you download the demo you get access to a number of other apps / files – including a user manual.
  • There is a very basic program for converting other basic variants (e.g. QuickBasic) to TrueBasic – but it adds line numbers AND doesn’t appear to handle anything related to graphics.
  • Pricing starts at $39 for Bronze, then $199 for silver.

Based on this data I won’t be using True Basic…and I doubt you should either.

QuickBasic Colors & Shapes

Colors

The COLOR statement in QuickBasic allows one to change the text/background. The sixteen colors available are (names from QBasic Wikibook; hexadecimal from QB64 Wiki):

  • 00: Black – #000050
  • 01: Dark Blue – #0000A8
  • 02: Dark Green – #00A800
  • 03: Dark Cyan – #00A8A8
  • 04: Dark Red – #A80000
  • 05: Dark Purple – #A800A8
  • 06: Orange Brown – #A85400
  • 07: Grey – #A8A8A8
  • 08: Dark Grey – #545454
  • 09: Light Blue – #5454FC
  • 10: Light Green – #54FC54
  • 11: Light Cyan – #5454FC
  • 12: Light Red – #FC5454
  • 13: Magenta – #FC54FC
  • 14: Yellow – #FCFC54
  • 15: White – #FCFCFC

Circles

The QBasic Wikibook shows the CIRCLE command as follows:

CIRCLE ([X Coordinate], [Y Coordinate]), [Radius], [Color Number]

QB64’s Wiki shows:

CIRCLE [STEP](Column,Row), radius%, [color%][, startRadian!, stopRadian!][, aspect!]

Thankfully, when I posted this question on StackOverflow, wolfhammer provided a complex example including a reusable function to achieve the same effect with JavaScript:

var can = document.getElementById('can'); 
var ctx = can.getContext('2d');
var w = can.width;
var h = can.height;
var x = w/2;
var y = h/2;
var radius = 30;
var startAngle = 0;
var endAngle = Math.PI*2;
var color = 'red';
CIRCLE(x, y, radius, color, startAngle, endAngle, .5);
CIRCLE(x+10, y+10, radius, 'blue', startAngle, endAngle, 1.5);
function CIRCLE (column, row, radius, color, startRadian, stopRadian, aspect) {
var rotation = 0;
var anticlockwise = 0;
if (aspect == 1) {
var rx = radius;
var ry = radius;
} else if(aspect < 1) {
var rx = radius * aspect;
var ry = radius;
} else if(aspect > 1) {
var rx = radius;
var ry = radius * (aspect-1);
}
ctx.fillStyle=color;
ctx.beginPath();
ctx.ellipse(x, y, rx, ry, rotation, startAngle, endAngle, anticlockwise);
ctx.fill();
}
<canvas id='can' width='200' height='150'></canvas>

Rectangles

In QuickBasic rectangles are drawn using lines. The syntax (according to QB64 Wiki) looks like:

LINE [STEP] [(column1, row1)]-[STEP] (column2, row2), color[, [{B|BF}]m style%]

Using the B option one can create an outlined box, using the coordinates specified as diagonal corners of the box. Using BF will create a filled box (e.g., with a color).