History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic 
Author Message
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic

We get questions all the time in alt.lang.basic and comp.lang.basic.misc
about what is the difference between QBasic, QB, QuickBasic, PDS, etc.
As someone who has been in the fray and seen it happen from the start,
I thought it might be worthwhile to spell out the history of the various
Microsoft BASIC products, what they are and where they came from.  Maybe
this will help to reduce the confusion a bit.

                         QuickBasic 1.0 - 4.5

Microsoft has been selling BASIC language interpreters since day one.
By the late 70's they had also released a series of compilers for BASIC
and other languages.  In 1985 Microsoft released a new version of their
command line PC BASIC compiler, and called it QuickBasic.  QuickBasic
1.0 was just the old BASCOM compiler relabeled.  The compiler was still
named BASCOM.EXE, and came on one 360k 5.25" diskette.  In version 2.0
they added a primitive built-in editor, but it was really clunky.  In
version 3.0 the editor was significantly improved, and QB.EXE was born,
giving QuickBasic both a compiler and an interpreter for quick testing
turn around.  Version 4.0 was slick and I still use the 4.0 manuals,
because they are better than the 4.5 manual (much more detail, etc.).
Version 4.5 had online help and a slightly improved IDE, but was mostly
a major bug fix release.  The online help was Microsoft's excuse (as it
is today) to start skimping on their printed documentation.  The 4.5
manual stinks when compared to the *THREE* 4.0 manuals.

                       Microsoft BASIC 6.0 - 7.1

In 1987 QuickBasic 4.0 was released, and Microsoft also released another
series of compilers called their 'Professional Development Systems'.  The
QuickBasic product was their 'personal' version of BASIC.  You see that
personal/professional pattern maintained even today in VB and C++.  One of
the features of the PDS compilers was their support for OS/2.  Microsoft
BASIC 6.0 was the first BASIC PDS release.  I suppose they skipped version
5.0 to let us know this was a serious upgrade. :-)  MS BASIC 6.0 came with
QuickBasic 4.0 for an IDE (the QuickBasic 4.0 retail package was actually
included with BASIC 6.0), and an enhanced command line compiler with a
number of new features, some to support OS/2 protected mode stuff, like
"OPEN PIPE:".  In 1988 QuickBasic 4.5 was released, followed by PDS 7.0 in
1989, and the PDS product was essentially complete, with its own 'extended'
IDE QBX.EXE, which, unlike QB 4.0 and PDS 6.0, was completely language
compatible with the PDS 7.0 command line compiler.  Many character based
professional debugging tools came with 7.1, including Programmer's Work
Bench, CodeView, etc., providing an IDE for editing, compiling and testing,
even without QBX.EXE (but MUCH slower).  The BASIC language wasn't enhanced
in PDS 7.1 over 7.0, the improvements were in programming tools and OS/2
compatibility.

                             QBasic 1.0 - 1.1

In 1991 DOS was still King for personal computer use Microsoft released
MS-DOS 5.0.  For years Microsoft had received criticism for the clunky
text editor EDLIN, which had been essentially unchanged for years.  They
also wanted to update their old GWBASIC interpreter which had not been
improved for years.  Microsoft took the QuickBasic IDE, stripped out the
compiler, de-tuned the threaded p-code interpreter so it was slower than
QuickBasic's QB.EXE (I suspect that QBasic may be based on the QuickBasic
4.0 QB.EXE rather than 4.5), added the '/EDITOR' command line option so
QBasic could double as a screen-based text editor, and released the result
as QBasic 1.0 with MS-DOS 5.0.  For easy user interface, Microsoft created
a tiny program EDIT.COM which executed QBasic with the /EDITOR option,
and passed it's own command line tail.  The combo replaced GWBASIC and
EDLIN with much improved products.  When MS-DOS 6.0 was released in 1993,
QBasic version 1.1 came with it, and with all 6.x versions of MS-DOS.
QBasic 1.1 (QBASIC.EXE and QBASIC.HLP) also came with Windows 95 (look
on the CD in \other\oldmsdos\) and Windows 98 (look on the CD in
\tools\oldmsdos\).  You can also download the contents of the \oldmsdos\
subdirectory from http://www.*-*-*.com/
The version 1.1 of QBasic which comes with Windows 9x is identical to
the version 1.1 QBasic which came with DOS 6.x.  But the EDIT.EXE which
comes with Windows 9x is a completely rewritten editor, and does not
use QBasic at all.  The new EDIT can open multiple files and do other
tricks.  But alas, in the new EDIT.EXE Microsoft dropped the 'WordStar
control diamond' control keys which had been standard across most text
editors since the 70's.

                               Visual Basic

When Microsoft and IBM split the blanket over OS/2, Microsoft dusted
off the dinky old toy which was Windows 2.x, and did a serious rewrite
as Windows 3.0.  Microsoft needed development languages for Windows
fast, because not everybody had enough hair on their chests to tackle
Windows API development directly C.  Working on two fronts, Microsoft
released Visual Basic for DOS and Visual Basic for Windows.  VB DOS
provided not only a QuickBasic compatible platform, but a character
based, interrupt driven platform similar to Windows programs,
specifically VB Windows.  VB DOS was never enhanced, because Microsoft
was determined to abandon the DOS platform as soon as possible.  VB DOS
was only a hook to get QuickBasic programmers acclimated to the idea of
Windows programming.  With Windows 95, Microsoft released VB 4.0 which
supported (in the professional version) both the older 16 bit Windows
3.x API, and the newer 32 bit Windows 95 API.  The 16 bit option was
dropped with VB 5.0.  Visual Basic 6.0 is the latest version.  Though
enormously powerful, Visual Basic is also enormously more complex to
learn and master than QuickBasic, QBasic or PDS.  You can actually
learn to do some easy stuff in VB quicker than you might with QBasic.
But to really know VB takes a tremendous amount of effort and time.
--

Sun Valley Systems     http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~judmc
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

========================================================
Version History of Microsoft QuickBasic for MS-DOS
Last reviewed: September 25, 1997
Article ID: Q39730

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.00 1.01 1.02 2.00 2.01 3.00 4.00 4.00b 4.50 MS-DOS kbprg SR# S881219-27

SUMMARY
Listed below is the product history for the United States version of
QuickBasic for the IBM PC.

The differences among the versions should be consistent with the differences
among the versions released in France; however, the dates may vary. To
receive information about international releases, please contact Microsoft
International Customer Support at (425) 882-8661.

MORE INFORMATION

   Version Number      5.25-Inch Release      3.5-Inch Release

   1.00                08/18/85               none

      First release.

   1.01                January 1986           none

      Corrects problems known in Version 1.00. No major enhancements.
      Few copies of Version 1.01 were shipped due to a problem
      discovered with compiling medium-sized programs.

   1.02                02/06/86               05/07/86

      Corrects problems known in Version 1.01. No major enhancements.

   2.00                09/29/86               08/15/86

      Major release. The following new features are added:

         Built-in editor environment
         Support for dynamic numeric arrays using far heap (up to 64K
         each)
         Multiline block IF..THEN..ELSE..ENDIF statements
         EGA graphics card support
         BLOAD/BSAVE statements

   2.01                01/20/87               02/02/87

      Corrects problems discovered in Version 2.00. Addition of
      keyboard driver for Tandy 1000 and IBM EXTENDED keyboard.

   3.00                04/13/87               04/13/87

      Major release. Comes with QB.EXE and QB87.EXE. The QB87.EXE
      program supports the math coprocessor. The following additional
      new language statements are added:

         SELECT CASE
         DO LOOP
         CONST

      The editor includes insert/overtype mode command. You can use
      the editor with SuperKey, Prokey, or Sidekick. Other features
      include a simple de{*filter*} to set breakpoints and watch
      variables. The editor can take advantage of 43-line mode on the
      Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) card.

   4.00                10/10/87               10/10/87

      Major release. Introduction of threaded p-code technology, which
      error-checks lines when typed and runs programs almost instantly
      in the editor environment. You can load multiple modules within
      the editing environment.

      The following new features are added:

         Hercules graphics support
         Recursive SUBprogram procedures
         User-defined TYPE variables (TYPE...END TYPE)
         Huge dynamic arrays (larger than 64K)
         Fixed-length strings
         CALLs to high-level languages (Microsoft C, fortran, Pascal)

      Enhanced de{*filter*} in editor allows setting breakpoints, watch
      points, and watch variables, plus MS CodeView compatibility. New
      on-line help for Basic syntax.

   4.00a               02/20/88               02/20/88

      QuickBasic Version 4.00a was released with the Microsoft Basic
      Compiler Version 6.00. Version 4.00a provided corrections to
      problems discovered in Version 4.00. QuickBasic Version 4.00a
      was never sold as a product separate from the Microsoft Basic
      Compiler 6.00.

   4.00b               05-05-88               06/01/88

      Version 4.00b is almost the same as Version 4.00a, except some
      memory-management and
...

read more »



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic

Quote:

>snip<
>a major bug fix release.  The online help was Microsoft's excuse (as
it
>is today) to start skimping on their printed documentation.  The 4.5

And as we all know, Microsoft's online help is about as useful as
screen doors on a submarine, socks on a duck, etc. etc.

jdm



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic
I wouldn't say that... think about VB 6.0 without online help... ouch!
And I learned alot with VB DOS's online help (way better than QB's)

-Dekah

Quote:


> >snip<
> >a major bug fix release.  The online help was Microsoft's excuse (as
> it
> >is today) to start skimping on their printed documentation.  The 4.5

> And as we all know, Microsoft's online help is about as useful as
> screen doors on a submarine, socks on a duck, etc. etc.

> jdm



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic
My objection is not that they provide online help, for they should do
that.  My objection is that they use the online help as an excuse to
virtually eliminate the printed documentation.  How many of you take
your PC into the living room or bedroom, make yourself comfortable,
and study the online documentation? :-)  With printed documentation,
you can do that.  Thorough study means offline study as well as online
lookup.  They are two different things.  The documentation for VB can
cost you more than the compiler!
--

Sun Valley Systems    http://personal.bhm.bellsouth.net/~judmc
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Quote:

>I wouldn't say that... think about VB 6.0 without online help... ouch!
>And I learned alot with VB DOS's online help (way better than QB's)


>> And as we all know, Microsoft's online help is about as useful as
>> screen doors on a submarine, socks on a duck, etc. etc.


>> >snip<
>> >a major bug fix release.  The online help was Microsoft's excuse (as
>> >it is today) to start skimping on their printed documentation. ...



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic

Quote:

>My objection is not that they provide online help, for they should do
>that.  My objection is that they use the online help as an excuse to
>virtually eliminate the printed documentation.  How many of you take
>your PC into the living room or bedroom, make yourself comfortable,
>and study the online documentation? :-)  With printed documentation,

And not only that, but for a lot of people (myself included) it's more
natural to have a book on your desk off to your right or left, and
turn to it for a reference instead of clicking around in a help
system.  I don't like having to point and click endlessly through
online documentation trying to find the reference I'm looking for
based on a keyword search.  The table of contents and indexes that
come with online documentation ALWAYS SUCK !!

jdm



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic
Very nice synopsis.

Cheers,
Brian

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
=+=+=+=+
Web Page for "Older" Development Tools: QuickBASIC, VBDOS, C, QuickC, C++,
TC, TC++
and lots more...
http://weber.u.washington.edu/~bpwilson/software/swavail.htm



=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
=+=+=+=+

Quote:

>We get questions all the time in alt.lang.basic and comp.lang.basic.misc
>about what is the difference between QBasic, QB, QuickBasic, PDS, etc.



Tue, 17 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic
erm, is any of the quick basic docmentation (offline book type stuff) still
available?
Or is it as difficult to get as a legitimate copy of QB4.5


t>...

Quote:

>And not only that, but for a lot of people (myself included) it's more
>natural to have a book on your desk off to your right or left, and
>turn to it for a reference instead of clicking around in a help
>system.  I don't like having to point and click endlessly through
>online documentation trying to find the reference I'm looking for
>based on a keyword search.  The table of contents and indexes that
>come with online documentation ALWAYS SUCK !!

>jdm



Wed, 18 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic


Quote:
>We get questions all the time in alt.lang.basic and comp.lang.basic.misc
>about what is the difference between QBasic, QB, QuickBasic, PDS, etc.
>As someone who has been in the fray and seen it happen from the start,
>I thought it might be worthwhile to spell out the history of the various
>Microsoft BASIC products, what they are and where they came from.  Maybe
>this will help to reduce the confusion a bit.

>                         QuickBasic 1.0 - 4.5

Thanks for passing this on Judson. I hadn't seen this before, and it helps
to bring it all into perspective.

--
Pat - La Grande,OR.  http://www.greencis.net/~ppridgen
La Grande High Class of '69 Reunion page   "  "   "   /reunion/
ppridgen <AT> OregonVOS <DOT> net
In /dev/null/ no on can hear you scream.



Wed, 18 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 History of QuickBasic, PDS, QBasic and Visual Basic

Quote:

> My objection is not that they provide online help, for they should do
> that.  My objection is that they use the online help as an excuse to
> virtually eliminate the printed documentation.  How many of you take
> your PC into the living room or bedroom, make yourself comfortable,
> and study the online documentation? :-)  With printed documentation,
> you can do that.  Thorough study means offline study as well as online
> lookup.  They are two different things.  The documentation for VB can
> cost you more than the compiler!
> --

> Sun Valley Systems    http://personal.bhm.bellsouth.net/~judmc
> "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
> whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

> >I wouldn't say that... think about VB 6.0 without online help... ouch!
> >And I learned alot with VB DOS's online help (way better than QB's)


> >> And as we all know, Microsoft's online help is about as useful as
> >> screen doors on a submarine, socks on a duck, etc. etc.


> >> >snip<
> >> >a major bug fix release.  The online help was Microsoft's excuse (as
> >> >it is today) to start skimping on their printed documentation. ...

heh, my computer is in my room =)
Personally I think that the QB4.5 help is a LOT worse then the VBDOS
help
and I thought the VBDOS help was good


Thu, 19 Jul 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 10 post ] 

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