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Thanks, Marc, for a useful resource!  Some comments:



Quote:
>4) What's so special about powerbasic, anyway?

>Unlike most of the other Basic flavours that are around, PB
>has evolved beyond your basic BASIC. This besides still being
>actively supported, with new versions being released every
>now and then.

That's a polite way of putting it.

Quote:

>Some of it's

its

Quote:
>strong points are: C-Style pointers, inline ASM,
>extensive datatypes, TSR-capabilities,

Maybe I'm parading my ignorance here, but can TSR have any
meaning for the Windows versions PB/CC and PB/DLL ?
IMHO, /CC and /DLL are so different from the DOS versions that
you need to deal with them separately.

I found that screen-switching to/from a TSR was messed up in
the move from DR-DOS 6 to DR-DOS 7 (Novell DOS 7 ?), and even
earlier in Microsoft DOS.  It was sad, I had to change the way
I did half my work....

Quote:
>ease of creating & linking
>in multiple external librariesflexibility

,

Quote:
>... And don't forget its
>superior speed, both at execution and compilation time!

Did you want to add small executables (for PB/CC compared to
Visual Basic) ?

Mentioning a personal experience with execution time was part
of what got me put on PowerBASIC's "banned" list (though they
kept on sending me the customer newsletter).  I mentioned that
I converted a program I wrote from QB to PB/DOS 3 and that the
PB version took 50% longer! PB company head Bob Zale, who

mistaken (that's a polite way of putting it) and that even if
it was true, it was because I had not optimized my PB code.

It was a medium-sized program (1400 lines or so) with what I
thought was a good balance of "real-world" functions: file
reading, file writing, calculation, and output to screen.  
The PB did not support VIEW SCREEN, so I had to change the code
a bit, but for the speed comparison I did not put PB through
any hoops to mimic the functionality of VIEW SCREEN.

In retrospect (years have passed!), the slower execution of PB
may have had something to do with the number of screen writes.
This was a batch program which printed the current program
status to the screen.  So you could follow the progress
symbolically just by looking.  On a 286, that made an
interesting movie.  On a PII, it's too fast to follow. You can
consider it a low-tech light show.  

When there was a glitch in the input file, the program would
pause with a message that it should be able to process the
current word, but it could not. Where possible, the program
would give a detailed explanation of why the processing failed.  
The user would then have the choice of correcting the word or
telling the program that the current word need not be
processed.  In the real world, it is more likely that the
glitch lies in a previous word, and the program is not
sophisticated enough to go backwards, so if that happened the
user would have to abort, then fix the input file.  Still, this
correction facility was good for the user half the time, and
really good for the programmer during rebugging.  

Aside:  in the old days, you were either writing a program or
debugging it.  So, by inference, when you were writing, you
were adding errors, or bugging the program.  In fact, any
change to a program is likely to make it not work.  So I divide
my programming time as follows:
bugging    (writing the program)
debugging  (the brief time when you're removing simple errors)
rebugging  (that indefinite time when you're trying to figure
           out why it didn't work, and periods of adaptation)

For this program (which often needs to be adapted to a different
style of input file, or produce different output for the
typesetter), rebugging time approaches 100% of the total
programming time, asymptotically as years go by.

Returning to the program, it spews out a bunch of stuff on the
screen for every word in the input file.  That is a lot of
output to the screen.

These programs were run and tested in a DOS window under Win95.  
I have since learned that PB/CC screen writes can be terribly
slow under Win95.  So I'm guessing that (aside from Microsoft
incompetence), the seed of this slowness was already present in
PB/DOS 3.  If that's wrong, my second guess will be that screen
writes are simply slower in PB/DOS 3 than in QB 4.

Mr. Zale was correct that I did not optimize my code for PB.  
Nor had I ever optimized the code for QB.  I was just happy
that it worked.  In fact, the speed issue was not important to
me because the program took only a few seconds anyway.  It is
far more important for me to have modifiable code than to
optimize for speed.  I was only trying to verify PB's claim of
greater speed.  Their failure on that one rankled, along with
the absence from PB/DOS 3 of an announced feature that had
attracted me buy it!  Vapourware!  PB, the company, now has a
non-vapourware policy whereby they say nothing about a product
until it has been released.  Admirable, though in the case of
PB/CC, it's been over 2 years since a release so programmers
have no inkling where it might be heading.  Although in the PB
forums you can see where it may not be heading (e.g., the
discussions of FIELD statements).

So, here are some more faqs:

Q How can I find out about future releases of PB* ?
A You can't.

Q How can I get banned?
A Easy ...

Q Is banning fatal?
A Not necessarily.  And besides, you can buy from a third
party, often at a lower price and sometimes with a lower
shipping charge too.

Q What OSes does PB run under?
A There are two families ...

Q Why is my screen-heavy PB/CC program so slow?
A Use Win2K.

Q How fast is PB* ?
A ...

Q I have a QB program suite with 50,000 lines of code.  Can
that easily be converted to PB/CC?

A No. ...            :-)

--
cheers
Jonathan Berry
http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~jberry/      to know more than you want



Tue, 27 Jan 2004 02:30:49 GMT  
 FAQ

Quote:
> Q I have a QB program suite with 50,000 lines of code.  Can
> that easily be converted to PB/CC?

> A No. ...            :-)

That's not necessarily true.  The correct answer is... "it depends".

I've known QuickBasic programmers who have converted very large programs to
PB/CC in only a few days.  It depends entirely on the type of code and
reliance on things like third-party libraries.

If your program relies heavily on LIBs, then you're going to have a hard
time.  If your program does graphics or does a lot of direct hardware access
then you're going to have a hard time.

If your program consists almost entirely of BASIC programming statements and
does not use stuff like PEEK/POKE, INP/OUT then it's going to be a lot
easier.

One of my clients from Wyoming flew out to Florida to spend a week with me.  
He brought a "Cattle Accounting" software package with me that he'd written
in QuickBasic 4.5.  We completely ported the 300,000+ lines of code to PB/CC
during that week.  And he did 95% of the work.  I was just there to answer
questions while he worked in our front office on a laptop.

--Dave



Tue, 27 Jan 2004 06:09:38 GMT  
 FAQ

Quote:
> Q How can I find out about future releases of PB* ?
> A You can't.

Not true.  Apply to the beta team.  If you are accepted, you'll get betas of
upcoming compilers and products...  You'll find out about the future
releases as they are being developed.

Question...  What small to medium sized software company gives away the
store during development of their products?  What business person tells
everyone his/her plans for doing business and then stays in business while
the competition uses that information against them?

Microsoft can afford to tell people what they are doing because they could
care less about competition (don't believe me, just ask the justice
department).  Not many other companies that I know of do the same thing,
however.

I just emailed Symantec, supposedly another HUGE software publishing
company.  I wanted to know about the features for the next release of Norton
Ghost because it doesn't do several things I would like it to.  They
politely told me that they couldn't tell me and that I'd have to wait until
the next version ships.

If you are THAT desperate to know what's going on at PowerBASIC, fill out an
application.  The last time I was at their site, I saw that they were
hiring.

The argument about needing to make decisions on future programming projects
based on what features may or may not appear in the next release of
PowerBASIC is stupid and anyone that does so is an idiot (in my opinion). I
rely *HEAVILY* on the PowerBASIC programming language to make my living.  
But all of my business decisions are made on the assumption that the company
will go out of business tomorrow and leave me{*filter*}.  That way, when I
wake up tomorrow and they are still in business I'm in better shape than I
thought I'd be.  I don't base my future decisions on anything other than
cold hard fact.

I'm personally fed up with all this {*filter*}ing and whining about how
PowerBASIC does business.  It's Bob Zale's business, not mine.  I run my
business the way that I like and he's welcome to run his any way he likes.  
Considering that he's been in business for so long and he has such a large
and loyal customer base, I don't think that he's doing all that bad.  He
pays his bills and his taxes and his company is still around to answer my
questions and provide me with the products I need.  And any time that I
disagree with him or his company, I'm free to take my business elsewhere.  
That's the beauty of the system.

He doesn't hold a gun to my head and FORCE me to program in PowerBASIC.  I
do so because I like the product and the features that it offers me.  I also
love the help I get not only from his employees like Lance, but also from
other customers who like his products as much as I do.  I've probably only
met a few thousand PowerBASIC customers in person (mostly at Comdex), but I
count tens of thousands of them as personal friends.

From my personal experience, I can only say the same thing about a *FEW*
Visual Basic programmers who are as selfless and giving as most of the
PowerBASIC population.

Please excuse my rant, but somebody had to say something.  Too many people
think that $150 to $200 buys them a seat on the board of directors at
PowerBASIC and not just a compiler.  They're wrong.  PowerBASIC is one of
the few companies that openly listens to their customers, but make no
mistake, *THEY* make the decisions, not me and not you.  They're not
obligated to agree with anything that a customer says, and because they're
human beings with feelings they certainly have the right to be offended when
someone maligns their hard work.

As someone who worked there for a VERY long time, I can tell you that they
don't mind criticism, but they will not put up with abuse.  And they
shouldn't have to.

--Dave



Tue, 27 Jan 2004 06:34:29 GMT  
 FAQ
David,

Let me start by saying that I agree with most of what you say about
PowerBasic and Bob Zale's right to run his business the way he wants to.
Obviously you know more about the operations there than most people.

The problem is that from the feedback I am getting he tends to be quick to
judge someone as unsuitable for his product,  and lets them know in an
abusive way.  Now you and me and everyone else has had bad days or maybe has
a slightly irritating way of asking questions or whatever.  It doesn't mean
we are bad people unsuitable to purchase a product.  That is ludicrous.
Some people, yes, are just generally hard to deal with, and I fully support
a business refusing to deal with someone consistently being, say,
personally abusive.  But you deal with that in a professional way,  not by
being abusive back.  This reminds me of very adolescent behavior.  The big
and professional thing to do is just to stop talking to the abusive person.
Yes there is a lot of pride going on here about their product,  but there is
never going to be anything about life where everyone is going to agree with
you,  and to just shun everyone who doesn't seem to support your product,
even someone who is just asking questions about PowerBasic after reading
their website just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.  They've lost my
sale,  and probably a few of my friends,  but hey,  they can afford to not
have to deal with the likes of me,  even though there has never been any
other business that has ever put me in that category...

Just my Opinion,

Dan



Tue, 27 Jan 2004 12:50:55 GMT  
 FAQ
Dave,

Quote:
>>And any time that I disagree with him or his company, I'm free to take my
business elsewhere.
>>That's the beauty of the system.

I assume this IS a real american statement?
I heard this one before (from you? or Lance)

Not to make people angry but,
Well, imo this truly a bad statement, i feel not so 'free' to use another
tool.
It's to easily put to take up a 'c' tool or use VB while having lot's of PB
code and learned a (pb)technique.

Maybe you are a genious by knowing several languages, i'm to stupid for that
i'm affraid :)
In short, it's for a lot of people not so easy, therefore my reaction.

At the other hand, if PB is broke, we still can use PB6 for at least 4 to 6
years is my guess.
So i agree about the lots of new release requests, i'm sure they know by
now..



Tue, 27 Jan 2004 20:32:49 GMT  
 FAQ

Quote:
> The problem is that from the feedback I am getting he tends to be quick to
> judge someone as unsuitable for his product,  and lets them know in an
> abusive way.

Dan,

Bob Zale is a human being, plain and simple.  And when anyone says anything
bad about PowerBASIC (his life's work), he tends to get a bit upset.  
Wouldn't you?

And BELIEVE ME... I've been on the "wrong side" of that temper more times
than I care to remember.  During the 6 years that I worked there, I probably
quit 20 times and was fired an equal number of times during the heat of an
argument.

But I've heard much worse stories about things said and done by Bill Gates
who also takes *personal offense* and dispariging remarks about Microsoft
products very badly.

In most companies, email, letters and phone calls from customers who are
unhappy are typically fielded by specially trained "customer service" people
that just let the customer rant, take down the relevant info and say nice
things to make the customer feel better.  All the really bad stuff said
never makes it to the developers.

For whatever reason, that's not how things work at PowerBASIC.  When you
call or write to complain, your complaint makes it *DIRECTLY* to the
development staff.  And if you've succombed to your emotions and said a few
things which you probably didn't really mean, that stuff isn't "filtered
out" by some customer service rep.  

Since you are a programmer, you already know that "Software Developers" are
not emotionally stable people by nature.  If we were, we'd be stock brokers,
bank managers, or customer service reps <grin>.  Most of us are programmers
because it's one job where we don't have to deal with people in the real
world most of the time.

Every now and again, I still tend to do or say something about PowerBASIC
Inc. or PowerBASIC the product that ticks Bob off.  I get an unhappy message
or phone call from him letting me know about it.  Rather than posting {*filter*}
messages about him or his company on the Internet, I wait a day or two for
things to calm down and then I discuss it with him.  After he's blown off
steam, he's always willing to discuss things.  He lets me know why he things
I'm wrong and allows me a chance to explain why I'm right.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that if you apologized (to everyone) for taking
this "spat" public and then initiated a calm and rational dialogue you'd see
that the two of you probably agree more than you disagree and this whole
diatribe was for nothing.

--Dave



Wed, 28 Jan 2004 07:49:40 GMT  
 FAQ
Dave,


at PowerBasic.  This whole thing is really not the way I like things
handled.

I have sent Bob an email explaining my position and saying that in a
confrontational position no one wins and that I posted publicly in haste and
that I would gladly post a retraction and that this whole thing was not
gaining either of us anything.   I never said anything abusive to him or to
Tim,  but was definitely on the receiving end of it,  at least from Tim.
Even so, I was willing to forget it in the interests of being mature and
handling it like an {*filter*}.

The reply I got from Bob was that I talk too much and to let them be.  I
never sent him another email but I sure am not going to keep my views to
myself as long as there is a forum out there.  For a company to be that
arrogant is unheard of,  but as long as they insist on being that way I have
the right to tell my side of the story.

I thank you for presenting your views in a respectful way.  When it comes
right down to it no one likes to be disrespected.  I can see how he viewed
that I disrespected him by the things I said about his software,  including
quoting what his own customers were saying about PowerBasic.  Regardless it
doesn't matter what the argument is about,  it's that it can't be resolved
even when I came to him in a reasonable way.  Maybe things have gotten worse
since you left.

Thank you for your time,

Dan



Wed, 28 Jan 2004 14:42:21 GMT  
 FAQ

  Hi Guys,

  I followed this thread for a while, I must say that I'm very happy to see y'all are alive and kickin' !  :-))  No joke.  

  I'm an old grumpy... I started as a registered Turbo Basic 1.0 customer... and every version after that.  I bet some of you don't even know about TurboBasic... if you don't know then don't worry... you're too young to know.... hehehe...  :-)  

  Say guys, some months ago I thought "what the heck, lemme try something using Bob's brainchild"... tinkered a bit and the result is "Fetch It!", coded entirely in PB/DLL

  If you want then go get that FREEWARE thing at http://www.blokker.net

  Friendly comments are welcome....  "hate mail" will be deleted immediately using "Fetch It!"... :)

  Hey friends, I'd like to see a smile and some programmer's jokes in this area again. We all got a great sense of humor, don't we?  Especially when we can laugh about ourselves and our programming bloopers, no?

  And thanks for all the tips and tricks. A very rich and inspiring source, no doubt about that.

  Have a great week-end,

  Joop Blokker,

  Amsterdamned, Saturday August 11.
  .!. Fatal error : Mac user detected ! IDIOT MODE ON.



Thu, 29 Jan 2004 05:11:30 GMT  
 FAQ

Hi Joop,

  Welcome to the news group. You're idea that TurboBASIC v1.0 is something
strange to us all is wrong. A good many of us are 'old timers' and have been
around the block once or twice ourselves. It seems that all the 'kids' are out
playing with VB, if they're out playing at all...

Have you been over to www.basicguru.com yet? Major stash of goodies over
there.

--
C'ya,
   ____    _    ____      ____  _____
  |  _ \  / \  / ___) __ | ___)(_   _)     Don Schullian

  |____//_/ \_\(____/\__/|_|     |_|  http://www.DASoftVSS.com
  ___________________________________ http://www.basicguru.com
      Vertical Software Solutions

Quote:

>  I followed this thread for a while, I must say that I'm very happy to see y'all are alive and kickin' !  :-))  No joke.  

>  I'm an old grumpy... I started as a registered Turbo Basic 1.0 customer... and every version after that.  I bet some of you don't even know about TurboBasic... if you don't know then don't worry... you're too young to know.... hehehe...  :-)  

>  Say guys, some months ago I thought "what the heck, lemme try something using Bob's brainchild"... tinkered a bit and the result is "Fetch It!", coded entirely in PB/DLL

>  If you want then go get that FREEWARE thing at http://www.blokker.net

>  Friendly comments are welcome....  "hate mail" will be deleted immediately using "Fetch It!"... :)

>  Hey friends, I'd like to see a smile and some programmer's jokes in this area again. We all got a great sense of humor, don't we?  Especially when we can laugh about ourselves and our programming bloopers, no?

>  And thanks for all the tips and tricks. A very rich and inspiring source, no doubt about that.

>  Have a great week-end,

>  Joop Blokker,

>  Amsterdamned, Saturday August 11.
>  .!. Fatal error : Mac user detected ! IDIOT MODE ON.



Fri, 30 Jan 2004 01:54:13 GMT  
 FAQ

Quote:
> I have the right to tell my side of the story.

I agree whole-heartedly.  And while you'll find a few people here and there
who agree with you (even I agree with you to a point), I think that you'll
find more people who couldn't care less than do (hand raised).

I use PowerBASIC nearly every single day and I can't imagine life without
it.  Unless someone pointed me to a CNN story about how the PowerBASIC staff
are all personally planting babies on spikes, I'm not going to stop using
it.

And my diatribe before was mostly born of frustration.  As I mentioned
previously, a lot of people seem to think that buying a compiler for $189
gives them the right to help run the company.  I ran into that attitude a
*LOT* when I worked there and handled 99.9% of the tech support (before
Lance and Tom came along).

Having been on the "other side of fence" and having seen the faxes, letters
and email they get, I can certainly understand how frustrating things get
there.  Most people have perfectly valid points when they complain, but they
get all caught up in emotion when they do and they're complaints have a
particularly {*filter*} "bite" to them.

Read one of those at 9:15 in the morning and you let it slide.  But after 10
or 20 of them during the course of the day (or after spending hours working
your rear-end off on the next update of the product) the last one or two of
the day can cause serious mental defects.  Couple that with the fact that
someone is saying something horrible about something that has become your
"life's work" and you're being carted off to the hospital because you've
blown a major {*filter*} vessel or two.

FWIW, if you still want to use PowerBASIC, there are third-party vendors to
buy it from.  And these days the majority of support is deftly handled
through a fantastic peer network set up by the good folks at PowerBASIC.

Perhaps it's just time for you and Bob to go your seperate ways.

--Dave



Sat, 31 Jan 2004 11:08:26 GMT  
 FAQ
Dave,

We are on the same page here.  I have no doubt in my mind that PowerBasic
makes a great compiler,  I disagree with a company being too arrogant when
it seems they have the market cornered but I have to agree that the owner of
the company has the right to run his business any way he wants.  I think

better people skills would probably result in a hefty increase in sales but
that is just my opinion and not my place to say.

So you are right on with your last statement,  that Bob Zale and PowerBasic
and I should just go our separate ways.  My only point with this whole thing
was to at least make people aware that if they go to PowerBasic sales and
say the wrong thing,  well be prepared to bear the brunt of the resentment
they have towards maybe the last 20 emails they received that they didn't
like,  and be prepared to take a bit of abuse.  That they want to run their
company that way is totally up to them.

Thanks,

Dan



Sat, 31 Jan 2004 13:13:44 GMT  
 FAQ

Quote:

> Having been on the "other side of fence" and having seen the faxes,
letters
> and email they get, I can certainly understand how frustrating things get
> there.  Most people have perfectly valid points when they complain, but
they
> get all caught up in emotion when they do and they're complaints have a
> particularly {*filter*} "bite" to them.

> Read one of those at 9:15 in the morning and you let it slide.  But after
10
> or 20 of them during the course of the day (or after spending hours
working
> your rear-end off on the next update of the product) the last one or two
of
> the day can cause serious mental defects.

And that's the point where you either suck it up, go walk around the block
to let the steam off, or get out of that line of work.

I spent five years as general manager of a software firm, so I, too, have
seen the letters, listened to to the complaints, endured the verbal abuse,
etc. (This was before email was ubiquitous, so I never got '{*filter*}' email).

While, yes, it is hard and frustrating to suffer in silence, I don't believe
there is ever an excuse for professionals 'responding in kind.' (Ask the
Palestinians and the Israelis; the Hutu and the Tutsi; the Serbs, Croats and
indigenous Bosnians how well that works).

Better one should pick up the phone and state, "I am sorry, sir, but I am
going to have to insist you no longer contact us. It is apparent our product
is not what you are looking for, and further contacts would be a waste of
your time and ours. Good luck in your search."

Leave the expressions of frustration in-house.  Resorting to overt
name-calling (e.g., " ..you are arrogant...") reflects very poorly on the
rest of us in the software business, as we all get tarred with the same
brush.

MCM



Sat, 31 Jan 2004 19:07:54 GMT  
 FAQ


Quote:
> And that's the point where you either suck it up, go walk around the block
> to let the steam off, or get out of that line of work.

Some people have that capacity, many others don't.  In college, I worked in
the Sears Office Machines department for a year and a half selling desks,
phones, and computers on commission.  You learn to take a lot of cr*p when
selling stuff on commission.

After I graduated from college, I spent a year working tech support for
Symantec.  Again, when you are properly trained, you learn to take a lot of
cr*p.

Most smaller software companies don't have "trained" personal to handle that
kind of stuff.  And given the technical nature of customers in this case,
developers must get involved.  As I mentioned before, most "programmers"
don't have the ability to deal with normal human beings.  Actually, I should
qualify that as "most programmers that I have known".

It's like telling Picasso that his paintings suck while he's working on his
best piece.  You'll be lucky if it's only an ear that you lose.

The "golden rule" that our parents so deperately tried to teach us (but
which we often ignore) ... "treat others as you would like to be treated"
seems to be mostly a thing of the past.  Today most people tend to "treat
others like dirt in the hopes of getting what we want".  I've been guilty of
that on many occasions myself, I'm sad to say.

I think this thread is getting old and I'm starting to repeat myself, so
I'll leave it alone.  However, we all know about the "famous tempers" at
PowerBASIC, it's no secret.  It's quite simple to me...  Either don't {*filter*}
directly at them or wrap up your complaint in a sweet dripping pot of honey
when you do send it to them.

And FWIW, when you're absolutely livid and just can't hold it back any
longer and must say something, send it to Lance, he's got a better handle on
his emotions than the rest.  Or heck, send it to me.  I learned to ignore
the "bite" and find the actual problem in situations like that a long time
ago.

--Dave



Sun, 01 Feb 2004 01:12:37 GMT  
 
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