An Introduction to PowerBASIC

We make advanced, high-speed compilers, capable of creating standard Windows applications - with full GUIs or as console applications. Both standalone executables (EXEs) and high performance dynamic link libraries (DLLs) can be created with PowerBASIC compilers.


The core PowerBASIC syntax is the BASIC language yet our compiled application performance is unmatched by other compilers of any dialect. BASIC is easy to read, easy to understand and easy to use at any level of programming skill. With Unicode support, direct access to Windows API, support for inline assembler and the best application performance in the industry, there's no reason to consider any other compiler family.


Here at PowerBASIC, we're proud to say "We put the POWER in Basic!".


     "If you find that Visual Basic isn't fast enough for your code intensive routines, you absolutely owe it to yourself to add PB to your arsenal of tools. Two thumbs up!"
- Karl E. Peterson,
Contributing Editor, VisualBasic Programmer's Journal, December, 1995


So who uses PowerBASIC? You might be surprised. James Byrne, Chief Architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) used it to build a model for the missile defense system. Others use it for games and leisure. W&B Observatory uses it to measure Near Earth Objects, asteroids which might collide with Earth. Theme parks use it for dancing parrots. It powers ships, planes, and trains, and helps trap cheaters in casinos. Our customers include the likes of NASA, Rolls Royce, Duke Energy, Jaguar, and Boeing. Like to know who else bought PowerBASIC? See if you recognize any names on this Customer List.


PowerBASIC has long been associated with performance. A few years back, I posted a small wall sign for our development staff. It reads simply, "Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster." We follow it faithfully. Our philosophy requires that we provide the best possible code generation. We simply don't believe that sloppy coding can always be overcome by ever faster hardware. At some point, every programmer (ours included) must take on the obligation to write quality code... and we take that obligation very seriously. It's been said more than once that PowerBASIC is the Consultant's Secret Weapon.


We don't believe in $2,000 compilers. I hope you find that refreshing. Our product prices range from $50 to a maximum of just $199. These levels have served us well, and we expect no real changes in the foreseeable future. Frankly, we prefer a broader user base with fair pricing to high prices from an elite few.


FlagShip Products
We offer a choice of three commercial compilers.


Our flagship compiler is PowerBASIC 10 for Windows It creates standard Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications and DLLs... Dialogs, Buttons, ListBoxes, and so forth. Team it up with PowerBASIC Forms, our drag'n'drop Visual Designer, for instant results.


We also offer the PowerBASIC Console Compiler for customers who don't need such a fancy user interface. Maybe you want a web server app with no interface at all? Measure the distance from here to Mars? Port a text mode program from DOS to Windows? No problem! Just look to PowerBASIC Console Compiler 6! All the features of Windows, but with a text mode interface! Multi-Threading. Multi-Megabyte Strings. Macros. Built-in Assembler. All the good parts of Windows, but without the hassles of events and callbacks! Just simple, familiar functions like PRINT, COLOR, LOCATE, LINE INPUT, even LPRINT to the printer!


Finally for customers who want a 16-bit DOS application, we offer PowerBASIC 3.5 for DOS. That's our fully supported DOS compiler, at a very attractive price. PB/DOS programs run under standard DOS (3.3 or later) or any 16-bit or 32-bit version of Windows. 64-bit versions of Windows do not provide native support for DOS programs.


To help you decide which compiler is right for you, we've create a special page, Which Compiler Should I Choose.


Benefits of Using PowerBASIC
So what does this mean to you? With PowerBASIC you'll be more productive. You'll create faster, more efficient code. Our syntax is simple and self-explanatory. It's based upon the original syntax of BASICA and GW-BASIC so it's very much like QBasic, QuickBasic, TurboBasic, even Visual Basic. As I mentioned earlier, PowerBASIC uses readable source code. We do our best to limit the curly braces, semicolons, and cryptic operators. So how about a little test? Are you a C programmer, or know someone who is? Find an old C program that you haven't touched in a year or two... look it over carefully, and see if you still understand how it really works. But be honest... do you really understand it? While C certainly has its place in our industry, it's terse, it's cryptic, and it's not very friendly at all.


PowerBASIC is a native code compiler, not an interpreter of any sort. When you compile a program, it's translated immediately into optimized machine code.


      "PowerBASIC is Bob Zale's 32-bit implementation of his powerful PB Compiler. PB crunches standard BASIC code, then outputs true, standalone Windows executable or DLL files - no run times, no libraries, no OCX files. BASIC programs compiled with PB generally run circles around VB. I won't quote any benchmarks here, because your results may vary, but it's safe to say that PB code generally blows the doors off VB-generated code. This is one cool tool, and a must-have for any VB shop, bar none."
- Rich Levin,
Senior Editor Information Week Magazine


A single standalone executable (.EXE) which requires no run-time libraries, no DLLs, no support files of any kind unless you choose that approach. The compiler is very fast -- it compiles more than one million lines per minute on a modern computer. Hundreds or thousands of times faster than some of our competitors. But perhaps more important, the compiled executables are fast, too! Many times faster than some other versions of BASIC, and always competitive with any other compiler of any dialect. Perhaps that's why so many Visual Basic programmers use PowerBASIC DLLs to speed up critical portions of their code!


One final comparison... I told you earlier that we don't believe in BloatWare, and soon, you won't either. PowerBASIC executables are downright tiny! They can be 10 times, 20 times, even 100 times smaller than what you get from BloatWare Compilers. You know, using PowerBASIC 10 for Windows, it's not unusual to deliver a substantial GUI application on a single floppy diskette. But don't equate small size with small features... Quite the contrary! You'll get an unmatched arsenal of functions for high-level control, low-level control, and everything in between. Check out the product pages next. No room for it all here!


Beyond the Compiler
Each PowerBASIC Compiler includes a complete IDE. An integrated editor is provided for convenience. However, if you have another favorite, that's fine, too, as PowerBASIC uses plain text source files. And a debugger? Count on it. With PowerBASIC, you debug the same machine code that's in your final executable, not an "equivalent" interpreter that isn't really equivalent at all. You can set breakpoints, single-step source code line by line, even watch variables and cpu registers in real time. We'll generate trace files, call stacks, and give you a profiler, too. All the tools you need to Compile without Compromise.


     "It's not your basic BASIC" -Infoworld Magazine


Don't forget to visit our user forums, and see over 100,000 messages from PowerBASIC customers. There's lots of information in the forums that you'll be able to use in your own applications.


We hope to see you soon as a PowerBASIC Customer!