Selecting a Compiler

PowerBASIC offers three commercial compilers, each of which may fit your needs in a different way. It's not surprising that we often hear the question "Which compiler should I choose?" Well, the answer depends upon your personal goals, and the type of programs you need to create. Stay with us for a minute, and we'll work out your particular answer.



In this article, we'll concentrate on the differences in these compilers, so you can make an informed choice. We won't try to talk about every possible feature here. Of course, complete specifications are available in the PowerBASIC Product Catalog, so it would be good to visit there soon.


PowerBASIC for Windows

Create standard Windows GUI applications


This is the "Flagship" of PowerBASIC Compilers. Our Premier Compiler for the discerning programmer. Breathtaking performance, with an ease-of-use you'll find startling. Of course, you can't overlook DDT, the PowerBASIC exclusive "Dynamic Dialog Tools". With PowerBASIC and DDT, you'll create standard Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications. Dialogs, Pull-Down Menus, ToolBars, Buttons, Status Bars, ListViews and TreeViews... all the great features for the essence of Windows.


Yes, it's a bit more work than ordinary text mode, but just look at the results. With PowerBASIC 10, you'll create programs that look as good as they perform. The screen-shot above shows a very good example of a GUI (Graphical User Interface).


DDT is a unique set of functions which allow you to create Dynamic Forms on the fly. With DDT, you'll easily add, change, or remove any control while your program is running. You'll resize, change colors, display hundreds of different "looks" any time you need them. All without megabytes of run-time code in external DLLs. Not only that, PowerBASIC executables are downright tiny! They can be 10 times, 20 times, even 100 times smaller than what you get from BloatWare Compilers. It's really not unusual to see a substantial GUI application that's under a megabyte in size.


PowerBASIC is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, including Vista and Windows 10. It offers complete OOP support for both internal objects and COM. You'll get a complete macro facility, regular expressions, an inline assembler, and access to gigabytes of memory. You'll get Threads for multi-core programming, and TCP/UDP to communicate with other computers, mail servers, and even more. Plus, a great IDE/Debugger with Step, Trace, Animate, Profile, and Call Stacks.

Of course, you can team up PB/Win with PowerBASIC Forms, our Drag'n'Drop Visual Designer. It's the quickest GUI generation in town!


PowerBASIC Console Compiler

Create Text-Mode Programs


This is one interesting product. It's our premier text-mode counterpart to PowerBASIC 10 for Windows. It creates a simpler user interface, without all the GUI components. The screen-shot above shows a very good example. There's no fluff, no animated puppets, just good calculations and good information for whatever your needs.


The Console Compiler uses familiar functions like PRINT, LOCATE, COLOR, LINE INPUT, even LPRINT. In fact, that's the only real difference between our Text-Mode and our GUI compilers: the presentation on the screen. One does it with fancy windows, the other with easy to read text that looks a lot like a DOS program. If you don't need a fancy screen to dazzle your customers, just save some time, effort, and money! Do it in text mode with the Console Compiler.


The PowerBASIC Console Compiler 6 is particularly valuable for conversion of DOS programs. With the advent of 64-bit Vista and Win10, all support for DOS code has been removed. You simply can't run a DOS program in 64-bit Win10. That's where the Console Compiler shines! It's 95% compatible with most versions of DOS Basic, so conversion is a snap. There isn't another compiler on the market which is closer in syntax.


Of course, the Console Compiler is perfect for CGI code on your web server. Whatever the task, it can take data from a web form, process as needed, then deliver the results right to the browser of a distant end user.


Other than the screen and keyboard, the Console Compiler offers virtually all the great features of our GUI compiler. Threads for multi-core programming. Macros. Regular expressions. Register variables. TCP/UDP. Thread-Local Storage. Objects. COM. A great IDE and debugger. It's all in there.


So, what's the big difference?

Should I buy PowerBASIC For Windows? PowerBASIC Console Compiler? Both? Really, the decision boils down to one thing...




What the user sees and uses when he runs your program. The code which handles the screen, the keyboard, and the mouse. PB/Win uses all the GUI components of Windows to offer a "snazzy" appearance. PB/Console uses the Windows Console to display your data and calculations directly; No fluff. PB/Win means some extra work from you, the programmer, to manage your resources. PB/Console can offer straightforward conversion of your existing programs for DOS.


Each concept offers real advantages. Sometimes you want the best-of-the-best appearance. Sometimes you just want instant results. Sometimes you need to dazzle your audience. Sometimes you just want to convert DOS code.


If you have both compilers, all your bases are covered. When you consider the low prices of PowerBASIC, it makes sense to consider the option. Isn't it a small price to save many hours of programming time?


Classic Compilers with Value Pricing

Text-Mode or GUI programs at reduced prices


Whether you're new to programming, or just conscious of your budget, the Classic series of compilers may be a perfect fit. This is your best opportunity to obtain a professional compiler at hobbyist pricing!


The Classic Compilers are actually an older version of our Premier compilers. Just a couple of years ago, they were "best of breed"... the finest compilers on the market. Today, you can buy them for pennies on the dollar to gain a good foothold in PowerBASIC Programming.


Just like the Premier version, Classic PowerBASIC 9.0 for Windows creates standard Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications. You'll get Dialogs, Buttons, EditBoxes, Menus, and more. All the Pizzazz of a great GUI display, but at real value pricing. This compiler was originally priced at $199, and worth every penny. The price of Classic PowerBASIC 9 for Windows is just $99!


On the other hand, there's much to say for a Text-Mode compiler. There's no fluff, no animated puppets, just intense computing power. Classic PowerBASIC Console Compiler 5 fits the bill perfectly. A few less features, a bit less performance, that's to be expected. But check out the pricing! This compiler was once priced at $169. The price of Classic Console Compiler 5 is $89. A professional compiler at a price that's almost trivial!


All of that said, please don't misunderstand us. The Classic Compilers are great. Particularly at these prices. Three or four years ago, they were state of the art. Even today, they leave competitors swirling in their dust. But they aren't the same as our premier versions, listed above. More than 90% upgrade to the latest premier compilers, so it's likely you will, too. It may be best to make the move up right now. Then you'll have access to all the latest features and time-saving shortcuts right from the start.


PowerBASIC for DOS

Create DOS programs


PB/DOS generates 16-bit programs that run under the DOS operating system. That includes MS-DOS, PC-DOS, DR-DOS, Caldera DOS, etc. All 32-bit versions of Windows, even WinVista-32 and Win7-32, include a DOS emulator. So do some other platforms like OS/2, Macintosh, Unix and Linux. PB/DOS programs can be readily executed in all of these emulators.


DOS is an older operating system, with limited support from some vendors. In fact, many competing compilers for DOS have been abandoned, but not PowerBASIC! Our product is fully supported, with many improvements planned for the future. It's 99% compatible with GW-Basic and TurboBasic, and very similar to Microsoft's QBasic, QuickBasic, and PDS. It offers a built-in assembler, 16-Megabyte virtual arrays, huge string space, extended precision floats, and much more. PB/DOS offers both text and graphical capabilities, and some features, like PopUp programs, which are unique to the DOS platform.


Why choose PowerBASIC for DOS? Many possible reasons...  PowerBASIC/DOS is our lowest cost compiler, and runs well on older, less expensive computers. An outstanding choice for students and those on a budget. Obviously, it's required for those who must write or maintain code on the DOS platform. That might be older programs, or even new ones for the embedded single-board computers in gas pumps, vending machines, even robots and toasters! That said, before embarking on a DOS project, keep in mind the limitations of the operating system itself: Less Memory. Slower execution. Less availability of new hardware, as many manufacturers no longer create device drivers for DOS. As a general rule, most new projects are likely best targeted towards 32-bit Windows instead.