GWBasic was an evolved version of the old Basica/MS Basic/IBM Basic by Microsoft that was included in the old IBM PCs roms. In those PCs, if you booted the computer without a bootable diskette/hard disk, it was ran. That version operated with cassettes and later versions with disks. The cassette commands are still available in GWBasic which was shipped in diskettes and with some versions of MSDOS.
The language didn't feature a real IDE but a simple environment that had high resemblance to the 8 bits computers OSs in that time. You had to use line numbers and enter/list/edit the lines one by one. To delete a line you just entered the line number alone. To list a line you wrote LIST [line-number], to edit a line you used EDIT [line-number]. TYPES, SUBs were not yet added to the language. There was some basic function support thru the DEF FN command.
A nice feature of GWBasic is that it could be used to perform some simple pipelining in MSDOS. Typing:
ECHO statements | GWBASIC
In the dos prompt makes GWBasic to execute the statements provided and return to DOS. Great for BAT file enhacements.
Download MS Basic 5.28 (1977-1983), an ancient version of MS Basic for the CP/M (1977) compiled for MSDOS (1983). Thanks Armando Herraz for sending this one!
Download GWBasic 2.01 (in Spanish, supplied with televideo PC compatibles)
MS Basic Compiler came circa 1982 and was supplied in diskettes. It grew until version 5.0. The compiler was later relabeled to MS QuickBasic 1.0. It was just the command line version and the language dialect was the same as the one used in GWBASIC. System requirements were 256K memory, DOS 2.0 or higher, and one double sided disk drive. Last version was released on August 18, 1985.
2.00 - 5.25" version was released on 09/29/86. 3.5" version was released on 08/15/86. It was a 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. Some programmers consider the built-in editor to be clunky.
2.01 - 5.25" version was released on 01/20/87. 3.5" version was released on 02/02/87. Corrects problems discovered in Version 2.00. Addition of keyboard driver for Tandy 1000 and IBM EXTENDED keyboard.
5.25" version released 04/13/87. 3.5" version released on two 720K diskettes 04/13/87. Single paperback manual of 595 pages. Requires 320K RAM and DOS 2.0 or later. It offered full compatibility with BASICA/GWBASIC. It was a major release. Comes with QB.EXE and QB87.EXE, giving QuickBasic both a compiler and an interpreter for quick testing turn around. The QB87.EXE program supports the math coprocessor. The editor is significantly improved over 2.0. The following additional new language statements are added: SELECT CASE, DO LOOP, CONST. It includes partial support for SUBs, but all variables defined inside are STATIC (you have to create your SUBs using SUB name (parameters) STATIC for forwards compatibility, nice take). The editor includes insert/overtype mode command. You can use the editor with SuperKey, Prokey, or Sidekick. Other features include a simple debugger to set breakpoints and watch variables. The editor can take advantage of 43-line mode on the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) card.
4.00 - 5.25" and 3.5" versions both released on 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 debugger in editor allows setting breakpoints, watch points, and watch variables, plus MS CodeView compatibility. New on-line help for Basic syntax. Version 4.0is a favorite with some programmers, and some still the 4.0 manuals, because they are better than the 4.5 manual (much more detail, etc.).
Manuals: Programming in BASIC: Selected Topics, Learning and Using Microsoft QuickBASIC and BASIC Language Reference.
Two revisions, 4.00a and 4.00b were released in 1988 to perform some bug fixes.
4.50 - 5.25" and 3.5" 720K (on three disks) versions both released on 10/21/88. A 720K disk version, on just two disks, is dated 1990, but doesn't appear to have changed. New user interface with complete context-sensitive help that contains the entire language reference manual. On-line help system also contains examples that can be cut and pasted directly into programs. 4.50 provides corrections for some problems discovered in Version 4.00b. 4.5 was produced in both an early, boxed, two manual version with 3.5" or 5.25" diskettes, or a later, single manual with diskettes inside the cover and shrinkwrap around the book. Requires 384K available user memory, DOS 2.1 or higher, two 360K drives (or hard drive). Version 4.5 has online help and a slightly improved IDE, but is mostly a major bug fix release. The online help has information not included in the 4.5 printed manuals. It includes a nasty bug in the FP point that introduces an unneeded delay. That can be fixed with the various FFIX patches. The bug was not really a bug, it was just a necessary delay back then, unneeded in nowadays' computers.
Download MS Quick Basic 4.5 [complete w/examples]
Download MS Quick Basic 4.5 [complete in its original installation diskettes]
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 here.
Many call QBasic 1.X "Quick Basic 5", I dunno if this is 'cause of the runtime library (v. 5.0) or 'cause it was first shipped with MSDOS 5. Who knows?
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.
At this point microsoft returned to the old version numeration (remember that MS Basic Compiler reached version 5.0 before Quick Basic was released). It represented the "proffessional" branch of the compiler series. It was shipped on eighteen 360K 5.25" disks with 3.5" available by coupon. It let you write programs for OS/2 or DOS. OS/2 allows up to 16MB of physical memory or 128MB of virtual memory. System requirements: 320K available memory. OS/2 1.0 or later. MS-DOS 2.1 or later. The original was 6.00. A later 6.00b version was also produced. No evidence that a 6.00a version ever shipped.
Sadly, MS Basic Compiler 6.00 is M.I.A. :(
7.00: Microsoft BASIC Professional Development System 7.0 (1989). Twelve 360K 5.25" disks. The six 3.5" disks. It appears that the 7.0 manuals were unchanged with 7.1, except that an "Update" booklet was added (for upgrades?) or the Getting Started manual was updated (for 7.1 editions purchased alone).
7.1: Microsoft Basic Professional Development System 7.1 - Includes eight 720K diskettes or five 1.2MB diskettes, dated 6-24-90, 5:30, plus the following printed materials: License agreement/License card, Registration card, Manuals: Getting Started, Version 7.1, 89 pages, BASIC Language Reference, Version 7.0, 759 pages, Programmer's Guide, Version 7.0, 782 pages.
It included Microsoft CodeView version 3.14 for DOS Systems, Released for users of MS BASIC 7.1.
The big advantage of the PDS over QuickBasic 4.5 is that it has an option to put strings into FAR memory (outside the 64K data segment). This frees up a lot more memory for simple variables and allows you to build much bigger programs. There are one or two other enhancements to the language (such as DIR$ which allows you to check if a file exists before opening it) but these are minor league stuff compared to FAR strings. The package also comes with some Microsoft Development Tools including Programmers' Workbench (not useful), the CodeView debugger (very useful) a Cross-Reference utility and a Help file compiler. The version of LINK that's included allows you to use overlays so you can build programs bigger than 640K. Lastly the Extended QuickBASIC IDE (QBX) that comes with PDS is a bit more sophisticated and nicer to use. Some prefer the PDS's IDE when programming in the environment.
Download MS Basic PDS 7.1 [complete in its original installation diskettes] (thanks Plasma)
Visual Basic for DOS Professional - Released as a dual media package, the MS product number is 203-099V100. Includes seven 1.44MB and/or nine 1.2MB diskettes and the following printed materials: Manuals: Programmer's Guide, 658 pages, Reference, 510 pages, Professional Features, 365 pages.
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.
Download MS VBDOS 1.0 (Professional Version) [complete in its original installation diskettes]
Visual Basic 1.0 for Windows was released along with the MS·DOS version in a dual media version (with both 3.5" and 5.¼" diskettes). Later, Visual Basic 1.0 for Windows Standard, Special upgrade Offer was released on 3.5" low density disks. To qualify for purchase this fairly cheaper version, MS asked that you be a licensed user of Turbo Pascal, Borland C, C++ or Turbo C, Actor, or Smalltalk in order to gain adepts :P
The system requirements for VB1 were: Windows 3.0 or later running in standard or enhanced mode. 80286 or higher processor. 1MB or memory (2 recommended), floppy and hard disk. CGA, EGA, VGA, 8514/A, Hercules or compatible video adapter, and mouse. Originally published with a $99 suggested retail price.
Visual Basic 2.0 Standard was released on 3.5" and 5¼" versions. Visual Basic 2.0 Professional was released on 3.5" diskettes. This professional version includes the following printed materials: Professional Features, Programmer's Guide and Language Reference. An upgrade (cheaper) version for Borland compilers users was released as well.
Visual Basic 3.0 requires Windows 3.0 or later, 2MB of available memory for design environment, one high density disk drive and a hard disk with 12MB available. EGA or higher resolution monitor. MS mouse or compatible pointing device. Includes three 1.44MB diskettes and the following printer materials: Component Objects and Companion Products for Visual Basic, Support and Service for Microsoft Visual Basic brochure, Basic Programmer's Journal magazine offer, Manuals: Programmer's Guide, Language Reference.
A Visual Basic 3.0 Standard competitive upgrade version was also released. License requires you to have a "Microsoft language product, Borland language
Visual Basic 3.0 Professional, version upgrade: You qualify for the upgrade if you own Visual Basic Programming System with Professional Toolkit (VB1 Pro), VB2 Pro, or Professional Toolkit for Visual Basic.
Visual Basic 3.0 Professional - Nine 1.44MB diskettes. Includes the following manuals: Professional Features Book1, Professional Features Book2, Language Reference, Programmer's Guide, Office Developer's Kit.
Visual Basic 3.0 Professional
[Warning: 10 megs, full install: Unzip and run SETUP.EXE]
(Now working thanks to Jonathan Simpson!).
Released in 1995 in 18 3.5" diskettes or CDROM. It came in two versions: 16 bits for Windows 3.1 users and 32 bits for Windows 3.1 + win32 or Windows 95 users.
Visual Basic 4.0 Professional
[Warning: 30 megs, full install: Unzip and run SETUP.EXE for the 32 bits version, SETUP16.EXE for the 16 bits version]
History of Visual Basic, by George Mack.
Compiling and Linking with Bascom v.1.0 and 2.0, by yours truly.
16 Megs .EXE files using overlays, by yours truly, upon some hints by Jonathan Simpson.
All info in this page is a mixture between my knowledge and miscellaneous info found in the internet and written by Judson McClendon (http://personal.bhm.bellsouth.net/~judmc), from Thomas G. Hanlin III and other sources. If you find info you want to be credited for, please drop me a line at http://forum.qbasicnews.com/.