Learning how to program is an exciting project but one that can be hard to get into. Even the free Express Editions of the Visual Studio family are somewhat complicated.
Small Basic is different. It has been created to be easy to learn, and the programming interface is clean yet helpful with code completion offerings.
As the name suggests, Small Basic is an attempt to recreate the days when Dos ran on computers such as the ZX Spectrum. It was easy to learn and gave results quickly. Small Basic is limited to just 15 keywords to reduce the amount of learning required.
We were very impressed with the code editor. It uses the Ribbon interface and looks very attractive. It also offers code completion; as you start typing a command, various possibles are suggested along with a quick description. You might have heard of this under the name Intellisense in more advanced editors such as Visual Studio. The text of the code is also colour-coded to make it easier to read.
Just in case the capabilities of Small Basic become limiting, it is possible to add extra bits of program to it; these are known as libraries.
As a beginners tool, Small Basic is hard to fault. There were one or two gaps in the getting started guide but anyone considering learning how to program should give this a go.
The latest version, 0.3, has some new features as well as some bug fixes. New to the software is the Publish button for sharing programs. In previous versions the only way to share code was to copy and paste it. The Publish button uploads the code to a server on the web, giving it a six-digit reference number. You can then share the code by giving just the number. This can be used with a web link, an example from the features list is http://smallbasic.com/program/?DCT967. There is a new Shapes object for the Graphics Window. Other enhancements include a splash screen and some improvements to performance.
Bug fixes are now in place for some of the date and font problems as well as behaving better if a temporary folder is blocked.
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