Microsoft Small Basic

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ParadigmStructured, imperative, object-oriented
Designed byMicrosoft, Vijaye Raji
DeveloperMicrosoft
First appearedOctober 23, 2008 (2008-10-23)
Stable releasev1.2 / October 1, 2015 (2015-10-01)
Typing disciplineDynamic, weak
Platform.NET Framework 4.5
OSSmall Basic Desktop: Windows XP (up to version 1.0), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 R2
Small Basic Online: web browser
LicenseMIT License
Filename extensions.sb, .smallbasic
Websitesmallbasic-publicwebsite.azurewebsites.net
Influenced by
Logo, QBasic, Visual Basic .NET

Microsoft Small Basic is a programming language, interpreter and associated IDE. Microsoft's simplified variant of BASIC, it is designed to help students who have learnt visual programming languages such as Scratch learn text-based programming. The associated IDE provides a simplified programming environment with functionality such as syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, and in-editor documentation access. The language has only 14 keywords.

The best forum for SB now is https://litdev.uk/mybb.

History

Version Release date
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.1 October 23, 2008
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.2 December 17, 2008
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.3 February 10, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.4 April 14, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.5 June 16, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.6 August 19, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.7 October 23, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.8 February 4, 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.9 June 11, 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.91 November 17, 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: v0.95 February 8, 2011
Older version, yet still maintained: v1.0 July 12, 2011
Old version, no longer maintained: v1.1 March 27, 2015
Current stable version: v1.2 October 1, 2015
Legend:Old versionOlder version, still maintainedLatest versionLatest preview versionFuture releaseLegend:Old versionOlder version, still maintainedLatest versionLatest preview versionFuture release

Microsoft announced Small Basic in October 2008, and released the first stable version for distribution on July 12, 2011, on a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) website, together with a teaching curriculum and an introductory guide. Between announcement and stable release, a number of Community Technology Preview (CTP) releases were made.

On March 27, 2015, Microsoft released Small Basic version 1.1, which fixed a bug and upgraded the targeted .NET Framework version from version 3.5 to version 4.5, making it the first version incompatible with Windows XP.

Microsoft released Small Basic version 1.2 on October 1, 2015. Version 1.2 was the first update after a four-year hiatus to introduce new features to Small Basic. The update added classes for working with Microsoft's Kinect motion sensors, increased the number of languages supported by the included Dictionary object, and fixed a number of bugs.

On February 19, 2019, Microsoft announced Small Basic Online (SBO). It is open source software released under MIT License on GitHub.

Language

In Small Basic, one writes the illustrative "Hello, World!" program as follows:

TextWindow.WriteLine("Hello, World!")

Microsoft Small Basic is Turing complete. It supports conditional branching, loop structures, and subroutines for event handling. Variables are weakly typed and dynamic with no scoping rules.

Conditional branching

The following example demonstrates conditional branching. It ask the user for Celsius or Fahrenheit and then comments on the answer in the appropriate temperature unit.

' A Program that gives advice at a requested temperature. TextWindow.WriteLine("Do you use 'C'elsius or 'F'ahrenheit for temperature?") TextWindow.WriteLine("Enter C for Celsius and F for Fahrenheit:") question_temp: ' Label to jump back to input if wrong input was given tempunit = TextWindow.Read() ' Temperature Definitions in Celsius: tempArray = 30 ' 30 °C equals 86 °F tempArray = 20 ' 20 °C equals 68 °F tempArray= 15 ' 15 °C equals 59 °F If tempunit = "C" OR tempunit = "c" Then TextWindow.WriteLine("Celsius selected!") tempunit = "C" ' Could be lowercase, thus make it uppercase ElseIf tempunit = "F" OR tempunit = "f" Then TextWindow.WriteLine("Fahrenheit selected!") ' We calculate the temperature values for Fahrenheit based on the Celsius values tempArray = ((tempArray * 9)/5) + 32 tempArray = ((tempArray * 9)/5) + 32 tempArray = ((tempArray * 9)/5) + 32 tempunit = "F" ' Could be lowercase, thus make it uppercase Else GOTO question_temp ' Wrong input, jump back to label "question_temp" EndIf TextWindow.Write("Enter the temperature today (in " + tempunit +"): ") temp = TextWindow.ReadNumber() If temp >= tempArray Then TextWindow.WriteLine("It is pretty hot.") ElseIf temp >= tempArray Then TextWindow.WriteLine("It is pretty nice.") ElseIf temp >= tempArray Then TextWindow.WriteLine("Don't forget your coat.") Else TextWindow.WriteLine("Stay home.") EndIf

Small Basic does not support an inline If statement as does Visual Basic, for example:

If temp > 50 Then TextWindow.WriteLine("It is pretty nice.")

Looping

This example demonstrates a loop. Starting from one and ending with ten, it multiplies each number by four and displays the result of the multiplication.

TextWindow.WriteLine("Multiplication Tables") For i = 1 To 10 TextWindow.Write(i * 4) EndFor

While loops are also supported, and the demonstrated For loop can be augmented through the use of the Step keyword. The Step keyword is used in setting the value by which the counter variable, i, is incremented each iteration.

Data types

Small Basic supports basic data types, like strings, integers and decimals, and will readily convert one type to another as required by the situation. In the example, both the Read and ReadNumber methods read a string from the command line, but ReadNumber rejects any non-numeric characters. This allows the string to be converted to a numeric type and treated as a number rather than a string by the + operator.

TextWindow.WriteLine("Enter your name: ") name = TextWindow.Read() TextWindow.Write("Enter your age: ") age = TextWindow.ReadNumber() TextWindow.WriteLine("Hello, " + name + "!") TextWindow.WriteLine("In 5 years, you shall be " + ( age + 5 ) + " years old!")

As Small Basic will readily convert among data types, numbers can be manipulated as strings and numeric strings as numbers. This is demonstrated through the second example.

TextWindow.WriteLine(Math.log("100")) 'Prints 2 TextWindow.WriteLine("100" + "3000") ' Prints 3100 TextWindow.WriteLine("Windows " + 8) ' Prints Windows 8 TextWindow.WriteLine(Text.GetLength(1023.42)) ' Prints 7 (length of decimal representation including decimal point)

In the second example, both strings are treated as numbers and added together, producing the output 3100. To concatenate the two values, producing the output 1003000, it is necessary to use the Text.Append(text1, text2) method.

Libraries

Standard library

The Small Basic standard library includes basic classes for mathematics, string handling, and input/output, as well as more exotic classes that are intended to make using the language more fun for learners. Examples of these include a Turtle graphics class, a class for retrieving photos from Flickr, and classes for interacting with Microsoft Kinect sensors.

To make the classes easier to use for learners, they have been simplified. This simplification is demonstrated through the code used to retrieve a random mountain-themed image from Flickr:

For i = 1 To 10 pic = Flickr.GetRandomPicture("mountains") Desktop.SetWallPaper(pic) Program.Delay(10000) EndFor Turtle graphics

Small Basic includes a "Turtle" graphics library that borrows from the Logo family of programming languages. For example, to draw a square using the turtle, the turtle is moved forward by a given number of pixels and rotated 90 degrees in a given direction. This action is then repeated four times to draw the four sides of the square.

For i = 1 to 4 Turtle.Move(100) ' Forward 100 pixels Turtle.Turn(90) ' Turn 90 degrees right EndFor

More complex drawings are possible by altering the turning angle of the turtle and the number of iterations of the loop. For example, one can draw a hexagon by setting the turn angle to 60 degrees and the number of iterations to six.

Third-party libraries

Small Basic allows the use of third-party libraries. These libraries must be written in a CLR-compatible language, and the compiled binaries must target a compatible .NET Framework version. The classes provided by the library are required to be static, flagged with a specific attribute, and must use a specific data type.

An example of a class to be used in Small Basic is provided below, written in C#.

public static class ExampleClass { public static Primitive Add(Primitive A, Primitive B) => A + B; public static Primitive SomeProperty { get; set; } public static Primitive Pi => (Primitive)3.14159; }

If available, the Small Basic development environment will display documentation for third-party libraries. The development environment accepts documentation in the form of an XML file, which can be automatically generated from source code comments by tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio and MonoDevelop.

References

  1. ^ Conrod, Philip; Tylee, Lou (February 2013). Programming Games with Microsoft Small Basic. Kidware Software, LLC. ISBN 978-1-937161-56-9.
  2. ^ "Featured Article: Interviews with Vijaye Raji, the creator of Small Basic". TECHCOMMUNITY.MICROSOFT.COM. 13 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Raji, Vijaye (23 October 2008). "Hello World". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b Raji, Vijaye (23 October 2009). "Happy Birthday Small Basic". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Scherotter, Michael (1 October 2015). "Small Basic 1.2 Released with Kinect Support and Bug Fixes". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Download Microsoft Small Basic 1.2 from Official Microsoft Download Centre". Small Basic. Microsoft. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  7. ^ "SmallBasic". GitHub. 17 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Small Basic". Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  9. ^ Price, Ed (22 October 2012). "The Unique Features of Small Basic". Small Basic. TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  10. ^ Price, Ed (8 October 2012). "What are the 14 Keywords of Small Basic?". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  11. ^ Raji, Vijaye (17 December 2008). "Announcing Small Basic v0_2!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  12. ^ Raji, Vijaye (10 February 2009). "Microsoft Small Basic v0.3 is here". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  13. ^ Raji, Vijaye (14 April 2009). "v0.4 of Small Basic says "Bonjour"". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  14. ^ Raji, Vijaye (16 June 2009). "The newest, leanest and the meanest is here!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  15. ^ Raji, Vijaye (19 August 2009). "Now available: Small Basic v0.6". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  16. ^ Raji, Vijaye (10 February 2010). "Small Basic v0.8". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  17. ^ Raji, Vijaye (11 June 2010). "Small Basic V0.9 is here!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  18. ^ Aldana, Sandra (17 November 2010). "Small Basic V0.91 is more international than ever!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  19. ^ Aldana, Sandra (8 February 2011). "Small Basic v0.95 speaks another language!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b Aldana, Sandra (12 July 2011). "Small Basic 1.0 is here!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b Price, Ed (27 March 2015). "Small Basic 1.1 is here!". Small Basic. MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  22. ^ Price, Ed (29 April 2014). "Small Basic Curriculum". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  23. ^ Price, Ed; Takahashi, Nonki (25 February 2014). "Small Basic Getting Started Guide". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Announcing Small Basic Online 1.0 – Public Preview". 20 February 2019.
  25. ^ "TechNet Wiki".
  26. ^ "System Requirements Kinect for Small Basic". ininet.org.
  27. ^ Protalinski, Emil (17 November 2008). "Yet another programming language from Microsoft: Small Basic". Ars Technica.

Further reading

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Windows Programming