Welcome to our very first issue of Gambas Magazine! In this issue we present articles about getting started with Gambas, even if you’re a Windows user you can still run Gambas on a virtual machine and join the fun!
So what is Gambas? Gambas is a BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) language and Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The first version of BASIC was created by mathematicians John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtzas as a teaching tool for undergraduates at Dartmouth College in 1963. BASIC is one of the most popular computer programming languages and has remained so for hobbyist and desktop developers. It is a simple and easy to learn language and has often been considered the best “First” programming language for new students, before moving on to more powerful languages such as C/C++.
BASIC’s popularity was spread by both Paul Allen and Bill Gates, back in 1975. Gates and Allen (both Microsoft founding fathers) wrote a version of BASIC for the Altair 8800 personal computer. It was the first product Microsoft sold. Later Gates and Microsoft wrote versions of BASIC for the Apple computer, and IBM’s DOS which came with its own version of BASIC.
Over the many years since BASIC’s introduction, it has grown and diminished in popularity many times. Microsoft released Visual Basic many years ago shortly after the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) became popular. Visual Basic was not shipped with the operating system (OS), it had to be purchased separately. Visual Basic brought the programmer the ability to develop programs to run on Windows. It also gave the developer a few drag and drop tools for creating the program’s graphical user interface (GUI).
Visual Basic built upon previous BASIC variants like GWBasic, QuickBasic, and BasicA, incorporating some of the language structure and features of these earlier BASIC variants. Visual Basic became a popular development platform for desktop application development on Windows platforms. Over the years Microsoft moved away from compiled code to a byte code run-time (a system made popular by Java) known as the dot-net framework. This allowed Visual Basic or VB as it’s proponents call it, to be used on the web and other platforms. However, VB remains a Windows-centric development platform.
With the growing popularity of the Linux OS as both a Desktop and embedded operating system, the need was realized for a BASIC programming language native to Linux. The creator of the Gambas language, Benoît Minisini took from VB, GWBasic, QuickBasic, BasicA, and others, what was good and implemented those features in Gambas. Gambas is not a BASIC standard compliant language. However, if you know any variant of BASIC you will find yourself capable of using the basic (no pun intended) features of Gambas. But don’t stop there! Gambas has many powerful features that make developing or learning programming with Gambas a delight and provide real power to your applications!
Here at Gambas Magazine we want to help promote this wonderful language and help educate anyone new to programming in general or new to Gambas. We will provide articles of interest to both new and seasoned developers. Are major mission is to help educate developers, new and old, and to promote Gambas as a Linux development tool. We may at times venture off topic and includes articles of general interest in the development or educational communities and we may even provide code or information on other programming languages and hardware projects. Gambas is a great tool capable of producing any program you wish to write. But it may not always be the best choice for a particular application. However, those times are rare do to Gambas’ powerful language feature set. Still, I want to stress this is a magazine about software development first, and Gambas is our tool of choice.
I hope everyone will join in and submit articles, ideas, code, bug fixes and any other constructive criticisms you may deem helpful. I also want to stress that I am a developer and Gambas enthusiast, not a writer. So your help in improving my skills in this area will be greatly appreciated.