Bob ZaleAn Introduction to PowerBASIC

My name is Bob Zale. I founded PowerBASIC, and I'd like to offer you a quick tour to show how we Compile without Compromise. We offer compilers for DOS and Windows today. Our 24-year history started with BASIC/Z, the very first interactive compiler for CP/M and MDOS. We extended it to MS-DOS/PC-DOS, and in 1987 Borland published it as Turbo BASIC. In 1990, it was reborn as PowerBASIC, and has flourished ever since. Whether you're a novice or an expert, I think you'll find our outlook refreshing. We don't believe in $2,000 compilers. We don't believe in BloatWare. But more about that later.

"If you find that Visual Basic isn't fast enough for your code intensive routines, you absolutely owe it to yourself to add PB to your arsenal of tools. Two thumbs up!"

Karl E. Peterson, Contributing Editor
VisualBasic Programmer's Journal

We specialize in the BASIC language. It's easy to read, easy to understand, easy to use at any level. When you program in a standard BASIC, like PowerBASIC, you'll find that your program is readable today, and readable a year from today. Yet our performance is unmatched by other compilers of any dialect! Here at PowerBASIC, we're very proud to say "We put the POWER in Basic!".

So who uses PowerBASIC? You might be surprised. James Byrne, Chief Architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) used it to build a model for the missile defense system. Others use it for games and leisure. W & B Observatory uses it to measure Near Earth Objects, asteroids which might collide with Earth. Theme parks use it for dancing parrots. It powers ships, planes, and trains, and helps trap cheaters in casinos. Our customers include the likes of NASA, Rolls Royce, Duke Energy, Jaguar, and Boeing. Like to know who else bought PowerBASIC? See if you recognize any names on this Customer List.

PowerBASIC has long been associated with performance. A few years back, I posted a small wall sign for our development staff. It reads simply, "Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster." We follow it faithfully. Our philosophy requires that we provide the best possible code generation. We simply don't believe that sloppy coding can always be overcome by ever faster hardware. At some point, every programmer (ours included) must take on the obligation to write quality code... and we take that obligation very seriously. It's been said more than once that PowerBASIC is the Consultant's Secret Weapon.

Oh yes, as I mentioned earlier, we don't believe in $2,000 compilers. I hope you find that refreshing. Our product prices range from $25 to a maximum of just $199. These levels have served us well, and we expect no real changes in the forseeable future. Frankly, we prefer a broader user base with fair pricing to high prices from an elite few.

We offer a choice of three commercial compilers. Our flagship compiler is PowerBASIC 10 for Windows. It creates GUI applications and DLLs with the Windows "Look and Feel"... Dialogs, Buttons, ListBoxes, and so forth. Team it up with PowerBASIC Forms, our drag'n'drop Visual Designer, for instant results.

PowerBASIC Console CompilerBut what if you don't need such a fancy user interface? Maybe you want a web server app with no interface at all? Measure the distance from here to Mars? Port a text mode program from DOS to Windows? No problem! Just look to PowerBASIC Console Compiler 6! All the features of Windows, but with a text mode interface! Multi-Threading. Multi-Megabyte Strings. Macros. Built-in Assembler. All the good parts of Windows, but without the hassles of events and callbacks! Just simple, familiar functions like PRINT, COLOR, LOCATE, LINE INPUT, even LPRINT to the printer!

Or, what if you really want a 16-bit DOS application? That base is covered by PowerBASIC 3.5 for DOS. That's our fully supported DOS compiler, at a very attractive price. PB/DOS programs run under standard DOS (3.3 or later) or any 16-bit or 32-bit version of Windows. 64-bit versions of Windows do not provide native support for DOS programs.

Lots more information is available on all of our products in the PowerBASIC Product Catalog. For a list of every statement and function, and a comparison to other compilers, check out the PowerFeatures. Or, for an in-depth discussion of all three of our compilers, Which Compiler Should I Choose can help you answer that very question.

So what does this mean to you? With PowerBASIC you'll be more productive. You'll create faster, more efficient code. Our syntax is simple and self-explanatory. It's based upon the original syntax of BASICA and GW-BASIC so it's very much like QBasic, QuickBasic, TurboBasic, even Visual Basic. As I mentioned earlier, PowerBASIC uses readable source code. We do our best to limit the curly braces, semicolons, and cryptic operators. So how about a little test? Are you a C programmer, or know someone who is? Find an old C program that you haven't touched in a year or two... look it over carefully, and see if you still understand how it really works. But be honest... do you really understand it? While C certainly has its place in our industry, it's terse, it's cryptic, and it's not very friendly at all.

PowerBASIC is a native code compiler, not an interpreter of any sort. When you compile a program, it's translated immediately into optimized machine code.

"PowerBASIC is Bob Zale's 32-bit implementation of his powerful PB Compiler. PB crunches standard BASIC code, then outputs true, standalone Windows executable or DLL files - no run times, no libraries, no ocx files. BASIC programs compiled with PB generally run circles around VB. I won't quote any benchmarks here, because your results may vary, but it's safe to say that PB code generally blows the doors off VB-generated code. This is one cool tool, and a must-have for any VB shop, bar none."
Rich Levin, Senior Editor
Information Week Magazine
A single standalone executable (.EXE) which requires no run-time libraries, no DLLs, no support files of any kind unless you choose that approach. The compiler is very fast -- it compiles more than one million lines per minute on a modern computer. Hundreds or thousands of times faster than some of our competitors. But perhaps more important, the compiled executables are fast, too! Many times faster than some other versions of BASIC, and always competitive with any other compiler of any dialect. Perhaps that's why so many Visual Basic programmers use PowerBASIC DLLs to speed up critical portions of their code!

One final comparison... I told you earlier that we don't believe in BloatWare, and soon, you won't either. PowerBASIC executables are downright tiny! They can be 10 times, 20 times, even 100 times smaller than what you get from BloatWare Compilers. You know, using PowerBASIC 10 for Windows, it's not unusual to deliver a substantial GUI application on a single floppy diskette. But don't equate small size with small features... Quite the contrary! You'll get an unmatched arsenal of functions for high-level control, low-level control, and everything in between. Check out the product pages next. No room for it all here!

Each PowerBASIC Compiler includes a complete IDE. An integrated editor is provided for convenience. However, if you have another favorite, that's fine, too, as PowerBASIC uses plain text source files. And a debugger? Count on it. With PowerBASIC, you debug the same machine code that's in your final executable, not an "equivalent" interpreter that isn't really equivalent at all. You can set breakpoints, single-step source code line by line, even watch variables and cpu registers in real time. We'll generate trace files, call stacks, and give you a profiler, too. All the tools you need to Compile without Compromise.

"It's not your basic BASIC"  -Infoworld Magazine

Thanks for taking the tour with me. I hope you found it interesting. If you're ready to place an order, just click here to shop. We offer download delivery as an option, so it's possible to be up and running in as little as 30 minutes! But if you still need a bit of convincing, I hope you visit the rest of our site. You may even want to click here for user forums, and see over 100,000 messages from PowerBASIC customers. There's lots of information here, and I hope you'll be able to use it to your best advantage. You can download working PowerBASIC example programs with source code right here. If you have a specific question, please click here to leave Feedback. We'll do our best to get you a prompt response. Thanks again for joining us. I hope we'll see you soon as a PowerBASIC Customer.

Best regards,


Bob Zale, President
PowerBASIC, Inc.

P.S.  Don't forget our free newsletter, The PowerBASIC Gazette.  It's published once a month...  packed with serious information you'll find nowhere else.  Just click the red button at top-of-page. Absolutely free.