2005.04.06 05:59 PM

Visual Basic Alternatives

The recent expiration of Microsoft's free support for VB6 and the subsequent revolt by Microsoft MVPs has some folks thinking about alternatives to Microsoft's brand of BASIC.

Sensing an opportunity, I suppose, REAL Software began offering their REALbasic to VB users for free though April 15. Beyond the very short on-line demo, I don't know a thing about REALbasic, but you can't beat the price. If I ever find the time, I'll have to give it a spin.

Another product I am familiar with, but haven't heard much about in the context of the revolt, is PowerBASIC. Led by Bob Zale, the PowerBASIC folks have spent more than a decade developing a very nice extended BASIC language compiler and development environment (it began life as Borland's Turbo BASIC). I was introduced to PowerBASIC back in the late 90's when I had to develop some DLLs to supplement an InstallShield installation script. During installation, I needed access to some license number verification logic that was also found in the application being installed, but it was not accessible during installation because 1) during installation it was not yet installed (duh), and 2) it was buried in a VB application (version 5?) and therefore only accessible via COM, which InstallShield wasn't doing (at least not back then). However, InstallShield would allow me to load and call DLLs. So, I copied (virtually unchanged, as I recall) the VB verification functions into a PowerBASIC module and compiled it to a DLL, and it continues to work to this day. I later used it for some fast math functions involving prime number generation and verification. Worth a look.

By the way, here's a wonderful BASIC language timeline on Cory Smith's AddressOf.com blog.


This is slightly off-topic, but I have a couple of alternatives. Not VB ones, but alternative programming languages.

Both are open-source, and both are based on the Rebol programming language (which unfortunately isn't (yet, at least) open-source).

They are called R-sharp and Freebell -

Both seem to be "dead" now, but both have source code available. R-sharp can be downloaded directly (I've tried it and it works! ), while Freebell has code (and lots of it) in cvs.

These are well worth a look. Rebol is an *amazing* language. About a 500Kb download, and it includes a great GUI , interpreter and outstanding support for net protocols.
Anyway, just my 2c worth for today....
- Andy

Andy Elvey | 2005.04.08 03:20 PM

Thanks for the links, Andy. If only there was more time!

ewbi.develops | 2005.04.10 07:41 PM

Agreed !
So many programming languages, so little time ... :-)

- Andy

Andy Elvey | 2005.04.11 03:43 AM

Whoa, check this out:



If you're looking for something BASIC or BASIC-like, I think you're going to find it there. Wow.

ewbi.develops | 2005.08.11 02:22 PM

Don't forget Liberty BASIC, which has been a popular VB alternative for years. www.libertybasic.com

Carl Gundel | 2006.05.29 12:32 PM

Thanks for the info, Carl. I'd noticed the Liberty entry at mindteQ's BASIC page (linked above), but haven't had time to check it out.

ewbi.develops | 2006.05.29 08:50 PM

Here´s a really good one, Velneo. It´s one of the best tools I have ever encountered, ideal for VB migrators. One problemo though, the english version is not out yet, but they seem to be working on it...

Joey | 2006.07.26 02:21 PM

Joey, thanks for the tip. With time, I'll take a look.

ewbi.develops | 2006.07.26 05:08 PM

Joey, Velneo does have an english version, it includes a map editor and open code Velneo 6.3.6. for developers and database specialists to try it out for free with no time limit. The 6.3.9 complete version is due for October 2007(I know it cause I work at Velneo... ;))

Fred Lores | 2006.09.06 06:41 AM

And it´s not a VB lookalike, its much more powerful and easier to "touch"...

Fred Lores | 2006.09.06 06:43 AM


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