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see programming languageprogramming language,
syntax, grammar, and symbols or words used to give instructions to a computer. Development of Low-Level Languages

All computers operate by following machine language programs, a long sequence of instructions called machine code that is
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Of a chemical species that has the properties of a base.
Of igneous rocks, having low silica content (generally less than 54%) and usually being rich in iron, magnesium, or calcium.


(computer science)
A procedure-level computer language designed to be easily learned and used by nonprofessionals, and well suited for an interactive, conversational mode of operation. Derived from Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.


1. Chem
a. of, denoting, or containing a base; alkaline
b. (of a salt) containing hydroxyl or oxide groups not all of which have been replaced by an acid radical
2. Metallurgy of, concerned with, or made by a process in which the furnace or converter is made of a basic material, such as magnesium oxide
3. (of such igneous rocks as basalt) containing between 52 and 45 per cent silica


, Basic
a computer programming language that uses common English terms


Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A simple language originally designed for ease of programming by students and beginners. Many dialects exist, and BASIC is popular on microcomputers with sound and graphics support. Most micro versions are interactive and interpreted.

BASIC has become the leading cause of brain-damage in proto-hackers. This is another case (like Pascal) of the cascading lossage that happens when a language deliberately designed as an educational toy gets taken too seriously. A novice can write short BASIC programs (on the order of 10-20 lines) very easily; writing anything longer is painful and encourages bad habits that will make it harder to use more powerful languages. This wouldn't be so bad if historical accidents hadn't made BASIC so common on low-end micros. As it is, it ruins thousands of potential wizards a year.

Originally, all references to code, both GOTO and GOSUB (subroutine call) referred to the destination by its line number. This allowed for very simple editing in the days before text editors were considered essential. Just typing the line number deleted the line and to edit a line you just typed the new line with the same number. Programs were typically numbered in steps of ten to allow for insertions. Later versions, such as BASIC V, allow GOTO-less structured programming with named procedures and functions, IF-THEN-ELSE-ENDIF constructs and WHILE loops etc.

Early BASICs had no graphic operations except with graphic characters. In the 1970s BASIC interpreters became standard features in mainframes and minicomputers. Some versions included matrix operations as language primitives.

A public domain interpreter for a mixture of DEC's MU-Basic and Microsoft Basic is here. A yacc parser and interpreter were in the comp.sources.unix archives volume 2.

See also ANSI Minimal BASIC, bournebasic, bwBASIC, ubasic, Visual Basic.


(Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) A programming language developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz in the mid-1960s at Dartmouth College. Originally developed as an interactive language for mainframes (see timesharing), it became widely used on small computers. There are several versions of Basic that continue to evolve (see Business Basic), including Microsoft's Visual Basic, which is very popular (see Visual Basic).

Compiler and Interpreter
BASIC is available in both compiler and interpreter form. As an interpreter, the language is conversational and can be debugged a line at a time. It can also be used as a quick calculator.

BASIC is considered one of the easiest programming languages to learn, and simple programs can be quickly written on the fly. The following BASIC example converts Fahrenheit to Celsius:

10 INPUT "Enter Fahrenheit "; FAHR20 PRINT "Celsius is ", (FAHR-32) * 5 / 9
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