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Subject: Business Basic FAQ

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:52 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: business-basic
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Archive-name: business-basic/faq Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1997/2/17 Version: 1.10 URL: ftp://ftp.bbpro.org/pub/bb.faq
============================================================================== business-basic -- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions - Version 1.10 Last updated: February 17, 1997 Copyright (C) 1997 Association of Business Basic Professionals This file may be freely copied and redistributed. All we ask is that it remains whole and intact and that this notice is not altered. Maintainer: Gary D. McClellan (gary@gdma.com) ============================================================================== This file (bb.faq) is intended to provide answers to certain questions that come up regularly on the business-basic mailing list. People who are new to the mailing list are encouraged to read this document before posting questions to the mailing list. This FAQ has been created by me (Gary McClellan) in accordance with the prevailing traditions and customs of the Internet, which place high value on the free dissemination and exchange of information. It was not created by any Business Basic vendor and no Business Basic vendor sponsors or supports it in any way, although individual employees of each Business Basic vendor do support my efforts (as individuals) and contribute information. This is a living document. It exists because of the contributions of many people in the Business Basic user community and the Internet at large. If you have a question that you think should be here, please let me know. It's nice if you can provide the answer as well, but that is not a requirement. I will do my best to update this FAQ regularly, but in all honesty I am more strongly motivated to do so when I receive support and encouragement from others in the Business Basic user community. Please note that the information presented here is not guaranteed to be free from errors. If you find any, please let me know and I will fix them. Also please note that E-mail addresses and URL's are not guaranteed to work forever and may not be accessible from your particular site. For the sake of consistency all addresses are given in URL format. ============================================================================== This FAQ is currently available at the following FTP sites: Our site - always guaranteed to have the latest version: ftp://ftp.bbpro.org/pub/bb.faq Other sites are welcome to mirror this FAQ. All I ask is that you let me know who you are so that I can keep you informed of any updates. This FAQ is also available to subscribers of the business-basic mailing list (if you aren't a subscriber to the business-basic mailing list, see subscription details below). Subscribers can retrieve the latest version of this document, send E-mail to majordomo@bbpro.org with a message body of get business-basic bb.faq ============================================================================== Table of Contents ======== 1. What is the purpose of business-basic@bbpro.org 2. What sort of stuff should I post to this mailing list? 3. What sort of stuff should I NOT post to this mailing list? 4. What is Business Basic? 5. What about Wang Basic? 6. Who uses Business Basic? 7. Isn't an interpreted language slower than a compiled language? 8. Where can I get Business Basic? 9. What operating systems have Business Basic available? 10. Are there any freeware/shareware compilers/interpreters available via the Internet? 11. Besides the business-basic mailing list, are any Business Basic resources (Libraries, example code, product support) available via the Internet? 12. Do any USENET newsgroups exist for Business Basic developers? 13. What other online resources exist for Business Basic developers? 14. Are there any publications available for Business Basic programmers? 15. Are there any users groups for Business Basic developers? 16. Who contributed to this document? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What is the purpose of business-basic@bbpro.org? 1. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Anything and everything related to Business Basic. o Discussions on keeping code portable between the various flavors of Business Basic, including whether it's worth trying to do so. o Discussions on the strengths and weaknesses of each product. Keeping informed as to what each vendor is doing with their products. o Discussions on accounting add-ons written for Business Basic packages. o Discussions on Business Basic standards. Possibly some grass roots activities by Business Basic users to get the Business Basic vendors to talk to each other and set some standards. I've even heard of one company that might release a Business Basic compiler to the public domain for "group enhancement" ala the Linux project. And, because the mailing list is not sponsored by any of the principals *and* it is not moderated, we expect (and hope) to see some no-holds-barred discussions flaming or praising the companies as appropriate. (Of course, abusers will be barred from the mailing list). Ideally, it's a public forum for advancing and improving Business Basic as a tool, our skills as Business Basic developers and keeping our investment in Business Basic technology solid. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What sort of stuff should I post to this mailing list? 2. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Anything related, in any fashion, to Business Basic is permitted. However, the usefulness of the mailing list is diminished by repeated postings of a sales nature. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What sort of stuff should I NOT post to this mailing list? 3. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Anything NOT related to Business Basic. However, the Business Basic community is a tight-knit group - we all love a good joke or story now and then. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What is Business Basic? 4. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Business Basic is an interactive programming language developed for minicomputer systems in the early 1970s. Derived from the original Dartmouth Basic, Business Basic extended the language concepts by introducing file indexing methods which evolved into true keyed access technology similar to those methods available to COBOL programmers. Because of its interactive nature, Business Basic affords runtime event trapping capabilities, though the character-based systems did not permit the wide range of events that modern graphical environments do. Business Basic interpreters also offer extensive diagnostic capabilities, permitting developers to resolve live problems through telephone support without constantly having to ship updates. The interpretive nature of Business Basic also enhances development efforts through permitting quick testing and debugging of code. There are two primary "groups" or "families" of Business Basic programming language. The MAI Basic Four Business Basic is the oldest version of the language, and there have been numerous competitors over the years who have duplicated and enhanced the rich MAI language. MAI Basic Four (now known as MAI Systems Corp.) continues to add features to its own language. The Data General Business Basic is the second most well-known Business Basic. Originally very similar to the MAI language, DG Business Basic and its competitors' derivatives have evolved into a very different style of Business Basic. Other Business Basics have risen from the Point 4 systems running under IRIS. In the 1980s, Business Basic was ported from proprietary environments to Unix, Xenix, VMS, and DOS by many vendors, including Thoroughbred, BASIS International, Microshare, Sybex/BBIcon (Canada), and Transoft (UK), to name just a few. Although Business Basic started out as a proprietary language offered only by minicomputer vendors, each with its own variation, all modern Business Basics have been ported to numerous operating systems, and Unix is the most popular platform of choice among Business Basic vendors. But DOS networks run a close second in providing platforms for Business Basic applications, and it is usually a simple matter to port a Business Basic application from one operating system to another, usually requiring only the purchase of a new interpreter. Some Business Basics are now graphical programming languages, and others are moving forward into the graphical environments. Several of the Business Basic vendors have also offered 4GL tools which work with their customers' more traditional Business Basic applications. Some vendors are providing links to other file systems, such as Informix C-ISAM and ODBC. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What about Wang Basic? 5. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ WANG 2200 BASIC-2 Interpretive BASIC-2 was designed for the WANG family of 2200 processors, which in the time span of 1972 to 1992, evolved from a single user processor to a multiuser, multi-partition proprietary MVP System. The operating system divided the resources of the computer (i.e., memory, peripherals and CPU time) among the users. Memory in the system was divided into a number of sections called partitions, each of which held a separate BASIC-2 program. Workstations were assigned a partition or partitions and the allocated time to each partition was called "time-slicing." Each partition/user used the system in turn. The important points in history to remember is for years (1978-1987) the system was limited to 16 partitions and a maximum partition size of 56KB. Typical size was 32KB. During it's lifetime, over 70,000 systems were sold worldwide. A typical installation was 4-8 users and usually on some form of accounting application. The largest number of vertical systems were sold by two major organizations, both still in business today but under different company names. One of the largest vertical market was Insurance Agencies and the Vendor was Redshaw. It is alleged that Redshaw sold over 2,500 systems. The largest generalist was TOM, the Office Manager. The product, an application development package, was SPEED 1. Today there are still over 9,000 SPEED 1 or their new product FourD users installed, being serviced by over 125 Dealers. Today, Redshaw is owned by Delphi and TOM is owned by NSG (Northwest Source Group), and both are in the process of converting these users to run on mainly INTEL platforms, using the KCML BASIC-2 compiler that allows 2200 applications to run on most any open system/platform. They are also in the process of selling their applications to new users as either WINDOWS or UNIX applications. Today's BASIC-2 market is a combination of 2200 users and BASIC-2 users that have migrated to new platforms, on modern day BASIC-2 compilers like KCML and NIAKWA. It is estimated there are over 500 dealers (VARs & ISVs) worldwide servicing the 100,000+ BASIC-2 users and selling new users every day. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ Who uses Business Basic? 6. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Some of the most popular small business accounting systems are written in Business Basic, and many Business Basic application OEM's offer their products through dealer networks around the world. The vast majority of Business Basic users don't even know the software running on their machines is written in Business Basic. Although there are no hard figures available, it has been estimated that more than 2,000,000 computer systems around the world presently use Business Basic applications, often in conjunction with other applications. The vast majority of these installations are PCs, but minicomputers continue to be widely used, and the upper-end PCs, such as Intel's 486 and Pentium systems and Motorola's 68040 series, are being used to replace older minicomputers, often with greater performance. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 7. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ Isn't an interpreted language slower than a compiled language? 7. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Business Basic interpreters are usually highly optimized, and the programs are compiled into tokenized formats, much like many fourth generation languages are compiled into P-code. The more powerful Business Basic interpreters will perform complex operations for certain verbs. Screen I/O, for instance, is usually handled through use of "mnemonic" codes which tell the interpreters to position the cursor, turn attributes on and off, or to clear portions of the screen. Other types of I/O are also usually highly optimized in Business Basic. Because Business Basic applications make extensive use of keyed file structures, it is not uncommon for applications to retrieve requested data in milliseconds, even from large databases containing millions of records. The file indexing schemes of modern Business Basics include multi-keyed files, which require approximately half the time to retrieve data based on secondary indexes compared to file systems which maintain external secondary indexes. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 8. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~ Where can I get Business Basic? 8. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ =================================================================== MAI-Compatible Business Basics still in production: AlphaBasic Alpha Microsystems P.O. Box 25059 Santa Ana, CA 92799-5099 Phone: (714) 957-8500 Fax: (714) 957-8705 BBxPROGRESSION/4, Visual PRO/5, PRO/5 BASIS International Ltd. Scandinavian Distributor: 5901 Jefferson NE Basic Systems AB Albuquerque, NM 87109 Violvagen 24 Phone: (505) 345-5232 142 65 Trangsund Fax: (505) 345-5082 Phone: 08-605 98 30 Internet: (Sales) sales@basis.com Fax: 08-605 83 20 (Support) support@basis.com Internet: sven.nutzmann@basicsys.se MicroShare Basic MicroShare Corporation 21820 Beallsville Road P.O. Box 69 Barnesville, MD 20838 Phone: (301) 972-7473 Fax: (301) 349-2833 Internet: microsha@microsharebasic.com OpenBasic MAI US Distributor: 9600 Jeronimo Road MidWare Technologies, Inc. Irvine, CA 92718 599 Canal Street USA Lawrence, MA 01840 USA Sales: (800) 669-4624 Phone: (508) 682-8100 Service: (800) 950-1911 Fax: (508) 682-9785 Internet: sales@mbf.com Internet: (Sales) gene1177@aol.com Internet: (Support) support@midware.com PLUTO Business Basic Southwest Data Systems Phone: (805) 579-8998 Fax: (805) 579-8190 Internet: pluto@businessbasic.com ProvideX Sybex Ltd./BBIcon European Distributor: Suite 204 EDIAS Software International 8920 Woodbine Ave. HessenStraße 21 Markham, Ontario D-65719 Hofheim am Taunus Canada L3R 9W9 GERMANY Phone: (905) 470-1025 Phone: 0 61 22-80 04-0 Fax: (905) 470-9349 Fax: 0 61 22-1 65 05 Internet: greg@bbicon.com Internet: (Sales) sales@edias.com Internet: (Support) support@edias.com US Distributors: EDIAS Software International MidWare Technologies, Inc. 3141 Montana Drive 599 Canal Street Prescott, AZ 86301-4630 Lawrence, MA 01840 USA USA Phone: (520) 771-2878 Phone: (508) 682-8100 Fax: (520) 771-2105 Fax: (508) 682-9785 Internet: (Sales) sales@edias.com Internet: (Sales) gene1177@aol.com Internet: (Support) support@edias.com Internet: (Support) support@midware.com SMBasic Yermac Data Systems Sybex Business Basic/JCOS JONAS Systems Thoroughbred Basic Thoroughbred Corporation 19 Schoolhouse Road Somerset, NJ 08875-6712 Phone: (800) 524-0430 (908) 560-1377 Fax: (908) 805-9156 Internet: 74431.3574@compuserve.com X/TEND Business Basic for AS/400 Southwest Data Systems Phone: (805) 579-8998 Fax: (805) 579-8190 Internet: XTEND@businessbasic.com =================================================================== Data General Business Basics still in production: Universal Business Basic (UBB, U/BL, B32) Transoft, Inc. Transoft Ltd. 1899 Powers Ferry Road SE Nash House Suite 420 Datchet Road Atlanta, GA 30339 Slough, SL3 7LR, ENGLAND Phone: (770) 933-1965 Phone: +44 1753 692332 Fax: (770) 933-3464 Fax: +44 1753 694251 Internet: SLayne@transoft.com SM-32 Yermac Data Systems =================================================================== Point 4 IRIS Business Basics still in production: UniBasic Dynamic Concepts, Inc. One Columbia Suite 100 Aliso Veijo, CA 92656 Phone: (714) 448-8600 Fax: (714) 448-5234 Internet: sales@dynamic.com =================================================================== Wang Basics still in production: KCML Kerridge Computer Company Ltd. North American Distributor: Northcroft Lane MidWare Technologies, Inc. Newbury 599 Canal Street Bershire Lawrence, MA 01840 RG13 1HT USA United Kingdom Phone: (508) 682-8100 Phone: +44 1 635 523456 Fax: (508) 682-9785 Fax: +44 1 635 30300 Internet: (Sales) gene1177@aol.com Internet: dsp@kcc.co.uk Internet: (Support) support@midware.com NIAKWA =================================================================== Other Business Basics still in production: THEOS Basic THEOS Software Corportation 1777 Botelho Drive, Suite 110 Walnut Creek, CA 94596-5022 Phone: (510) 935-1118 Fax: (510) 935-1177 BBS: (510) 935-8520 Internet: info@theos-software.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 9. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~ What operating systems have Business Basic available? 9. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~ Business Basic OS -> DOS Windows Win95 WinNT OS/2 UNIX VMS AS400 ================ === ======= ===== ===== ==== ==== === ===== BASIS' PRO/5 XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX BASIS BBxPROGRESSION/4 XXX XXX XXX MicroShare XXX XXX XXX XXX MAI OpenBasic XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX PLUTO Business Basic XXX XXX BBIcon ProvideX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX Thoroughbred XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX Transoft U/BL XXX XXX UniBasic XXX KCML XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX NIAKWA XXX THEOS Basic Proprietary Operating System (THEOS-32) X/TEND Business Basic ** XXX ** X/TEND allows BBx, T-Bred, MAI, PLUTO and Prime BP-99 basic to run on the AS/400. You still program in that "flavor" of Basic even though you are running in the X/TEND environment. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 10. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are there any freeware/shareware compilers/interpreters available? 10. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ Yes. The developers of base-4, a new compiled Business Basic, have offered to make their Business Basic compiler available for free. More details at http://www.two-to-one.com/base4. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Besides the business-basic mailing list, are there any Business Basic resources (Libraries, example code, product support) available via the Internet? 11. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ The following resources are also available via the Internet. World Wide Web The Business Basic Page (http://www.bbpro.org) Alpha Microsystems (http://www.alphamicro.com) Alpha Micro Users Society (http://www.indra.com/~amus/) BASIS International (http://www.basis.com) Basic Systems AB (http://www.basicsys.se) BBIcon Ltd. (Sybex Ltd.) (http://www.bbicon.com) Dynamic Concepts (http://www.dynamic.com) EDIAS Software International (http://www.edias.com) MAI Systems Corp. (http://www.maisystems.com) MicroShare (http://www.microsharebasic.com) Midware Technologies (http://www.midware.com) THEOS Software (http://www.theos-software.com) Thoroughbred Software International (http://www.tbred.com) Transoft Inc. (http://www.seihq.com/ts-ubl.html) Two-to-One Inc. (http://www.two-to-one.com) Mailing Lists A Web-based interface to all of the mailing lists described below is available at The Business Basic Page at (http://www.bbpro.org/cgi-bin/bbgate). All of the Business Basic related mailing lists use majordomo as their mailing list engine. As such, the process for subscribing to each list is identical, with the exception of the list name and address for submitting subscription request. To subscribe to a majordomo managed list, send EMail to the address listed for each list with a message body of: subscribe listname As an example, to subscribe to the Business Basic list, you would send a message to majordomo@bbpro.org ('To' listed below) with a message body of 'subscribe business-basic'. All of the Business Basic related mailing lists also have digest versions available. To subscribe to the digest instead of the regular mailing list, simply append '-digest' to the listname. Subject To Listname ==================================================================== Business Basic majordomo@bbpro.org business-basic BBx, PRO/5, Visual PRO/5, TAOS majordomo@basis.com bbx-list MAI, OpenBASIC, Basic Four majordomo@bbpro.org mai MicroShare Basic majordomo@bbpro.org mshare ProvideX, NOMADS, WindX majordomo@bbpro.org providex Thoroughbred, IDOL majordomo@bbpro.org tbred FTP Servers The Business Basic FTP Server (ftp.bbpro.org) BASIS International (ftp.basis.com) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Do any USENET newsgroups exist for Business Basic programmers? 12. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ There is one USENET newsgroup which caters to Business Basic programmers alt.sys.alpha-micro - For discussions of Alpha Microsystems computers In addition to this newsgroup, some Business Basic programmers occasionally post articles to alt.lang.basic - For all non-Visual Basic languages comp.lang.basic.misc - For all non-Visual Basic languages (more active than alt.lang.basic) alt.computer.consultants Many Business Basic developers are also professional computer consultants with a wide range of operating system expertise There are also several private newsgroups available via The Business Basic Page's news server. To access these lists, set your news server as news.bbpro.org with a User ID of 'businessbasic' and a Password of 'gdma'. The newsgroups on this are: business-basic Generic Business Basic discussion business-basic/basis BASIS discussion business-basic/bbicon ProvideX discussion business-basic/mai MAI discussion business-basic/misc Other Business Basics business-basic/mshare MicroShare discussion business-basic/tbred Thoroughbred discussion ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ What other online resources exist for Business Basic developers? 13. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ The Business Basic community is very active on CompuServe. Presently, there are 9 forums available for Business Basic users and resellers: Business Basic Vendors GO BASIS BASIS International Ltd. GO MAI-6 MAI BasicFour GO PROVIDEX Section 20 is for Sybex Ltd./BBIcon GO TBRED Section 7 is for Thoroughbred Commercial Application Vendors GO ACCOUN Open Systems Accounting Software, ADD+ON Software Sections 14 and 16 (16 is private) GO SSI-4 FACTS Software (private access) GO PCVENC FileView, Sections 7 and 17 (17 is private) GO SOTA M*A*S 90 (private access) Data General Business Basic-compatible SIG: GO GENCOM Section 12 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 14. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are there any publications available for Business Basic programmers? 14. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ Yes. The following companies publish newsletters for the Business Basic community: BASIS International Ltd. THE ADVANTAGE, published quarterly Single subscriptions are $25.00 US per year Phone: (505) 345-5232 or (800) 423-1294 E-mail: sales@basis.com Midware Technologies, Inc. THE BASIC TOO!-Report, published quarterly Single subscriptions are $25.00 US per year in the US $35.00 US per year outside the US Qualified US readers may receive free subscriptions Phone: (508) 682-8100 E-mail: gene1177@aol.com Also, there is one book available for the MAI-derived side of the Business Basic family: "What Do You Do After It Says READY>" Author: Scott Ryan Available from: Business Basic Services 9831 N.E. Skidmore Maywood Park, OR 97220 Phone: (503) 254-3349 Internet: http://www.business-basic.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ 15. Are there any users groups for Business Basic developers? 15. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ Alpha Micro Users Society (AMUS) http://www.indra.com/~amus/ For membership information send email to the AMUS executive director, Jim Randazzo at amus@indra.com In addition to the Alpha Micro Users Society, we are aware of several other user groups but no one from those groups has contacted us regarding contact information for those groups. There are also a group of folks who are currently defining the structure and content for a professional organization for Business Basic programmers (tentatively named 'Association of Business Basic Professionals'). More information of this organization can be obtained from Gary McClellan (gary@gdma.com). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 16. QUESTION ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Who contributed to this document? 16. ANSWER ~~~~~~~~~~ Gary McClellan (gary@gdma.com) Michael Martinez (mmartin@basis.com) Chip Austin (72643.1536@compuserve.com) Clark Jeppesen (70751.1711@compuserve.com) Craig Dill (cdill@basis.com) Jim Douglas (jim_douglas@compuserve.com) Larry Hiscock (74140.1516@compuserve.com) Mike King (mike@bbicon.com) Russ Kepler (russ@kepler-eng.com) Terry Druckman (74032.22@compuserve.com) Gene Schulz (gene1177@aol.com) Ed Merrick (70242.1424@compuserve.com) ---------------------------------END OF FAQ--------------------------------- --- Gary McClellan Gary D. McClellan and Associates Ltd. The Business Basic Specialists http://www.gdma.com