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BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)

BASIC was an early programming language that is still among the simplest and most popular of programming languages. BASIC stands for "Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code." Originally designed as an interactive mainframe timesharing language by John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz in 1963, it became widely used on personal computers everywhere.  On IBM's first "family" computer, the PCJr, a BASIC cartridge was a popular add-on. Because of its simplicity, BASIC has frequently been used in teaching the introductory concepts of programming with a working language.

BASIC continues to be widely used because it can be learned quickly, its statements are easy to read by other programmers, and support is available on most operating systems (OS). BASIC's documentation has been translated into many national languages. It often comes with sound and graphics support. A popular version of BASIC today is QBASIC.

BASIC is used in many business applications and is still considered a valid choice as a programming language for some purposes. Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB) adds object-oriented features and a graphical user interface to the standard BASIC.

The following example of BASIC gets a number from a user, multiplies the number by 10, and prints or displays the result:

10 PRINT
                                                                              'Enter a number'
                                                                              20 INPUT NUM 
                                                                              30 PRINT 'Your number * 10 is ';NUM*10;
                                                                            
                                     
This was last updated in May 2019

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