Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

What Does Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code Mean?

Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) is a high-level and simple programming language that was introduced May 1, 1964. Although it is no longer a major programming language, BASIC is primarily used as a tool for teaching fundamental programming principles.

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Techopedia Explains Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

BASIC was developed by Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny of Dartmouth College to give students the ability to write programs for the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System (DTSS). Generally, these students were not focused on computer science and lacked technical backgrounds. When BASIC was released, using computers for research and teaching was a new concept.

Based on FORTRAN II and inspired by ALGOL 60, Dartmouth BASIC included components that allowed compatibility with time-sharing. BASIC’s initial release concentrated on mathematical work with matrix arithmetic support, followed by full string capability added in 1965. BASIC grew in popularity during the 1970s-80s.

QBasic, a BASIC variant, is commonly used today, along with Microsoft’s Visual Basic (VB) programming language, which has a graphical user interface (GUI) and object-oriented features.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.