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

Last updated: December 23, 2016

What Does Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) 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)

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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Software DevelopmentProgramming LanguagesObject Oriented Programming (OOP)

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