PowerBASIC® 3.0
PowerBASIC . . . it's not your basic BASIC!
  1. PB3 directly creates TSR (terminate/stay-resident) programs which can "pop-down" to a memory image of 4K! Memory resident programs can be activated by practically any stimulus: a hot key, timer, inactivity, a hardware or software interrupt, even a message from a foreground program. In fact, it's possible for multiple TSRs to activate each other repeatedly, with two-way communication throughout. No other language offers this capability as an integral part of the compiler.
  2. PB3 uses all real mode memory for dynamic strings. It's the first and only Basic with a no-limit, handle-based string memory manager; QB is limited to substantially less than 64k, and PDS has "inside" segmentation limits (<64k per module, per sub-program, etc.)
  3. The PB3 String Memory Manager is a resource available to any user code. Both Basic and Assembler code can allocate, release, and alter memory blocks as required by the programmer. While other compilers may allow you to calcluate string location or assignment, none allow the full memory management functionality of PowerBASIC.
  4. PB3 compiles to true machine code in the integrated environment; the identical code as an .EXE file. You never need to deal with a slow, p-code interpreter as in QB and PDS. That means faster development, and the elimination of subtle differences between interpreted and compiled results.
  5. PB3 offers unsigned integer variable types: BYTE, WORD, DOUBLE WORD. (byte: 0-255 word: 0-65,535 dword: 0-4,294,967,295). Unsigned integers are not available in other Basic compilers.
  6. Optionally, PB3 can require that all variables be declared before use; this option greatly enhances the probability of catching "typos" automatically during compilation.
  7. Dual Monitor Support is offered in both the PowerBASIC Integrated Environment and the PBD Standalone debugger. This allows the programmer to simultaneously view a full screen of source code and debug information alongside a second full screen generated by the target program. Annoying screen flashes and pauses are eliminated.
  8. PowerBASIC is DesqView aware.
  9. As an enhancement to user-defined TYPES, PowerBASIC is the first Basic compiler to offer user-defined UNIONS as well.
  10. PB3 offers 64-bit signed integer variables types. Quad-word integers are not available in other Basic compilers.
  11. With PowerBASIC, there is no need to maintain numerous sets of libraries. Other compilers require one set of run time libraries for near strings, another for far strings, and still another for each of the floating point options. Then you need Quick Libraries for work in the IDE, but Link Libraries to create an .EXE. With PowerBASIC, there's no more confusion: All run time libraries are built into the compiler, and PB3 selects them automatically! Furthermore, the built-in PowerBASIC linker recognizes the same object modules, units, and libraries, whether you're running in the IDE or creating an .EXE.
  12. PB3 offers a USING$ function, which may be referenced in any string expression. It duplicates the numeric and text formatting capability of PRINT USING, but allows the result to be saved or modified, rather than require immediate printing.
  13. PB3 offers extended precision (80-bit) floating point variable types.
  14. The PRINT USING and USING$ functions in PB3 may be dynamically altered to format numeric values with leading zeros, or other special characters. Further, currency characters ("$,.") may be easily adapted to non-USA standards when needed.
  15. PB3 offers conditional compilation directives ($IF/$ELSE/$ENDIF) to allow easy version control, as well as large comment blocks in your source code.
  16. PB3 supports HUGE arrays (total data size > 64k) on a selective basis. Unlike other Basic compilers, the extra overhead of huge array calculation is only applied to those arrays which require it.
  17. PB3 supports fixed-point BCD variable type with variable precision from 0-18 digits, not a forced 4 digits which introduces additional round-off errors.
  18. PB3 supports floating point BCD variable type.
  19. PB3 offers built-in array manipulation functions: ARRAY SORT, ARRAY SCAN, ARRAY INSERT, and ARRAY DELETE.
  20. PB3 offers a full-functioned, built-in assembler. Critical sections of a program can easily be hand-optimized to provide the utmost performance, as Assembler and Basic can be intermixed line-by-line.
  21. PB3 won't run out of memory compiling the largest programs. It automatically uses EMS, XMS, and VMS virtual disk memory.
  22. User-defined TYPE arrays need not be a power of two in element size in order to exceed 128k of data space.
  23. The PB3 program editor offers the capability to read and write blocks of text to external disk files.
  24. PB3 supports source-level metastatements for all compilation switches.
  25. VIEW TEXT supports scrollable rectangular text view ports.
  26. PEEK and POKE extensions support byte, integer, and long integer.
  27. PEEK$ and POKE$ extensions support memory block moves or assignment.
  28. FLUSH will force all buffered data to be written to a disk file, while minimizing the overhead of a file close and re-open.
  29. PowerBASIC offers MIN and MAX functions which allow a variable number of arguments: PRINT MIN(a%,b%,c%,d%)
  30. BIT operations include shift, rotate, set, reset, toggle, test.
  31. BIT arrays up to 512k bits are implicitly supported.
  32. CHR$ allows a variable number of arguments. CRLF$ = chr$(13,10)
  33. Optional procedural math package offers faster calculation (improvement of 40% to 500%) when no numeric co-processor is installed. Procedural math package uses the 8087 if it is available, and can toggle between the emulator/procedural option on a statement-by-statement basis for the highest optimization. Procedural package adheres to IEEE floating-point standard.
  34. Flex string variable type offers fixed-length strings which may be sized dynamically at run-time.
  35. MAP statement allows flex scalar and array variables to be linked together into dynamic data structures, with nesting capabilities limited only by available memory. These data structures are created and sized dynamically at the time of program execution to offer dynamic data base capabilities.
  36. Many string and numeric functions offer the ANY option, such as INSTR("abcde", ANY "cq") returns 3.
  37. EXTRACT$ captures that portion of a string up to a sub-string.
  38. REPEAT$ creates a string from a repetition of another string.
  39. REPLACE substitutes one sub-string for all occurrences of another.
  40. REMOVE$ removes all occurrences of a sub-string.
  41. VERIFY ascertains that all characters in one string also occur in a second string.
  42. TALLY counts the occurrences of a sub-string.
  43. LTRIM$/RTRIM$ strip leading/trailing spaces or other characters.
  44. STR$(x,y) function specifies y significant decimal digits.
  45. ROUND(x,y) rounds off x to y digits past the decimal point.
  46. STRPTR/STRSEG return the address of any string variable data. Dynamic, Flex, and Fixed-length strings are supported as both scalars and arrays.
  47. END statement may return an optional error level.
  48. ASCII functions avoids error conditions of ASC function, by returning -1 if the argument is a zero-length string.
  49. Integer divide, MOD, AND, OR, XOR, EQV, and IMP are valid on all numeric values in the range of a quad-word (64-bit) integer (+/- 2^63-1).
  50. PB3 optionally generates 80286/80386 specific code.
  51. Library stripping for ambiguous library functions is controlled directly by meta-statements or menu choices, rather than the necessity of complex linker commands.
  52. Separate compilation via unit modules is simpler, faster, and offers standard PUBLIC/EXTERNAL statements.
  53. Assembler object modules may be linked via $LINK meta-statements.
  54. Executable files are generated directly rather than complex shells to a compiler and linker, resulting in faster compilation.
  55. A full complement of error checks can easily enabled or disabled, including STACK, NUMERIC, OVERFLOW, and BOUNDS.
  56. The PowerBasic editor doesn't alter capitalization or spacing, and doesn't insert or remove code from the source program.
  57. Line continuation characters are supported inside and ouside of the IDE.
  58. Identical code, just as efficient, is generated when error trapping is enabled. Other compilers generate larger, slower code whenever a program includes an ON ERROR GOTO clause. This is a serious factor often overlooked in published benchmarks.
  59. PowerBasic supports a single-line if/then/else statement which is 100% compatible with BASICA/GW-BASIC. Other Basics force this code to be re-written.
  60. PowerBasic performs short-circuit expression evaluation in boolean expressions.
  61. Interpreted print: the user chooses graphic character or interpreted actions for special ascii characters.
  62. MTIMER function provides microtimer accuracy.
  63. INSTAT function tests for a keypress without removing it from the keyboard buffer.
  64. INCR and DECR statements are offered for all numeric data types.
  65. Forward references to DEF FN, SUB, and FUNCTION are allowed.
  66. $SEGMENT allows multiple segments of module level code within the same source file. There is no requirement to split your program into multiple modules as your program size increases.
  67. EXP2, EXP10, LOG2 and LOG10 are supported.
  68. CEIL function returns the smallest integer greater or equal to n.
  69. CALL INTERRUPT is built right into the PowerBASIC language. There's no need to load a special library in order to access this capability.
  70. FRAC function returns the fractional part of n.
  71. FIX function returns the whole number part of n.
  72. ISTRUE and ISFALSE Boolean operators force true and false values to -1 and 0 respectively.
  73. ITERATE forces a new iteration of a loop.
  74. PB3 offers absolute arrays at any specific memory location.
  75. EXIT FAR provides a controlled, multi-level SUB/FUNCTION exit - a safe, yet powerful enhancement to the SETJMP and LONGJMP functions found in C compilers. This allows you to exit a SUB/FUNCTION, and immediately branch to the label most recently specified as an EXIT FAR destination in any "parent" procedure with any number of intervening procedure calls. All temporaries and local variables are released as necessary, so this is readily usable for special exception-processing. EXIT FAR constructs may be nested to any level.
  76. CODEPTR and CODESEG functions allow you to obtain the offset and Segment of any SUB, FUNCTION, or LABEL in the program. This capability, unavailable in other Basics, is essential for interrupt handlers and certain other assembler code.
  77. A standalone debugger (PBD.EXE) is included with PowerBASIC 3.0.
  78. The PB3 Librarian (PBLIB.EXE) constructs libraries which may include both industry-standard object modules (.obj), as well as highly efficient binary unit modules (.pbu) constructed by the PowerBASIC compiler.
  79. Internal assembler code can access all PowerBASIC variables (even local and static variables), as well as subs, functions, and labels.
  80. $ALIAS metastatement allows the name of the main data segment to be redefined for external object modules.
  81. BITS function allows fast, one-step conversion between signed and unsigned representations of a numeric value.
  82. Internal procedures ARRAYCALC and ARRAYINFO are provided so that assembler code can manipulate all aspects of PowerBASIC arrays.
  83. PowerBASIC offers the option to preserve or discard the GOSUB stack at the current SUB/FUNCTION level in case of a trapped error. If the choice is to discard it, substantially more efficient code can be generated.
  84. PowerBASIC functions can be called just as if they were a SUB, and the returned result is discarded.
  85. CLS statement offers options to clear the text viewport, the graphics viewport, the key line, or the entire screen.
  86. ERRTEST function returns the current error number, while resetting it to zero for future calls. This provides an efficient means of error polling when using ON ERROR RESUME NEXT to mask system errors.
  87. FILEATTR function can optionally return the open/closed status of a particular file number, as well as the record length of a random file.
  88. KEY statement now offers an optional third parameter which allows the programmer to define any shift keys which should be ignored in determining if ON KEY GOSUB should be called. With other Basics, it's necessary to declare numerous key statements to cover every possible combination of shift keys., or else an errant "caps lock" or "num lock" key can cause a defined hot-key to be ignored.
  89. NAME statement allows renaming of directories as well as files.
  90. Serial communication is supported at baud rates up to 115200. Other Basics are limited to 9600.
  91. DIR$ function allows you to read directory items with any attribute, not just normal files: sub-directories, volumes, hidden/system files.
  92. OPEN COM supports the DT option which causes DTR to be asserted after the communications file is closed.
  93. PowerBASIC supports direct access to COM3 and COM4.
  94. OPTION BINARY BASE allows the programmer to choose binary file access based at zero or one, depending upon the program logic.
  95. PowerBASIC provides documented Basic and Assembler access to numerous internal system variables. This provides easy access to the cpu type, co-processor type, cursor shape and visibility, PB revision, screen page and attributes, video card, print using format characters, screen/viewport size, and much more.
  96. BIN$ function returns the binary representation of a number.
  97. GET$ statement reads a binary file, assigning a specified number of bytes to a string variable.
  98. PUT$ statement writes a string expression to a binary file.
  99. DELAY statement pauses program execution for n seconds without the possibility of interrupt by a keystroke.
  100. While PowerBASIC offers a large superset of the functionality found in other compilers, moving up to PowerBASIC 3.0 couldn't be easier! PB3 is 99+% compatible with QuickBasic syntax, and our Programmer's Guide devotes a chapter to the minor differences which remain.