My reviews of other BASIC packages

STOS or as I like to call it, 'Screw That Old Shit'

When I left the Atari 8-bit I had already made the transition to the ACTION! programming language which doesn't use line numbers.

Back in 1986 I saved up $750 and bought myself a shiny new 520ST. Having just left the Atari 8-bit scene I went looking for a new BASIC. I happened upon STOS one day so I gave it a shot. Loaded it up and my reaction was like, WTF? Welcome back to the dark ages with a blank screen and a ready prompt. Line numbers!!! Say it isn't so!!!! What, no UI/IDE whatsoever?!?!?!?! Seriously? Promptly quit using it in under 5 minutes. Probably a record.

Conclusion, avoid at all costs unless you prefer being stuck in old ST modes writing spaghetti code games.


HiSoft BASIC

I actually bought v2.10 having seen an ad. As it turns out, the only plus side was the GEM GUI. However, this turned out to be fatal under MiNT. Ends up being totally useless under a multitasking environment. Craps out every time you hit 'Run' or 'Compile'. :-(

Having played with it in SingleTOS, here are some of the things I noticed. It doesn't really feel like a BASIC at all. There's no interpreter, period. Gone is that instant satisfaction you get from clicking 'Run'. You can type complete gibberish into the editor and it won't care until you try to compile it. Enjoy a cascading pile of error messages like with 'C'. Math stack size, stack size, and various other odd settings, what? Seems overly complicated for a BASIC?! Don't get me started on the syntax. Suffice it to say it's very weird in places. Overall it feels like 'C' with a syntax facelift. FYI, it's the same editor used by Lattice 'C' and it has STATIC variables. Need more proof? If you enjoy debugging 'C' you will enjoy this. Sorry, not for me. I sold the package within a month.


Omikron BASIC

Tried this one at some point. Some of the things I've noticed. Compiled applications can't be easily disassembled as they appear as one large Data section. Seems to work like a program packer with a small stub. Somewhat unstable under MiNT. I suspect cache issues. There's no linker or library per say as the compiler does everything. Thus you can't easily patch or modify anything. Actually I've never seen a single patch program for Omikron. You will also be hard pressed to find any support or websites. I suppose that's an indicator of just how unpopular it is. I find the syntax unusual in a lot of places. Subroutine folding seems like a clunky after thought. The compiler stores blank source lines and comments in the compiled code!!!!!!!!!

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