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BBC Computer

BBC BASIC for the PC

Carry on programming in BBC BASIC. Use the programs you have written on the Z88, Acorn or any other computer on your PC! 

This is now a FREE and unsupported version and is supplied with BBC BASIC for Windows.

BBC BASIC (86) is fully configured for the IBM PC and compatibles, and all the statements and functions specified for BBC BASIC are available. It is supplied with a HTML manual and has been designed to be as compatible as possible with Version 4 of the 6502 BBC BASIC resident in the BBC Micro Master series. The language syntax is not always identical to that of the 6502 version but in most cases the 80x86 version is more tolerant.

BBC BASIC (86) version 4.82 is supplied in four versions:

  • BBCBASIC.EXE The standard 'small memory model' interpreter
  • BIGBASIC.EXE The large memory model' interpreter
  • BBCRUN.EXE The 'small memory model' run-only version
  • BIGRUN.EXE The large memory model' run-only version

You can use the run-only versions to combine a BBC BASIC program with a cut-down version of the interpreter to create a single executable file which may be run directly from the DOS prompt (or from Windows) without it necessarily being apparent that BBC BASIC is involved. Executable files created this way may be distributed freely without any royalty for BBCBASIC being due.

The 'small memory model' versions allocate 64 Kbytes (when available) for the user's program and variable space; the large memory model' versions allow the variable storage area (the heap) to exceed 64 Kbytes, up to the limit of low memory in the machine (normally a maximum of 640 Kbytes). The large memory model versions run slightly more slowly than the standard versions when performing the same operations, and use more code and data memory than the standard versions for the same BASIC program. The small memory model versions are also generally more appropriate when it is necessary to 'shell out' from BBC BASIC to run another DOS utility.

The documentation provided covers the features which differ from the standard Acorn versions and should therefore be read in conjunction with a standard BBC BASIC manual.

BBC BASIC (86) requires about 32 Kbytes of code space. When available, a full 64K segment is used for data (small memory model version), resulting in PAGE having a value of &900 and HIMEM a value of &F800. If less than 64K is available HIMEM will be set at a lower value. BBC BASIC releases any memory surplus to its requirements so that other programs may be run from within BBC BASIC (using a "star" command). If you have sufficient memory you can even run BBC BASIC from BBC BASIC (although this is hardly useful)!

Demonstration Software

Try out BBC BASIC now before ordering the full version.

This version has

  • HIMEM restricted to &2000
  • Program and data space limited to under 8K bytes

Download the software from here, put these files in a separate directory and type 'BBCDEMO' to run. BBC BASIC demonstration software

Serial Port

There's no code in BBC BASIC (86) to support the serial port directly, but you can (using *OPT 1) vector the output to MS-DOS's 'auxiliary output' which should be configurable in DOS to be a serial port. Details of *OPT are on Richard Russell's web site.

In the old versions of MS-DOS this was a fairly primitive (and therefore slow) polled interface, although possibly the implementation is more sophisticated under Windows.

Whenever I need access to the serial ports from BASIC (which I commonly do) I use assembler routines based on those supplied with BBC BASIC (86): i.e. the COMIO.BBC program on the distribution disk. This allows me to use high-speed interrupt-driven serial comms which work extremely well, but of course the use of assembler code makes it something not to be attempted by the faint-hearted!

There are a few details on using serial I/O from BBC BASIC (86) again on Richard Russell's web site.

Richard.Russell 11th January 2000

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BBC Computer
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Description Price VAT Total
BBC BASIC for Windows - IBM PC CD Disk
24.99 5.00 29.99
BBC BASIC for Windows - (5 user licence) 60.00 12.00 72.00
BBC BASIC for Windows - (25 user licence) 130.00 26.00
BBC BASIC (86) for DOS - IBM PC 3.5" 42.55 7.45 50.00
BBC BASIC (86) for DOS - IBM PC 3.5" Now comes FREE WITH BBC BASIC for Windows

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