64K BASIC supports four types of data. This data is stored in a variable. Variables are simply names that refer to a data value. Variable names consist of ASCII alphabetic characters followed by optional ASCII numeric characters. No special characters, such as underbars (_), are valid.
A value is assigned to a variable with the
LET has a
shortcut which is that using the word
LET is optional. If you are familiar
with other languages, it may look like an assignment operation without the
but there is technically no assignment operator in BASIC.
LET PI = 3.14 PI2 = 6.28
There are three numeric types and the string type. Decorating the variable with "!", "#", "%", and "$" will explicitly request a type.
LET A! = 1.5 ' Single, 32-bit floating point LET A# = 1.5 ' Double, 64-bit floating point LET A% = 5 ' Integer, signed 16-bit LET A$ = "X" ' String of up to 255 characters LET A = 1.5 ' Single unless changed with `DEFINT/SNG/DBL/STR`
Literals are unchanging values included in your source code. For example, "1.5" is a literal. Literals numbers may be typed using the "!", "#", and "%" decorators.
PRINT 3# + 0.14#
If you don't decorate a literal number, it will be assigned an appropriate type.
- If the number contains an exponent with the letter E, it is a Single.
- If the number contains an exponent with the letter D, it is a Double.
- If the number contains a decimal, it is a Single unless more than 7 digits.
- If the number has more than 7 digits, it is a Double.
- If the number fits into an Integer (-32767 to 32767), it is an Integer.
- Anything that doesn't match the above is a Single.
You can't have -32768 as a literal Integer although you can store -32768 as the result of an expression into an Integer variable. This is one of many quirks of BASIC that 64K BASIC preserves.
Integers may also be specified in hexadecimal or octal with the "&" decorator.
&10 ' Octal for 8 &010 ' Octal for 8 &H0D ' Hex for 13
Values are promoted as needed to preserve precision. For example, adding a Single to a Double causes the Single to be promoted and the addition done on two Doubles with the result being a Double.
Values are automatically demoted only by assignment with
LET. If the value
won't fit into an integer variable then you get an
Storing a Double value in a Single variable will result in a loss
A% = 300*300 ' ?OVERFLOW A% = 300+300 ' 600 A! = 1.2345678912345 ' 1.2345679
Strings may contain up to 255 characters. These are unicode characters, not graphemes or bytes. String literals are surrounded by quotation marks. There is no escape sequence so getting quotation marks in your string requires the use of a function. Source files are UTF-8 but only strings and comments may contain non-ASCII.
A1$ = "Hello" A2$ = CHR$(34) + "HELLO" + CHR$(34)
Expressions are anything that evaluates to a variable. The number
1 is an expression;
literals are a specific kind of expression. The variable
PI# is also an expression.
An expression may also perform arithmetic, compare values, and call functions.
Here are some example of expressions.
A + PI 2 / (A + B) CHR$(34)
64K BASIC supports the following operators, listed in order of precedence.
|13||^||Raise to a power|
|12||- +||Unary negation and unity|
|11||* /||Multiplication and division|
|9||%||Remainder (aka Modulo)|
|8||+ -||Addition and subtraction|
|7||= <> < <= > >=||Relational|
|6||NOT||Bitwise not, unary|
|3||XOR||Bitwise exclusive or|
Integer division (
\) is a quirk of BASIC. Regular division of two Integers
will promote both Integers to Singles first. Integer division is performed
only on Integers and may result in a
?DIVIDE BY ZERO or
error. Only regular division has this quirky promotion behavior to maintain
compatibility with early versions of BASIC that don't have an Integer type.
All Integer arithmetic is always checked for overflows and division by zero.
PRINT 10000*3 ' 30000 PRINT 10000*4 ' ?OVERFLOW PRINT 10/3 ' 3.3333333 PRINT 10\3 ' 3 PRINT 10/0 ' inf PRINT 10\0 ' ?DIVISION BY ZERO
Relational operators always return an Integer with a value of 0 for true or -1 (&xFFFF) for false. All relational operators evaluate at the same precedence. These are typically used with IF statements, but there are other uses if you take advantage of the 0 and -1 value guarantee.
|<=||Less than or equal|
|>=||Greater than or equal|
IF 10 < 100 THEN PRINT "INDEED" ((A<B)*1)+((A>B)*-1)
Logical operators perform bit-level arithmetic on Integers. Each of the 16 bits are computed with these truth tables.
X NOT X X Y X AND Y X Y X OR Y 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X Y X XOR Y X Y X IMP Y X Y X EQV Y 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Arrays are an extension of variables. You can make single dimension arrays (vectors) or multi dimensional arrays (matrices). Arrays are dimensioned before they are used. If you use an array before it is explicitly dimensioned, it will be automatically set to a dimension of 10. Dimensions must be positive Integers (0 to 32767). A dimension of 10 is actually 11 values (0 to 10) and a dimension of 0 is a single value numbered 0.
10 DIM BOARD(10,10) 20 LET BOARD(5,5) = 12
Arrays are sparse in 64K BASIC. This means you can dimension 32767 values but none use any memory unless they are set them to something other than default (0 or ""). Some BASIC implementations would let you set whether arrays start numbering at 0 or 1. Sparse arrays make this irrelevant so arrays always start at 0.
The next two chapters of this manual is a reference for statements and functions. 64K BASIC is a comprehensive implementation of early BASIC. Most programs only used a small subset, sometimes called minimal BASIC, so it's not necessary to read to the end of this book if all you want to do is port programs.
Here's a program you can decipher with the reference to get a feel for BASIC. Use CHR$(79) if the emoji isn't supported by your terminal.
10 INPUT ,"What is your name";NAME$ 20 IF VAL(LEFT$(TIME$,2)) < 5 OR VAL(LEFT$(TIME$,2)) > 10 GOTO 40 30 PRINT "Good morning, " NAME$ ".":GOTO 50 40 PRINT "Hello, " NAME$ "." 50 INPUT "How many cookies would you like";COOKIES 60 ON COOKIES GOTO 80,90,90 70 PRINT "You can't have" COOKIES "cookies.":GOTO 50 80 PRINT "Here is your cookie: " CHR$(127850):END 90 PRINT "COOKIES: "; 100 FOR I=1 TO COOKIES:PRINT CHR$(127850);:NEXT:PRINT