capsule review

FutureBASIC3 Release 5

At a Glance
  • Staz Software FutureBASIC3 Release 5

    Macworld Rating

Staz Software's FutureBASIC3, a healthy suite of programs for developing Macintosh applications, combines the power and versatility of modern programming languages with the simplicity of the time-honored BASIC language.

Beginners can use a simplified run-time, Console, to write programs while not having to worry about things such as a graphical user interface (GUI) or printing. Experts can choose the Standard, Mac Toolbox, or Object run-time, and the latest release has two new run-times: Appearance implements all the new GUI features, and Game Engine is a powerful OpenGL framework for developing 3-D applications.

It's very easy to convert BASIC programs to FutureBASIC3. It's not yet possible to build shared libraries, but expert users will find plenty of opportunities to enhance applications.

Toolbox access is finally complete, making thousands of functions and procedures directly available. And the myriad possibilities don't make the program more difficult, since you can mix FutureBASIC keywords with Toolbox calls. FutureBASIC3's only disappointment is the absence of Mac OS X support.

The rich electronic documentation explains the development environment and the syntax of BASIC statements. It also introduces beginners to programming secrets and provides technical information such as Libraries and Toolbox calls.

Macworld's Buying Advice

Although BASIC was one of the first programming tools available on the Macintosh, FutureBASIC3 continues to impress. It gives beginners the knowledge and tools they need to write their first applications in a short time, and while the syntax remains fast and powerful, it's much simpler than C or Java.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Fast and powerful
    • Rich documentation
    • Abundant examples

    Cons

    • Builds applications that are not yet fully compatible with Mac OS X
    • Available only for Mac OS 9
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