It’s ready and shipping. “It” being FutureBASIC^3 (Release 4), formerly Zbasic, from
STAZ Software. This upgrade of the development environment will be mailed free to current subscribers.
FutureBasic is a real basic language that adapts to your style whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, according to the folks at STAZ. FutureBASIC actually began life as a compiler on Z80 machines and was called Z-Basic. Since that time, it has undergone several changes and modernizations.
One of the new features available in Release 4 is the Profiler, which can monitor and record the amount of time spent in functions down to less than a microsecond, according to
The editor has several new features. There’s now menu selection for multiple types of graphic lines, which purportedly makes source code much easier to read and follow. A Function menu in the Project Manager lets users click on any file name to see a list of its functions. You can select any function name to open the file and move to the definition.
You can now choose text and remark it out with a single menu choice or click in a block remark to un-remark it. There’s a menu option for setting page breaks in printouts that even leaves visible markers in the window.
FutureBASIC^3 (Release 4) is also faster. The compiler is zippier, some floating point speed operations are twice as fast as Release 3, and some integer division operations are now four times as fast, according to the company. Plus, string operations have been optimized in PPC assembly for the greatest possible speed.
What’s more, you can use the EDIT$ statement to access a specific line, a range of characters, the current selection range, etc. The selection can be replaced with text and the font, size, style, and color can be changed.
With the new release, arrays — even floating point arrays — are available in records. And core initialization routines have been moved to source code so users can deal with the initialization of new managers.
FutureBASIC^3 has a suggested retail price of US$169 for individual copies and is sold by subscription. Upgrades are shipped on CD for a period of one year. Renewal price (and the upgrade price from FBII) is US$99. Lab packs and site licenses are also available. The software is also available in French, German, and Italian — and will soon be available in Japanese.
FB^3 works on PowerMacs and 68K Macs running System 7.5.1 or newer. If you want to manipulate large files and run the compiler, editor, and debugger at the same time, STAZ recommends 8MB of RAM.