TweetFollow Us on Twitter

ZBasic 5.0
Volume Number:5
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:Basic School

Zedcor Compiler 5.0

By Dave Kelly, Editorial Board

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

It seems that a month doesn’t go by that we don’t see an update to BASIC. This month we will talk about what’s new with ZBasic Compiler version 5.0. After a couple of years with ZBasic in our midst, Zedcor now has a solid product and it‘s still the fastest Basic available for the Macintosh.

New Price

The worst news is that Zedcor has raised the price to $199.95. The interesting thing about the increase in price is that both Microsoft and True Basic, Inc. have adjusted their prices to be competitive with Zedcor’s ZBasic. What do you get for the price? You get the ZBasic compiler with built in editor (which now works without crashing), a new Macintosh only manual, ZConvert.BAS program for converting MSBASIC to ZBasic, “The Program Generator” used for creating program shells, ZMover Toolbox editor which is used to add or delete toolbox routines or USR routines, and dozens of usable examples and utility routines. The Program Generator program is a new rewritten product, not the old program generator which has been sold separately by Zedcor.

The Compiler

The ZBasic Compiler version 5.0 now appears to be a very solid product. It’s refreshing to be debugging my own programming errors instead of those of ZBasic. Of course, it is not possible to check every single command and toolbox call to report to you if a bomb occurred, but with those that I have tried I have had 100% success!

Zedcor’s built in editor now works, although it is not as fancy as Microsoft’s “pretty-printing” editor. The important thing is to be able to edit a program without going through the load-edit-save-compile-debug...etc. cycle. For search and replace you will have to rely on other text editors; ZBasic only has a Find command.

The Hypertext Help system is excellent if you want to look up something while using ZBasic. Clicking on keywords moves you through the Help system to find just what you are looking for. It’s like having the manual on line all the time.

The configuration options have changed only slightly from previous versions. You may now set the bundle bit of your application as it is compiled. In “Expert Programmer Mode” you can turn off the “Are you sure?” dialog boxes (Are you sure you want to turn this off?). One missing feature is the ability to automatically include a resource file in the compiled application or use the resource file when running under the ZBasic environment. Instead, Zedcor includes a copy of ResEdit (not the latest version) which you can use to move your resources to your new application.

NOTE: be sure to save any tokenized ZBasic files from previous versions as text files before throwing out the old version when you upgrade. The tokenization is different in 5.0, I’ll explain why in a few more paragraphs.

Improved Toolbox Support

The toolbox support in ZBasic is better than any Basic has ever provided before. Inside Macintosh will still be needed at your side to make sense of things. The new routines presented in Inside Macintosh vol. V are now supported. The best part of this is the examples which Bob Andrus submitted to Zedcor to demonstrate the use of Color Palette Animation, and Hierarchical and Pop up menus. Thanks Bob!

The manual which includes the toolbox calls in Appendix D, is organized much the same way as in the last version with families of toolbox commands and functions grouped together. The new toolbox commands provided in volume V of IM are grouped together on three pages in a category named ‘Color Quickdraw for Mac II and Beyond’. This list could have been sorted by functional groups to be easier to use. Also, this is the only group that does not include a brief description of what each routine does. Since you need Inside Macintosh anyway, the description is not that critical.

ZMover Toolbox Editor

ZMover is a toolbox statement editor written by Chris Stasny which will let you move statements in and out of ZBasic. The statements are manipulated in much the same way as Font/DA Mover manipulates DAs and Fonts. Any modification of ZBasic will prevent tokenized files from being properly loaded. I recommend that you always save your source code files as text, NEVER as tokenized, just in case the next version of ZBasic won’t have the same tokenization. The next version probably won’t be the same, especially if new toolbox commands are added.

The best part of ZMover is the ability to create new toolbox functions and commands and add them to your compiler. The manual gives full documentation on the code resource which stores the toolbox statements. (Andrew Gariepy promised to release this information over a year ago). The manual implies that the editor could be used to change the toolbox statements (for example change “FRAMERECT” to “MTBOX”.) I don’t recommend that anyone ever change the names of statements or functions which are documented in Inside Macintosh.

New Manual

The new ZBasic manual is exclusively for the Macintosh (no more MSDOS!!). The reference section of the manual now includes all the Mac commands; you don’t have to go to the appendix for anything except real toolbox statements.

The version 5.0 manual is organized in much the same way as the previous version with the addition of new toolbox calls and documentation for the Toolbox statement mover and ZConvert Utility. There is also documentation for Ztree, for fast operation of large data files in ZBasic. Ztree is a complete tree indexing subroutine which can be used to index up to 65,535 records (or it can be modified using long integers to index up to 2,147,483,647 records). This is an excellent utility which some ZBasic users have been asking for.

Toolbox documentation is good when used with Inside Macintosh. However, the documentation for Appletalk commands needs more examples or explanation. The structure of the AppleTalk commands deviates from Inside Macintosh. Since there are two versions of AppleTalk released (the preferred and the original AppleTalk) more clarification is needed.

The Program Generator

This program written by Chris Stasny is included on the ZBasic master disk. It will let you create a simple shell, or skeleton, of your program in just a few minutes. It can take a lot of tedious work to line up windows, buttons, edit fields and other controls in order to make a window ‘look good.’ The program generator will let you use draw type tools to place objects on your window. In addition, you may add up to 48 subroutines to your program. A few subroutines are included such as screen size, alerts, frame button, and reading the clipboard. You may add your own favorites as needed. This is a nice touch, but you could always append your own routines to the end via traditional cut/paste methods with about the same effort.

The documentation explains the generator’s use and limitations. A program like this is not meant to do all the work for you, only simplify the work so you can spend your time doing programming instead of illustrating your windows. The generator could be a big help to you depending on what kind of program you are writing. Any program that will need to have windows formatted can be off to a good start with the generator.

There are a few limitations which can be easily overcome with some programming, but at least it’s a start. The four basic types of Edit Fields are supported, but you will have to add the code to retrieve the contents of the fields. Buttons are fully supported in the event loop. A menu editor is provided in the generator which will let you set up simple non-heirarchical menus. Font, Style, and Size menus will be automatically created by simply typing in the menu title. Using and setting up menus is usually not too difficult anyway, so there isn’t too much savings here. Window types are selected from a dialog which displays the window types available. Only one window can be edited at a time. In order to do more windows, you must save the program source code (i.e. generate the new program) and open the source code for append (an option in the File menu). This is somewhat tedious, but still better than illustrating windows by brute force. You will need to plan out what you want the window to be like since the generator doesn’t let you resize anything. If you make a mistake, you have to delete the object and start over. Be sure to give your text enough width or it will wrap to the next line when you don’t want it to. It would be nice to have the text edit fields and buttons as part of the palette since they are just objects like everything else.

There are mixed thoughts about the usefulness of a program generator. For quick and dirty programs it is ideal to have the event loop already in place and an easy way to create windows, etc. It would be ideal in some cases to have the generator automatically create resource files for menus and windows created. You may just want to use ResEdit or Prototyper™ to create the resource files. I highly recommend Prototyper™ especially if you do any Pascal or C programming too. You will have to decide how useful the generator is for your own uses. I ask, is it worth the extra price of ZBasic? Probably not. The dozens of example programs included with ZBasic are worth much more than the program generator.

Z Best Basic?

At the moment, there are three major Basic products on the market which each have their own niche. True Basic has the most structured, strongest scientific language. QuickBASIC comes from the largest company which has supported MSBasic for many years and a nice programming environment. ZBasic is the fastest compiler and generates the smallest application code. It includes the most examples and utilities with the compiler. The price is a killer, but Zedcor has shown that they intend to continue supporting ZBasic for years to come. I’ll have to say that each time a new version of Basic is released, the newest released has been the best product at the time for various reasons. That being the case, ZBasic is best until one of the competition comes out with their next new version.

The following program is a variation of one printed in MacTutor vol. 4 No. 4 (April, 1988) in which you can see by comparison that the addition of just a few toolbox calls to ZBasic’s set of toolbox calls can simplify the programming effort considerably:

‘Color Picking with ZBasic 5.0
‘©MacTutor 1989
‘By Dave Kelly

WINDOW OFF
COORDINATE WINDOW
DIM Colorbox%(3),inColor%(3),outColor%(3),Point%(2),AlertText$(4)
DIM RGB1%(3),PaletteRect%(3)
red&=65535
green&=0
blue&=0

DEF MOUSE=-1
false%=0:true%=NOT(false)

GOSUB “GetColorMode”
IF ColorMode%>256 THEN ColorMode%=256 
LONG IF ColorMode%<16
AlertText$(1)=””
AlertText$(2)=”This Demo must be run on a”
AlertText$(3)=” Mac ][ in 16 or 256 colors”
AlertText$(4)=””
CALL PARAMTEXT(AlertText$(1), AlertText$(2), AlertText$(3), AlertText$(4))
AlertAns%=FN NOTEALERT(1,0)
GOTO “Quit”
END IF

MENU 1,0,1,”File”
MENU 1,1,1,”Select Color”
MENU 1,2,1,”Quit”
EDIT MENU 2

‘Find out screen size.
CALL GETWMGRPORT(WMgrPort&)
PortTop=PEEK WORD(WMgrPort&+8)
PortLeft=PEEK WORD(WMgrPort&+10)
PortBottom=PEEK WORD(WMgrPort&+12)
PortRight=PEEK WORD(WMgrPort&+14)

WINDOW 1,”Main Window”,(10,44)-(PortRight-4,PortBottom-4),5
GET WINDOW #1, WindowPtr&
TEXT ,,,0
BUTTON #6,1,”Quit”,(20,WINDOW(3)-50)-(85,WINDOW(3)-30),1
BUTTON #7,1,”Pick Color”,(120,WINDOW(3)-50)-(195,WINDOW(3)-30),1
CALL SETRECT(Colorbox%(0), 10,10,WINDOW(2)-10,
 WINDOW(3)-215)
PICTURE ON
LONG COLOR blue&,green&,red&
CALL PAINTRECT(Colorbox%(0))
COLOR=7
CALL FRAMERECT(Colorbox%(0))
CALL MOVETO(20,WINDOW(3)-100)
PRINT “Red:”;red&;” Green:”;green&;” Blue:”;blue&;SPACE$(10)
PICTURE OFF,Pic1&
PICTURE, Pic1&
WINDOW PICTURE #1,Pic1&

ON DIALOG GOSUB “Event”
ON MENU GOSUB “MenuEvent”
DIALOG ON:MENU ON
“Loop”
GOTO “Loop”
DIALOG STOP:MENU STOP

“MenuEvent”
Menunumber=MENU(0)
Menuitem=MENU(1)
MENU
IF Menunumber<>1 THEN RETURN
SELECT Menuitem
 CASE 1
 GOSUB “ColorPick”
 CASE 2
 GOSUB “Quit”
END SELECT
RETURN

“Quit”
WINDOW PICTURE #1,0
KILL PICTURE Pic1&
END

“ColorPick”:’A Color Selection routine
inColor%(0)=red&
inColor%(1)=green&
inColor%(2)=blue&
Result=FN GETCOLOR(Point%(0),”Choose the best
 color!”,inColor%(0),outColor%(0))
LONG IF Result<>0
 red&=outColor%(0)
 green&=outColor%(1)
 blue&=outColor%(2)
 IF red&<0 THEN red&=65536+red&
 IF green&<0 THEN green&=65536+green&
 IF blue&<0 THEN blue&=65536+blue&
 PICTURE ON
 LONG COLOR blue&,green&,red&
 CALL SETRECT(Colorbox%(0), 10,10,WINDOW(2)-10,
 WINDOW(3)-215)
 CALL PAINTRECT(Colorbox%(0))
 COLOR=7
 CALL FRAMERECT(Colorbox%(0))
 CALL MOVETO(20,WINDOW(3)-100)
 PRINT “Red:”;red&;” Green:”;green&;” Blue:”;blue&;SPACE$(10)
 PICTURE OFF,Pic1&
 PICTURE, Pic1&
 WINDOW PICTURE #1,Pic1&
END IF
RETURN

“Event”
 D=DIALOG(0)
SELECT D
 CASE 1
 GOSUB “ButtonEvent”
 CASE 4
 GOSUB “Quit”:’if close box selected
END SELECT
RETURN

“ButtonEvent”
Buttonpressed=DIALOG(1)
IF Buttonpressed=6 THEN “Quit”
IF Buttonpressed=7 THEN “ColorPick”
RETURN

REM * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * **
REM
“GetColorMode” ‘With thanks to Zedcor and Bob Andrus
REM
REM  SUBROUTINE TO GET THE B&W/COLOR MODE
REM
REM  ROM85=&H028E
REM
REM  RomTypeW& = -1    FOR 128K OR 512K
REM  RomTypeW& = 32767 FOR PLUS OR SE
REM  RomTypeW& = 16383 FOR ][
REM
 ROM85&=&H028E
 RomTypeW&=PEEK WORD(ROM85&)
REM
REM  TheGDevice=&H0CC8
REM
REM  gdMode& = 128 FOR   2 B&W OR COLORS
REM  gdMode& = 129 FOR   4 B&W OR COLORS
REM  gdMode& = 130 FOR  16 B&W OR COLORS
REM  gdMode& = 131 FOR 256 B&W OR COLORS
REM
 TheGDevice&=&H0CC8
 GDHandle&=PEEK LONG(TheGDevice&)
 GDPtr&=PEEK LONG(GDHandle&)
 gdMode&=PEEK LONG(GDPtr&+42)
REM
REM  GET THE B&W/COLOR MODE
REM
 IF RomTypeW&<>16383 THEN ColorMode%=2
 IF RomTypeW&<>16383 THEN RETURN
 IF gdMode&=128 THEN ColorMode%=2
 IF gdMode&=129 THEN ColorMode%=4
 IF gdMode&=130 THEN ColorMode%=16
 IF gdMode&=131 THEN ColorMode%=256
 RETURN

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

FileZilla 3.51.0 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.51.0: Bugfixes and minor changes: Fixed import of... Read more
KeyCue 9.8 - Displays all menu shortcut...
KeyCue has always been a handy tool for learning and remembering keyboard shortcuts. With a simple keystroke or click, KeyCue displays a table with all available keyboard shortcuts, system-wide... Read more
AppCleaner 3.5.1 - Uninstall your apps e...
AppCleaner allows you to uninstall your apps easily. It searches the files created by the applications and you can delete them quickly. Version 3.5.1: Fixed a code-signing issue causing AppCleaner... Read more
A Better Finder Attributes 7.03 - Change...
A Better Finder Attributes allows you to change JPEG & RAW shooting dates, JPEG EXIF meta-data tags, file creation & modification dates, file flags and deal with invisible files. Correct EXIF... Read more
Postbox 7.0.33 - Powerful and flexible e...
Postbox is a desktop feature-stuffed email client, news application, and feed reader that helps you manage your work life and increase productivity. Now you can organize all your email accounts in... Read more
Adobe InCopy 16.0 - Create streamlined e...
InCopy is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for $52.99/month (or $4.99/month for InCopy app only). Adobe InCopy, ideal for large team projects involving both written copy and design work,... Read more
Steam 2.0 - Multiplayer and communicatio...
Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute a large number of games and related media... Read more
Adobe Lightroom Classic 10.0 - Import, d...
You can download Lightroom for Mac as a part of Creative Cloud for only $9.99/month with Photoshop, included as part of the photography package. The latest version of Lightroom gives you all of the... Read more
Adobe InDesign 16.0 - Professional print...
InDesign is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InDesign customer). Adobe InDesign is part of Creative Cloud. That means you... Read more
Adobe After Effects 17.5 - Create profes...
After Effects is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for $52.99/month (or $20.99/month for a single app license). The new, more connected After Effects can make the impossible possible. Get... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Genshin Impact Currency Guide - What...
Genshin Impact is great fun, but make no mistake: this is a gacha game. It is designed specifically to suck away time and money from you, and one of the ways the game does this is by offering a drip-feed of currencies you will feel compelled to... | Read more »
XCOM 2 Collection on iOS now available f...
The XCOM 2 Collection, which was recently announced to be coming to iOS in November, is now available to pre-order on the App Store. [Read more] | Read more »
Presidents Run has returned for the 2020...
IKIN's popular endless runner Presidents Run has returned to iOS and Android just in time for the 2020 election season. It will see players choosing their favourite candidate and guiding them on a literal run for presidency to gather as many votes... | Read more »
New update for Cookies Must Die adds new...
A new update for Rebel Twins’ platformer shooter Cookies Must Die is coming out this week. The update adds quite a bit to the game, including new levels and characters to play around with. [Read more] | Read more »
Genshin Impact Guide - How to Beat Pyro...
The end game of Genshin Impact largely revolves around spending resin to take on world bosses and clear domain challenges. These fights grant amazing rewards like rare artifacts and ascension materials for weapons and adventurers, but obviously... | Read more »
Moto Rider GO has received a huge update...
Moto Rider GO: Highway Traffic is a popular free-to-play racing game that initially launched back in 2017 and has since racked up over 100 million downloads. Today it has received a sizeable update that introduces several KTM and Husqvarna... | Read more »
ORDESA is a spooky interactive film that...
French studio Cinétévé Experience and ARTE have released interactive movie ORDESA for iOS and Android today. It arrives at the perfect time of year, telling a story about a mysterious haunted house that the viewer suddenly finds themselves lost in... | Read more »
Genshin Impact Guide - How to Beat Storm...
If you've followed our progression guide for Genshin Impact up to Adventure Rank 25, you have reached the point where you can face off against Stormterror on a weekly basis for some pretty sweet rewards. Beating this deadly dragon isn't as easy as... | Read more »
MU Origin 2’s new update welcomes back l...
MU Origin 2 developer Webzen continues to churn out new content for the popular MMORPG and, true to form, it’s just released another update. This one encourages lapsed players to return to the game with the promise of new quests and rewards. [... | Read more »
Genshin Impact Guide - Everything you ne...
Genshin Impact has unveiled its first of what we can expect to be many special events and ongoing content updates. This latest update adds the Elemental Crucible Event. This event is available to any players that have reached Adventure Rank 20,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple has 2020 13″ MacBook Airs available sta...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2020 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $849 and up to $200 off the cost of new Airs. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a... Read more
These major wireless carriers will give you a...
Apple’s wireless partners are offering several deals on iPhone 12 pre-orders right now. If you’re willing to switch carriers, you can get a free iPhone 12 right now. Here’s where to take advantage of... Read more
4 day sale at Sams Club: Save $24-$29 on Appl...
Sams Club has Apple Watch Series 6 GPS models on sale this week for $24-$29 off Apple’s MSRP, starting at $374. Sale ends this Thursday, October 22nd: – 40mm Apple Watch Series 6 GPS: $374.98, save $... Read more
US Cellular offers Apple iPhone 12 Pro for $8...
US Cellular has the 2020 128GB iPhone 12 Pro available for $829 off MSRP for new customers signing up for an Unlimited data plan, or $5.66 per month. Cost of the phone is spread over a 30 month... Read more
Buy one Apple Watch SE or Series 6 at AT&...
Buy one Apple Watch SE or Series 6 at AT&T, and get $200 off the price of a second Apple Watch. One new line required, and price discounted reflected in bill credits over a 30 month period. The... Read more
AT&T offers free iPhone 12, $800 off iPho...
AT&T is offering Apple’s new iPhone 12 for free, or up to $800 off the iPhone 12 Pro, for customers opening a new line of service plus an eligible trade-in. Discount is applied via monthly bill... Read more
US Cellular offers free iPhone 12 for custome...
US Cellular has the 2020 64GB iPhone 12 available for free for new customers signing up for an Unlimited data plan. Cost of the phone is spread over a 30 month period. The fine print: “Promotional... Read more
New Xfinity Mobile promo: Take $250 off Apple...
New customers opening a new line of service can take $250 off the purchase of Apple’s new iPhone 12 or iPhone 23 Pro at Xfinity Mobile through 1/4/21. Service plan required. Their offer reduces the... Read more
New at Verizon: Get the Apple 2020 64GB iPhon...
Verizon is offering the new 2020 64GB iPhone 12 for free for customers switching and opening a new line of service, pre-orders starting at October 16, 2020. They’re offering up to $800 off on 128GB... Read more
Verizon offers the new iPhone 12 Pro for $800...
Verizon is offering the new 2020 iPhone 12 Pro for $800 off MSRP for pre-orders, starting on October 16, 2020. Their offer reduces the price of the 128GB iPhone 12 Pro, for example, to only $199.99... Read more

Jobs Board

Department Manager- Tech Shop/ *Apple* Stor...
…their parents want, and our faculty needs. As a Department Manager in our Tech Shop/ Apple Store you will spend the majority of your time on the sales floor engaging Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Consultation Professiona...
**782284BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Consultation Professional **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store Number or Department:** 000140-San Carlos-Store Read more
*Apple* /Mac IT Support - Randstad (United St...
Apple /Mac IT Support **job details:** + location:San Francisco, CA + salary:$45 - $50 per hour + date posted:Thursday, October 8, 2020 + job type:Contract + Read more
Partner Champion, *Apple* - Insight Network...
Partner Champion, Apple Tempe, AZ, US Requisition Number:78333 As an Apple Partner Champion at Insight, you represent and manage gross profit goals for a valued Read more
Platform - Workplace Eng - *Apple* Enterpri...
MORE ABOUT THIS JOB We are looking for an Apple Platform Engineer who will bring a unique engineering skill set, support, clarity, organization and above all else, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.