Monday, 24 December 2007

Gambas, Visual Basic for linux

The first computer language I learnt was BASIC. I taught myself using the examples on my first computer, a VTech(can't remember the exact model). I remember thinking how easy it was to learn and use, I wrote my first program after about a week, and it was to solve equations for my maths and physics school homework. Even though I later learnt C and a little bit of python I still used visual basic whenever I needed to make something really quickly. However, after I ditched windows for ubuntu I started looking for something to fill the gap, that's when I stumbled upon Gambas.
Gambas is a graphical development environment based on a BASIC interpreter. It may be similar to visual basic but it's not compatible with it. Here's some of the features as listed on the website.

  1. A Gambas project is stored under one directory. The archiver transforms the project directory structure in one sole executable file.
  2. Compiling a project only requires the compilation of the modified classes. Every external reference of a class is solved dynamically at the execution time.
  3. Gambas has a component architecture that allows to extend the language. Anyone can write components as shared libraries that dynamically add new native classes to the interpreter. Component can be written in Gambas too. The component architecture is documented in the Wiki encyclopaedia.
  4. By default, the Gambas interpreter is a text-only program. The component architecture is used for writing the graphical user interface part of the language.
  5. As the graphical user interface is implemented as a component, Gambas will be able to be independent of any toolkit! You will be able to write a program, and choose the toolkit later : GTK+, Qt, etc.
  6. Any window or dialog box can be used like a control. You cannot do such a thing with Visual Basic without using ActiveX.

Some shots of it in action.

You can get Gambas by entering the following into your terminal.

$ sudo apt-get install gambas

For more on Gambas check out the website.



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