Screenshot of Atari BASIC, one of the BASIC implementations used by the small and simple home computers of the early 1980s. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, United States. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science microsoft visual basic net programming for the absolute beginner pdf mathematics to use computers.
At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn. Versions of BASIC became widespread on microcomputers in the mid-1970s and 1980s.
Microcomputers usually shipped with BASIC, often in the machine’s firmware. Having an easy-to-learn language on these early personal computers allowed small business owners, professionals, hobbyists, and consultants to develop custom software on computers they could afford. In the 2010s, BASIC was popular in many computing dialects and in new languages influenced by BASIC, such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic.
Before the mid-1960s, the only computers were huge mainframe computers. The computer stored these, then used a batch processing system to run this queue of jobs one after another, allowing very high levels of utilization of these expensive machines.
As the performance of computing hardware rose through the 1960s, multi-processing was developed. This allowed a mix of batch jobs to be run together, but the real revolution was the development of time-sharing.
Time-sharing allowed multiple remote interactive users to share use of the computer, interacting with the computer from computer terminals with keyboards and teletype printers, and later display screens, in much the same way as desktop computers or personal computers would be used later. The original BASIC language was released on May 1, 1964 by John G. Kurtz and implemented under their direction by a team of Dartmouth College students.
The acronym BASIC comes from the name of an unpublished paper by Thomas Kurtz. BASIC was designed to allow students to write mainframe computer programs for the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System. It was intended specifically for less technical users who did not have or want the mathematical background previously expected.