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Swift!BASIC's Integrated Development Environment

Swift!BASIC's Integrated Development Environment

Swift!BASIC comes with its own menu-system, and its editor and debugger work hand-in-hand to give immediate syntax checking.

If you type in a line of incorrect code and press (ENTER), the line will start to blink and the computer will beep twice. You can't proceed until you correct the mistake. This is great for catching typing mistakes or misused BASIC commands. However, if you don't know BASIC, you could be very frustrated. No error message appears on the screen and the cursor does not always move to the place where the error occurs.

The debugger also detects run-time errors. It has the usual trace-on and trace-off functions of other BASICs but, since there are no line numbers in the code, the display of a series of line numbers on the screen is less than helpful. On the other hand, the debugger will let you single-step through a program. Error messages are displayed on the screen and, when you enter the editor, the cursor moves to the line that has the error.

Beyond this, Swift!BASIC's debugger will also let you do remote debugging. All you need is another HP 95LX. With the two palmtops connected, you can watch your program execute on one while you observe the BASIC code on the other. The same thing can be done with a 95LX connected to a desktop PC. However, 95LX graphics commands will not display properly on the desktop computer.

Swift!BASIC's built-in editor is very functional, although limited. It lacks any ability to move, copy or delete blocks of code. It does not have any search and replace function. It does have the ability to jump to a specific line, and to search for labels.

Swift!BASIC has its own menu system, available at the touch of (MENU). The menu system is simple. It lets you load and save files created with Swift!BASIC. It also lets you import and export files in ASCII format. If you have BASIC files created in another form of BASIC, you can convert them to ASCII files and import them into Swift!BASIC. You'll still have to modify imported programs to make them run correctly under Swift!BASIC.

Due to memory limitations, there is no on-line help function in Swift!BASIC. However, this shortcoming could be overcome by creating a PhoneBook file containing a list of BASIC commands. Since both PhoneBook and Swift!BASIC are system compliant, a home-made help file would only be a keystroke away. Anyone who wants to create such a feature will get lots of keyboard practice; there are 77 pages of BASIC commands in the Swift!BASIC Users Manual.

iPhone Life magazine


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