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Who is Swift!BASIC For?

Who is Swift!BASIC For?

Swift!BASIC appears to be aimed at two categories of HP 95LX users.

It is designed first and foremost for the casual programmer. This might be someone who has programmed in BASIC in the past -- someone who has a desire to write one or more programs for the HP 95LX, but who doesn't have the time to learn C or assembler.

If you fit into this category, Swift!BASIC will let you write programs for your 95LX using only the palmtop. No other computer is needed. You'll even be able to create system compliant applications and add them to your APNAME.LST file.

You can write quick and dirty hacks, or elaborate, structured programs; take your pick. The only limitation is your imagination and a 60K limit on the size of your code.

Swift!BASIC may also prove a useful tool for professional system developers. It's a great way to prototype single, small applications or parts of a larger application. It might be especially useful for trying out 95LX function calls to see how they will behave before implementing them in C or assembler. Since Swift!BASIC is an interpreted language, you can go directly from coding to testing without compiling.

On the other hand, I would not normally recommend Swift!BASIC for beginning computer users. For one thing, the Swift!BASIC manual is more of a reference booklet than a user's guide. You can't use it alone to learn how to write programs in BASIC. However, with persistence and a good BASIC programming book, Swift!BASIC could become your first programming language.

If your plan is to write programs that may be distributed to other users, you should also be aware of one of the restrictions of Swift!BASIC.

With any program you distribute, you'll need to include the 44K SWIFT!.OVL file. This rather large file contains the run-time library for all Swift!BASIC programs. Without it, your program won't work. The positive aspect is that several Swift!BASIC programs can all use the same OVL file.

Even though there are no royalty payments for the distribution of the SWIFT!.OVL file, there's the hassle of designing an installation routine. The installation routine will have to make sure that the SWIFT!.OVL file resides in the root directory of the A or C drive on the 95LX.

iPhone Life magazine


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