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This is the "Starting.txt" file, created TUE 2011 NOV 15 06:56 PM, (Eastern Standard time) revised SUN 2011 NOV 27 06:18 PM, revised TUE 2012 JAN 03 07:52 PM. (mostly correcting typos and minor errorsa) <Ray -- look for "verify", "incomplete", and "?????".> Mr. Ted Felix wrote a tutorial entitled, "QBasic for Kids". He also has a companion website, "Computer Science for Kids". I also found the original manual for BASIC, from Dartmouth college, if you can bear the concepts of "time sharing" and "teletype machines". I think we can all enjoy the material that already exists in the forums -- plus benefits to be gained by the opportunity to join an active user community!. If you Google "Ted Felix", you should be able to find Ted's home page. I will be studying his tutorials myself, but I think I must warn you first that there are MANY variations in operating systems, computer hardware, and many variations of BASIC dialects. I hope to give you a "heads up", so that you will not be unduly discouraged when you find some differences between what Ted describes, and your own experiences. P. S. You can, if you want to, look for and find the ORIGINAL User's Manual for BASIC from Dartmouth College. Your laptop should allow you to do things so much more easily than the "teletype machines" and "time sharing" facilities the original authors had to use. Perhaps you will think that "ancient history" is quaint! ~~~~ HELLO! Hello! I hope you have had some help getting acquainted with your computer. I have to assume that you can find articles on the Web, and that you can "click" a mouse. I trust also, that you are actively learning to use the vocabulary of Computer Science. Two brief notes for beginners -- (1) executable computer programs are often called "apps", or "applications". (2) in computer langauge, "execute" does NOT mean to put your program before a firing squad. It only means to run your program, that is, cause it to perform your instructions. Computer hardware and software changes so rapidly, and there are so many (slightly) different products, that it is difficult to keep up! So, I am trying to report as accurately as I can my own current (see date above) experiences on my NEW machine. It is a Toshiba laptop, with the Windows 7 operating system. Again, this is merely fact, not an endorsement. I hate it when I must change from familiar hardware and software (so did the late mister Noyce, one of the inventors of the integrated circuit chips which make personal computers possible). I must learn all over again how to do many things in new ways. <Begin whine> The keyboard doesn't feel the same! Some of the puntuation keys are in different places. The mouse doesn't work the same way! Windows 7 doesn't track "recent files", or search for them, the same way Windows XP did! And on and on, as I am in the process of discovering. Much of my old software is no longer compatible with the new operating system. My favorite programs don't work any more! :-( <end whine> It was a MAJOR switch from Disk Operating System (DOS) to Windows. It was a MAJOR switch from a 16-bit operating system to a 32-bit operatiog system (more than a gigabyte of documentation to read!). But even this was not sufficient to solve all of the world's problems. You can't even count to five billion with only 32 bits. And there are more than seven billion people on this planet now. And I'm sure that many people have more than one problem. Now it is a MAJOR switch from a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operatiog system, but I am confident that I will adapt. You will, too. I intend to use this newness as an opportunity to help beginners, because I am having to make a fresh new start myself. CAUTION! Sooner or later, you must learn to be very flexible to adapt to the continuing changes! WARNING! Not everyone is a "white hat" computer user. Some Web sites may be used to perpetrate scams, and some sites are fraudulent. Ask your computer teacher at school for her advice on how to avoid "malware", viruses, identity theft, and other frauds. Also, if your computer system (hardware and software) is not exactly like mine, (and, it probably isn't EXACTLY), you will experience some differences from what I am about to describe. Adapt! :-| I hope that I can help you by recording my experiences, as I start working with my new laptop computer. Just as there were many changes when I had to switch from a 16-bit operating system to a 32-bit system, so do I expect that there will be many changes when in switching from a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit system. I have already discovered that many of my favorite (old) programs have incompatibility issues. But I have used QB64 sucessfully to run several of my old BASIC programs. They ran 10 times FASTER, and I can use windows MUCH LARGER than 640 pixels by 480 pixels. THERE ARE MANY OTHER RESOURCES There are many resources available for you -- you won't need to rely exclusively on me. In fact, I expect you to explore a lot. The more sources, tutorials, and sample programs you encounter, the more robust your working knowledge base will become. I do not expect you to rely entirely on me. You must learn for yourself, and learn to be flexible! For example: at the very bottom of the Official QB64 Website page, there is a blue rectangle, with words next to it on either side, "Video (2)" and, "QB64 Tutorial -- QBasic for Windows 7 Vista Linux -- Free". (*) Place your mouse in the blue rectangle. (This works best when the QB64 page occupies your full screen. You may not see all of the pop-up window otherwise.) You should see a large black rectangle (the play-back area where your choice of videos will appear.) To the right of this are two Smaller blue rectangles, labelled "QB64 Tutorial -- QBasic for Windows 7 Vista" and "QBasic Tutorial 1 -- Getting Started -- Free". (*) Place your mouse in your choice of the two small blue rectangles. Be careful that your mouse doesn't pass over the OTHER rectangle when you are trying to select the other video. The selected video (with spoken sounds) should start to play automatically. (*) I recommend that you listen to BOTH tutorials (they last only about five minutes) -- it won't hurt you to know a little bit about several slightly different versions of BASIC, running in several different environments. The people at School Freeware may even explain some things to you even better than I can! You may notice that QB64 does not have a "Help" option. Fear not! There is a documentation wiki available, which will give you full details on all QB64 BASIC keywords. I will explain how to find this documentation later, after I have explained how to write a simple program. One of the BASIC programs talked about in the videos is an INTERPRETER -- it has its own separate, special option to make an executable file. QB64 is a COMPILER -- it only creates executable files. This usually takes about a minute before you can run your program, but the resulting program will run so much faster! You can run your new executable app over and over, and will not need to use QB64 again, until you want to change your app or write a new one. HOW TO OBTAIN SOME USEFUL RESOURCES Use your search engine of choice. (I have used Google in a car dealership while waiting for car repairs, and Firefox at the Caroline County (Maryland) public library; I use Norton Safe Search at home. This is a statement of fact, not an endorsement for any one of these products.) I'm writing these instructions in "baby steps", because I understand that Computer Science can be very confusing to beginners. Above most other priorities, I want lots of students to learn how to write their own apps. This is NOT "The App Store" -- this is a free, Do-it-yourself "App FACTORY"! (1) Search for "Go To _Wikipedia_" seems to be the most useful link. (I put my underscores in front of and behind the words of titles. This helps ME avoid confusion with Internet links. It's also I hope, more legible and easier than underlining the entire title, especially since I use "good old Notepad" as my editor of choice.) (2) Click on the word "_Wikipedia_" in the phrase, "Go To _Wikipedia_". It's blue or purple, and underlined, to indicate that this is a link to another Web page. A new page should appear, with the title "Wikipedia", and a picture of a sphere with symbols from various alphabets, surrounded by the names of several different languages. I will be exploring only the "English" Wikipedia. (3) Click on the blue word, "English", just above the phrase, "The Free Encyclopedia". Another new page should appear. At the top, it says, "Log in / create account". (You may want to use this later, but perhaps not today -- and not without permission.) Just below this is a rectangle containing the word, "Search", and a picture of a detective's magnifying glass. This rectangle is what we want now. (4) Click inside the "Search" rectangle. Type in the characters, "QB64". then click on the picture of the magnifying glass inside the rectangle. This should bring up the page with the title, "QB64", and a picture -- the QB64 logo. This is NOT the QB64 home page, but it's within hailing distance. The bottom line in the medium-sized rectangle containing the picture of the bee, says, "Website http://WWW.QB64.net", (in purple text, followed by a small box with a blue arrow). This is another link. (5) Click on the purple text, "http://WWW.QB64.net". (This IS the URL for the QB64 home page.) You should see the "bee" logo again, with the caption, "The Official QB64 Website". To the right of the bee is a column of three icons: (A) THe red, green, blue, and yellow Windows icon, (B) a penguin icon, and (C) a silver Apple logo. These emblems correspond to (A) the Windows operating system, (B) the Unix operating system, and (C) Apple's operating system. To the left of the "bee" logo, you should see "Documentation (WIKI)". You will want to use this as a source of reference information, later. It discusses, in detail, most of the things you will need to know to create your own apps, AFTER you have your own free copy of the QB64 BASIC compiler. FOR YOUR INFORMATION For your information: downloading the file takes about 15 minutes. I succeeded in installing the QB64 compiler a few days ago, and am unwilling to risk messing up a situation that appears to be working for me, on my computer. Therefore, I cannot guarantee thgat EVERY DETAIL for the next few steps is absolutely correct (I just do my best.) Besides, if you have different hardware or a different operating system, some details (for you) are certain to be slightly different. YOU MAY NEED MORE HELP HERE THAN I (alone, and far away) CAN GIVE YOU (6) If you have permission (and you may need the help and support of your computer teacher, too) find and click on the purple "Download Details" text which is most suitable for YOUR computer system. You may see a dialog box titled "File Download". "Do you want to save this file, or find a program online to open it?" Your options are, "Find", "Save", and "Cancel". Notice the warning -- this is serious! You need permission, and you may need help. ASK for help if you need it, or click on "Cancel", if you're not sure what to do. "While files from the Internet can be useful, some files can potentially harm your computer. If you do not trust the source, do not find a program to open this file or save this file." "What's the risk?" links to a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ's) titled, "Downloading files from the Internet: frequently asked questions". (7) If you have successfully downloaded the compiler program, you will need to find it. Perhaps this advice will help: "Where are downloaded files saved?" "When you download files, Windows usually saves them in the Downloads folder, which is located under your user name in the Users folder on the drive where Windows is installed (for example C:\users\your name\downloads). When you are saving the file, you can choose to save it to a different folder. Some different types of files are saved to different folders by default. For example, if you right-click a picture on a webpage and then choose Save Picture As from the menu, the picture will be saved to the Pictures folder by default. If you're not sure where the file was saved, you can search for it from the Start menu." The above text is the advice I got from my windows 7 system. Since your system is almost certainly NOT exactly like mine, you will need to learn to be flexible! I found a file named "qb64v0942-win", of type "Compressed (zipped) folder", and put in in a new folder I named, "QB64Folder". (8) Double click on the downloaded file. It should open up into everything (every file) you need to compile your own apps. I found three folders: "internal", "samples", and "source", plus a number of ".dll" files, (which are support files for running QB64 and the apps it creates,) and the "qb64" application itself. A NOTE I was very pleased to find an elementary tutorial by Ted Felix. It looks like a great introduction! Unfortunately, he seems to be using a slightly older operating system, and possibly an earlier version of BASIC, too. Consequently, you will find that some things may not work EXACTLY the ways he describes, especially in the first few chapters. You will need to be adaptible! STOPPING AN OUT-OF-CONTROL PROGRAM This stuff is IMPORTANT TO KNOW before you start writing programs which can loop forever and never end (without your help). My laptop does not have a "Break" key! I need to do the following steps to stop a program caught in an endless loop, or otherwise "out of control": (A) Hold down these three keys, all at the same time -- "CTRL", "ALT", and "DEL". These messages (from the Windows 7 operating system) should fill the display screen: --> Lock this computer --> Switch User --> Log off --> Change a password... --> Start Task Manager WHAT TO DO (B) Select "Task Manager" from this list. You should see a window containing a list of all of the programs which are running. The name of your program should be on this list. (C) Find and select the name of the program which is running "out of control". You should see a window intended to verify the action of closing down a program. It has these options: (programname) is not responding Close the program Wait for the program to respond (D) Click on "Close the program". Sometimes, a program leaves a window on the screen after it is closed. Most windows have three buttons at the top, some-what ike these: "_", "", and "X". If this happens, ... (E) click on the "X" button to close the window. You should now be able to resume normal operation of your computer. But, you have found evidence that there is a serious problem (a "bug") in your program. So, before you run your (defective) program again, ... (F) Restart your QB64 compiler. (G) Reload your program's source code. (H) Try to find the problem, then try to fix it by editing your source code. (I) Save your edited source code. (J) Recompile your program. (K) Test your program again, until it works properly. If it still doen't work properly, you will need to continue "debugging" the program -- reoeat the above steps until it does work. A SIMPLE COURTESY Sometimes, your computer's operating system will encounter a problem while executing one of your programs. It may present you with an error message screen with two buttons: "Send report", and "Don't Send". I think, in most situations, it is only polite to click the "Don't Send" button, because it's most likely that it is a coding error in your program, which is causing the problem. It is more appropriate to search the User Forum associated with your free software -- perhaps someone else has already posted a report on a problem similar to yours. And, even if nothing similar has been posted there, the User Community will probably be more sympathetic, and more knowledgable. vvvvv < VERIFY THIS! > vvvvv HOW TO CREATE AN APP (9) Double click on the icon for the "qb64" application. Caution! these is also a "qb64.bas" file, which you probably will never need, but may find interesting someday, after you learn the fundamentals of BASIC programming. You should find yourself in the QB64 Integrated Development Environment (the IDE). (10) Click on "New". This should put you into the integrated source code editor. (11) Type in: PRINT "Hello, World!" (12) Click on "Save As" then give your new app a new, unique name. (13) Click on "Run" and "Start". You should see several messages: "Creating exe" "Starting program" Finally, you should see a window with the text, "Hello, World!" displayed in it. This is your program, running! (Or, at least, it ran in a fraction of a second.) Congratulations! You have just created a new app! Look for it in the list of files in your QB64 folder. You can click on the icon for your new app to run it again -- you don't need to compile it again, unless you make changes to the source code. HOW TO FIND THE QB64 DOCUMENTATION < incomplete > Navigate to "The Official ... "Documentation Wiki" ... In the Contents box: "1 Keywords" ... "Keyword Reference - Alphabetical" ... "Keyword Reference - By usage" ... "Keyword Reference - By usage" will probably be more helpful as you begin learning. Once you understand what most of the keywords are for, the alphabetical listing is a handy reference. HOW TO FIND TED FELIX's TUTORIAL Just remember that Ted was using slightly older software. I hope the material I have written will help you work around the differences. Once you get through the first few chapters, Ted will be writing mostly about BASIC programming, and the differences between different operating systems will not matter nearly so much. NOW, START LOOKING AT SAMPLE PROGRAMS The QB64 User Community has provided plenty of these! I will review a few simple programs to get you started. After that, you are on your own. May you have good success! :-) The end.