Acquainting yourself with SpecBAS

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A quick guide to getting started in SpecBAS

Anyone familiar with BASIC may want to skip down to the 'editor controls' section

The BASICs for new users

When SpecBAS starts up, you will be greeted with a window, which is blank other than a copyright message. SpecBAS is controlled by BASIC commands, which can be typed into the 'command line' at the bottom of the screen, and executed by pressing enter/return. If SpecBAS does not understand the command, the cursor will move to the point of the error and flash red. The layout will be familiar to anyone who has had experience of old 8-bit computers such as the Sinclair or Timex machines.

Hello World

Commands can be stored into memory by pre-fixing them with a line number, they are arranged by line number to form a program. The program currently stored in memory will be displayed at the top of the window. More than one command can be stored on one line, or executed from the command line, by separating them with a : colon. For example, enter the following program:

10 PRINT "Hello World"
20 PRINT "Goodbye": PRINT "World"

This should now be stored in memory, and displayed at the top of the window. To execute a program, enter the command RUN . To save a program to disk, enter SAVE "filename" . To retrieve a saved program, enter LOAD "filename" . The command NEW will erase a program from memory. Individual lines can be erased by entering their line number alone ( to erase line 20, simply enter 20 ). Entering QUIT will exit SpecBAS.

Editor key controls

The editor window can be controlled, intuitively, via mouse control, and/or via the following key commands:

ctrl + cursor up    =  select previous line
ctrl + cursor down  =  select next line
tab                 =  edit selected line
escape              =  terminate, or 'break into' program
return              =  toggle editor window on/off
shift + cursor up   =  recall previous command
shift + cursor down =  revert the above

BASIC programs can also be loaded into specbas as ZXASCII text files from your editor of choice, detailed in File handling in SpecBAS

What can I do with it?

SpecBAS is broadly compatible with most forms of BASIC. Demo files are available for you to nose through. Writing games, utilities and fun-code in SpecBAS is remarkably simple. The speed of the interpreter, and vast amount of commands available allow impressive results to be achieved quickly. You could relive a couple of ZX81 type-ins, or just as easily throw together a fractal based animation, a slick arcade game, or useful utilities and tools.