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Applesoft BASIC is a dialect of the BASIC programming language that was developed by Microsoft and licensed to Apple Computer for use on its Apple II series of computers.
It was introduced in 1977 and became the primary programming language for the Apple II, replacing the older Integer BASIC that had come with the original Apple II.
Applesoft BASIC was notable for its support of floating-point arithmetic and high-resolution graphics, making it a popular choice for developing games and other applications on the Apple II platform.
In this article, I will explore the history and features of Applesoft BASIC, as well as its influence on the early home computer market.
The Applesoft BASIC is a dialect of Microsoft BASIC developed by Marc McDonald and Ric Weiland in 1977, especially for Apple II computers.
Applesoft BASIC was supplied by Microsoft and its name is derived from the names of both Apple and Microsoft. Apple employees, including Randy Wigginton, adapted Microsoft’s interpreter for the Apple II and added several features.
|Released||April 16, 1977|
|System Requirements||Apple II|
It happened because, when Steve Wozniak wrote Integer BASIC for the Apple II, he did not implement support for floating-point math because he was primarily interested in writing games, a task for which integers alone were sufficient.
It supersedes Apple Integer BASIC and is the BASIC in ROM in all Apple II series computers after the original Apple II model. It is also referred to as FP BASIC (from “floating-point”) because of the Apple DOS command used to invoke it, instead of
INT for Integer BASIC.
The first version of Applesoft BASIC was released in 1977 on cassette tape and lacked proper support for high-resolution graphics. Applesoft II, which was made available on cassette and disk and in the ROM of the Apple II Plus and subsequent models, was released in 1978.
The later version of Applesoft BASIC has some syntax differences and support for the Apple II high-resolution graphics modes, which is usually synonymous with the term “Applesoft“.
Worth noting is that today Applesoft BASIC is 45 years old!
More about Applesoft BASIC
Applesoft BASIC was a revolutionary programming language that changed the way people thought about personal computers. Developed by Microsoft in 1977 and released for the Apple II line of computers, it was one of the first versions of BASIC specifically designed for use on a personal computer.
Prior to the release of Applesoft BASIC, personal computers were primarily used by hobbyists and enthusiasts, and programming them was a complex and time-consuming process. Applesoft BASIC changed all of that by providing a simple, easy-to-use programming language that could be used by anyone, regardless of their level of experience.
One of the key features of Applesoft BASIC was its ability to work with graphics and sound. This made it possible for users to create simple games and other interactive programs, which helped to drive the popularity of the Apple II and other personal computers.
Applesoft BASIC was also widely used in schools and universities as a teaching tool. It was easy to learn and provided a gentle introduction to programming concepts, making it a popular choice for students and educators alike.
Despite its widespread use, Applesoft BASIC was eventually replaced by more advanced programming languages, such as C and C++, as personal computers became more powerful and capable. However, it remains an important part of computing history and is still used by some hobbyists and retrocomputing enthusiasts today.
Overall, Applesoft BASIC was a major milestone in the development of personal computing, and its impact is still felt today. It paved the way for the widespread adoption of personal computers and helped to make programming accessible to everyone.
Learn More About BASIC From the Video
Further Reading and References
- Applesoft BASIC – Wikipedia
- How to Write an Apple II BASIC Program in Your Web Browser – How-To Geek
- Applesoft BASIC Programming Reference Manual – Apple2
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Last updated: March 7, 2023