I have not been this excited about a Basic language since Amos. The strange thing is that this Basic version has been around for a long time already and I just re-discovered it. What basic version I am talking about? Well ACE Basic Compiler of course. The big difference, and one to win you over, is the GUI support it has. Without having played a lot with it I already decided I should start a series of tutorials about ACE Basic. I believe this to be the perfect language for beginners to start programming on the Amiga.

The begin with I would really recommend you subscribe to the Amiga ACE mailing list. Once you are subscribed you can also download the latest version of ACE Basic Compiler from the Files section. The latest version can also be downloaded from Aminet. The installation instructions are pretty easy to follow. Everything is well documented so you won’t have any problems and if you do there is the ACE Basic mailing list and me of course.

The ACE Basic Compiler packages comes with the  AIDE (ACE Integrated Development Environment) which is a graphical front-end for the development of ACE programs. This makes it easy to compile your code compared to the more crude way of doing it from the shell. In this first tutorial I am going to show you how to compile ACE code both ways. First we need a very simple example that we can use for this.

print “Trying out ACE Basic Compiler”;
print “I like ACE Basic Compiler”;

Above you see our very simple example we are going to use in our compiling sessions. The command PRINT will print our sentence on the screen and the LOCATE command moves our cursor to the next line so that our two lines will not end up next to each other.

If you start AIDE and it is up and running you can select “Set” to get the file requester to open the source code file you want to run.

AIDE - Open source code file

If you select “Run” in the “Program” section it will run our example code.

AIDE - Running our code

Of course we want to create an executable file. You can set the folder in which the executable file can be placed. In Project you can select AIDE setup in which we will be able to set our folder. In “Temp Dir” you can select the folder which I have set to “Applications:ACEBASIC”.

AIDE - Setting the folder for our executable files

Once you click on “Executable” in the “Make” section our code will be compiled and the executable file will be placed in the “Applications:ACEBASIC” folder. Let’s move on to compiling from the shell. Let’s say our source code file is called “howtocompile.b” we would need to execute the below two commands.

ace howtocompile.b
bas howtocompile

The problem I ran in to is that “bas” would not run saying it is not executable. What you need to do is set the “script” option for the “bas” file. The “bas” file is located in the “bin” folder of “ACE:”.

Setting the script option for the BAS file

By default the “bas” script is looking for your file in the “RAM:T” folder. You can change the location by editing the “bas” script file in the editor of your choice. I am not sure if it can be set somewhere else like for example in the AIDE set up. For now I just moved my file to the location the “bas” script file is looking for. The ACE package comes with a lot of documentation which I would recommend you read. That’s it for starters. Next time we will dive deeper in to basic programming.