Microsoft Corporation's Best Contributions to Personal Computing

OddMix.com - PC Technical Note - PCN0804 - Karl Nagy

Fig. 1. Microsoft Visual Basic Enterprise Edition [7 KB]
Fig. 1. Microsoft Visual Basic Enterprise Edition
Most of us PC (Personal Computer) users who have been fortunate to experience the growth of personal computing, its influence and power, have a lot to thank for Microsoft Corporation. In spite the popular sport of Microsoft bashing, we should reflect their contribution to bring computing to the public.

For those of us worked with early IBM compatible machines with their 10 MB (Megabyte) hard drives, 386 processors with their 4 MHz clock rate, and the classic Windows 3.3 that run in 2 MB of RAM memory, still remember the feel of the early DOS (Disc Operating System). And in those days the DOS programs always had that most useful BASIC and the DEBUG programs included. Both of those highly educational programs helped millions of people learning some programming and to understand how computers work.

In those early days of computing, computer programs made by skilled programmers who were proudest when they were able to program an entire BASIC language in 2K space. That is 2,000 Bytes, folks. Someone wrote a 1 K BASIC for the 6502 KIM machine, another for the RCA 1802 CMOS processor, and Microsoft had a 4 K BASIC in ROM memory for the Radio Shack TRS-80 machine using the Z-80 processor.

Most of the fiendishly fast machine language programs were hand coded, optimized and compiled by different editor assemblers. Computer game programming still uses a lot of assembly language programming. Microsoft had a real great one the Macro Assembler. Regretfully that was slowly disappeared into oblivion along with knowledgeable programmers. Newly made programs are almost always machine made, and seldom optimized. Because of that they are tend to be quite large. Most often the run time module is many times larger than the actual program.

People collected, and used all versions of BASIC, and many purchased the compiler version that Microsoft named QuickBasic. With the appearance of the Windows operating system, QuickBasic became Visual BASIC Figure 1. All versions of Microsoft BASIC were and are an outstanding product, I am proud to own. QuickBasic and Visual Basic is still useable if you were lucky enough to obtain them when they were available.

The Visual Studio package added more visual compilers grouped together, most notable were the Visual C, Visual Basic, Visual J++. They were and are still the workhorse of the PC programming industry.

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