Microsoft KB Archive/57582

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Article ID: 57582

Article Last Modified on 11/21/2006

This article was previously published under Q57582


This article explains why Microsoft doesn't put a printed copy of the Language Reference manual in the QuickBasic Version 4.50 package. This manual has to be purchased separately.


Microsoft QuickBasic Versions 2.00, 2.01, 3.00, 4.00, and 4.00b are packaged with a printed copy of the Language Reference manual.

QuickBasic Version 4.50 provides the same reference manual as 4.00 and 4.00b, but instead of packaging a printed copy, the reference manual is stored on disk in the QB Advisor online Help system.

A printed copy of the "Microsoft QuickBasic 4.5: Basic Language Reference" can be purchased separately (in a three-ring binder). The "Manual Offer" form (in the Version 4.50 disk envelope) states the following:

...Microsoft QuickBasic provides you with a complete set of programming tools, including Microsoft QB Advisor. QB Advisor is the most innovative and comprehensive electronic help system available, providing you with on-line access to the "Basic Language Reference" manual.

Microsoft QB Advisor also features hyperlinks that let you instantly cross-reference to related topics, a scrollable/searchable window that lets you access information as you like, and cut and paste commands that let you insert executable program examples into your code. You can even print out sections of the on-line documentation for a hard-copy reference.

If you find, however, that you'd like to have the entire Microsoft QuickBasic "Basic Language Reference" manual in hard-copy format, you can order it in a three-ring binder directly from Microsoft....

In QuickBasic Version 4.50, our goal was to make the product accessible to the beginning programmer through both ease of use and low price. A major aspect of this product is its documentation strategy, where we provide all information that we've ever provided in the past, but we provide it only once, in its most usable format possible for the beginner/experimenter. For the language reference information, we decided that the advantages of fully context-sensitive help, complete with cut-and-paste examples, was the best way to speed the programming process.

We opted also to put keystroke-by-keystroke tutorials both on disk and on paper to help the beginner past every hurdle in writing his or her first structured Basic programs.

The tradeoff of a printed reference for an online reference in Version 4.50 unfortunately may not satisfy some users of QuickBasic, especially serious developers. However, this tradeoff helps us place the product at a price level accessible to a wider base of customers, especially beginning-level customers. As stated earlier, the printed manual can be purchased separately for those who really want it.

The QuickBasic product line will continue to be marketed with goals of affordability, learning ease, and powerful features. The documentation and pricing strategy for the next potential version of QuickBasic is currently being researched. We will gladly listen to your suggestions.

Basic Professional Development System 7.00

Microsoft has listened to and gathered the suggestions from QuickBasic and Microsoft Basic Compiler customers and professional developers, and we have created a premium Basic product line:

Microsoft Basic Professional Development System (PDS) Version 7.00

Our design philosophy for Basic PDS 7.00 was simple: if the professional programmer might want a feature, then add it. We packed Basic PDS full of new features, including unprecedented amounts of technical documentation, both online and in print. Basic PDS 7.00 includes over 14 megabytes (fully installed) of software and over 2250 pages of printed documentation. In surveys, our professional users told us that they were willing to pay the cost of supporting a major Basic development effort and were certainly willing to pay for complete and thorough documentation, bound in their favorite type of binding (three-ring).

Microsoft hopes you find that Basic PDS 7.00 is a product that gives you all the documentation you could ever want in every format you could want. Basic PDS 7.00 is marketed for professional developers who want the best Basic compiler available. (QuickBasic is a separate, lower-priced, powerful product for a wider audience.)

Additional query words: QuickBas BasicCom

Keywords: KB57582