Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
F.1 BASIC
; ---------------------
; Printing instructions
; ---------------------
; get number of characters to print
mov cx,Msg_Len
; get location of message
mov bx,offset Message
; get printer number (first printer is printer 0)
mov dx,0
Print_Loop:
; send character to printer 0
mov ah,0
mov al,[bx]
int 17h
; do next character
inc bx
loop Print_Loop
For comparison, let us see how this same task would be accomplished in the BASIC programming
language:
LPRINT "Happy printing"
The difference is pretty obvious.
As we have discussed, high-level languages are usually designed for a specific purpose. Generally,
this purpose is to write software applications of a specific type. For instance, Visual C++ and
Visual Basic are used primarily to write standalone Windows applications. Indeed, Microsoft
Excel itself is written in Visual C++. As another example, FORTRAN (which is a contraction of
Formula Translation ) is designed to write scientific and computational applications for various
platforms (including Windows). COBOL is used to write business-related applications (generally
for mainframe computers).
At the highest level in the programming language hierarchy, we find programs such as Excel VBA,
whose primary purpose is not to manipulate the operating system or hardware, nor to write
standalone Windows applications, but rather to manipulate a high-level software application (in
this case Microsoft Excel).
Just for fun, let us take a brief look at a handful of the more common programming languages.
F.1 BASIC
The word BASIC is an acronym for Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code , the key
word here being Beginners. BASIC was developed at Dartmouth College in 1963, by two
mathematicians: John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz. The intention was to design a programming
language for liberal arts students, who made up the vast majority of the student population at
Dartmouth. The goal was to create a language that would be friendly to the user and have a fast
turn-around time so it could be used effectively for homework assignments. (In those days, a
student would submit a program to a computer operator, who would place the program in a queue,
 
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