FreeBASIC is a multiplatform, free/open source BASIC programming language and compiler for Microsoft Windows, protected-mode MS-DOS, Linux, FreeBSD and Xbox. The Xbox version is no longer maintained.
According to its official Web site, FreeBASIC provides syntax compatibility with programs originally written in Microsoft QuickBASIC. Unlike QuickBASIC, however, FreeBASIC is a command line only compiler, unless users manually install an external integrated development environment of their choice. IDEs specifically made for FreeBASIC include FBide and FbEdit.

Compiler features

On its back end, FreeBASIC makes use of GNU Binutils in order to produce console and graphical user interface applications. FreeBASIC supports the linking and creation of C static and dynamic libraries and has limited support for C++ libraries. As a result, code compiled in FreeBASIC can be reused in most native development environments.
C style preprocessing, including multiline macros, conditional compiling and file inclusion, is supported. The preprocessor also has access to symbol information and compiler settings, such as the language dialect.


Initially, FreeBASIC emulated Microsoft QuickBASIC syntax as closely as possible. Beyond that, the language has continued its evolution. As a result, FreeBASIC combines several language dialects for maximum level of compatibility with QuickBASIC and full access to modern features. New features include support for concepts such as objects, operator overloading, function overloading, namespaces and others.
Newline characters indicate the termination of programming statements. A programming statement can be distributed on multiple consecutive lines by using the underscore line continuation char, whereas multiple statements may be written on a single line by separating each statement with a colon.
Block comments, as well as end-of-line remarks are supported. Full line comments are made with an apostrophe ', while blocks of commented code begin with /' and end with '/.
FreeBASIC is not case-sensitive.

Graphics library

FreeBASIC provides built-in, QuickBASIC compatible graphics support through FBgfx, which is automatically included into programs that make a call to the SCREEN command. Its backend defaults to OpenGL on Linux and DirectX on Microsoft Windows. This abstraction makes FBgfx graphics code cross-platform compatible. However, FBgfx is not hardware accelerated.
Users familiar with external graphics utilities such as OpenGL or the Windows API can use them without interfering with the built-in graphics library.

Language dialects

As FreeBASIC has evolved, changes have been made that required breaking older-styled syntax. In order to continue supporting programs written using the older syntax, FreeBASIC now supports the following dialects:
Standard programs, such as the "Hello, World!" program are done just as they were in QuickBASIC.

Print "Hello, World!"
sleep:end 'Comment, prevents the program window from closing instantly

FreeBASIC adds to this with support for object-oriented features such as methods, constructors, dynamic memory allocation, properties and temporary allocation.

Type Vector
x As Integer
y As Integer
Declare Constructor
Declare Property getX As Integer
Declare Property getY As Integer
End Type
Constructor Vector
x = nX
y = nY
End Constructor
Property Vector.getX As Integer
Return x
End Property
Property Vector.getY As Integer
Return y
End Property

Dim As Vector Ptr player = New Vector
  • player = Type
Print player->getX
Print player->getY
Delete player
Sleep 'Prevents the program window from closing instantly

In both cases, the language is well suited for learning purposes.