|Manual contents (Statement index)|
|Language features||The basics • Arrays • Data structures • Interrupt routines • User-defined functions|
|Interfaces||Audio player • Bluetooth • Files • Graphics • HTML • Keyboard • Sockets • SQL • Telecom|
|Programming notes||Coexisting with Android|
Welcome! This wiki documents RFO-BASIC! versions 1.91/1.92/1.92.1, a BASIC interpreter that runs on Android, with a program text editor, that lets old-style programmers quickly write apps with access to most of the device's features, including web surfing, telephony, and texting. This manual is based on the published manual, plus comments the community has provided on the Forum.
Pages of this wiki will be written gradually and will be based on the existing manual, on personal observations, on study of the examples in the distribution kit, and on discussions on the Forum. Any given assertion might not yet have been reviewed by anyone with detailed knowledge of the code. It may give you additional insight but you rely on it at your own risk. This website is not complete until we say it is!
This wiki contains an overview article, which is a useful place to start reading.
To make suggestions or report mistakes, click on "Discussion" at the top of the article in question, to edit that article's talk page; or use the Forum. This is a wiki that anyone can edit. However, if English is not your native language, please comment on the Discussion page, adding links to relevant Forum discussions or bug reports, and allow me to shine it up.
Running RFO-BASIC! programs
Apps written in RFO-BASIC! can be activated in one of two ways:
- You can sideload the APK file for RFO-BASIC! and install it on the Android device. Then run it and give it the permissions it requests. This is not as scary as it seems; for example, RFO-BASIC! does not need to send texts, but it requests that permission so that BASIC programs can do so (with the SMS statements).
A BASIC source file can be transferred to the Android device in any desired way, such as with Bluetooth, web transfer, or thumbdrive. BASIC code can also be written using the text editor in RFO-BASIC!.
Once both RFO-BASIC! and the BASIC source program are on board, you can run the program in one of the following ways:
- Start RFO-BASIC, select Load and run on the pulldown menu, and specify the name of the BASIC source program.
- Installing RFO-BASIC! adds a widget that lets you associate a BASIC source program with a graphic and places the graphic on the home screen. The Android device will run the BASIC program whenever you touch the graphic.
- Several programs mentioned below let you develop the BASIC program on a PC and create an APK file that includes both the RFO-BASIC! interpreter and the BASIC program. This APK file can be sideloaded onto the Android device. (Such APK files are not "shrink-wrapped" programs. A user of the APK file could view or change the BASIC code by renaming APK to ZIP and then exploring the file.)
- Version 1.92
In 2019, Google imposed new requirements on publishing APK files created using option 2 above on the Google Play Store. RFO-BASIC! version 1.91 used API 18 as the target Android version, but Google requires that apps published on the Play Store must target a current Android API Level. RFO-BASIC! version 1.92, published in April 2019, runs on API Level 27 (Android 8/Oreo). It can run on API Level 28 (Android 9/Pie) but some commands fail.
Additional changes in version 1.92 are as follows:
- On installation, the procedure to grant RFO-BASIC! various Android permissions is different.
- The user interface uses Japanese if that is the locale specified for the Android device.
- SMS messaging is no longer supported in the Google Play Edition, but is supported in the Full Edition.
- The documentation of the NOTIFY statement mentions that it produces different results on different versions of Android.
- Version 1.92.1
A version called 1.92-gp (Google Play) was prepared, limited to meet Google's restrictions on the Play Store, but was never put into the Play Store because bugs remained, primarily related to changes Google made to programs that used the Apache library.
On 30-Jul-20, Mougino prepared version 1.92.1. It omitted the SMS statements, packaged in the GW user-interface library and a new
Sample Programs/f41_gw_gui.bas as an introduction, revised and corrected
Sample Programs/f01_commands.bas, and fixed the crash in the DEVICE statement in API 22 and newer. It targets API 29.
The package name is
com.rfo.basic already exists in the Play Store. This means it could coexist with the other "current versions," and a BASIC program running under 1.92.1 could run concurrently with a BASIC program running under another current version. You should rename the
rfo-basic directory before installing the version 1.92.1, in order to preserve work done under the old version.
Alternatives to version 1.92 are to use one of the private versions of RFO-BASIC!, such as hBasic or Oli-BASIC, or special instructions to the APK compiler.
Implementors are welcome to modify the web addresses in this list if their projects move.
Classic RFO-BASIC! versions can be found in the following places:
- v1.90, v1.91, and v1.92 can be found at Paul Laughton's website
- Version 1.92.1 (see above)
- Sources, tools, and bug reports are on Github
The official manual, De Re BASIC!
Robert Rioja's improved version of the manual is on his RvAdList website. He plans to incorporate descriptions of OliBasic enhancements (see below).
There is also an incomplete tutorial based on version 1.71.
Several users have taken RFO-BASIC! further and published newer versions. This wiki describes areas in which they have done additional work, but does not document their versions.
The hBasic edition and its documentation are available at the hBasic repository:
The repository contains the following versions:
- v2.94, 2020, targets Android API 29 with a flag in the Manifest to specify the traditional file-storage scheme instead of Scoped Storage; ensures that the DEVICE.OS statement returns a usable result
- "hbasic.v2.94-for-quick.apk" is the final version that will work with Mougino's QuickAPK. However, APKs produced with it will not be accepted by the Google Play Store and will not run with Android 11 and newer.
- v4.30, 2-Jul-22, targets API 31 (Android 12) (but see v4.48 below regarding a fix made in v4.39). Includes an FTP server to get around Scoped Storage. Unified control stack ensures that exiting a control block discards inner blocks. Adds color and formatting features to the text console. Colors can be specified by strings as well as RGB codes throughout. User interface and menus are more customizable. Uses Android 11 "Themes" compatibly across console, graphics display, and HTML display. Announced in the Forum. See also announcements of the intermediate versions v3.32, v4.13, v4.15, and v4.21.
- v4.49, 18-Dec-22, PROGRAM.INFO returns more items, FILE statements improved, bugs fixed; corrects the Manifest to allow installation on Android 12 devices; improvements to new CONSOLE control and to graphic acceleration. Shortcut on the home screen will divert interpreter to the specified program even if it had been running a different one. Various other fixes and heuristics to accommodate changes in Android. Announced in the Forum. See also announcements of the intermediate versions v4.38, v4.39, and v4.48.
- v4.60, 3-Mar-23, targets API 33. Enhances statement syntax, such as for SENSORS; fixes longstanding bugs, such as in the widget and use of the clipboard. Announced in the Forum.
- v4.78, 23-Aug-23. Fixes and enhancements for Bluetooth, GPS, sensors, and text console; new example files. Announced in the Forum. The intermediate version v4.68 (26-Jun-23) was announced in the Forum.
- v4.84, 13-Oct-23. Adds syntax for (1) more detailed control over Android notifications, (2) device-independent queries about locale, Android version, and battery status, and (3) inhibiting brief display of the text console in BASIC programs that use the graphics or browser displays. Announced in the Forum.
- v4.91, 30-Nov-23, targets API 34. Smoother operation of text console, device orientation, and FTP server. Announced in the Forum.
Filenames on this repository have _file appended (such as hbasic.v4.84.apk_file). This must be removed manually after downloading to get a usable .APK file.
OliBasic has made ambitious additions to RFO-BASIC! — most notably, a set of ARRAY statements that quickly operate on data in numeric arrays, obviating time-consuming loops in the BASIC code. Like hBasic, OliBasic implements the unified control stack, ensuring it discards loop information when the program exits an outer loop or returns from a routine.
- OliBasic (version 20) with examples
- OliBasic (version 21, 23-Dec-17)
- OliBasic (preview of version 30, targets Android API 28)
- Preview of version 30, 4-May-21 (OliBasic3_00PreviewV30x_l.apk), bug fixes. Link to APK and to documentation is in Forum 6292.
- OliBasic (Easter 2023 preview of version 30) supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and serial data transfer over USB, includes other enhancements. See post #44 of that Forum; APK is here.
- Post #46 of that Forum (23-May-23) has an APK and PDF documentation of OliBasic with a Bluetooth fix for use with microcontrollers.
- Posts #47 and #48 of that Forum (Oct-23) describe a DEVICE$() function and a CONSOLE.ISSHOWN statement to ensure that an unused text console does not appear briefly. Link to the APK, link to the documentation.
- Post #50 (3-Nov-23) introduces a newer version that allows custom fonts in pop-up controls and corrects the BUNDLE.PJ statement. Link to the APK; documentation forthcoming.
- Be sure to read to the bottom of that Forum thread, in case subsequent version 30 previews are posted.
Grau-BASIC is RFO-BASIC! v1.91 with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support, supporting source file editing from the PC.
Other support software
- GW library
The GW library is Mougino's user-defined functions that create user-interface objects to make it easy to write an app. The library is a part of RFO-BASIC! version 1.92.1. Download information for version 5.5 (25-Feb-21) is available through the RFO-Basic! Forum.
The private variant hBasic (see above) is structured as a variety of patches applied to standard RFO-Basic!. The hSuite package lets the user apply any or all of those patches, creating a personal hBasic with only the desired features. The current version is hSuite v3.20. It is available on DropBox for Windows or Linux.
- Android BASIC Compiler (ABC)
Mougino announced the Android BASIC compiler in 2016. It assembles the RFO-BASIC! interpreter directly from GitHub, plus the user's desired BASIC program, and produces an APK file.
In January 2022, Google removed it from the Play Store, claiming that it uploaded the user's phone number. Mougino provided source code to disprove this but did not prevail. He specifies in the Forum how to get an archived copy of ABC.
- Other development tools
- BasicWorks is Emile's Integrated Development Environment to develop BASIC programs into APKs on the PC for sideloading onto an Android device. Emile offers in the Forum to provide a link to get a copy, on Google Drive, on request — partly in order to gauge the interest for it. Years ago, a version was known as RFODESIGNER.
- Launcher is Mougino's software that lets you write BASIC code on the PC and then transfer it and execute it on your Android device.
For more support software, visit the Tools for BASIC! topic on the Forum.
- BASIC routines
This wiki contains the documentation for the following user-defined function, which anyone is welcome to include in BASIC programs:
- Other helpful information
- The Forum of users of RFO-BASIC!
- A page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Miraheze wiki farm that hosts this guide
- The MediaWiki help center: How to edit a website like this one