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MacBASIC was developed by Donn Denmann[1], with help from Marianne Hsiung, Larry Kenyon, and Bryan Stearns[2], all of Apple as part of the original Macintosh development effort starting in 1982.[3][4]

MacBASIC was released as Beta software in 1985, and was gaining adoption in places like the Dartmouth College Computer science department, when it was killed as part of a deal with Microsoft to extend the license for BASIC on the Apple II.[5] Although MacBASIC was retracted by Apple, pirated copies of the software and manual were floating around for several years, but because MacBASIC was not supported and not designed to be 32-bit-clean, interest eventually died out.

MacBASIC was both a comprehensive programming language and a fully interactive development environment which ran on the original Macintosh 128K. Benchmarks published by BYTE Magazine suggested that MacBASIC had better performance as compared to Microsoft BASIC[6]. The language include modern looping control structures, user-define functions, graphics, and access to the Macintosh Toolbox. The development environment supported multiple programs running sumultaneously with symbolic debugging including breakpoints and single-step execution.


  1. The inside scoop
  2. Re: MAC Basic vs MS Basic?
  6. Benchmarking Microsoft vs Macintosh BASIC
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