A BETTER BASIC
BETA BASIC, from Betasoft, has already established itself as the standard extended Basic for the Spectrum. The launch of version 1.8 confirms that view with routines added to support interface and microdrives.
The new language adds 30 new commands and 20 functions to Sinclair Basic and makes use of the structuring commands which are available for machines such as the BBC Micro and the Commodore SX-64.
The language is so much better than the Sinclair Basic. As well as the structure commands such as DEF PROC which creates procedures similar to those on the QL there are also programming aid utilities, graphics commands, easier access to the memory of the Spectrum and a real time clock which even has an alarm.
The utilities include an AUTOline number command, a command which TRACEs the number of a line as it is executed in a program RUN and a horizontal screen SCROLL which behaves in a similar fashion to that on the ZX-81. There is also a ROLL utility which will scroll the screen vertically in any direction.
The 20 new functions include a PEEK which looks at 16-bit words, decimal to binary and decimal to hexadecimal converters, a SCREEN$ command which recognises both ordinary and user defined graphics and a function to convert a number into a different format such as that of decimal currency.
It is a great pity that Sinclair Research has not brought out a version of Beta Basic on its new Spectrum+ either on board the machine or as a microdrive cartridge or ROM. Betasoft turns Sinclair Basic from a good version of the language to a fantastic one.