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README.rst

BASICODE

BASICODE was a 1980s-era cross-platform BASIC standard designed to allow software transmission by radio. It consisted of the following elements:

  • A subset of classic Microsoft BASIC common to the BASIC dialects of the target platforms
  • A standard set of subroutines to provide functionality for which no common BASIC syntax exists
  • An audio modulation format intended to be readable by data cassette players

See the summary of the BASICODE specification for details.

http://robhagemans.github.io/basicode/zwart1.jpg

This repository is a collection of BASICODE programs. You can run these in the online BASICODE interpreter, for which the source code is also available.

Background

BASICODE was developed in 1980 by Dutch broadcaster NOS for its hobby-electronics radio programme Hobbyscoop. Its purpose was to enable radio transmission of software to owners of numerous mutually incompatible 8-bit platforms.

BASICODE users would tape record the modulated program from the radio. They would need a native translation program for their platform, which would decode the common audio format and supplement the BASICODE program with the platform implementation of the standard subroutines. If everything went well, they would then be able to run and use the program.

The NOS started BASICODE transmissions in 1982 on medium wave Dutch radio. Other broadcasters followed suit: the Dutch TROS, the British BBC, the West German WDR and the East German Radio DDR all at one time or another performed regular BASICODE transmissions. In re-unified Germany, Deutschlandsender Kultur continued to transmit BASICODE until around 1992.

BASICODE programs were also distributed on collection recordings: mostly these were cassette tapes, but there were audio CDs and gramophone records as well, as well as diskette sets. Many of these sources additionally contained translation programs for one or more platforms.

While the authors and broadcasters retained copyrights on the programs, they encouraged them to be shared widely for non-commercial purposes.

Contents

This repository contains BASICODE programs from a number of sources. I have decoded them from the original audio recordings, where available, and corrected transmission failures using context, alternative sources and checksums. I have concentrated on the portable BASICODE sources and have omitted platform-specific code such as translation programs. The following titles are included:

Title Medium Year Standard Language
Chip Shop BASICODE 2 Tape 1984 BASICODE-2 English
Wiegand & Fillinger - Basicode Tape 1984 BASICODE-2 German
BASICODE-2A Tape 1985 BASICODE-2 English and Dutch
SIG/M volume 235: BASICODE Diskette 1985 BASICODE-2 English and Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 1 Tape 1985 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 2 Tape 1985 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 3 Tape 1986 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 4 Tape 1987 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 5 CD 1988 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 6 Diskette 1991 BASICODE-2 Dutch
The Best of BASICODE 7 Diskette 1992 Text only Dutch
BASICODE-3 Tape 1986 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 1 Tape 1987 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 2 Tape 1987 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 3 Tape 1988 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 4 Tape 1988 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 5 Tape 1989 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 6 Tape 1989 BASICODE-3 Dutch
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 7 Tape 1990 BASICODE-3 Dutch and German
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 8 Tape 1990 BASICODE-3 Dutch and German
BASICODE-3 Verzamelcassette 9 Tape 1990 BASICODE-3 Dutch and German
BasiCode Sammelsurium Diskette 1998 BASICODE-2, 3, 3C German
Software-Archiv des KC-Clubs Web 2002 BASICODE-2, 3, 3C German

Also included are a few BASICODE programs from various sources such as radio recordings.

Acknowledgements

A big thank you to Janny Looyenga, Jan Bredenbeek, André van der Leeden, Thomas Rademacher, Victor Reijs and many others for history, BASICODE recordings and background information!

Publications

  • Hans G. Janssen (ed.), BASICODE Hobbyscoop 2, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, Hilversum, 1983.
  • Trevor Taylor (ed.), The Chip Shop BASICODE-2, Broadcasting Support Services, London, 1984.
  • Jacques Haubrich (ed.), Het BASICODE-3 Boek, Kluwer Technische Boeken, Deventer, 1986.
  • Michael Wiegand, Heike u. Manfred Fillinger, BASICODE. Mit Programmkassette, Ravensburger Buchverlag, Ravensburg, 1986.
  • 'basicode-2', Elektuur 10 1983.
  • Prof. Dr. Horst Völz, 'Datenaustausch mit BASICODE', Radio Fernsehen Elektronik 1 1990.
  • Frank Veraart, 'Basicode: Co-Producing a Microcomputer Esperanto', History of Technology 28 2008

Online resources