BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) – A family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use.
In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.
Versions of BASIC became widespread on microcomputers in the mid-1970s and 1980s. Microcomputers usually shipped with BASIC, often in the machine’s firmware. Having an easy-to-learn language on these early personal computers allowed small business owners, professionals, hobbyists, and consultants to develop custom software on computers they could afford.
BASIC remains popular in many dialects and in new languages influenced by BASIC, such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic. In 2006, 59% of developers for the .NET Framework used Visual Basic .NET as their only programming language.