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HP Forum Archive 10

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HP Basic
Message #1 Posted by Jeff on 21 Jan 2003, 12:54 p.m.

A co-worker (who counts on me to know everything about HP calculators) said he had gone to the HP web site to check out their current offerings. He noted that "HP Basic" was listed as the entry system logic for some. He asked if I knew what that is. I checked the HP site, and found "HP Basic" listed for the 9G, 39G, and 48GX. I checked my 48G user's guide and found no mention of "HP Basic" in the index. I had to reluctantly admit my fallibility and tell my friend that I do not know what "HP Basic" is. Does anybody know?

By the way, the 48GX is still listed as in-stock, ready for same-day shipment, so you had better order while you can. The 49G is, as I believe has been noted by other Forum posters recently, conspicuously absent.

Re: HP Basic
Message #2 Posted by Howard on 22 Jan 2003, 2:24 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Jeff

Maybe this was what your friend was referring to. I cut this from HP Museum atricle on HP71


The HP-71 was a small handheld computer/calculator featuring both QWERTY and calculator/numeric keypads. It was the first handheld to implement the (then proposed) IEEE floating point math standard which included such concepts as infinities and non-numbers.

Calculator Mode

Like the HP-75C, expressions could be entered in the BASIC environment for immediate evaluation. However, the HP-71B also provided a calculator mode. HP decided that an RPN calculator was inappropriate for a BASIC computer, but algebraic calculators hid too much of the mathematical process. For the HP-71B, HP provided an "operator-precedence parser with value substitution" system. This system took algebraic expressions but evaluated them as they were entered rather than waiting for a final "=" key. For example to evaluate the expression 5*(5+6), the user would enter 5 * ( at which point the display would look like:


(The closing parenthesis was automatically added and the cursor was left over it for insertion.) The user would then type 5 + 6. As the user pressed ), the subexpression 5+6 would be evaluated leaving


In the display. The user would then press End Line to display the final answer of 55.

In addition, the calculator mode had implied results. Wherever the user wanted to include the previous result in a new expression, an empty set of parentheses was typed. As the closing parenthesis was entered, the previous result immediately appeared between the parentheses. For example, after computing the previous example, pressing 5 + ( ) would display


The calculator also allowed backing out of any expression, for example after the user pressed the second ) in 5*(4+5), the calculator would display 5*(9), but after pressing BACK, the cursor would move back into the parentheses and the display would show 5*(4+5). The user could undo as much of an expression as desired.

Finally, though it was algebraic, it had an input stack. The cursor up/down keys could be used to retrieve previous stacked expressions.

Automatic Dimensioning

Unlike most versions of BASIC, the HP-71B allowed (in BASIC or calc mode) automatic/dynamic dimensioning. Thus a user could assign d(5)=10 without first dimensioning D. String variables were automatically dimensioned as well.

BASIC Features

Like the HP-85 the HP-71B provided a real time clock and timers with BASIC language support allowing it to be used as a small portable device controller. The language included subroutine calls to BASIC or assembly language with parameter passing and recursion.

Re: HP Basic
Message #3 Posted by Tom (UK) on 22 Jan 2003, 3:34 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Jeff

There is a mention of how to program the HP49G in it's user guide. The language used in the examples is not RPL so perhaps this is what they mean as HP BASIC. I'm fairly sure the HP48GX, HP39G and HP9G use a different programming stlye and structure, so to lump them all together as HP Basic implies that HP Basic is not well defined.

The HP web site is not always the best place for descriptions of the features the current line up of calculators offer. e.g. they once posted that RPN stood for Reverse Polar Notation.

Re: HP Basic
Message #4 Posted by Holger Weihe on 22 Jan 2003, 6:12 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Tom (UK)

I think the programming of the HP-49G is different if you are in RPN mode or in algebraic mode.

All the examples in the manual are written for algebraic mode, so that the programs look more basic like than on HP-48. HP calls this "HP Basic". Supposingly they are afraid to frighten someone away with complicated looking RPL. (I feel the other way).

When the HP-49 is in RPN Mode, programming is the same as on HP-48. :-)

I was also wondering about mentioned HP Basic programming of the HP-48. Maybe the webdesigners confused something when they removed the HP-49 from their site.

Don't have a 49G here in the moment, so I can't check: What happens if you enter a program in "HP Basic" and then switch over to RPN? Is the program converted, does it still function?


Re: HP Basic
Message #5 Posted by Veli-Pekka Nousiainen on 27 Jan 2003, 7:37 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Holger Weihe

HP 49G only, using ROM 1.19-6 Any RPN program will work in Algebraic mode and show (when edited) with a new command RPL> _before_ the opening program delimiters <<. Like << DUP >> => RPL> << DUP >> Any Algebraic program will work in RPN mode and always show back-quotas outside the program `<< program >>`. Sometimes you see an empty tag :: (preventing the evaluation?) in front of the program, like this :: `<< program >>` If you try this one (keyed in in ALG-mode) << 5|>A ; A+A >> (the |> is an Algebraic version of STO) It will show up as `<< 5|>A ; A+A >>` but will EVALuate first to form << `5|>A` ; `A+A` >>` before finally EVALuating to 10 Go figure! And these can be used in your own programs as well. VPN

Re: HP Basic
Message #6 Posted by R Lion on 27 Jan 2003, 10:11 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Veli-Pekka Nousiainen

Hi VPN! I miss you in comp.sys.hp48...

Kind regards from Spain. Raul

Re: HP Basic
Message #7 Posted by Raymond Del Tondo (Germany) on 22 Jan 2003, 6:17 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Jeff


at least the HP-48GX does *not* have HP-Basic.

AFAIK the latest incorporation of 'HP Basic' was in the HP-71B.

I don't know if the x9 series have something comparable...



Re: HP Basic
Message #8 Posted by HrastProgrammer on 23 Jan 2003, 4:44 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Raymond Del Tondo (Germany)

Well, not quite true :-)

See the thread 'HP-71X: HP-71B MicroCode Emulator for HP-48GX (Preliminary Info)' ...

Re: HP Basic
Message #9 Posted by George on 22 Jan 2003, 6:42 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Jeff

HP Basic and BASIC ( Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code ) are not the same language. The HP-71B is programmable in BASIC. The 38g, 39g, 40g, and 49g are programmed in HP Basic. The 49g is programmable not only in HP Basic but also in Assembly Language and RPL. The 48g series is not programmable in HP Basic but is only programmable in RPL. I used to have a 38g and a 39g but sold them. The program language allowed easier use of display screens. But since I already owned 48sx, 48gx, & 20s, at the time, I didn't take the time to become proficient at another language. Now its easier to just buy the card for the 48gx.

Re: HP Basic
Message #10 Posted by Raymond Del Tondo (Germany) on 22 Jan 2003, 7:30 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by George

You are right in this aspect, 'HP Basic vs. BASIC'.

When using the term BASIC, or more specific 'HP Basic', I think of the excellent and extremely powerful 'HP Technical BASIC' or 'Rocky Mountain BASIC' as used in the HP9000 Series 300, HP Series 80, and HP Series 70 computers, which I used to control external HP-IB and HP-IL devices in 'real time'.

This could be an analoguous name confusion as HP and Microsoft did with their 'WindowsCE H/PC Pro version 3.01' product, which suggested that it was WinCE 3.x , but in reality it was WinCE 2.11 for H/PC's, not for PPC's...



Re: HP Basic
Message #11 Posted by Chuck Ratliff on 23 Jan 2003, 1:35 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by George

Hello friends,

I'm probably stating the obvious to many of you but it appears that the BASIC programmable TI-74 has the look and feel of the HP-71B. TI's flavor of BASIC was no great departure from the many other BASIC flavors popular 'then'.

Perhaps these were competitive products?

Regards to all,

Chuck Ratliff Phoenix, AZ

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