Getting Started with Liberty Basic 101:

(This is an update to the article Resources for the Beginner which appeared in the October 2002 issue of the Liberty Basic Newsletter - copyright 2002, 2006 by Brad Moore)

I have observed two opposite, but equal responses from users who are to new Liberty Basic as they struggle to acquire the skills necessary to become proficient programmer. The first is that of being overwhelmed to the point of giving up, and the second is to simply request someone else to create the program they see in their mind for them. In spite of its simplicity, becoming a Liberty Basic programmer is not necessarily an easy pursuit, but it is manageable. The key is to not try to do too much, and to progress through the learning process building bit by bit on what you have already learned. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day” – likewise a good Liberty Basic Programmer takes time happen.

This is a quick reference, developed almost four years ago, to help the new programmer locate the resources necessary to better acquaint hem with Liberty Basic. Remember, even though there are many different sources of information, nothing takes the place of the tough work of just working one's way through the language. It will take some time to build proficiency - expect that. I offer the following ideas about what the best steps are for the first time programmer getting started on Liberty Basic.

  1. Don’t give up. (or like the big friendly letters on the cover of the "Hitchhiker's Guild to the Galaxy" say: "Don't Panic") Keep at it even when it seems impossible.
  2. Work your way through the tutorial that is included with Liberty Basic. With the release of LB4 it has become part of a new tool called the Lesson Browser. It will let you learn about the language and experiment with the code right there in the tool. The tutorial is laid out in six major modules organized into weekly lessons. These will walk the new programmer through the beginning stages of writing a program up through the final lesson where you produce a full featured application. You can find it on line HERE
  3. There are two really nice tutorials on-line for the beginner programmer who needs detailed help getting going. You can check out links to both at the official Liberty Basic website.
  4. Next there is another very good tutorial which is part of Alyce's Watson’s Liberty BASIC 4 Companion ebook. In addition to the fine tutorial the Ebook has detailed information on all aspects of the language (including many advance topics) and will server the programmer very well through the lifetime of their LB programming experience. The ebook is shareware, but is more than worth its affordable purchase cost!
  5. This is a good time to read through the Liberty Basic command reference (which is part of the helpfile). I know it seems boring, but the best way to get to know what commands and functions Liberty Basic makes available to the programmer is to read each entry in the helpfile. You can find the helpfile online HERE.
  6. The next step, and this is an important one, is to load and run each of the example programs that ships with Liberty Basic. Play with them. Change some of the commands and see what happens. Challenge yourself to change an example program to do something specific and then see if you can do it.
  7. Search the Liberty Basic Newsletter (and now put the LB Programmer’s Encyclopedia on that list also). There is a vast amount of knowledge about Liberty Basic available at your finger tips.
  8. Ask questions. Don’t start here, but don’t be afraid to jump onto a forum or the Yahoo support group to ask a question about something you don’t understand. Be ready to post code when you visit.

These are the things you need to be doing to get traction in your programming journey. By the time you have finished these steps you should be at a point where you can use the language. You should be able to start a project of your own design (try to keep it reasonable – you are not about to write the next Operating System), or leverage an example file and expand it into something else.

Proficiency takes time and effort. Don't rush it. Treat it as an investment. The skills you learn will take you a long way!

There are several places where general information on using Liberty Basic is available. It can be useful to the beginning (and advanced) Liberty Basic programmers: