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By Amy Petré Hill

When you buy a Business Basic product you get more than just a piece of software; you gain membership in a close-knit programming community with extensive resources. You can post a question to one of several newsgroups or mailing lists and receive advice, a phone number, or even code from programmers around the world. You have access to communal programming projects such as the Programmer's Technical Archive now located on the BASIS web site ( And at conferences and demonstration days you can swap war stories with experts who have been working with the language for more than twenty years.

In fact, the wide range of Business Basic resources available, when combined with the specialized nature of most Business Basic software, has put all of us in a rather unique position. Unlike developers in more popular languages, such as C++, we have not been forced to pore over magazines like Dr. Dobb's each month just to stay technically competitive. When technical questions arise, we have been able to dip into the collective Business Basic consciousness and receive answers. As a community, we have been able to run on our own resources for years, with little concern for larger software development trends.

In some ways, this independence has been a strength, giving us the time we need to become experts in our vertical markets without having to worry about the latest software fads. But over the last couple of years, with the emergence of Windows and the Internet, this strength has sometimes become a weakness. Suddenly we are faced with technologies that not only require new technical skills, but an understanding of whole new paradigms. The issues surrounding Windows and the Internet are too complex to fit into a new chapter in the BASIS GUI Guide or be explained in a few friendly emails over bbx-list. To get a firm grasp on this new technology and how it can best be utilized with Business Basic, we have to reach out to new resources beyond BASIS and our comfortable Business Basic community.

This issue of The BASIS Advantage is dedicated to providing a look at new, readily available resources that explain this new technology. Dan Rask, BASIS' senior product manager, and Jim Douglas, a longtime Business Basic programmer, cover Windows resources in their stories, Right Resources Can Open Whole New Windows and Off The Shelf: Resources For the Programmer's Library. You'll also find articles covering an entire range of resource issues, from human resources, to documentation, to porting resources here at BASIS. There's even a technology trends article on the company Citrix, and what its multi-user Windows application servers may mean for the Business Basic community.

The information in this issue is, of course, just a start. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books, classes, and web sites out there covering software development. But the hope is that this issue will start a discussion in our community on what resources are useful to us, and the best way to utilize these resources.

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