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Welcome to HTBasic

HP Style Basic for Engineers

HTBasic box

HTBasic (aka High Tech Basic or HTB for short) is an engineering BASIC programming language compatible with HP’s Rocky Mountain Basic (RMB) enhanced and optimized for the Windows PC platform. It is especially popular as one of the few ways to easily connect to and control test and measurement instruments. 

Besides its easy to use Basic syntax, HTB also provides a Visual Screen Builder with data input and output widgets. Together, this combination is far more powerful than other contemporary solutions that try to do everything through a graphical drag-and-drop user interface only—which can be both challenging and limiting.

Popular in test and measurement applications, HTBasic also excels as an enhanced general purpose programming language for a wide variety of engineering applications—especially by technical users who are not necessarily full time programmers.

HTBasic Features

  • Built-in syntax for controlling GPIO, GPIB, and data acquisition cards from companies like National Instruments, Agilent, Keysight, Keithley, Ines…
  • A Visual no-coding Screen Builder (compatible with BasicPlus) that includes widgets for: Data Presentation–like bars, bitmaps, clocks, meters, and strip charts; Menu Creation–like menu buttons, cascade menus, and pull-down menus; Data Input–like keypads, pushbuttons, radio buttons, scrollbars, sliders and toggle buttons; and Dialog Statements–for displaying errors, file names, lists, questions, and warnings.
  • COMPLEX numbers, LONG integers, and STATIC variable types together with matrix math, and extensive graphic commands for unparalleled data processing and presentation.
  • Advanced Math Library includes precompiled signal processing functions like FFTs.
  • Numeric Compiler converts select user defined math intensive HTBasic subroutines into loadable SUBs.
  • DLL Toolkit  allows HTBasic to call Dynamic Link Libraries written in other languages like C/C++.
  • Integrated debugger.
  • Backwards compatible with legacy HP workstation BASlC (RMB) including the TRANSFER function for GPIB, serial, and file I/O while also supporting modern Windows standards on PCs.

LXI/GPIB Instrument Control

HTBasic connects to instruments over IEEE-488 (GPIB/HPIB) using 3rd party interface cards. Plus, HTBasic also supports modern standards like LXI (Lan Extensions for Instruments) over ethernet. HTBasic is vendor agnostic and connects to any make of instrument as well as Data Acquisition (DAQ) cards from vendors like National Instruments and Ines.

Data Analysis

Supported data types including Complex numbers, Long integers, and Static variables together with built-in matrix math operations simplify data  analysis. And because HTBasic combines acquisition, analysis and presentation in the same easy-to-use programming language combined with a visual widget based graphical screen builder, it can handle your data from start to finish.

HTBasic also includes an Advanced Math Library with highly optimized precompiled functions for things like signal processing, FFTs, and curve fitting. Plus HTBasic includes a Numeric Compiler that converts select user defined math intensive HTBasic subroutines into compiled SUBS when needed to realize significant performance increases.

Visual Screen Builder

Create custom operator-interfaces, virtual instruments, and data presentation graphics screens from dozens of built-in widgets and dialogs with the Screen Builder App (aka BasicPlus). Screen Builder includes widgets like XY graphs, strip charts, meters, and bar displays. You can also create Dialog Boxes that display questions, warnings, error messages and other critical information quickly and easily.

For example, a single strip chart can be configured a myriad of different ways as needed with more than a dozen core attributes and dozens of specific attributes. The Screen Builder application also includes widgets for keypads, pushbuttons, scrollbars, toggle buttons, and more so you can customize screens with operator-interface and data presentation without coding.

Windows Interface

HTBasic emulates classic features of legacy Hewlett-Packard workstations all in a contemporary Windows user interface with toolbar, status bar, pulldown menus, scroll bars, dialog boxes, and code editor. You can even execute Windows commands from within HTBasic as well as user created DLLs written in C/C++ and called through an integrated DLL loader.

Use Cases

"I used HTBasic at the DOJ to control a spectrum analyzer to monitor regional federal police spectrum usage, to determine utilization of federal police UHF channels."

- Department of Justice

"I used HTBasic at the NWS to control spectrum analyzers to monitor the frequency stability of NWS radiosondes, as they were put through temperature and pressure environmental chambers. It was also used for network analyzer control for a chamber built to test radiosonde antennas."

- National Weather Service

"We’ve been using HTBasic for over [20] years now and could not be more pleased with the product. We originally had our programs running on several HP 9845 workstations connected to a few spectrum analyzers. One by one these machines started to fail and we were tasked with finding a way to move our thousands of lines of code onto another platform. Your software product made this process fairly seamless for us and we were able to port our code over and then run it successfully on PC’s running Windows 95. Several years, several Windows OS updates, and several HTBasic updates later we are still using the same code on our test stations."

- Former RMB User
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