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Acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Developed by John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz in the mid 1960s at Dartmouth College, BASIC is one of the earliest and simplest high-level programming languages. During the 1970s, it was the principal programming language taught to students, and continues to be a popular choice among educators.

Despite its simplicity, BASIC is used for a wide variety of business applications. There is an ANSI standard for the BASIC language, but most versions of BASIC include many proprietary extensions. Microsoft's popular Visual Basic, for example, adds many object-oriented featuresto the standard BASIC.

Recently, many variations of BASIC have appeared as programming, or macro, languages within applications. For example, Microsoft Word and Excel both come with a version of BASIC with which userscan write programs to customize and automate these applications.

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