Interview 2015 with Frédéric ‘alphaSND’ Laboureur & Timo ‘freak’ Harter

(done by André Beer for in Dec. 2015)

This year at Christmas time I was able to do another interview with the two most important people for PureBasic – the founder of Fantaisie Software and main PureBasic (and SpiderBasic) programmer Frédéric Laboureur and the 2nd main PureBasic programmer Timo Harter.

There were already two interviews with Fred (in 2005 and 2012) and one with Timo (in 2009). So I thought: it’s time again to reflect their current situation (in private and of course regarding PureBasic development). As it has become a huge interview (more than 70 questions), I have split it into four parts:

Part 1: Introduction and private life

Part 2: Computer programming / business in general / PB team-work

Part 3: PureBasic / SpiderBasic history and review

Part 4: Questions about the future of PureBasic / SpiderBasic

Please note: This interview was originally done in English language, even if we are all together no native English speakers. So please excuse any mistakes!

Enjoy reading! Let’s start:


Merry Christmas folks!

I wish you a Merry Christmas in the circle of your families and a Happy New Year in a happy and healthy 2016!

Fred: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well !

This leads to my first question:

Part 1: Private life


Where and how do you celebrate the Christmas days and the start in the New Year?


Fred: Christmas and New Year will be in Vilnius this year, with my wife and her family. It's quite some change from Paris... It's nice, just a bit colder :)

Timo: I am celebrating in the Black Forest with my larger Family. Since we are spread all across Germany, this is the only opportunity to see everybody in one place.


What are your ‘personal wishes’ (private/family, job, etc.) for the upcoming next year?


Timo: Things are going quite well right now, so the wish is for it to stay that way :)

Fred: Well, on the business side, I wish than SpiderBasic will take off and PureBasic continues to grow ! And private side, well we wish all go well for us, as usual ^^


Fred, we heard about your wedding some weeks ago. Congratulations and best wishes again! Can you tell us a bit more about it? Maybe show us a picture of the wedding?

How does being married, and in your case ‘transnational’, affect your life? Where you live, how you live and work? Maybe we see a ‘little Fred’ in the near future!? 

I can imagine, the priorities in your life have changed and PureBasic isn’t the ‘No. One’ anymore…


Fred: Thank you ! Here you go for the picture, no comment please :)...

I now live in Vilnius (Lithuania) with my wife. I took my computer and my desk, moved from Paris and continued to work as usual. Nothing really changes as long you get an internet connection (which is quite good here). The only real change is I'm now officially at full time on PureBasic / SpiderBasic for a while, as I don't speak Lithuanian, so I won't be able to find another work here.

Hopefully a 'Fred junior' will be here early in april, so wait'n'see... PureBasic is may be not the top priority anymore, but it still quite high in the priority list as it's my main income ! :)


Thanks a lot, Fred. Even, if I should not comment: you both look beautiful!

Any advantages or disadvantages of the new situation you could tell us?


Fred: no disavantage, just more responsabilities, but you know that André, right ? :)


Seeing the large distance between France and Lithuania… would you tell us something more, where and how you met your wife?  How does your family see the new situation, you living miles away (abroad)?


Fred: She was living in Paris since 7 years when we met online, and she wanted to go back to Lithuania, so I decided to move as well ! My family is happy for me, and it's easy now to keep in touch with Skype. There is also RyanAir between Vilnius and Paris, so it's fast and cheap to get there if I want to.


Timo, we haven’t heard anything private from you for years. Last time you were still a student of computer science if I remember right.

Can you tell us a bit more, what happened during the last years in your life?

Maybe you’re already married and have kids, and we don’t know!?


Timo: I finished my studies in early 2011 only a little bit behind schedule (only partly due to the time spend on PureBasic), and I am working full time since then. On the private side, I am still single.


Do you make a living from computer programming today, and if you can tell where?


Timo: I work at Deutsche Telekom in the enterprise customer segment. We develop software for enterprise content management.


Do you know if in your company (or the whole Deutsche Telekom group) PureBasic is used anywhere?


Timo: I am not aware of that.


What do you think: Do you have any advantages developing on PB (including the used development tools, experiences in team work), if you would be looking for a new job in the computer industry now?


Timo: Its hard to put that experience into bullet points that fit a job application IMHO. However, I did learn a lot in working on a real project for all these years that you simply don’t get from a university course. So I did have a bit of a head start when I started my job.

Fred: Sure, having a 'built a compiler' reference on the CV is a strong point and always ease up interviews for a new job. About team work, it all depends of the team, but never got a problem with it. On a side note, we are using kind of 'old-fashioned' programming tools for PureBasic (like C, assembly, etc.) which are not very popular these days (it's more .Net/Java jobs). But when someone needs an expert in these domains, here we are !


How does your close relatives (like wife, parents, brothers/sisters) look at PureBasic? Especially seeing you investing so much time for a long time now…


Fred: Mine is OK with it, even if they are a bit surprised it now works enough to get a living from it. That said, they don't really know what I do (except my brother). When starting all this, it was mainly for fun, and at that time they were more sceptical :)

Timo: Since nobody in my immediate family is into programming, there is mainly no interest in it.


If you don’t do any PB programming: What are your current hobby’s / favourites?


Timo: I do mountain biking as a way to balance out all the desk work. Apart from that, I like to play with electronics and microcontrollers, but nothing very serious in that area. It’s mostly about experimenting.

Fred: Video games, mostly. Seems like I like screens ! Even started to get my wife into it, not easy but I'm on it ^^.


Next year are the European Football Championships in France. Do you have any relationship to it, maybe as a football fan in the stadium?


Fred: Too bad I won't be around... I'm not really a football fan anyway. It's still cool to have such big competition in your country, it kinds of energize people. That said, I'm not very confident about the current French Team !

Timo: My relationship with football is pretty much non-existent ;-)


I don’t know if you’re interested in politics and the actual World affairs, but I’m asking anyway…

What do you think about the current ‘refugee crisis’ and the ‘IS-terrorism’ in Arab states and terrorist attacks in many places?  Fred living in Paris was closely affected…

What must change on this world / in Europe (France / Germany) to become a better place for all people?


Fred: It's very hard question, and difficult to answer. If there was an easy solution, I think it would have already found and applied. About the terrorist attacks, it was a very sad moment, as it targeted mainly young people. It's hard to fight these attacks as it's almost unpredictable, and done by people which don't care about their own lives.

Timo: I think in the long run, the refugee crisis can actually be a great opportunity to help solve some of the problems in our society and our job market (for example the difficulty to find people for certain kinds of jobs, declining birth rates etc.). Changes like that are never just negative even if the short-term effects seem that way.

I am just a bit worried that the fear of everything foreign will poison our political climate a bit in the upcoming years, as people tend to vote for those who promise the simplest (but usually wrong) solutions to such complex problems.


A question especially to Timo:

Many have seen your name on the Forum and in the PureBasic credits but don't really know the relationship you have with Fred and Fantaisie Software.

Could you maybe give a brief history of how you came to work on PureBasic and your current role?


Timo: You can actually read the history part in our last interview here: ;-)

As for the current role: My main focus is still IDE, debugger and libraries. How ever, I did do some very limited work on the compiler as well.

Part 2: Computer programming / business in general / PB team-work


Many people have no idea what is involved in running a business.

What expenses are involved in keeping Fantaisie Software functioning? (not looking for a dollar figure, looking for what expenses are incurred... hardware, software, web hosting, internet connection, etc)


Fred: it's like every company, what you paid essentially are taxes for your country. It's about 33% of your global income. On more technical side, running a server for forums/website isn't expensive these days (15 euro / month), but it takes time to manage / update. You can also count the fees from PayPal or paysite cash (4%). There are the domain names as well (.fr / .com), but it's cheap.

On a daily basis, you need a decent computer, and I spent  quite some money to have fast harddrives (4 SSDs), a lot of memory (to run all the VM at once) and a quick processor. But it's one-time cost and in the long run, it's bareable (I got my PC since 5 years already). As I work at home, Internet connection is the same used by the family, so we can say it's free.

You can start a software business without almost any money if you work from home.


Can you describe a bit how the work on PureBasic is organized? How many hours do you spent on developing, at which times do you do it mostly?


Fred: For me, it's easy: I work from Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 19:00. I stopped to work at night since a while, as you can't do it in the long term (and to be honest I'm a bit old now for that). As I work at home, it could happen than I take a day off to do something else (often better to do stuffs during the week), but I try to get it back on the week-end.

Timo: After a full day doing software development at work, I usually do not have the energy to work on PB on the weekdays. So for me, PB development is mostly a weekend thing now (only on some weekends though).


Could you talk a bit about what you use to develop your software?

Do you have a room full of computers running various OS's and compilers or a simple Laptop running a virtual machine for cross compiling?


Fred: No, I only have one 'big' computer. Basically a Core i7 with 12GB ram and 1 TB SSD storage. Nothing fancy for nowaday standards, but it was when I bought it :). It does run all the VM needed to build PureBasic. I also got a small laptop when I'm on the road, and a very small server (raspberri PI2 with 64GB card – nice stuff and does the job) for the SVN.


Timo, what is your work platform of choice? (desktop, laptop, OS, VM, etc)


Timo: I have just one high-end laptop with a docking station. This way I can work comfortably with two big screens & a good keyboard at home, and still take all the data with me when I am away. In addition there is a simple Mac mini for the OSX development. That’s all.


What advice would you give to anyone who may be thinking about taking up programming full time, either with a company or for themselves?


Fred: I would say: do it, think later. Another key point is to not do too much at once: when you are tired, you often do bad work. After a full day of work, just stop, you will be happy to come back to it tomorrow with a fresh mind.

Timo: Diversify (try out different tools & languages): You don’t have to be a master at all of them, but knowing the viewpoint from different frameworks/toolsets provides good perspective when solving problems. Also, at least in larger corporations, the kind of jobs where the requirement is just to know a single language or tool are often at risk of being outsourced to low-cost countries, so having more than one leg to stand on helps.


Timo, do you bring your own ideas to the table or do you mainly work on tasks that are assigned to you?


Timo: I work on my own ideas. If there are larger changes, we usually discuss the design ahead of time, but there are no assignments of tasks.


How do you currently select and decide which new functions will be built into PB? From the large wishlist on the PB forum there are implemented often wished things very fast, others not or not within a short time…


Fred : First, I read the wishlist forum and build a list. I build the list depending on several point: is it doable ? How much time do we need to do it ? Are the license OK to include it in PureBasic ? Will it benefit more than one people ? I also add on the list the thing I find interesting when I browse the web reading programming article. And also things which comes to my mind indeed !

Timo: We have a number of larger features we wish to be doing in the long run. Sometimes it takes years from the first concept to the actual implementation, but we are continuing to work on them (and have made quite some progress in recent versions). There is no official list of this, just the goals we set for ourselves during discussion. For the smaller features, things are more dynamic. We usually try to get some new features from multiple areas into a new version to have a balanced release with something for everyone. This means that things get moved around a lot and long-term planning is a bit harder. This is also why it is sometimes not clear from the outside why one feature is done sooner and another is done later.


Which things will neither be implemented, from your current point of view? (there will come some questions about OOP, RAD, etc. later… )


Fred: OOP for sure won't be implemented. RAD is on the way, even if it will never be VisualBasic like IMHO. I don't know what else, it will depends of the evolution of mainstream OS as well.

Timo: I say: “never say never” ;-)


Where do you see PB’s strengths, but also its disadvantages now? (technical-related, but also for working on smaller / bigger projects, as well for the programming tasks of individuals or larger organizations)


Fred: PB Strengths lies to the integrated, easy to use multi-platform commandset. I think PureBasic fits well for small to medium projects, and produce easy to maintain code. This is due to the procedural nature of PureBasic: you just have to follow the program flow to debug it. It's very important for company, maintance cost of a software is often much larger than the initial developping cost.

About the weekness, it's the lack of skilled PureBasic developpers on the market, so it's hard for company to jump in. Also relying on a small company for sensitive project can be an issue.

Timo: PB is a good language for beginners, which also allows room to grow one’s own skills (by providing easy entry into API programming for example). The fact that people often grow “beyond” PureBasic to use other languages is not a weakness in my opinion. As I wrote above, diversity is a good thing for a programmer. And if PB helps people get there, then this is a job well done in my eyes.


Fred, you offer new types of PB licences for a while: Would you call the business and school licences a success?


Fred: Yes, we sold some during the last year, so I think it’s worth it.


When you look at your costumers: Does PB already got more "spreaded" in the "business world" (industry, service,...) during the last years? Any examples of it’s use, where and for which tasks, if possible?


Fred: I don't think it gets more spreaded, but it continue to spread. I can't reveal our clients, but based on the registration mail and the license type, there is definitely quite some company using PureBasic.


While we know, that PB is not any standard programming tool, is it used or at least recognized in schools too?


Fred: Not that much unfortunately. Only 4 schools around the world uses it on regular basis :). School prefer opensource / mainstream languages and I can fully understand that.


Even if it’s probably not possible to use PB also in the (later) main job of young PB programmers, why would you recommend using PB to learn programming?


Fred: Programming basis are the same across all languages. It's just much easier to get productive in PureBasic than in another language, so you will make progress faster because you see your result faster. PureBasic doesn't lock you within its commandset, so it's a great way to learn OS API as well. What you learn in PureBasic won't be lost, you will just may be surprised how hard it can be if you decide to switch to C or C++ :).

Timo: See my answer above about the strengths.


Because we nearly don’t see any female programmers… is programming (including using PB) especially something for ‘boys’?


Fred: No I don't think so, I knew some who does the same job as us. I think it's more an interest thing, may be it looks like boring from their point of view :)

Timo: At least at university, the distribution was not that one-sided. So things seem to change.


It’s no secret, that PB lacks a bit in terms of advertising / public relations. While it’s a very good product, I think it does not get the attention it deserves…

Do you plan any offers / promotions to spread it more than now?


Fred: Ideas are welcome, it's not that easy to spread.

Timo: PB is a niche product. Advertising probably helps, but it won’t solve that entirely.


Maybe offering some ‘PB merchandising articles’ (produced / sold on demand) are also a good idea? (I could imagine, that there are a lot of PB enthusiasts, which would like to show their No. 1 programming language…)


Fred: Why not, are they really some people wanting to have a PureBasic T-Shirt ? If yes, I could setup this, no problem.


While the PB forums (especially the English one, also the smaller French one, while the German one isn’t so active anymore) are a good place to share knowledge, search for solutions and example codes – wouldn’t it be good to have one or more ‘PB community sites’ (like probably was years ago, when André had more time for it…), also to attract new costumers? Would you offer any support to interested PB users (financial, web-hosting of such a site, spend some time)?


Fred: The problem with official 'community' site is what happen if the guy decide to stop it ? It happened in the past, and it's not good for us or our clients. We already maintain 3 forums (4 if we includes SpiderBasic) and it's enough I think to share information and request for help. If someone wants to start one, I won't stop it, but I won't put efforts in it.


By many PB beginners is requested a book, from which they could learn programming with PB step by step. Kale’s book, which was sold for some time, and now is freely available, was a good choice for this. Unfortunately it’s only updated until PB v5.0. How about supporting such an initiative making an always up-to-date ‘PB beginners book’ (probably available as eBook or printed on demand)? Extending the ‘beginners chapter’ in the reference manual is also a way…


Fred: I would opt for updating Kale's book which is IMHO the best way to start PureBasic. I don't think a lot of thing changed since PB 5.00, but I stand to be corrected.


New versions seems to generate more publicity / interest on PureBasic every time… wouldn’t it be better to release smaller updates more often, to get more attention without further promotion? (e.g. two or three new versions per year, instead of a big one)


Fred: Yes, it would be definitely better. I will try to change that and reduce inbetween cycle.

Timo: Actually, if you count the bugfix & LTS releases, it is much more than once a year. I think the pace has slowed down a bit recently, simply because PB is already a pretty mature product with lots of existing features. This means that maintenance tasks (bugfixes) increase while new features have to decrease a bit to make room that. I don’t think that is a bad thing. It just means a little less excitement about new features, but ultimately a more stable product.


With Fantaisie Software you’re running a ‚one-man-company’, supported by several contributors like Timo and other people (all settled in different places in France and Germany).

Can you give us a brief overview how the daily work together is organized? Who belongs currently to the team and what is the job of everyone?


Fred: Sure, here we go:

- Timo is the main code contributor and works on what he thinks is the best for PureBasic future. He often comes with a (brilliant) idea, so I just have to say 'OK' and he does it when he gets time. He's the mind behind the new VectorDrawing library for example. In the past, he did a lot of stuff, especially the IDE and the debuggers (console, remote, standalone and built-in). PureBasic wouldn't be the same without Timo contributions.

- Comtois is the main contributor to the 3D engine. All the latest additions were from him.

- Andre is doing the german doc and support.

- Mesa and GG are working on the french doc.

Everyone involved works only when he wants, I don't fix dead line. We just communicate by mail when something comes up. Nothing fancy really :).


Fred, working on the PureBasic + SpiderBasic development is your main job for some time. Can you make a living from it, and will this situation stay for the next months/years?


Fred: I partially answered earlier, yes it's my main job and I make a living from it. I hope it will continue like that for years !


Timo, did you ever thought about joining PB development  as the main job? (if that would be possible)


Timo: I like the stability of working in a larger company and I enjoy working in a larger team. So no, at least at the moment fulltime work on PB is not something I would want to do.


Fred, did you ever thought about hiring further programmers / outsourcing some programming tasks or similar to make Fantaisie Software and it’s products a bigger business than now?


Fred: Sure I thought about it. Unfortunately, I can't because the earning isn't enough to pay another fulltime coder, and I don't think selling will grow enough to cover it.


With BlitzBasic (for Amiga) belonging to PB’s history, there have left several former competitors (like BlitzBasic, BlitzMax, DarkBasic, PowerBasic…) the market / get no active development anymore. How do you see the situation today? Meaning, what are your main competitors, when users should decide which is their programming tool to use?


Fred: I don't know to be honest. When PureBasic users switch, it's often not for a 'competitor', but to evolve and get more serious, like C++ / .Net / Java. I think it's the right step to do if you want to get a job in software development. If not, PureBasic provides good power / complexity ratio IMHO. I also stopped to look at the competition some time ago, so I don't know the actual market state.

Part 3: PureBasic / SpiderBasic history and review


Fred - you have spent over 15 years developing and refining PureBasic into what it is today.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently that may have saved you a lot of time, frustration, etc?


Fred: 15 years, seriously ! Computer programming has changed dramatically since back then. In 1998 when I started PureBasic, 'C' was the only real programming language, even C++ was seen as bloated and too slow. If I would start nowadays, I would have definitely took in account the mobile/tablet world and designed a programming language which fits this as well. It's too late for PureBasic, but may be SpiderBasic could fill the gap !


From your today’s point of view: Would you try again to make a ‘multi-purpose’ language, not only supporting 3 different platforms (Windows, MacOS, Linux), but also supporting game and application development at once? Or is it normally a too huge task for such a smaller team?


Fred: PureBasic wasn't multiplatform when it was created. Windows support was added 2 years after Amiga release, Linux support 2 years after Windows and OS X 3 year after Linux ! You can't do that in one time, not when you have so much built-in commands. If no such language would exist today, I would certainly try to do it, but step by step. It's a big task, but if you have no strict time constraints, it's doable.


Fred, when and how you came up with the idea of SpiderBasic as a second product?


Fred: Since quite some time. We started to talk about it with Timo in January 2012. The idea at first was to do another backend for PureBasic, like OS X/Linux or Windows. But the more I was making progress, the more I've seen it wouldn't be possible, as it's too much different. So I decided to fork PureBasic and create SpiderBasic, where I will have more room to tweaks and create commands.


Where / for which tasks do you see it’s market?


Fred: I see it a good fit for standalone Web games which needs great performances, and for server based apps with complex GUI front-end. Doing a great responsive GUI in pure JavaScript isn't that easy, and SpiderBasic offer the right tools to do it quickly. You can even do a pure-desktop GUI with PureBasic if you want to, as both code can be coded in cross-platform manner.


Is it ‚your way’ to support programmers in the increasing ‚mobile world’ and the related platforms with a productive programming tool?


Fred: Yes, basically. For now it's an 'always connected' world, but it can change and I don't see why SpiderBasic couldn't create native Android/iOS apps one day.


Timo, you’re involved in SpiderBasic development now or in the future?


Timo: So far, I am only involved where tools (like the IDE) are shared between PB and SB. At the moment I want to focus the little time that I can spend on PB. But in the future, who knows?


What do you recommend PB users, which think about converting and offering their PB projects also in a web-based manner using SpiderBasic? Do you think about some ‘helper tools’, e.g. for converting PB and SB sources in one or both directions?


Fred: No, there is no converter planned, because it's different. If you want to have a PureBasic project running on a web page, you will have to go trough different steps:

1) Is it possible at all ? Browser based app have a lot of restrictions.

2) You would have to split your project in both parts: 'GUI' (which will be the part rewritten in SpiderBasic) and 'Logic', which will be in PureBasic running on the server. In between, you will need an abstraction layer, which will either uses native calls (for desktop version), or XMLRequest() for Web app.

3) Refactor your code to use 'CompilerIf' to put desktop only commands away, and uses BindEvent() only to handle your events for example. It's not that much work, and if you design your project for both from the start, it should be straight forward. Indeed, you can forget all the API stuffs.


When developing SpiderBasic: How many things did you completely new, how many / which things could be used and adapted from PureBasic?


Fred: The compiler has been adapted to create JavaScript output, it was a big task but not as big as creating a new compiler from scratch. It did benefit of lot of PureBasic features like Module, Macro, Libraries, fast code parsing etc. The IDE has been re-used almost completely, which is really cool. Also the Help file has been reworked, but most of it comes from PureBasic which is an huge time gain. All in all, it's really a PureBasic fork, so it shares a lot with it. All the tooling, build server etc. uses the same validated process, so it was definitely faster than doing it from scratch.


While publishing the first public release of SpiderBasic this year – how do you see people’s interest on it?


Fred: I was may be a bit too enthusiastic about it, because I was seeing great possibilities it could offer. So far it wasn't bad, but it wasn't very warm as well. It's not very surprising, as I think SpiderBasic isn't really for the same people. It's for different needs, so for different people. Now, it's getting better and SpiderBasic is starting to take off.


What do you think about Windows 10 as ‚Microsoft’s way’ to support desktop and mobile platforms as well?


Fred: Well, the universal language chosen by Microsoft for apps is JavaScript ! So it's great :). It's a logical step to unify the whole ecosystem, as phones are now more powerful than not so old PC. They comes with 2GB of RAM, 4-8 cores processors, more than enough to run Windows !


From your point of view: Does this increase the possibilities / chances of PureBasic programmers to support mobile devices (running Windows 10) as well?

Are there needed any adaptions to PB?


Fred: I think it will be more on the SpiderBasic side. PureBasic is very tied to the OS and low-level libraries, and mobile device don't have this.


While the desktop market is becoming smaller (even if there are still billions of PC’s active), and the number of mobile devices is increasing every day: Are there any chances in the near future, that PB will support further platforms? (Android, iOS, Playstation, etc.)


Fred: Why not, but every new platform takes time, so we have to make a choice some when. For closed system like Playstation or Xbox, I don't think it worth, it changes too quickly (5-8 years of lifetime only).

Part 4: Questions about the future of PureBasic / SpiderBasic


How do you see PureBasic evolving in the foreseeable future? (feature enhancements, new functions, possibility of ARM support, etc)


Fred: I see ARM support like a possible enhancement, would be cool to have a build for ARM Linux for example. About new functions, it's hard to tell, as it's not yet decided !


For all people, which don’t program their GUI’s manually, the FormDesigner in the PB IDE is the way to go. Unfortunately it’s further development is currently on hold, as ‘Polo’ seems to have no time for it…

How do you see it’s further development in the near future? (removing it’s bugs + shortcomings, adding missing functions, supporting the Dialog library, etc.)

Probably with the final goal, to get a more powerful IDE/designer for RAD development?


Fred: I don't know, adding Dialog support will be complex as it's layout based. I already spent quite some time to remove bugs, so it should work OK for regular forms. About a full RAD environment, it's still a long way to go, and I don't think we will have time for it, we want to enhance the core language first.


Ok, but you will at least take a look on the corresponding PB forum threads and try to remove reported bugs and do requested (smaller) additions in the next time?


Fred: Sure, I already did that for the 5.40 LTS.


Timo, years ago you spoke about a ‘plug-in interface’ for the PB IDE. Will such a thing ever become true? (allowing other developers to extend the PB IDE functionality)


Timo: I am not sure. At the time I spoke about it publicly, it became clear that what the users who responded wanted did not fit well with the concept I had in mind, so I put it on ice for the time being. I see it as a feature which would be quite a lot of work to do properly, but with benefit only to a small number of users. This is why it does not have any priority at the moment, so I cannot say if/when it will be done. But as I said: “never say never”.


After the extension of the Mail library with SSL support: does this come also for the other network libs, for example the FTP one? (e.g. FTPS or HTTPS)


Fred: HTTP lib already support HTTPS. About FTP, I don't know I need to take a look but it's a good idea.


Can we expect a more improved support of gtk3 In the near future? (currently there are some problems with dimensions etc.)


Fred: I have just posted a blog post on it ! In one word, it doesn't fit very well, but we will try...


Using HD and UHD displays today, people are asking for ‘DPI awareness’… will that be fully supported (cross-platform) soon?


Fred: Yes, should be available soon.


How about the ‘manifest file’ for Windows? (


Fred: It's only one part of the issue, it's not that easy to get it right.


To make a living yourself (additional income) and to ease the creating and publishing cross-platform apps/games: wouldn’t be offering ‘Compiling your PB app/game on our hosted OS’ a good idea? With such a service offered by Fantaisie Software the developer owning only a PC with Windows (or another OS), who don’t want to buy another Apple Mac or running a Linux VM, could get his executable compiled…

For an example see here: B4I ( - "Hosted Mac Builder: The builder service allows you to develop iOS applications without a local Mac computer. All of the development steps can be done with the builder service including the final step which is uploading the application to Apple App Store."


Fred: Sound like a whole different service and I don't think I could manage this alone. You will need to get servers, get licensed OS X for such tasks, and maintain all that. It's a good idea, but it can get out of control very quickly. Another point is PureBasic apps often needs to be tweaked for each OS and it takes time, so the best is to have a local OS to test on. And would you really put all your precious sources on a remote server for compiling ?


While ‘UserLibraries’ (written in PB) are mostly ‘out’ because of their incompatibilities, they could have with each new PB version, using ‘Includes’ is one way to go. But this needs, that the developer share the sourcecode for free on the PB forums. In compiled form currently only the .dll and similar files are possible.

Another idea are ‘Plugins’ (like discussed on English PB forum lately). They could ease the extension of PureBasic (and even SpiderBasic) with new commands – created by 3rd party developers and allowing them to earn some benefit from it. This would make PB more attractive in general for professional users, I think.

Even Fantaisie Software could generate some additional income by selling commercially plugins. To name some examples: I could imagine, that people needing such functionality would pay for e.g. a COM-plugin (with COMate functionalities) or new/extended gadgets (GridGadget, ChartGadget, etc.) or for SpiderBasic comfortably including of new JS libraries.

Needed for this would be ‘Plugin interface’ in PureBasic (SpiderBasic) and even better a tool for easily creating such plugins (something like ‘TailBite’ for UserLibs).

What do you think about such an idea? And could you imagine to include something like this in the near future?


Fred: Users libs are OK if you don't write them in PureBasic. Using C for example is a good way to have 'future proof' libraries. Tailbite creates libs relying on other PureBasic libraries, and it can break easily if we change on single command.

About the optional modules, I think it's the power of PureBasic to have all lib built-in. For example, if we shipped the new VectorDrawing() lib separately, I think it would have create a lot of frustration. We can't really promise life-long update if we start to sell new module apart.


You already said in the past: OOP will never be implemented natively in PureBasic (because it’s by design a procedural language). Beside that: do you plan any more additions on that side, e.g. to ease the use of external OOP-made libraries (e.g. C++ or .Net libraries) or to allow more experienced PB users ‘their OOP-like way’?


Fred: Nothing is planned for now on this topic.


Will you try to find a way to fully support the currently limited ‘Drag’n’Drop’ on MacOS?


Fred: I wish I could. May be by changing slightly the Drag'n'drop lib.


What about extended functionality for the Printer library? (there are several threads about it on the PB forum)


Fred: The work is in progress but has been postponed, because lack of time for 5.40 which was already packed with new features.


Will there be any more ‘not supported older OS versions’ soon?  (like Windows XP/Vista, older MacOS / Linux versions)


Fred: When time pass and manufacturer deprecate their OS, it doesn't make sense to support them anymore. For now, we don't plan to deprecate more, but it will come for sure.


Some time ago it was mentioned the team was experimenting with LLVM. Is this still the case, and if yes will this lead to some changes / improvements to the PB compiler?


Fred: Yes, it's still the case, but nothing to announce right now. We have other priorities.


What about the ‘parallel programming’ using PB? (for example automatically supporting several processor cores for time-intensive operations)


Fred: A long time topic, we even got some small samples working about an automatic thread pool.  But it was also postponed for other features.


From your point of view: Has the currently implemented 3D engine (OGRE 3D) still the potential to allow people (or better groups of programmers) the developing of impressive 3D games or 3D applications (like CAD etc.)?


Fred: Sure, why not ? OGRE is still used in the gaming industry and the commandset is vast enough to create some nice projects. It just takes a lot of resources to do a commercial grade project.


OGRE itself seems to have so many in-built commands, which couldn’t be implemented all natively in PB. How is the right way to use these many additional functions too? Do you plan to offer an interface (or similar) to OGRE, to allow experienced users the extension of currently natively support 3D functions?


Fred: That's true, we can't map all OGRE commands, it's bigger than PureBasic itself. For now we have no plan to allow direct access to OGRE internals, it won't fit PureBasic very well. For example there is a lot of function in OGRE which returns an object reference (ie: vector3&), which is not supported in PureBasic.


Timo, have you ever done some 3D programming yourself, or even contributed to the OGRE implementation in PB?


Timo: No. 3D is not really my area of expertise.


To sum up the technical questions:

Would you like to tell us, what are your next goals with PureBasic (and SpiderBasic)? Which are the things, users can look forward too? (short-term and in the longer term). I know, you love the surprises…


Timo: ARM support is on my personal wishlist. However, it is one of those large long-term things that we really cannot put any timeframe on it. So don’t hold your breath.

Fred: That's it we love the surprises ! :). I think it's fair to see the printer lib will get boost somewhen, and probably the toolbar one as well. About SpiderBasic, there is so many stuff to do, I don't know where to start ! It's only a 1.10 version, so it has time to grow.


Ok, finally thank you very much for your time and this insightful interview, and especially for your very good job on PureBasic!

I myself would like to finish a first version of my large ‘GeoWorld’ project (beside many databases, maps, images,… currently already around 50,000 lines of PB code) till the end of 2016, and with a hopefully successful release increase the positive publicity for PureBasic.

Now, you have the last words to the PureBasic and SpiderBasic community:


Fred: Well, I think the PureBasic community is one of the warmest around, with a lot of helpful people on the forums. It's nice to see it at work, and I'm often please to test some code snippet and see what people do with PureBasic. It's not our product anymore, it's also own by the community. Happy New Year !

Timo: Happy New Year everybody!


Thank you, and a Happy New Year 2016 guys!


(c) Jan. 2016 by / André Beer. All rights reserved.