Philon has created a compiled Basic for the 520ST. A compiled
Basic translates the entire program into executable machine code and
stores this on disk. The program thus does not consume any time
translating individual commands into machine language during
execution of the program. In principle, programs that are very long
and/or contain lengthy loops can be speeded up significantly by
compilation. Engineering, scientific, game and business programs are
A very efficient programming technique is to write a program
with an interpreter, debug it interactively with the interpreter,
then compile it for speed and execution from the desktop. The Philon
compiler achieves this, except for speed in mathematics routines.
During the course of this review, two speed tests were run. One test
was a repetitive number cruncher and the second, a character string
sorting routine. The math test ran SLOWER under the Philon compiler
than it did from ST Basic, while the sort test ran faster. The
Philon code does run directly from the desktop and will compile ST
Basic files, provided the commands used in the ST Basic file are
common to the Philon dialect.
The major uses for the compiler would be in applications
requiring considerable math accuracy. Engineering, scientific and
business applications seem appropriate, although they may run slower
than expected. Additionally, the compiled program runs directly from
TOS - loading ST Basic is not required.