NS Basic/Palm 7.0 Release Notes

June 30, 2009

© NS BASIC Corporation. All rights reserved.


  1. Demonstration Edition
  2. How to Install NS Basic/Palm
  3. How to run your program on your Desktop
  4. What's New?
    Version 7.0.0
    Version 7.0.1
  5. Known Issues
  6. Documentation
  7. Support

Welcome to NSBasic for Palm 7.0!

NS Basic/Palm 7.0 is a major new release of NS Basic with some great new features, such as Gradient buttons and color themes. These features will let you update your apps to have a much more modern look and feel:

Also included is the full version of Michael Verive's "NS Basic Programming for Palm OS" as a pdf file. Many thanks to Mr. Verive for making this available.

We've also added many other enhancements and bug fixes.

NS Basic/Palm is a complete development environment for Palm OS devices. NS Basic/Palm 7.0 creates programs for all Palm OS devices running Palm OS 3.1 or later, including Palm OS 5.x. It runs on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista. Using Parallels, VM Ware and Virtual PC, it will run on Mac OS. It will run on Linux using Win4Lin and VMWare.

Version 7.x is upwardly compatible with all earlier versions of NS Basic/Palm. Programs written in those versions will be able to run in the new version without change. However, projects saved in 7.0 cannot be opened in earlier versions. The new Runtime will also work with your older compiled projects.

NS Basic/Palm is a commercial software product, licensed subject to the License Agreement that must be must be agreed to before installation. The Agreement also appears in the NS Basic/Palm Handbook.

This document contains what you need to know to install and run NS Basic/Palm.

Please visit our web site for the latest version of this document. You'll see the latest installation notes and updated news.

NS Basic/Palm Features

The easiest way to program Palm OS devices!

1. Demonstration Edition

If you are running the Demonstration Edition, welcome! This is a full version of NS Basic/Palm, with some restrictions: There is no need to download the NS Basic Runtime since the Demonstration Edition automatically builds it into your app.

2. How to do a new installation of NS Basic/Palm

You can install NS Basic/Palm directly from this document if you are installing from the release CD. If you have an earlier version installed, the installer will automatically uninstall the old version. The link immediately below to NSBasic_Palm.exe will only work if you are running this from the installer CD and your browser allows this. Otherwise, navigate to the CD and run the installer directly from there.

  1. Install NSBasic_Palm.exe*. This will install all the necessary files onto your desktop, and put NS Basic/Palm on your Start menu. Click on the link and select the option "Run this program from its current location".
    You may see the message "The publisher cannot be determined due to the problem below: Authenticode signature not found." It is safe to ignore this message.
  2. Once the installation is complete, start NS Basic/Palm. If you have the full version, enter your serial number (from the back of your Handbook) into Register under the Help menu. Otherwise, the programs you create will time out after 5 days.
  3. From the Run menu, download the NS Basic Runtime and Mathlib to your device. There is no need to download the Runtime if you set the Build Option for Fat Apps. Mathlib is only required if you are using the additional math functions.
  4. Register your copy so we can keep you up to date. (If you bought directly from us, you are automatically registered).

* If you are not able to install directly from this document, click on the file named NSBasic_Palm.exe. If you are using the FireFox browser, this will be the case.

If you have problems with the installation, see Tech Note 01.

Getting Started

From the Start... Programs... menu, select NS Basic/Palm OS, then NS Basic Palm IDE. It will bring up a dialog box. Select "Other Existing Projects" and pick one of the Samples. You will then be able to browse the project and compile the .prc file to run on your Palm device. You should also try the Tutorials: they are on the Start menu.

Using NS Basic/Palm with Windows Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, etc.

NS Basic/Palm can work with double byte character sets. If there is a string table for your language, the settings will be automatic. Here is how to set up NS Basic/Palm: See also http://nsbasic.com/palm/Japanese/

3. How to run your program on your desktop

There are two ways to run your programs on the desktop. POSE lets you emulate a pre Palm OS 5.0 device, while the Simulator emulates a Palm OS 5.x device. You can download, start and stop programs on either one from within the NS Basic's Run menu. Use Tools...Options to select which one you want to use. Don't forget to download the Runtime if you are not building a Fat App.

Important: The Simulator, the ROM images and the associated files are licensed from PalmSource. When you install NS Basic, you agree to an End User License Agreement with PalmSource that has the terms of the license. A copy of the Agreement is in the \Program Files\NSBasic folder.

POSE - Palm OS Emulator

POSE is a desktop emulator for Palm OS 3 and 4 devices. NS Basic installs a copy of POSE with the ROM of a color Palm III running Palm OS 4.1. If you would like emulate a different device, you will need to get the appropriate ROM image from the manufacturer of your device.

You may be able to get a ROM image from your device. Using ROM Transfer.prc (in the Download folder), you can upload ROM images from most devices to the desktop. You can then use the transferred ROM file with POSE.

Each device has their own version of the ROM, sometimes with special features that are only on that device. The manufacturers sometimes, but not in all cases, have a special version of POSE that must be used.

The configuration of the Emulator is saved in the file \WINNT\Palm Emulator.ini.

If you want to get a copy of Palm's ROM or get the complete POSE documentation and files, go to http://www.palmos.com/dev/tools/emulator/. For more information on using POSE, see Tech Note 20.


The Palm OS Simulator is Palm OS 5 running native on a Windows machine. It comes complete with a Palm OS 5 ROM, so there is no need to download or upload a ROM image. The Simulator puts a Palm OS 5 device on your desktop to run your programs. You can control it from within NS Basic in exactly the same manner as POSE.

The first time you run it, it will ask you to accept a license agreement. After doing so, shut down the Simulator and restart it. You may get error messages when doing so: you may ignore them.

Some manufacturers have special versions of the Simulator to emulate specific devices: for example, Palm has a Tungsten T3 version. You can download this (after executing appropriate license agreements) from the Palm website. You can use it with NS Basic by changing the pathname to the Simulator in Tool...Options.

You can download the full Simulator from http://www.palmos.com/dev/tools/simulator/. This also includes full documentation on using the Simulator. While the documentation says otherwise, we find the Simulator only works well on Windows 2000 and XP.

4. What's New in this Release

The following enhancements and bug fixes are in NS Basic 7. The online help has been updated with the following information as well. An updated version of the Handbook has also been printed.

What's new in 7.0.1

  1. IDE: Updated to XP theme.
  2. IDE: Now runs on Vista 64 bit (see notes).
  3. Help: NS Basic Handbook now in pdf form.
  4. Runtime: ScrollBar.Value now works on all devices.
  5. Runtime: Fatal Error on Palm OS 3.1-3.5 fixed.
  6. Runtime: Bitmaps with scripts are now included in Navigation.

    What's new in 7.0.0

    1. Help: "NS Basic Programming for Palm OS" by Verive now included.
    2. Help: Language Reference updated.
    3. IDE: Bitmaps are now displayed on the design screen.
    4. IDE: Design screen shows colors in current theme
    5. IDE: External operations now time out after 10 seconds.
    6. IDE: File pickers in Properties no longer change default directory
    7. IDE: Fixed 'File Not Found' when saving project to another folder
    8. IDE: Gradient buttons and labels can now be created. (See docs below)
    9. IDE: If Bitmap ID is changed, project is marked as dirty.
    10. IDE: Images on Bitmaps can now be sized to fit. (See docs below)
    11. IDE: Open Image now defaults to Bitmap directory
    12. IDE: Other fonts can now be used on buttons and labels.
    13. IDE: Resource file names now use absolute paths
    14. IDE: Text coloring fixed for some commands
    15. IDE: Theme Editor added.
    16. IDE: Toolbox: Grid and Slider now show tool tips
    17. IDE: New constants: nsbIrCOMM, nsbRFCOMM and nsbBTCM.
    18. IDE: NS Basic/Symbian projects can be opened by NS Basic/Palm.
    19. IDE: Ctrl-P shortcut to print added.
    20. Library: Dictionary library added. (See Notes)
    21. Runtime: Grid.TextMatrix fixed in ARM Runtime.
    22. Runtime: SetTheme() function added.
    23. Runtime: Theme support added.
    24. Runtime: Resources of type DBIM are automatically saved as Databases.
    25. Runtime: Entire region of a bitmap is now clickable.
    26. Runtime: Topmost object gets the click, instead of bottom most.
    27. Runtime: Automatically starts in 16 bit mode in ARM Runtime.
    28. Samples: BetterBitmap added.
    29. Samples: GradientButtons added.
    30. Samples: Derby sample updated.
    31. Samples: Dictionary sample added.
    32. Samples: StockQuote added.
    33. Samples: Names of Shared Samples improved.
    34. Simulator: "Storage Snapshot not found" message fixed.
    35. TechNote 42 added: Using NSDictLib.
    36. Tutorial 08 added: Using TCPIPLib to get a Stock Quote.
    37. Tutorial 09 added: Bitmaps, Gradient Buttons and Pictures.
    Documentation Notes in 7.0.0
    1. Gradient Buttons and Labels: Now you can create objects that have a background that gradually goes from one color at the top to another at the bottom. The Bitmap object has been enhanced with several new properties that can be set at design time. The image of what it will look like is displayed in the Design Screen. At compile time, the image is transferred into a bitmap resource in the project, and saved as a file in \NSBasic\bitmaps\.

      The new properties are:
      Gradient Color1: The top (or left) color.
      Gradient Color2: The bottom (or right) color
      Gradient Style: 1 for top to bottom, 0 for left to right.

      You can use a bitmap instead of a label of the same size. Since Bitmap objects can have a script (just like a Button object), BitMap object buttons work the same way as Button Object buttons - but there are more options on appearance.

      Gradients work best on devices which support 16 bit color, with screens at least 320x320 in size. For devices which are 160x160, you will need to click on the border of the Design Screen so it switches to its smaller size, so the bitmaps can be created properly.

    2. Using other fonts: Bitmaps can now have text on them, using any font that is on your desktop system. The new properties are:
      Caption: The text to appear
      Alignment: 0 for left, 1 for right, 2 for centered.
      Appearance: 0 for flat, 1 for 3D
      Border Style: 0 for none, 1 for 1 border around the image.
      Caption Color: The color of the text.
      Font Name: The name of the font. Can use any font installed on your system.
      FontSize: The size of the letters.
      FontBold: Are the characters in boldface?
      FontItalic: Are the characters italicized?
      FontStrikeThru: Is there a line through the characters?
      FontUnderline: Is there a line under the characters?

      Note that captions and gradients only apply to Bitmap objects. Label and CommandButton objects will continue to use the installed fonts and cannot have gradients.

    3. Sizing images on Bitmaps: You can now specify the image to appear on a bitmap as well as its size. The new properties are:
      Picture: The pathname to the image. It can be bmp, gif, jpg and other format.
      Stretch: If False, the image will be the size of the orginal image, aligned at the top left. If the image if larger than the bitmap object, it will be clipped. If Stretch is True, the image will be scaled to fit the current size of the bitmap object.

      Keep in mind that the maximum size of a bitmap is 65,512 bytes. The formula for calculating the size of a bitmap is (width * height) * 8.

      Projects with existing bitmap objects will continue to work as before.

      Navigation: Bitmap buttons cannot be included in the 5-way navigation of Treo devices. The workaround is put a regular button of the same size behind the bitmap button, and use the regular button for navigation.

    4. Themes: This new feature allows you to enhance the appearance of your application by adding color to it. In Project Properties, you define a Theme. A theme defines colors for 22 different features of a form. There are 30 themes included with the release.

      To edit a theme or to create a new one, start the IDE and open a project. Select the Theme Editor under the Tools menu. It will automatically open the theme for the current form for editing, but allows you to also modify other themes or create new ones.

      Projects are automatically given the "Classic" theme. There is no restriction on changing the theme of an existing program.

      The theme you specify in Project Properties will be automatically be added as a resource to your project. If you use additional themes, you have to add them as resources. Themes are kept in c:\NSBasic\Themes. You can put additional themes you create in that folder or elsewhere. If you update a theme on your desktop, it will not change on the device until you manually delete the old theme on the device.

    5. Dictionary Object: The new object lets you set up a list of values you can quickly lookup and change during runtime. See Tech Note 42 and the new NSDictLib sample.

    5. Known Issues

    Tech Note 01 for solutions to common problems.

    Vista 64: The Palm Desktop does not have USB drivers for Vista 64, so it cannot be used to install programs by USB. Instead, use BlueTooth.

    6. Documentation

    1. The NS Basic/Palm Handbook. It is shipped with each copy of NS Basic/Palm. It is approximately 150 pages and details all commands, functions and statement, with examples for each of them. The pdf version is on the Help menu. Hardcopy versions can be ordered from NS BASIC.
    2. The Language Reference under the Help menu contains a summary of all statements, functions, objects and constants.
    3. The Tech Notes contain detailed information on a number of topics, including add ons to NS Basic.
    4. Tutorials: On the NS Basic/Palm Start and Help Menus.
    5. Sample Code: We have a selection of programs submitted by NS Basic/Palm users here on the web site. There are many more in the Files section of the NS Basic Web Board. Some cool stuff here!
    6. NS Basic Programming for Palm OS: This is an excellent book, by Michael Verive, that discusses NS Basic tips and techniques. 317 pages.

    7. Support

    We're committed to delivering the best possible support. The following resources are available:
    1. See the list of Common Problems.
    2. The NS Basic/Palm Web Board. Post questions and comments, and get answers in a public forum, plus more samples to download. Essential!
    3. Email Support: Send your questions to support@nsbasic.com
    4. Tech Notes: The Tech Notes posted on our web site give additional and specialized information on a wide variety of topics.
    5. Updaters: From time to time, we may offer updates to NS Basic/Palm modules for download at no charge. Register your copy to make sure you are on the list.
    We do not offer support by phone. Many problems involve looking at code and many solutions involve complex web addresses that don't communicate well by voice. Try the email support - it works better and we do our best to respond quickly!

    © NS BASIC Corporation. All rights reserved.