Home – Great Cow BASIC

Table of Contents Our mission is to create the best programming tools for Microchip PIC and Atmel AVR microcontrollers.   Great COW BASIC IDEGreat COW BASIC SYNTAXYou already know PIC Developing with another Programming environment?Great COW BASIC HISTORY Great Cow Graphical BASICImportant Links  Our mission is to create the best programming tools […]

Our mission is to create the best programming tools for Microchip PIC and Atmel AVR microcontrollers.   


Our software is called the Great Cow BASIC suite.  The  Great Cow BASIC suite is robust and fully functional compiler and assembler.   Using Great Cow BASIC is the fastest method to program a Microchip PIC or Atmel AVR 8-bit microcontroller for those just starting and the professional user.


Great Cow BASIC has three main aims – to remove the need for repetitive assembly commands, to produce efficient code, and to make it easy to take code written for one microcontroller type and run it on  another microcontroller type.   The design intent is to remove the complexity of using and programming a microcontroller.     Great Cow BASIC is suitable for beginners, for those who do not like or wish to learn assembly language and for experienced microcontroller programmmers.   Great Cow BASIC  is available for Windows, Apple Operating Systems and Linux.


We have two versions of Great Cow BASIC.   Both versions use the same common core toolchain the difference is the user experience. 

  • Great Cow BASIC IDE  
  • Great Cow Graphical BASIC


This IDE is called  [email protected]  

[email protected] is the IDE for Great Cow BASIC. It is based on Synwrite  created by Alexey Torgashin www.uvviewsoft.com/synwrite 

adapted and modified for GCB and maintained by Frank Steinberg,  see www.FrankSteinberg.de for more information about Frank and his great work.

[email protected] features:

  • Integration with the Great Cow BASIC compiler
  • Simple to change the programmer
  • SynWrite editor with syntax highlighting and code folding
  • Sub/function list
  • Autocomplete
  • Context sensitive help (F1)
  • Multifile tabs and bookmarks
  • Doubleclick on compiler errors moves the cursor to the sourcecode error line
  • Oneclick assemble/compile/flash microcontroller (F5, F6, F7, F8)
  • Serial Terminal software 
  • Programmming software
    • PicKit2 and PicKit3
    • AVRdude and Avrdude-GUI
    • Microchip Xpress Board programmer
    • Microchip IPE automation tool
    • TinyMultiBootloader+
    • And, many more programmers

The IDE uses the following tool chain as follows:

  • SynWrite 
  • PPS Tool for Microchip Peripheral Pin Select 
  • XpressLoader 
  • Putty and Terminal 
  • TinyMultiBootloader+ 
  • WinPICgm 
  • PicKit3 Gui 
  • IPE-Pusher 
  • PicKit2 Gui 
  • PicKit2Cmd 
  • Micronucleus 
  • Avrdudess 
  • Avrdude



The syntax of Great Cow BASIC is based on that of QBASIC/FreeBASIC, but, with some adaptions to suit the vastly different system that it compiles for – a microcontroller.

Great Cow BASIC will allow you to program most 8 bit PIC microcontrollers (10F, 12C, 12F, 16C, 16F, 18C and 18F chips), and most AVR microcontrollers (Classic AVR, Tiny AVR and Mega AVR).

Great Cow BASIC features are:

  • Simple, useful language
    • Standard BASIC flow control statements – If, Select Case, Do, For, While-Loop
    • Support for multiply, divide, add, subtract, Boolean operations and comparisons.
    • Bit, Byte, Word, Long and Integer and String data types, in addition to byte and word arrays.
    • Subroutines and Functions
    • Inline assembly, in most cases without any special directives
    • Data tables
    • Complex Maths
  • Portable, reusable code:
    • Supports  8-bit PIC and AVR microcontrollers
    • Write code for a TinyAVR, easily adapt it for an 18F
    • Automatically recalculates all delay commands depending on the clock speed of the chip
  • I/O capabilities:
    • Standard LCD and GLCD routines
    • Routines for on-chip A/D, I2C, PWM (8bit, 10bit, 12bit and 16bit), SPI, USART, EEPROM , Timers
    • RS232 communications – rates between 300 and 256000 bps with user configurable parity, start and stop bits.
    • PS/2 keyboard reading and 4×4 Keypad
  • Other features:
    • Libraries for the largest range of add-on components
    • Extensive help file and forum
    • Several translations
    • Generates standard MPASM compatible assembly code for PIC, or avrasm2 compatible code for AVR.



You already know PIC Developing with another Programming environment?

Please look here for an enlighted story



Great Cow BASIC was initially developed in 2007 by Hugh Considine and over the years a growing number of developers have support the Open Source development.   The key developers and key community member are:

Hugh Considine Lead Developer
Evan Venn Design Authority, Main library developer and Release Manager
William Roth LCD, Timers, SMT Libraries developer
Theo Loermans LCD and Libraries developer
Chris Roper Utilities and QA
Joe Realmuto GLCD developer
Kent Schafer PWM and GLCD developer
Pete Everett PPS Tool developer
Frank Steinberg Lead IDE developer
Bernd Dau Uber Web Master
Stefano Bonomi Two-wire LCD subroutines
Geordie Millar Swap and Swap4 subroutines
Finn Stokes 8-bit multiply routine, program memory access code   


If you are curious what you can do with Great Cow BASIC.  Watch the video below – this shows the some of the capabilities of Great Cow BASIC.


A quick overview of Great Cow BASIC










Great Cow Graphical BASIC

Great Cow Graphical BASIC is an icon based program editor. It allows you to create Great Cow BASIC programs without having to memorise commands. This makes it particularly useful for those who have never done any programming before. And, as with Great Cow BASIC, it’s completely free!

Great Cow Graphical BASIC is tightly integrated with Great Cow BASIC – it will work with all of the same chips, and loads and saves GCBASIC programs directly. You can even copy and paste between Great Cow Graphical BASIC and a text editor with a Great Cow BASIC program in it! GCGB will load GCB libraries, and when you’re comfortable to leave the icons behind, your GCGB programs can be edited like any other Great Cow BASIC program.

Currently, Great Cow Graphical BASIC will only run on Windows and requires the .NET Framework 1.1 or higher.   



Important Links 

Help                             – a searchable comprehensive and Help system – this is updated daily

Forum                          – the user forum has a vast amount of information and you can ask the community for help and advice.

Microcontrollers        – Great Cow BASIC supports more than 1100+ microcontrollers.

Hardware                    – this add-on hardware is already supported – this list grows weekly.

Download                    – this is where to download the software

Demo Code                 – this is where we have a huge repository of demonstration code.  To access select here

Showcase Collection  – and do not miss the collection of great projects published by the users of Great Cow BASIC

Never miss a Release or an

important Update! News feed








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