GFA Basic

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GFA-BASIC is a Basic development system originally developed in 1986 by Frank Ostrowski and then targeting the Atari ST home computer. Reasonably advanced for its time, it quickly gained a lot of popularity on that platform primarily since it had support for generating programs that ran under the ST's GEM GUI, but at the time most basic interpreters available for the system only worked in command line mode, but documentation for the CLI mode shipped with the Atari ST development system, but not with the end user systems, leaving many Basic users with development tools but no documentation on how to use them for anything but the simplest of tasks.

The system grew very quickly in its first few years, the language became more structured, it gained a compiler, an IDE and debugging facilities and was ported in 1988 to the Commodore Amiga where it was almost as much of a success as on the ST.

Interest in the product specifically and in Basic in general had waned over the years and this led to the GFA company going out of business in 2001, no one was interested in taking over development of the system but it has left a legacy with a number of products that are either partially compatible or follow the same model. A number of European Basic variants currently being developed follow much of the GFA-BASIC syntax and structure some even offer a bit of backward compatibility with GFA-BASIC, have the same tendency for keyword proliferation and like the GFA offer enough platform abstraction to make porting between systems painless.


  • GFA-BASIC Atari Version 3.6 TT
  • 1990: GFA-BASIC for OS/2 version 1.0
  • GFA-BASIC for DOS V4.55
  • GFA-BASIC 16 Bit for MS-Windows 3.x V4.38
  • GFA-BASIC 32 Bit for MS-Windows Version 2.30

Author & publisher

  • Frank Ostrowski
  • Gesellschaft für Automatisierung (GFA)
  • GFA-Systemtechnik
  • GFA Software Technologies GmbH (Mönchengladbach, Germany)


  • Sjouke Hamstra: Programming in GFA-BASIC for Windows - 1996