You can now download MapBasic without charge from http://www.pbinsight.com/support/product-downloads/for/mapbasic.
The MapBasic interface is not as sophisticated as say Visual Studio. For instance, there is no visual interface for creating dialogue boxes, buttons etc. In fact the interface hasn’t really changed very much from the original version. However, there have been many upgrades to the functionality offered by MapBasic from a programmable view point. These reflect improvements in MapInfo and the Windows operating system environment.
Even if you have never programmed before, you should still be able to learn enough about MapBasic from the Help screens to achieve some success in automating common mapping requirements. Most features of the program have some code snippets explaining how to use them within the help section.
With that in mind you could try out some code with the Note statement. The Note statement can be very helpful in finding errors within your code. If that doesn’t mean very much at this point don’t worry. You will in time!
Try inputting the following into the MapBasic window: -
Note "This is probably the most simple program you could write in the MapBasic language"
If there are no errors in your code you will be asked to name and save your program. Then re-select Project – Compile Current File and you will receive a confirmation message.