OP, thank you for bringing back the memories.
To younger programmers, Internet access was not quite a thing that I had access to then. Before my dad got AOL, I was only allowed to log into the county library BBS and not any public system. One actually used a modem to dial directly in at that time and no one else could use it simultaneously. Once my family had AOL, I later was able to participate in a programmer chat room on AOL, which was the entry into a whole new world.
That BBS was the only one in a probably 80 KM radius and with a maximum of 4 connections.
So yeah, learning to code meant demoscene parties, magazine listenings, get programming books as gift or being able to find something at the local library (usually from the 70's and early 80's).
As for development software, we would either type the compiler/interpreter ourselves from those magazines and books, or use one of those bundled tapes/disks if lucky to find them.
Also during those days, the local street markets where a common source of software.
And you needed friends, because it was impossible to buy all the interesting magazines every month, so CD-ROM trading was a thing back then.
At the time (I was probably 11 or so) I knew that it was important to learn to write serious stuff, and knew that an operating system was probably "serious stuff," and so I thought it might be a good learning experiment to write an operating system in QBasic. Needless to say I was missing a few links in how "serious stuff" was written back then, but it sure was a fun intro!
And this is despite trying at 12-13 to 'go pro' with Visual C++ ordered through a student discount and the C++ For Dummies book (I had no idea where to start) that never took off the ground. A wish there was a local group or mentor I knew about back then!
Now I have a small team in Berlin (5 devs), doing some mobile apps and a project for Wix: www.wixeducation.com (ES2015, Postgres)
We don't have a real website, because we're so busy :D but there's a logo online: www.code-pan.com
Turns out it runs insanely fast, there's no speed control. It's also really hard to see in a tiny window.
But it is so long time ago and I never really used QBasic, by the time it came out I was already into Turbo Pascal, leaving Turbo Basic behind.
I did however spend long evenings trying to understand it, as QBasic was one of the first languages I tried to implement a compiler for.
I think I might remember something about a default size for undeclared arrays...
By the way: The PLAY command was acting as a pause hack, to limit the speed. It would just block the loop for a few milliseconds. Not sure there's an alternative, I think SLEEP was only for seconds...
i wonder, what were others using for documentation? as i recall, i'd found a short introductory book on BASIC (not qbasic specifically, I don't think?) at the library.
I've been setting each pixel by hand using that editor.
But mostly I remember complaining to my dad. QBasic "compiled" to some intermediate that required QBasic to run... I remember never being happy with that.
I thought I had eventually found out... but QB64 only supports XP, and I know that I was doing QBasic on something much older than that... Maybe older versions of QB64 supported earlier versions of Windows.
anyway, a nice little 5 minute trip down memory lane.