TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Real World Review: REALbasic 2007r2

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: Real World Review

Real World Review: REALbasic 2007r2

by Norman Palardy

Introduction

REALbasic is REAL Software's award winning cross platform rapid application development environment. REALbasic 2007 Release 2, or RB 2007r2, is the latest incarnation.

If you're familiar with other programming tools like Visual Basic, Delphi, or 4th Dimension, you'll instantly recognize a great deal of REALbasic. It has a straight forward drag and drop visual design environment for creating a user interface and a robust programming language.

That said, this is not BASIC like you might have encountered before. REALbasic is similar to Visual Basic, but not identical.

REALbasic comes in two versions: Standard and Professional. The Standard version only compiles applications for a single platform (Mac, Windows or Linux) and is missing several Internet related classes and some more advanced user interface classes. The Professional version is substantially more expensive but also includes everything so you can write an application on one platform and compile it for the others, the ability to create console applications, SSL, remote debugging and several other features.

REALbasic's language has full support for a host of features normally found in languages like Java and C++. But it's not nearly as hard to learn.


Figure 1 – REALbasic splash screen.

When you first launch REALbasic, you're greeted with its splash screen. REAL frequently releases new versions with new features and bug fixes. One important piece of information on the splash screen is the update plan expiry date. REAL has moved away from a traditional version numbering scheme to a subscription-like model. You can download and use any updates released while your update plan is valid. Once your plan is no longer valid, you can continue to use whatever versions you have, but not new updates.

The good thing about this model is that instead of only getting one release a year you often get 4 and maybe more. Each release contains a mix of bug fixes and new features. Release 2 fixes over a hundred issues.

When REALbasic opens, you are shown a new, default empty project that has the bare minimum required for a GUI application. Every application in REALbasic is a project. All the code and user interface items form a part of that project.


Figure 2 – A new REALbasic project

At this point, you can actually compile and run this project. It is a fully working example. It does not do much, but it does run, open a window and has a working menu bar.

To turn this into your pet project you add controls from the control palette, and add code to the controls to make them behave the way you want. As you can see from the next picture there is a long list of controls that you can use in an application –– everything from simple controls like check boxes and push buttons to more complex controls for using Excel, Word and PowerPoint from within REALbasic.


Figure 3 – Project window with control palette visible on left.

You may ask yourself how big a project or how complicated a project REALbasic can create. In fact, the REALbasic IDE is written using REALbasic. You can write very large very complex projects in it.

There are several commercial products, including REALbasic, that are written in REALbasic. However, because some have vocally criticized REALbasic some vendors do not advertise that they use REALbasic to create their products. That said, REAL Software is constantly working on improving REALbasic as fast as they can manage and RB 2007r2 has a number of significant improvements. It loads faster than 2007 Release 1, compiles debug builds quicker than 2007 Release 1, and has numerous fixes and enhancements.

Many fixes in RB 2007r2 are productivity enhancing fixes. Improved speed of debug runs and an improved debugger mean that as a developer you can work faster and better watch what is going on in your code.

Extending your reach

REALbasic is a very extensible environment and RB 2007 r2 improves that extensibility and improves on the speed of using third party add-ons, called plugins. You can use many ActiveX controls on Windows, Applescript on OS X and a mechanism, called declares, to access functions available from DLL's or libraries. This allows you to extend you applications in ways that REAL has not foreseen.

There are several third parties that sell plugins that add functionality such as new control types that are not already built in as well as numerous functions. One plugin set adds over 10,000 functions alone spanning OS X, Windows and Linux. There are several libraries of free code available that extend REALbasic in additional ways.

With the good...

With all the great things in REALbasic there are unfortunately some downsides and areas where REAL could improve the IDE. The project viewer does not allow you to select more than one class or module at a time to export or encrypt. This can be a real annoyance if you have a large number of items to export or encrypt.

Find has two different interfaces and options that sometimes overlap in functionality. REAL would do well to consolidate this into a single Find to reduce confusion.

Some of the online documentation lags behind the product and new functions or corrected examples can be missing or incorrect. The Users Guide is regularly updated so items that may not be listed in the online reference can often be found there.

Fortunately, REAL Software has publicly accessible forums, mailing lists and a feedback and bug reporting system. REAL Software has an archive of all the emails to the lists that can be readily searched for answers. And many of the list and forum members have web sites that you can find additional help and code on the help you learn REALbasic quickly.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Of course, some of those downsides are minor compared to the good points. REALbasic is one of only a very small number of tools where you can take one set of code and create applications for Windows, Linux and OS X from the same source code. Even better, you can do this from any of the platforms REALbasic supports. Most of the other tools are either significantly more expensive or produce an intermediate compiled code, like Java does, that is run using a virtual machine of some kind. REALbasic compiles true, native executables for each platform.

REALbasic also has a great visual designer that makes it easy for anyone to lay out an interface and implement the required logic to make it behave as desired.

As a software developer, it's important to me that REALbasic has improved the speed of the edit/compile/debug cycle. This lets me make changes incrementally, see their effect and keep working. This quick turn around is further enhanced by recent changes in REALbasic 2007r2.

Perhaps the best thing about REALbasic is that the learning curve is very low. You don't have to spend several weeks or months learning frameworks and tools just to produce a fairly simple application. REALbasic is easy to learn and yet very powerful.

Conclusion

REALbasic has come a long way from its initial roots as a Mac only product written entirely in C and C++ to the point where REAL software is using the current version of REALbasic to create the next version of REALbasic. While there are upsides and downsides, no development environment is without its faults. The important thing is this: as with any programming tool, the only real limitation is your creativity and imagination.


Norman Palardy has worked with SQL databases since 1992, and has programmed in C, C++, Java, REALbasic and other languages on a wide variety of platforms. In his 15+ years of IT experience, Norman has developed innovative and award-winning applications for TransCanada Pipelines, Minerva Technologies (now XWave), Zymeta Corporation, and the dining and entertainment industry. He holds a BSc from the University of Calgary in Alberta.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

EtreCheck 3.1.4 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Postbox 5.0.9 - Powerful and flexible em...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.5.16 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.827 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
VueScan 9.5.61 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Postbox 5.0.9 - Powerful and flexible em...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
VueScan 9.5.61 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.5.16 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.827 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
Civilization VI 1.0.1 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »
KORG iWAVESTATION (Music)
KORG iWAVESTATION 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A revolutionary new world of sound.The Wave Sequence Synthesizer for iPad - KORG iWAVESTATION | Read more »
Don't Grind Guide: Tips for becomin...
Don’t Grind is a surprising, derpy little one touch game with fun hand-drawn graphics. The goal is simple -- get the high score without being chopped to bits. That can be tough when you’re not used to the game, and that’s compounded by the fact... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Monday roundup of Holiday Mac sales: Up to $3...
Take up to $300 off MSRP on the price of a new Apple Mac at B&H Photo today as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Touch Bar MacBook Pros are in... Read more
12-inch WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for up t...
B&H Photo has 12″ WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for up to $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off MSRP... Read more
9-inch Apple WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $20-$...
B&H Photo has 9.7″ Apple WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $20-$50 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 9″ Space Gray 256GB WiFi iPad Pro: $779.95 $20 off MSRP... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple MacBook Airs available fo...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $899 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/... Read more
13-inch Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLVP2LL/A) in stock today and on sale for $1749 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price... Read more
Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Kansas...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Chicago...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with responsibilities for Read more
SW Engineer *Apple* TV Frameworks - Apple I...
The Apple TV team is looking for a software...create features that reflect the look and feel of Apple TV. Description: Were looking for someone who is Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Greenwi...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.