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 Once your plan is no longer valid, you can continue to use whatever versions you have, but not new updates.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

Skype 7.9.746 - Voice-over-internet phon...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
Apple GarageBand 10.1 - Complete recordi...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.7 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
OS X Server 4.1.3 - For OS X 10.10 Yosem...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
Firefox 39.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
pwSafe 4.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
Kodi 15.0.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Coda 2.5.11 - One-window Web development...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few surprises... Read more
Bookends 12.5.7 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Maya 2016 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more

This Week at 148Apps: June 29-July 3, 20...
Into July With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the... | Read more »
Sonic Runners Guide
Despite its flaws, Sonic Runners' platforming action is actually quite fun. Though it can be a little more complicated than old-school Sonic games. Here's how to make sure you're up to speed when jumping in. [Read more] | Read more »
Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back... | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! *** “Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some... | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Amazon has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
RamDisk4Mac App Helps Run Your Mac Faster And...
Ever use a RAM disk? If you’ve come to the Mac in the OS X era, likely not. The Classic Mac OS had a RAM disk function built-in, but that was dropped in the conversion to OS X. What is a RAM disk?... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Best Buy has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Apple Refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Seagate Backup Plus Drives Feature 200GB of C...
Seagate Technology plc has announced that its Backup Plus family of external storage offerings will now include 200GB of OneDrive cloud storage, a major added value, and the addition of Lyve’s photo... Read more
Canon PIXMA MG3620 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One...
Canon U.S.A., Inc. has announced the PIXMA MG3620 Wireless (1) Inkjet All-in-One (AIO) printer for high-quality photo and document printing. Built with convenience in mind for the everyday home user... Read more
July 4th Holiday Weekend 13-inch MacBook Pro...
Save up to $150 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pro at the following resellers this weekend. Shipping is free with each model: 2.7GHz/128GB MSRP $1299 2.7GHz/... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, sav...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149.99. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Their price is $... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2015 11-inch...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ MacBook Airs as well as 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
Senior Payments Security Manager - *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior payments security manager to join the Apple Pay security team. You will Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Sr. Payment Program Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is an exciting environment and a…devices in a simple, private and secure way. The Apple Pay Team is looking for an experienced Senior Read more
Project Manager - *Apple* Pay Security - Ap...
**Job Summary** The Apple Pay Security team is seeking a highly organized, results-driven Project Manager to drive the development of Apple Pay Security. If you are Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.