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 Once your plan is no longer valid, you can continue to use whatever versions you have, but not new updates.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

Geekbench 4.4.0 - Measure processor and...
Geekbench provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand,... Read more
CleanMyMac X 4.4.4 - Delete files that w...
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
TeamViewer 14.4.2669 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for non... Read more
Paperless 3.0.6 - $69.95
Paperless is a digital documents manager. Remember when everyone talked about how we would soon be a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let's face it - we need and we... Read more
BetterTouchTool 3.141 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom)... Read more
TextMate 2.0.rc.29 - Code/markup editor...
TextMate is a versatile plain text editor with a unique and innovative feature set which caused it to win an Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X Developer Tool in August 2006 A rapidly growing... Read more
Little Snitch 4.4.1 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Little Snitch 4.4 - Alerts you about out...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
MPlayer OSX Extended 16 - Multimedia pla...
MPlayer OSX Extended is the future of MPlayer OSX. Leveraging the power of the MPlayer and FFmpeg open source projects, MPlayer OSX Extended aims to deliver a powerful, functional and no frills video... Read more
Google Chrome 75.0.3770.142 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

TEPPEN guide - Tips and tricks for new p...
TEPPEN is a wild game that nobody asked for, but I’m sure glad it exists. Who would’ve thought that a CCG featuring Capcom characters could be so cool and weird? In case you’re not completely sure what TEPPEN is, make sure to check out our review... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World guide - Other games that...
We now live in a post-Dr. Mario World world, and I gotta say, things don’t feel too different. Nintendo continues to squirt out bad games on phones, causing all but the most stalwart fans of mobile games to question why they even bother... | Read more »
Strategy RPG Brown Dust introduces its b...
Epic turn-based RPG Brown Dust is set to turn 500 days old next week, and to celebrate, Neowiz has just unveiled its biggest and most exciting update yet, offering a host of new rewards, increased gacha rates, and a brand new feature that will... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World is yet another disappoin...
As soon as I booted up Dr. Mario World, I knew I wasn’t going to have fun with it. Nintendo’s record on phones thus far has been pretty spotty, with things trending downward as of late. [Read more] | Read more »
Retro Space Shooter P.3 is now available...
Shoot-em-ups tend to be a dime a dozen on the App Store, but every so often you come across one gem that aims to shake up the genre in a unique way. Developer Devjgame’s P.3 is the latest game seeking to do so this, working as a love letter to the... | Read more »
Void Tyrant guide - Guildins guide
I’ve still been putting a lot of time into Void Tyrant since it officially released last week, and it’s surprising how much stuff there is to uncover in such a simple-looking game. Just toray, I finished spending my Guildins on all available... | Read more »
Tactical RPG Brown Dust celebrates the s...
Neowiz is set to celebrate the summer by launching a 2-month long festival in its smash-hit RPG Brown Dust. The event kicks off today, and it’s divided into 4 parts, each of which will last two weeks. Brown Dust is all about collecting, upgrading,... | Read more »
Flappy Royale is an incredibly clever ta...
I spent the better part of my weekend playing Flappy Royale. I didn’t necessarily want to. I just felt like I had to. It’s a hypnotic experience that’s way too easy to just keep playing. | Read more »
Void Tyrant guide - General tips and tri...
Void Tyrant is a card-based dungeon-crawler that doesn’t fit in the mold of other games in the genre. Between the Blackjack-style combat and strange gear system alone, you’re left to your own devices to figure out how best to use everything to your... | Read more »
Webzen’s latest RPG First Hero is offici...
You might be busy sending your hulking Dark Knight into the midst of battle in Webzen’s other recent release: the long-anticipated MU Origin 2. But for something a little different, the South Korean publisher has launched First Hero. Released today... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Amazon drops prices, now offers clearance 13″...
Amazon has new dropped prices on clearance 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros by $200 off Apple’s original MSRP, with prices now available starting at $1099. Shipping is free. Be sure to... Read more
2018 15″ MacBook Pros now on sale for $500 of...
Amazon has dropped prices on select clearance 2018 15″ 6-Core MacBook Pros to $500 off Apple’s original MSRP. Prices now start at $1899 shipped: – 2018 15″ 2.2GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Silver: $1899.... Read more
Price drop! Clearance 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBo...
Amazon has dropped their price on the recently-discontinued 12″ 1.2GHz Silver MacBook to $849.99 shipped. That’s $450 off Apple’s original MSRP for this model, and it’s the cheapest price available... Read more
Apple’s 21″ 3.0GHz 4K iMac drops to only $936...
Abt Electronics has dropped their price on clearance, previous-generation 21″ 3.0GHz 4K iMacs to only $936 shipped. That’s $363 off Apple’s original MSRP, and it’s the cheapest price we’ve seen so... Read more
Amazon’s Prime Day savings on Apple 11″ iPad...
Amazon has new 2018 Apple 11″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $250 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their Prime Day sale (but Prime membership is NOT required for these savings). These are... Read more
Prime Day Apple iPhone deal: $100 off all iPh...
Boost Mobile is offering Apple’s new 2018 iPhone Xr, iPhone Xs, and Xs Max for $100 off MSRP. Their discount reduces the cost of an Xs to $899 for the 64GB models and $999 for the 64GB Xs Max. Price... Read more
Clearance 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core MacBook Pros a...
Focus Camera has clearance 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB non-Touch Bar Dual-Core MacBook Pros on sale for $169 off Apple’s original MSRP. Shipping is free. Focus charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents... Read more
Amazon Prime Day deal: 9.7″ Apple iPads for $...
Amazon is offering new 9.7″ WiFi iPads with Apple Pencil support for $80-$100 off MSRP as part of their Prime Day sale, starting at only $249. These are the same iPads found in Apple’s retail and... Read more
Amazon Prime Day deal: 10% (up to $20) off Ap...
Amazon is offering discounts on new 2019 Apple AirPods ranging up to $20 (10%) off MSRP as part of their Prime Day sales. Shipping is free: – AirPods with Charging Case: $144.99 $15 off MSRP –... Read more
Amazon Prime Day deal: $50-$80 off Apple Watc...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 models on sale for $50-$80 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their Prime Day deals with prices starting at only $199. Choose Amazon as the seller rather than a... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Systems Architect/Engineer, Vice Pre...
…its vision to be the world's most trusted financial group. **Summary:** Apple Systems Architect/Engineer with strong knowledge of products and services related to Read more
*Apple* Graders/Inspectors (Seasonal/Hourly/...
…requirements. #COVAentryleveljobs ## Minimum Qualifications Some knowledge of agricultural and/or the apple industry is helpful as well as the ability to comprehend, Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**710003BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000171-Winchester Road-Store **Job Description:** Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**709786BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000430-Orange Park-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Master Consultation Agen...
**709918BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Master Consultation Agent **Job Category:** Services/Installation/Repair **Location Number:** 000106-Palmdale-Store Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.