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View Full Version : What's the current state of RealBasic (vs. Xcode)?




micsaund
Mar 3, 2009, 10:51 PM
Hi,

I've been perusing old threads for comments about RealBasic, such as this one from 2005 (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=148567&highlight=realbasic), and was wondering what the current state of the tool is today bug-wise, and also how it compares to Obj-C.

Let me give some background:

Basically, I'm looking for an easy-to-use GUI dev tool. I cut my teeth in the RAD world on Delphi 1.0 and more recently worked in C#/Visual Studio on Winbloze and I really like the fact that I can drag/drop buttons and then simply double click them to add code. It makes it simple and trivial to focus on functionality rather than plumbing details. I was surprised when Xcode didn't offer such simplicity. I could use Interface Builder to make a nice GUI, but it seemed completely disconnected with the code -- a level of complexity I wasn't expecting nor desiring.

So, I was looking for something "easy" that lets me focus on doing stuff rather than fiddling with instantiating GUI form classes/etc. and came across RealBasic.

Now, I will say that I am *not* into Basic at all. I never used VisualBasic and my recent background is Perl and shell with a bit of python here and there. So, I'm not looking at RB because it's Basic but because of the "jump in and go!" drag/drop type functionality. I don't mind (and would welcome) learning some level of C more than I know now, but I also like to feel "productive" and if I spend hours trying to get basic buttons clicking/etc. then I lose motivation.

So, with the concepts explained above, is RealBasic worth grabbing or not? Are the bugs improved over the thread I mentioned? BTW, yeah, I've got the trial, but I wouldn't hit on many bugs that early in using it.

Is there some super-obvious way to make Xcode "click to add button code" (for example) that I'm missing, thus obviating my need for RB?

I know that these are the grounds that computer holy wars are built-on (BTW, I'm an Emacs guy - take that vi people! :D ) but hopefully you get my intent if you've used Visual Studio and I've explained myself well enough.

Thanks!
Mike



Cromulent
Mar 3, 2009, 10:54 PM
There is only so far you can go with the type of programming you are describing. As soon as you want to do any logic you need to get down and dirty programming anyway so you might as well use Objective-C. It really is quite an easy language to use and the Xcode and Interface Builder combination is great in terms of simplicity.

kainjow
Mar 4, 2009, 06:04 AM
It takes a bit of getting used to working with IB and Xcode, but once you do, you can whip up GUIs very fast. And with the control that it gives you compared to RB, you can use even less code (e.g. all buttons using the same method, instead of different methods for each button).

RB isn't really applicable anymore unless you're doing cross-platform. Even then there are better alternatives such as Qt that I would suggest. It also is going to cost you quite a lot compared to Xcode being free.

micsaund
Mar 4, 2009, 08:55 AM
Hmm... Well, if IB and Xcode is really that simple once I get over a "learning hill" (hopefully not a mountain) then maybe I should bite the bullet and figure it out.

Kainjow - any resources in particular you'd recommend for someone with my background mentioned above to learn this, or just the usual books/sites mentioned in other threads?

Thanks,
Mike

plumbingandtech
Mar 4, 2009, 09:31 AM
stay away from RB.

bloated POS IMO.

Cromulent
Mar 4, 2009, 10:05 AM
Kainjow - any resources in particular you'd recommend for someone with my background mentioned above to learn this, or just the usual books/sites mentioned in other threads?

Thanks,
Mike

Just the usual. You'll probably want to get "The C Programming Language Second Edition", "Programming in Objective-C 2.0" and "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X Third Edition".

lazydog
Mar 4, 2009, 10:31 AM
Hi Micsaund

I don't think you'll get an unbiased opinion of RB on this forum! In the few posts so far there have been some things said which are simply wrong. Anyway, I have no doubt that Xcode, IB and Cocoa are a far better combination for Mac development. But for some people, the simplicity and speed of RB suits them better. You may or may not be one of those. I've still got RB 2008 release 1 and use it now only to maintain an app written a while ago. I know there were bugs in that release but nothing that affected me. If you head over to the RealSoftware site I think you can view a current bug list. Also have a look at the forum, you'll get a pretty good idea from other people what RB can do.

b e n

ghayenga
Mar 4, 2009, 10:34 AM
There is only so far you can go with the type of programming you are describing. As soon as you want to do any logic you need to get down and dirty programming anyway so you might as well use Objective-C. It really is quite an easy language to use and the Xcode and Interface Builder combination is great in terms of simplicity.

But you can do the "down and dirty" programming in Realbasic as well. Plus it doesn't have the fairly steep learning curve the XCode/Objective-C/Interface Builder has.

It's ideal for what he's wants, although you're telling him he shouldn't want it. It's also ideal for rapid interface prototyping and cross-platform developing.

And the bug situation is much improved from years past.

If he thinks what he's describing is worth the money then I think RB is the way to go.

micsaund
Mar 5, 2009, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the input, everyone!

I think that RB would be better to do quick bang-up programs, but I'm going to grab an Xcode/OC/IB book and see if I can make some headway there without getting frustrated and feeling like it's too much work. ;) Ultimately, I would like to do more C stuff and have no interest in Basic itself, so OC might be time more well spent.

I just write simple little programs to automate tasks and do stupid things like display drives/space/etc. so having full access to the APIs/etc. is not really required and I'm sure RB could do what I need, so I'll keep that as a backup.

Mike

kainjow
Mar 5, 2009, 02:23 PM
AppleScript Studio is another option. You can do quite a bit with AppleScript.

micsaund
Mar 5, 2009, 02:29 PM
AppleScript Studio is another option. You can do quite a bit with AppleScript.

Interesting. I was aware of AppleScript for automating some programs and doing shell-script type work, but I didn't know it had the GUI abilities/etc. that I'm finding scanning the ADC docs.

Thanks again!
Mike

certsoft
Mar 5, 2009, 06:18 PM
Since you have experience with Delphi you might want to look at Lazarus (http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/index.php) which is an open-source version of Delphi.

Les Kern
Mar 5, 2009, 07:04 PM
Hi Micsaund

I don't think you'll get an unbiased opinion of RB on this forum! In the few posts so far there have been some things said which are simply wrong.

b e n

I'll say.
RB works great for me... making some great dough. BUT the over-riding reason to use it is indeed cross-platform. If you have the brains and the time and don't mind sticking to one platform (Mac), then do Xcode. You can hope to make the killer app, eh? If you want somewhat easier coding in a pretty slick IDE for designing a simple or a (YES!) complex program and want to make some money off a cross-platform app, try RB's demo. You'd have to compare the "free" of Xcode with the "not close to free" of RB, but the decision for me was that no matter how one might feel about the superiority of the Mac platform, 90% of the world uses PC's, and they have money in their wallets I could sure use.
I made this in RB: www.coachstat.com
About 1/3 of our users are on XP or Vista, so using Xcode would have cost me a pretty good amount of scratch.

micsaund
Mar 5, 2009, 07:27 PM
That Lazarus looks pretty cool! I didn't know that there was a project to put the RAD GUI into FreePascal like that. It has been many years since I used Delphi, but this Lazarus could be fun to play with -- thanks!

Also, thanks for the input Les. I am (like nearly everyone) hoping to make some cash, but the market I'm wanting to write for has zillions of Winbloze versions already and my market would be writing similar tools for the Mac. So, the cross-platform stuff isn't that interesting, but I do appreciate seeing that you're making some cash with RB.

Mike

rowlands
Mar 23, 2009, 09:16 PM
RB will allow you to double click a button and to write some code behind it. Xcode does make use of bindings, you create an object to handle to the actions and then control drag from your button to the object. It's not as simple or as fast as RB/VB. If you're serious about building a Mac only application, I'd recommend taking the extra time (doesn't take much extra time) to learn Xcode.

The reason being is that Xcode produces smaller (in some cases less than %1) and faster applications. It doesn't require IDE scripts (RB Studio only feature) to insert necessary plist keys or to include a high quality icon. It doesn't require plug-ins or learning declares to extend the functionality beyond what RB gives you. You also get profiling and remote debugging with Xcode, in RB profiling is a studio only feature $1500!

For instance to use the Apple Image IO Kit (allows you to open the same image formats as Apple's preview, RBs OpenAsPicture is limited) within an RB application it takes a lot, I know because I've written the code to do it. In Xcode it's a single line.

NSImage *imageFromBundle = [[NSImage alloc] initWithContentsOfFile:fileName];

I've been using RB for 11 years and decided to learn Objective-C/Xcode this week and I'm surprised that it hasn't been such a hard challenge I was anticipating.

micsaund
Mar 23, 2009, 10:39 PM
Thanks for the detailed write-up rowlands.

I actually bought the $100 personal RB the other day just to fiddle with it. I figured that $100 wasn't a huge risk and it would be at least that useful to me. I'm not a C/C++ programmer (I can hack existing code to lightly modify it, but that's it) so learning OC (pointers, the [stuff], and APIs) is a bit more daunting than RB. For now, I just want to be able to bang-out some apps to do basic things, and to do so without spending weeks. I'm used to Perl and loosely typed coding where I can "get it done" rather than messing with types/etc. I know, bad programming, but I'm not doing college class programming -- just stuff I need to automate etc. ;)

I agree that OC is ultimately worth learning and it's on my ever-growing to-do list. The priority may rise as I find limitations in RB such as you mentioned.

Mike

ChrisA
Mar 23, 2009, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the detailed write-up rowlands.

I actually bought the $100 personal RB the other day just to fiddle with it.......

I agree that OC is ultimately worth learning and it's on my ever-growing to-do list. The priority may rise as I find limitations in RB such as you mentioned.


The other option is Java and netbeans IDE. It really is cross platform (mac, windows, linux and solaris) and does the things you asked for. And it is 100% free from Sun.

rowlands
Mar 24, 2009, 04:05 AM
Your most welcome for the write up, the timing is just about right as I'm going through the process of learning Xcode.

I too am not a C or C++ coder, I only ever once coded in C and that was for a semester at collage 13 years ago. Once I found VB and then RB I was away, believing that THIS was the way to create software.

On the RB side, I'd recommend you sign up to the NUG (available from RS website). The NUG is truly a great community of very helpful RB developers. It's a great place to ask questions, and to communicate with RB developers.

I know I said it before, but it really isn't as hard as you might think. I've been writing up my experiences as well as creating a cheat sheet for myself. If you're interested http://homepage.mac.com/rowlands/realbasic/toXcode.html

Before people begin to think that I'm a troll, take a look at Funtastic Photos (http://www.ohanaware.com/). It's a photo editor I wrote in RB (uses some plug-ins and a lot of declares). I've not a had a single customer complain that it was written in RB :)

LazyGator
Jan 17, 2010, 05:47 PM
Hello Rowlands,

I'm not sure if you're still monitoring this thread. I read your last post from March 2009.

I'm at a point where I need to decide whether I learn RB or Xcode. I've been a Windows programmer for the past 6 years. I typically work in Microsoft visual Studio using VB.NET. I do have a RB Pro license on the Windows platform, but have used it very little. I recently purchased a new Mac Mini and want to learn how to write apps for Mac and OSX.

Have you fully converted from RB to Xcode for all of your applications? How do you feel about Xcode compared to RB at this time? Do you have any suggestions for learning Xcode and Objective-C? My C experience goes back 15+ years and I only wrote little DOS utilities for the PC.

Thank you.

DC3400
Mar 5, 2010, 08:41 PM
I would stay away from RB. At best I would describe it as a Ponzi scheme whereas so called new features are introduced to keep the subscriptions and new license purchases up, but they never get around to fixing problems from past features. Each release just keeps adding more and more problems, which you are expected to pay for through subscriptions (lol, whatever happen to fixing your defective product for free). RB simply does not have the power to build serious commercial products. Their own web site likes to brag that companies like Apple like to use it to build a quick interface concept for an application, yet when these same apps are released they are not built with RB. The only marginally commercially successful app made with RB is RB itself, and even that is so-so as their own web site states that they are consistently profitable - which means not always profitable - as opposed to Apple which has $25 billion in cash. I find it strange that a much larger company like Apple has a better turn around time with bugs than the tiny company behind RB. Seriously, do a job search for a RB programmer online - better to learn something that there are actual job results for. I just got tired of the broken promises and the company's direction toward Windows.