Greetings and salutations! My name is Bob Keeney and I’m the Vice-President of BKeeney Software Inc. This blog was started after RBDeveloper magazine agreed to publish a BKeeney Brief’s column on a regular basis. This is a very cool thing and I’m happy to do it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and did a lot of writing for various Mac user groups back in the day. On a regular basis we’ll talk about being a developer and what it’s like to make a living as a developer.
BKeeney Software does cross-platform application and database development using a variety of languages and tools. We mainly use REALbasic by REAL Software. REALbasic is to cross platform programming to what Microsoft Visual Basic 6 was to Windows. In my opinion there is no other tool that is as easy-to-use and as powerful than RB. Many critics complain that basic isn’t a real language when in fact (in RB at least) it creates a native executable for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. And this is done with one code base.
RB isn’t a panacea for developers. RB does a great job of making a decent application that’s reasonably close among all the platforms. However, that means it’s not a true Windows, Macintosh or Linux application without a little bit of elbow work for each platform.
RB isn’t without its critics. Some of the well deserved and some of them just petty. Just as with any development environment, it’s easy to make a bad REALbasic application. For those code purists out there, I’ve seen exceptionally bad .NET and Cocoa applications for Windows and the Macintosh respectively. Let’s face it, a bad app is a bad app.
The trick with any development environment is to learn the little tricks of the trade the make life easier. When I use Visual Basic 6 we have a bunch tools and routines that we’ve found over the years that helps polish an application. Without them the application just appears “not done”. In the accounting app we work on, we have close to one hundred Windows API calls that help out with one thing or another. So it is with RB as well. We have our classes and utilities and little helper apps that help us out.
One such help application we use with REALbasic is QuickKeys. We set it up so that QuickKeys calls an RB Script that does any number of things. One such thing is to add basic exception handling into the current method. With a simple press of a button we add the name of the object, the method and a call to our global error handler. It beats the heck out of typing it all in.
So what tools and utilities do you use for REALbasic?