If you’re a REALbasic developer and you’ve never used another language in your life then xCode and Cocoa will be….daunting? It’s not impossible to learn. I mean it’s just another language (among many) and another framework (among many). I think I can say with some certainty that working with xCode isn’t nearly as easy as dealing with REALbasic.
Sure, there’s a learning curve with learning REALbasic. RB is designed, however, to protect the user from themselves. Arguably, it’s easy enough to get in a bad situation in RB but there’s a logical progression to things. There’s a tight coupling between the things you see on the screen and the events and code behind it. Not so in Cocoa where you define your own events and call them when you want and are forced to use the Model-View-Controller design pattern. MVC separates the business logic from the user interface. RB and its cousin VB6 make it easy to combine and mix and match the two (I’ll leave it to the programming language Nazi’s to argue one approach versus the other).
The xCode environment isn’t nearly as friendly as REALbasic’s. You have to go hunting for information but I suspect that it will become 2nd nature in a matter of time (hopefully a day or so and not weeks). One thing I do like about xCode is the level of documentation available and the videos and external links for iPhone and Cocoa application development.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if REALbasic could create iPhone applications? You get to use an easy-to-use interface with a relatively easy-to-use framework. Of course there are some fairly large technical and political challenges to such a task but probably none of them insurmountable. Here’s my quick and dirty list:
• Apple would have to allow it. Will the Steve allow Real Software to steal some of Apple’s thunder? A better question is will it help Apple sell more iPhones? I say the answer is yes because more developers mean more apps which means more iPhones.
• REALbasic currently creates Mac applications using dynamic libraries (dylibs). Unfortunately, it appears that it’s part of the SDK agreement that you cannot use private frameworks or libraries. Any app that tries to install frameworks or library code will be rejected. That would be a big hurdle to overcome. But, surprisingly enough, Apple uses dylibs on some of their own apps so maybe this restriction could be overcome.
• The RB form editor would have to be redone to use iPhone specific controls. At this point, would be it be easier to make a separate REALbasic for iPhone product for sale? Possibly. Or maybe it makes sense to make REALbasic Mobile and add other mobile environments as they get done.
I’m probably missing a whole host of issues but it sounds interesting. IF Real Software could do it, it would put them on the map so-to-speak and darn near every developer thinking about developing for iPhone would know their name. RB is a Rapid Application Development environment and xCode/Cocoa is not. Think of the cost savings in development time!
So what do you think? Have I gone completely off my rocker? Have I been staring at code too long today? Is there a chance in hell that Apple would give RS their blessing?