Evangelizing REALbasic

It’s funny because I have been accused of being a shill for Real Software in the not so recent past.  I guess now I’m a traitor in certain segments of the community for asking what I think are legitimate questions.   Some feel that as president of the only professional organization for REALbasic I should be evangelizing the product.

Let’s talk for a minute about evangelizing a product.  Guy Kawasaki is famous for evangelizing Apple.  Here’s a post that talks about evangelizing a product.  In this post he asks the question “What are the characteristics of a great product?”

I’ll focus on one item.  Completeness.
Complete. A great product is more than a physical thing. Documentation counts. Customer service counts. Tech support counts. Consultants, OEMS, third-party developers, and VARS count. Blogs about it counts. A great product has a great total user experience—sometimes despite the company that produces it.

REALbasic has a number of issues related to completeness.  The documentation is lacking and at the last Real World there were large tables of users asking for better documentation.  Yes, there’s progress, but it’s been slow.  Compare RB documentation to what Apple, Microsoft, Java, PHP, and MySQL is putting out and you see a huge gap not only in quantity and quality but accessibility in todays web enabled world

REALbasic is limited in its appeal to third-party developers for a number of reasons.  The plugin API’s and documentation are always out of date.  To the best of my knowledge there is no guide, anywhere, on the best practices for creating plugins and cross-platform native controls.  Since you can’t write REALbasic plugins using REALbasic it seems somewhat ironic that you have to use another language and multiple IDE’s to make a plugin for a cross-platform tool.

Another post from Guy talks about the art of creating community.  Obviously Real Software has created a community (why else would I be writing about it and help found ARBP?).  It seems that we’ve stumbled on items #6 and #7 rather harshly this week:  Welcome Criticism and Foster Discourse.

Look, I use RB all day long not only for my own products but for multiple clients spread across the world.  It makes a living for me and my family as well as my employees.  I know what I need to make my life easier.  I know what problems RB gives me in sales and for development.  I also know what problems RB solves for me.  The feedback I’ve gotten has been on the web and via private emails and some have beaten me up on how I’ve hurt RB by asking a question meant to foster discourse.  Maybe the question that these folks should have posed back to me should have been, “Okay, if you’re such a smart guy, what are your ideas on improving RB?”

In the very near future ARBP will be publishing the results of what users said they wanted most.  The results will not surprise anyone that’s been using RB for any length of time.  If you’ve come to RB from the Windows world my guess is that you can already guess what people wanted the most, but I won’t spoil the surprise for ARBP.  🙂