Today someone gave me a reference to Jabaco at http://www.jabaco.org.  Take a look at it and come back.

Interesting, huh?  That’s what I thought.

I’ve not played with it so all I’m doing is basing my info off of their web site.  If you have first hand knowledge please add your comments.

The IDE is unabashedly Visual Basic 6.  In all of it’s ugly glory it is definitely VB6-like.  For people thinking about moving away from VB6 to something else it looks like a potential solution.  Of course, if you have a low opinion of Java applications it’s probably not a good choice, but for many people Java apps are good enough if not a great solution.

One of the things that we don’t know about is how easy it is to customize the UI for each platform.  Based on the chatter in the forums they’re still getting the compiler working properly but I suspect that it would be easier than REALbasic’s approach because it’s compiling to one platform – Java – while RB is compiling to three.  The current version is 1.4 Beta so it definitely has some needs before it’s ready for primetime.

Compiling to a Java application and being able to use the vast array of libraries, reporting tools and other fun stuff might make this development environment that much more compelling.  Honestly, one of the drawbacks on the Mac platform (and RB by extension) is that there just isn’t a lot of choices when it comes to reporting and libraries.  Java, since it’s been worked on for over a decade, has the tools and libraries available.

Another interesting thing about Jabaco is that it opens and converts VB6 projects from within the IDE.  Having looked (a lot) at conversion utilities in the past couple of years I can’t imagine it being any better than bad for anything other than simple code.  All Windows declares would have to be rewritten and in their demo on their website it looks like Jabaco doesn’t make any attempt to convert system calls.  In that respect it’s no better or worse than any of the utilities to convert VB6 to RB.

So what do you think?  Do you think Jabaco has some potential?  Is it a worthy competitor to REALbasic?