The state of the REALbasic community

Christian writes of his frustrations with the REALbasic community.  Blog post here:

I don’t disagree with his assessment though I do have a few more types to add to his list:

Type 3:  The I’m-Too-Busy-To-Think-About-Helping developer.  Personally I think this is a cop out.  We’re all busy.  Volunteer organizations, which ARBP is, is totally dependent upon volunteers.  We all have some quick and dirty proof-of-concept code that we could share.

Type 4:  The I-Don’t-Care-Because-It’s-Not-My-Responsibility developer.  That’s called apathy.  For the REALbasic community to succeed more of us need to care and actually do something.

Honestly, this list isn’t much different than any other volunteer organization I’ve belonged to.  This includes my college fraternity, several churches and even Habitat for Humanity projects:  Most work is done by a very few, highly motivated, people.

Here are the facts.  ARBP has been a part-time job for me.  In 2009 I’ve tracked all of my time (using Task Timer, of course) and I’ve spent 15% of all my working hours working on ARBP.  That’s nearly a day a week that I take a away from paying work.  And that doesn’t count the emails that I’ve answered in off hours.  Since we don’t get paid that’s tough to justify in the long run.

Any criticism you have of ARBP is okay.  You probably have some justification.  We’re all volunteers.  We need more help.  We need more examples in the source code repository.  We need more writers.  We need more training video’s.  We need a Joomla! expert.  We need someone to help coordinate next years ARBP Summit.  In other words, if you volunteer I guarantee that we can find something for you to do.

The RB community needs you!  Help out where you can.  Not only will you feel good about sharing your knowledge and experience but you’ll be helping the community out as well.

8 thoughts on “The state of the REALbasic community

  1. Considering previous discussions of how to create a graduated progression of “training material” on the ARBP site it is ironic that someone is complaining it is all “beginner level” – also notable as you can Christian mention that they did not offer to put forward any advanced material to educate us all.

    I suspect the Board are getting somewhat fed up of negative criticism without useful feedback of what members/prospective members actually want, let alone the lack of volunteers. However, that may follow on simply from how accessible and easy to use RB actually is; as with all Basic dialects (and most RAD environments) it attracts those who want instant results which includes those who want (a) instant kudos as a brilliant programmer without necessarily producing anything to justify that, and (b)professional quality source code for free that they can stick their name on and sell without any real effort on their part.

    Following on from the end of Christian’s post, RS make a product, it is up to RB Users to create a community; whether the naysayers and freeloaders are supported, tolerated, combatted or ignored by the ones who are actually working with RB is a decision that the balance of the community will need to evolve an answer to.

    As to more articles and code samples, I’m working on it, but you don’t want shoddy amateur stuff do you 😉 And I’ll volunteer to help with the next ARBP conference if you will hold it in Scotland 😛

  2. I’m about as frustrated as Christian. In my own profession, I made 70 educational applications written in RB available at no cost to fellow educators. In the RB community, I’ve lectured at Real World and written articles. I’m on the ARBP board and do as much as my other commitments in my own profession and my health permit.

    But what bothers me the most is that I found very few volunteers to help when I open-sourced a project that would have provided a much-needed professional tool to the RB community. Out of the “thousands and thousands” of RB programmers, only a handful of volunteers?? Most people just said “I want to use it when it’s done”.

    In my opinion, the RB community is not as cohesive or as motivated to succeed by working together as I’ve seen in the other programming language communities in which I’ve belonged.

  3. One question that comes to mind is whether it’s the apathy of the community or the types of people that come into the community? It doesn’t seem like much of a difference at first blush but I think the RAD nature, and the BASIC language of RB tends to attract more hobbyists.

    I suspect that most VB6 users were generally apathetic towards the language and most just wanted to sponge off the VB6 communities like Planet Source Code and the like. The only difference being with RB there were many more millions of VB6 developers out there.

    Another issue is that VB6 had a ton of highly educated enterprise level developers that came up solutions to their problems and posted them online. RB’s toolset doesn’t fit real well in the enterprise at the present time.

  4. @Dr. Scott Steinman
    As one of those few volunteers the REAL (pun intended) killer of that project was REALbasic itself. It just didn’t have enough exposed to advance the tool to the point where you wanted it to go. We tried and came up with our hit list of stumbling blocks and presented them to RS, what, two years ago? AFAIK, nothing has changed in the list since then.

  5. @Bob
    I agree, but it was still very disheartening to see so few volunteers. REALbasic desperately needs a strong open-source community and third-party developers to win over developers currently using development systems like Visual Basic that have a wealth of code and tools available.

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