Ruminations on REAL Studio 2010 Release 3.2

REAL Studio released a point update to REALStudio this week and brought it up to version 3.2.  The only bug fix listed is a Windows-only memory leak that affected various controls.

I know that the leak affects the StaticText control and the timer.  The bug is simple to reproduce:  add a StaticText control and a timer to the window and change the text in the timer.action event.  Run it.  That’s it.

The memory leak memory was so bad that one of my Windows apps was gobbling up tons of RAM to the point where the app was unusable.  Though, to be honest, part of the huge memory leak I was experiencing was the fault of my networking code, but the StaticText and timer leaks weren’t helping matters any.

The bug was big and whether it was my ranting or enough customers complaining about it, RS fixed the leak and issued a 3.2 beta.  Which I tested and the same day logged another memory leak.  The original leaks were fixed but now just by putting window.refresh in the timer event caused a leak in the StaticText control.  I actually logged it improperly because I wasn’t sure where the leak was and speculated on several different possibilities.  The RS engineer in charge of it added a simpler example project into the Feedback report the same afternoon.  So, obviously, they knew about the issue.

And yet, Release 3.2 went out the door with that known memory leak in place.

I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I spent an awful lot of my own time (because I sure as hell can’t charge the client doing all this testing to fix a problem that’s not theirs).  I provided timely feedback (less than 12 hours from the beta release) to test and document the bug and it was released anyway.

R3.2 is better, but it still has a major hole in it that may or may not be acceptable for my Windows builds.  I’m very disappointed that R3.2 saw the light of day since it obviously wasn’t really fixed.  In many ways I feel like this was a “Let’s shut Bob up and give him a new build.”  I know that’s not the case or at least I hope not (not to mention that sounds sort of narcissistic).

I really am starting to question their commitment to the Windows environment given their current workload.  Cocoa is late but is getting closer to reality all the time.  The new Web Edition is generating lots of buzz and even though the Cocoa and Web Edition teams don’t overlap much, the keyword is ‘much’ so it means there is *some* distraction.

It’s been another miserable week of 12 hours days trying to debug my app AND Studio at the same time.  So, yeah, it’s not been a pleasant one.

11 thoughts on “Ruminations on REAL Studio 2010 Release 3.2

  1. If you were worried about the buzz of the web edition becoming a problem; then why did you take part in creating it with your preview/review?

    If you want RS to focus on their core business don’t encourage their little games.

    Sorry to be critical, but like you I am frustrated by their diversions. We all know they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually delivering on their “Web 3.0” promises.

  2. Why did I take part? Because I’m also part of the Association of REALbasic Professionals and I write articles for RB Developer. Part of my job is to cover their news so I guess that makes me a pseudo journalist.

    I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on the Web Edition. However, until I see it in action I have to remain cautiously optimistic. I suspect that it will take a couple of releases before it’s really stable enough for me to really try selling it to clients (if I even try). Of course at some point I’ll have to do some training videos on it but I have a little time before that happens.

    As customers, we have the right to complain and demand for what we need and require. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, my needs, as a pro user, are different than what most hobbyists require. I wish there were more power features than ease-of-use features but that’s an argument that is years old.

  3. OK, I need to vent. Again.
    I’ve just been informed that a critical bug that has been around since 2010r3 will not be fixed until 2010r5 at the soonest (RBScript totally useless on Mac PPC builds – it just hard crashes). I really can’t understand how they can let these releases out the door. Don’t they do _any_ regression testing? One tiny spark of hope is that RBScript now seems to work in 2010r4 for Intel builds, having been useless since 2010r3.

  4. The state of REAL Studio is disappointing.
    There always seems to be a log of bugs and issues which cause a lot of problems for developers.

    I don’t understand why more care isn’t given to making higher quality builds instead of always some new thing coming out.

    I think it’s wrong.

    I think customers receiving anything other than high quality versions of REAL Studio isn’t acceptable.

    With Xcode 4 and it’s new single window IDE, capability of building for Mac desktop, iPhone, and iPad, it’s complete feature set, 64 bit, up to date technology, having very few bugs and issues I think REAL Studio desktop had better greatly raise it’s quality soon or it will be in serious trouble.

    I’m guessing REAL Software is betting on REAL Web Edition to be the top product and it probably will be become that seeing how the quality of REAL Studio desktop is always faltering.

  5. I too, have been disappointed with the quality of recent releases. However, I think a bulk of the new things and bugs have been a direct result of the move to Cocoa. They’re under the gun to deliver Cocoa which means that certain additions and changes have been accelerated and have been added than they normally would have done.

    Cocoa has required a TON of changes under the hood and any change has the potential to cause unanticipated bugs. RS has refactored much of RB because of Cocoa and the fact that we don’t know about most of it is a good sign.

    With that said, I’m hearing a LOT grumbling about quality. I would prefer a release with NOTHING BUT bug fixes. Screw the new stuff. Focus on quality, quality, quality because if it doesn’t improve I’ll be forced to look at another development environment.

  6. [blockquote]I’m guessing REAL Software is betting on REAL Web Edition to be the top product and it probably will be become that seeing how the quality of REAL Studio desktop is always faltering.[/blockquote]and then they’ll concentrate on the iStuff and the Web Edition will suffer along with Studio.

    [blockquote]With that said, I’m hearing a LOT grumbling about quality. I would prefer a release with NOTHING BUT bug fixes.[/blockquote] ‘A’ release? I think Christian might be on the right track when he suggested “The Year of the Bug Fixes” in the Mailing list. 😆

    [blockquote]Screw the new stuff. Focus on quality, quality, quality because if it doesn’t improve I’ll be forced to look at another development environment.[/blockquote]Couldn’t agree more, more buggy new ‘features’ are not what I require.

    Anyway, 2010r4 should be released soon and you can do it all again… 😉

  7. I was taking some review of the product in order to give me the boost to try it. I just come from another kind of bugy developing tool and I was tired of being tied with them.

    I will finish my book about Xcode, iphone and objective C. I think it is more wise to do so and my family will love me much 😉

    Thank you very much to you,

    Serge Gagnon

  8. @Serge
    As much as we whine and complain, we all have a love/hate relationship with REAL Studio. We love it for its easy-to-use IDE, it’s readable but powerful language, its ability to compile cross-platform apps, etc. We hate it for its semi-permanent bugginess that trips us up and makes us weep tears of frustration.

    However, having recently completed a 9 month intensive course in XCode and iPhone/iPad programming, I can tell you that XCode has bugs too, Objective-C feels like a giant kludge, and the frameworks, while awe-inspiring in their breadth and complexity, are often lacking fundamental features that make you wonder if they are awake at Apple.

    A stable version of REAL Studio is like a Holy Grail. One grasps it to one’s bosom and cries for joy. However, a few months later you are groaning in frustration as new bugs appear. RS “refactors” some code and it takes three releases to get it working right again. Or RS adds a new feature and breaks two others. For example, RBScript was replaced in 2010r4, and has not worked since. I have hopes for 2010r5, but am unable to test it since they changed the way plugins are accessed and all my apps crash.

    What I’m trying to say is that REAL Studio is a fine product, which I love and use on a daily basis to make a living (sic). Considering RS’s resources, it is a miracle that it works at all. However, like spouses, they can make you rip your hair out half the time.

  9. @Paul Rodman
    My sentiments exactly, Paul. I’ve been meaning to write the “why I still love REAL Studio” post. Just today I started thinking about a “why I’m excited about Web Edition” post. I feel like I haven’t been very positive recently so I think I need to do a better job at saying how much I like REAL Studio. Perhaps that will be a very good Thanksgiving week post.

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