Contributing To the Community

I answer a lot of questions from REALbasic folks.  I don’t mind.  I enjoy the varied and interesting questions that come up.  Sure, some questions seem simple but when you don’t know even the right question to ask using a tool, even as easy as REAL Studio is, is frustrating.

Heck, I’ve been there – I started out knowing nothing 10 years ago.  It’s part of the reason why I troll the REAL Software forums and answer questions.  It’s part of the reason why I’ve done the video training series (a couple of hours of Web Edition is coming up!) because I’ve found that I enjoy the challenge of getting to know a piece of RB as well as I can.  If I can do one thing to help someone else it makes my day.

I helped found the Association of REALbasic Professionals because I (and many others) felt that we needed an association devoted entirely to REALbasic.  In a year and half I think we’ve gotten off the ground and doing a decent, (if barely) adequate job.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a dedicated presence in the community and the website gets a lot of visits per month.  We have some content that you can’t get anywhere else and we have the largest repository of REALbasic projects outside of REAL Software itself (that I’m aware of at least).

We’ve picked up RBGarage which used to be the ONLY way to find RB classes, plugins, modules, and examples.  It’s in need of some serious updating and if I had all the time in the world I’d rewrite it using Web Edition.  Trust me, it’s on my list of things to do.  We also picked up the Windows Functionality Suite.  It’s recently been updated to work with REAL Studio 2010 R4 and above, but it’s also in some serious need of attention.   It needs better examples and documentation.  Again, it’s on my list.

We’ve organized two conferences, the first in Boulder, Colorado in 2009, and now the Atlanta REAL Studio Summit set for March 19th and 20th.  Putting together a conference is time consuming and rounding up speakers and getting the details right isn’t as easy as one would think.  But again, I’m very excited to be part of it because I know that if I get some things out of it hopefully someone else will to.

But then at time I sit back and wonder why it seems like I’m the only one who cares?  ARBP has become a part-time job – that I don’t get paid for.  We are in serious need of volunteers and replacements for officers for this all-volunteer organization.  I’m an engineer and programmer.  I’m not much of a leader – I recognize this and am ready to fade into the background for ARBP.  ARBP is in need of the next generation of leadership – people who can lead it into the future and do things better than what we’ve done.

If you think you have the ideas, vision and willpower to drive ARBP forward, I invite you to contact me.  If you can make it to the conference in Atlanta on March 19th and 20th I think that would be awesome.  Even if you don’t attend the sessions, it will be a good time to meet and greet many people that are heavily invested in REALbasic.

So maybe next time your in the forums you’ll answer a newbie’s question?  Maybe you can look at WFS documentation?  Maybe you can even help with ARBP?  Someone could use the help and maybe you’ll enjoy helping others.

6 thoughts on “Contributing To the Community

  1. I can’t think of a parallel to the ARBP for Microsoft’s or other programming tools.
    I don’t know if there is a really clear reason WHY the ARBP exists mentioned on the website.

  2. Fair enough comment about not seeing the reasons on the website. I think it’s buried somewhere in the blog (or perhaps on this blog) but yeah, it should be somewhere on the site.

    I think the closest thing in the Microsoft world are the Dot Net users groups. I believe they’re mostly sponsored by Microsoft (or certainly a cozy relationship with them). I’ve also been to a few SQL Server user group meetings and it’s mainly fed by Microsoft and consultants.

    With the RB community being so small, it’s hard to get like minded people together locally. So why not build that community online?

    Certainly there’s nothing stopping us from making the ARBP website more social oriented where people can get together in chat rooms and talk about it but I’m not sure that’s what people want or need. No one has approached me on anything like that.

    So what do you want or need ARBP to do that we aren’t already?

  3. Firstly so you can see my perspective I don’t use RB professionally.
    The word “Professionals” in the title means that it’s pitching at a minority of RB users away.
    The fact that a lot of content is behind a paywall also acts as a disincentive.
    Maybe there is compelling content there but are people going to pay to find out?
    The forum there looks quiet unlike the forum on the RB site and the newsgroups.
    It’s hard to see a role for the ARBP that isn’t caterd for in either a business (microISV sites and books) or a programming sense (the RB forums and newsgroups.)
    The only purpose I can think of is certification/standards and a franchised/marketing role.
    I don’t know if that is dumb

  4. All good points so I appreciate the feedback. We debated using ‘professionals’ for a long time. At the time it won out because so much of RB is focused around hobbyists we thought we needed resources available for those that do use RB professionally.

    The forum is dead. No one was using it and I was pretty much the only one answering questions.

    Let me ask you this. Would you rather see ARBP completely fold up and go away or change focus and do different things?

    If the website went away, would people miss anything on it? The repository is pretty popular. The training and conference videos, even though they’re behind the paywall get plenty of visits. RBGarage, while old and outdated does have some valuable links to the community and the Windows Functionality Suite could be picked up by someone else.

    I see and hear lots of criticisms of ARBP (most deserved but some not) but when I look around the community I don’t see much of what we’re trying to do. Seriously, the debate I want is: does anyone care enough for ARBP to survive?

  5. Bob, I like to keep ARBP, and I have a few ideas. I’m looking forward to discussing them with you in ATL soon.

  6. Bob,

    On behalf of the many, many people out there who have benefited from your contributions to the RB community, I’d just like to say:

    THANK YOU

    🙂

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