No Wine Before Its Time

If you’ve been around Real Studio/REALbasic for a while you’ve probably grown accustomed to the 90 day release cycle from Real Software.  Whether you love it or hate it is really besides the point because for the past 6 six years it’s all we’ve known.

If you haven’t noticed, 2012 Release 1 hasn’t been released yet.  Real Studio 2011 Release 4 was put out on December 6, 2011.  201o Release 4.1 was released the first week of February and 4.2 was released last week and it looks like a 4.3 release is imminent.

We already know that Real Studio 2012 Release 1 will have a couple of major changes.  The first is that it will be the first release where Cocoa support is ‘official’ and no longer beta.  Many Real Studio developers have been banging away on Cocoa and while it’s not perfect many are using it.

Another big change is a redesigned user interface for the IDE.  I’ve been able to see some previews of it.  The first was at the ARBP conference in Atlanta last March and in early November at the Real Studio Database Days training sponsored by MonkeyBread Software.  It will be an interesting change for sure since we use the IDE all day long and we’re intimately familiar with it.

If you were around during the last UI change (circa 2006) you may have some trepidation about this change because that one didn’t go well, in my opinion.  Thankfully some things have changed since then.  First, Real Studio is now written using Real Studio so the company is painfully away of the problems with the transition to Cocoa and the new UI.  Back then, nothing in Real Studio (that I’m aware of) was written using Real Studio so the developers weren’t always aware of the more painful bugs the new UI caused.

I’m still hesitant about the new UI because Real Software doesn’t use the IDE like we do.  They are starting with an existing code base with portions of the code base that don’t get examined very often.  We (and I’m speaking as a consultant here) create new projects from scratch every week with about a dozen really big projects (start to finish) every year.  If you’ve ever looked at a few of the editors (*cough* reporting *cough* database *cough*) you know what I’m talking about because it’s obvious they don’t *use* them in IDE.  They have such huge holes and bugs in them they’re practically unusable for most of us.  It’s that level of detail I’m afraid of.

Frankly, there’s no guarantee that the UI changes will make our lives easier.  Software development is a crapshoot, at times, and while I *know* they’re copying good ideas from other products and tweaking them to fit the RB environment that doesn’t mean they’ll pull it off.  If they release something that makes our lives harder – then well I can’t wait to hear the moaning, complaining, and screaming.  🙂

Anyway, back to my point.  If you were expecting a new release in March it ain’t gonna happen.  With a dot release imminent I would suspect at least 90 days from that dot release.  Maybe a little sooner or later but that puts my estimated arrival time around June.  We won’t know for sure until it goes to the beta list for testing and that hasn’t happened yet.

So for those of us that were wishing for fewer releases I guess we got our wish.  Hopefully this means it’s done when it’s done and not based on an arbitrary schedule.  Of course, the drawback is that some bugs that are killing us won’t get fixed for a while and waiting until June is fugly.  Then who knows what sort of issues we’ll find in the new UI that keeps us from using it.

When you’re at Real World at the end of May I guess we can meet at the bar and either celebrate or commiserate!  See you there!

11 thoughts on “No Wine Before Its Time

  1. Though interestingly the Feedback application is now at 2012r1. But hopefully you’re correct that they are waiting to get it right before releasing – wonder if we’ll now get people complaining they didn’t get the number of releases they expected in a years subscription?

  2. Feedback’s version numbers do not directly pair with the IDE. Don’t look too much into it.

  3. The old “new” IDE was unuseable for the complete 2005 series. It started to get useable in 2006. I don’t want to go through this again because I’m waiting for several fixes for Cocoa. IMHO Real shouldn’t do more than one “big” feature at the same time. Cocoa, then LLVM and then the new IDE: this would have made more sense to me.

    And Real has a different understanding what is acceptable for the user than I have.

    • And Real has a different understanding what is acceptable for the user than I have.

      It’s been my experience they release what works for them. Whether or not it works for US is a different story. 😛

  4. “So for those of us that were wishing for fewer releases I guess we got our wish” – not quite. The gripe is about the constant introduction of features and new bugs which often make several releases in a row unusable for a given user. The wish was for a feature release, then bug fix releases so you end up with a fairly stable “gold standard” release once a year before major new features get introduced again.

  5. Real Software isn’t the only company messing with the IDE. Microsoft has done the same with the upcoming Visual Studio release – any many are complaining already. It baffles me at times how out of touch tool builders are with their customer’s needs/desires.

    • Well, to be fair, it’s hard to complain about changes that we haven’t seen yet. Seriously, I will be all over it during testing since I spend 8+ hours a day in the IDE. You can rest assured that I will be vocal about what I don’t like. 😛

  6. @CodeMaster Normally I’d agree with this assessment, especially concerning Microsoft, which seems to change things for the sake of change. But the RS IDE is *really* getting long in the tooth, and it shows compared to some other tools on the market. If it looks and acts more modern, it will be more attractive to potential users. And the current user base will have reasons to hope that some long outstanding IDE issues will be addressed soon.

  7. Having seen the preview of the new IDE I’m optimistic that it’s going to be a change for the better. My concern is the secrecy surrounding it. Whether intentional or not it seems that they would want more feedback from users before finalizing the design. As you noted Bob they may use it differently so some input from users could save them heartache when it’s released. At that point they may be proud of the work they’ve done and may be less inclined to see constructive criticism objectively.

Comments are closed.