Meet the New IDE – Same as the Old IDE

Real World News Part 1:  What’s Up with the New IDE?

As anticipated, the RealWorld keynote today talked a lot about the future and spent as little time about the here and now as possible. For those of us waiting to get more information about the new Real Studio IDE we weren’t disappointed. However, the news was not all good.

The new IDE is going to be delayed until the Fall and will make it into Release 2. In the meantime Real Software has said they are going to release a new version in August with the old IDE but with the new framework in August. Release 1 comes with well over 300 bug fixes with many, many Cocoa fixes and enhancements.

The applications built in R1 promise to be a few megabytes smaller and take up less memory. Real Software still isn’t removing the beta tag on it but they assured us that there are few known bugs left in the Cocoa framework.

This is all really good news, don’t get me wrong, but when we questioned these decisions two months ago we were told the ‘bridges were burned’ and it wasn’t possible to do what they’re doing now. Obviously they are rebuilding some of those bridges and at lease they gave us the bad news early and moved on to what’s coming up. No doubt it is a lot of work to do a major reset and this why it will take until August to release to the public.

In the quick demonstrations given during the keynote it was fairly obvious that the new IDE is not ready for primetime. Several times the demos had outright bugs and it seemed, to me at least, that the presenters were willing the IDE to work properly through sheer willpower.

I’ll leave you to discuss the ramifications of this but my only significant question is: What took you so long to make that decision?

36 thoughts on “Meet the New IDE – Same as the Old IDE

  1. My update plan expires something like July 3… Given that a whole lot of bug fixes were held back for the New IDE, which now will be in R2, I have to say I am not very happy.

  2. My suggestion to all RS Developers : eventually you will become a master of Xcode and VS before Real Software plans to release a non-beta version. (probably a Delta version after the end of the world !)
    So don’t waist your valuable time with this crap.
    “Once and forever”

  3. I have no problem with what RS did. They tried to make this transition as smooth as possible but they are not the first software company to encounter schedule slip. NO ONE can be surprised that their initial estimates were optimistic.

    Use the tools you have in hand today. Cocoa is still in beta for a reason. Build your business plan on resources that exist. If you depend on someone else’s vaporware, then you too are offering vaporware to your customers. But keep in mind that that was YOUR choice.

  4. @Karen, [sympathetic sigh] . . . This is a real bummer. On one hand, I guess I’m happy to hear about iOS; but I really thought, hoped for at least a Beta announcment at RW. August? Seriously? And that even sounds shaky enough I really don’t know. My plan expired over a year ago, I have not renewed. I’ve been waiting to see some real fixes; while pushing people off. But I really hoped for something by June or July at the latest. This is the third time RS has really dissapointed me. Maybe someday, but I hope somedays don’t run out if they can’t keep people happy enough to keep renewals up.

  5. Concur with Karen: although my update expires November, since that 1 year Enterprise subscription looks like having only 2 updates they’d better be worth the money.

    As to Mahyar: Xcode is Apple only, so useless to me; I can use VS but immensely dislike .Net so would look at C++ (not very RAD) and PHP (for web apps) as alternatives. However the version(s) of RS I have now are useable and will remain so even if I stop paying for updates. As always it is a question of “the right tool for the job”, not “what is the perfect coding tool” since the latter doesn’t exist.

  6. My subscription dies in a few weeks. I have decided not to renew. I can live with 2011r3 and r4 until Apple drops Carbon. My new projects will be in Xcode.

  7. @Paul, forgive me if this question doesn’t come out right, but are you giving up on cross-platform applications? If you are only doing Mac apps, I am not sure why you would be on RB in the first place. And there are other solutions out there for WIndows only code. Unless I am missing something, isn’t the primary reason to be usign RB is so that you can produce apps that run on both Windows and the Mac? Forgive my ignorance if I missed something here, I am fairly new to RB, but I am in a similar situation.

  8. Just seen that there’s a change in the subscription model coming too “Desktop, Web, Console, Database”, equivalent of current Enterprise edition therefore being 20% dearer. Even more important that Real Software deliver value for money then…

  9. Any word on any possible changes to the debugger / variable viewer? Changes to the IDE will probably be good once it i sstable, but changes to the debugger are critical, IMO.

  10. “Just seen that there’s a change in the subscription model coming too “Desktop, Web, Console, Database”, equivalent of current Enterprise edition therefore being 20% dearer”

    Well Enterprise has desktop, web, console and database already… and the $500 renewal already is stretching it for me as I don’t make money from RS and I agonize about that as my financial situation is not what it once was…

    Adding 20% more IF you want iOS as part of the bundle would be reasonable IMO… but not for what we have already particularly given how things have gone…

    Database (assuming that means full SQLite and the DB plug-ins) is needed for any serious work on any platform… And console is needed for helper apps needed in the multi-core world…

    I stayed with enterprise for web and desktop and need the other two components to make those useful… but $600/year just to keep current with the components I have already have, might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and dropping any components would make RS loose it’s appeal for me.

    BTW I have had just about continuous Pro (Sometimes more than 1) or Enterprise licenses since 2001.

  11. Out of curiousity, i wrote a program to spider RS forums and weigh user experience using keywords (modeled after the infamous web-bot project). What i found was, out of the 7112 forum members, less than 800 (762) users have been active within the last year. Only 413 of those users have been active this year alone, with an average of ~130 daily users. The majority of the inactive users over a year have migrated to other languages. (the program uses google to search usernames and real names(if available) at other language sites)… User spikes occur just before fall (northern hemisphere). Using the generated statistics and applying them to the 130,000 users claimed by RS… Only about 30,000 will be willing to pay for the new updates to come (not including noobs who haphazardly discover REALbasic)….the ones who’ve left were unsatisfied with the way the company is handling it’s subscription/update process… The web-bot project has become a standard to predicting economic trends…so I anticipate to see what this means for RS’s future… On a side note..I am a happy user :-p

  12. Sighhhh….. Why does Real always assume best case? Don’t they know better after more than 10 years? Why do they insist to handle more than one big feature at the same time? Haven’t they noticed that this never works?

    I’m due to pay the upgrade fee soon. But with these news I’ll wait.

    And having to pay even more? §$%%&

  13. Although I am disappointed we won’t get to see the new IDE for several months, I am grateful for the roadmap detailing important things such as 64 bit support. I do hope those of us who couldn’t make the conference get to see some screenshots of the new IDE to whet our appetite.

  14. I’m spec’ing out the successor to my Corona Project Manager and decided to look at all options before making a decision. As much as I don’t like a lot of what I’m hearing, there are no other *good* alternatives for people doing cross-platform.

    If I had to pick something right now I’d probably go with the NetBeans platform, but every app I’ve seen made with Java looks like a butt. I do NOT want to go Java, but my program revolves around a code editor and the one in NetBeans (and Eclipse) is solid.

    There’s Qt from Nokia that’s cross-platform and looks good, but the commercial license starts at about $3600.

    LiveCode is fun but needlessly verbose, etc.

    Real Studio is the best thing available for cross-platform development. I would love it to have some competition so I could feel good about whatever decision I have to make in the coming days, but it may come down to not having a good choice.

  15. Well, I don’t think it’s all bad news. The new IDE was taking longer than anticipated. From what I’ve been gathering from talking with the engineers there are a couple of things in Cocoa that at first glance seemed fairly easy but once they dug into the details it was a HUGE change.

    I think it’s “A Good Thing”™ that the framework gets some exposure to the user base without having to also add the new IDE on top of it. Doing both at the same time (Cocoa and the new IDE) always seemed nuts to me. I can only imagine the sequence with a bug (is it the new framework? Is it the new IDE? Is it a user error? Is it something else?) so this change will actually make our life easier, in my opinion.

  16. @Mark
    My current product is cross-platform, but the vast majority of my support goes to Windows. With the Mac becoming more and more popular, I think it’s time to think about cutting my losses and going Mac-only.

    Added to the fact, RB takes a highest common factor approach and only does stuff that’s going to be cross-platform. By using Xcode I can use all that beautiful Cocoa stuff without it being stifled under a giant cross-platform framework paint job. Not to mention that the RB Cocoa stuff is still unusable (as of 2011r4) and, since they are now doing a complete rewrite, I expect it to be unusable for at least another year or so.

    Sigh.

  17. @Jay Jennings
    “There’s Qt from Nokia that’s cross-platform and looks good, but the commercial license starts at about $3600.”

    You can use Qt for commercial projects for free under LGPL.

    I seriously looked into it a couple of years ago. Some things to consider:

    1 – It has no compiler. It is a framework only. (Well, with Creator, it’s a framework and IDE.) To compile for Mac, copy to a Mac and compile with Xcode. To compile for Windows, copy to a Windows machine and compile with Visual Studio. To compile for Linux, copy to a Linux machine and compile with gcc. There is no cross-compiling OR cross-debugging.

    2 – It’s wonky on Mac. I’m primarily a Mac person and the Mac builds are just a little off. I like some of the things you can do with the GUI. But it is definitely not using native controls.

    3 – Again on Mac, Mac builds ramp up CPU usage and my fans begin to whine. I haven’t tried newer builds (5.0 beta is out recently), so they may have addressed this issue.

    4 – Newest version for Mac compile Intel 64-bit ONLY. If you have 32-bit Intel or 32-/64-bit PPC Mac clients/customers you are out of luck.

    Real Studio is still, by far, the best cross-platform tool out there.

  18. After listening to the first presentation on Agile techniques for project development and the Keynote it was obvious that Real Software does not using Agile techniques for their software development.

    The major implication here is that Real S will not meet their promised delivery dates.

  19. @Kirk Gray
    “You can use Qt for commercial projects for free under LGPL.”

    But that requires you make your source code available, doesn’t it? Not sure that makes sense in my business model.

    Thanks for the other info about Qt; that helps make the decision easier.

  20. Rob Stephens :

    After listening to the first presentation on Agile techniques for project development and the Keynote it was obvious that Real Software does not using Agile techniques for their software development.

    The major implication here is that Real S will not meet their promised delivery dates.

    You are not the first person to have brought that up during the conference. 🙂

    I’ve been on an Agile project before and you need someone in charge that REALLY knows how to do it and is disciplined and committed to using Agile. No offense to the RS management but it sure seems like they could use someone like Ken to rigorously transform the way they manage their projects.

  21. I discovered Purebasic after searching for cross platform application development. 64bit support, Linux, Mac, Windows support etc. Also their forums are full and always busy. After testing Purebasic I’m still of two minds. I love Real studio but the way the RS guys are handling updates, prices etc. is putting me off.

    Real Studio is powerful and does everything I need but pricing and update policies are a let down.

    Purebasic also does everything I need and has a purchase once and get updates for life policy. But, it’s not Real Studio.

    Really dunno what to do, that’s how fed up I am…..

  22. Jay Jennings :
    @Kirk Gray
    “You can use Qt for commercial projects for free under LGPL.”
    But that requires you make your source code available, doesn’t it? Not sure that makes sense in my business model.
    Thanks for the other info about Qt; that helps make the decision easier.

    The “must provide source code” clause of the LGPL applies only to the library covered by the LGPL, i.e. Qt. So you only have to provide the source IF you change something in Qt, and only for the library you changed.

    So, in my opinion, it’s a mute point. If I were to find a bug in Qt and fix it, I’d want to share the fix with the Qt community anyway. If I want to change the functionality of a Qt class, I’d sub-class it as a matter of course, so I wouldn’t have to provide the source.

  23. I said:

    “The “must provide source code” clause of the LGPL applies only to the library covered by the LGPL, i.e. Qt. So you only have to provide the source IF you change something in Qt, and only for the library you changed.

    So, in my opinion, it’s a mute point. If I were to find a bug in Qt and fix it, I’d want to share the fix with the Qt community anyway. If I want to change the functionality of a Qt class, I’d sub-class it as a matter of course, so I wouldn’t have to provide the source.”

    That was the conclusion I can to after reading several discussions on the LGPL and careful study of the LGPL itself.

    However, I just went back and re-read it and can’t see how I came to that conclusion. (Except that I might have been lead in how to read it by some of those on-line discussions.)

    A quick reading now leads me to think you wouldn’t have to supply your source code, but you would have to supply the object code created by your source so that customers/clients could link it with modified copies of Qt. I can’t see any of my clients requesting that. But I would have to provide it if they did. At least from this reading of the LGPL.

    You’d be best off by consulting a lawyer. (Obviously).

    In the end I decided against using Qt so it wasn’t material.

  24. Merv :

    Any word on any possible changes to the debugger / variable viewer? Changes to the IDE will probably be good once it i sstable, but changes to the debugger are critical, IMO.

    There are no ‘current’ plans to do anything with the debugger. It is my opinion they are waiting to get LLVM working before tackling such another big part of the product.

  25. According to LLVM site:
    What support is there for a higher level source language constructs for building a compiler?

    Currently, there isn’t much. LLVM supports an intermediate representation which is useful for code representation but will not support the high level (abstract syntax tree) representation needed by most compilers. There are no facilities for lexical nor semantic analysis.

    **talks about 3-4 year projection for inclusion

    Will that be when RS decides to use LLVM?

  26. @Matthew Combatti
    You have to remember that they already have a compiler and the lexical and semantic analysis. LLVM is needed to do some optimizations and other things (I’m no compiler person) that they can’t do right now without writing it themselves. Using LLVM is leveraging others work.

    Also keep in mind that LLVM is used by RBScript right now. That was their introduction to LLVM and taught them what they need to know (hopefully) to use it in the overall project.

  27. The front end for feeding LLVM is working in RBScript already. What Real Software needs are the linkers and I expect they get it done with the other people working on LLVM.

  28. Jay Jennings :
    I’m spec’ing out the successor to my Corona Project Manager and decided to look at all options before making a decision. As much as I don’t like a lot of what I’m hearing, there are no other *good* alternatives for people doing cross-platform.
    If I had to pick something right now I’d probably go with the NetBeans platform, but every app I’ve seen made with Java looks like a butt. I do NOT want to go Java, but my program revolves around a code editor and the one in NetBeans (and Eclipse) is solid.

    I have only know a few people (developers and users) that complain about how Java looks and it does not prevent them from using the apps. If the app is important to them I have found people don’t really care how it looks. They care if it can do the job the need done. Yes some people may complain it’s not what they are used to seeing but it’s not a big deal. My best example would be ThinkOrSwim trading software. Almost everyone loves the way it looks and works. It is made in Java and is available for both Mac and Windows. Jay, you should download it and have a look or if you like I can email you pictures of the GUI. It’s impressive and does a great job. You may need to have an active account with the broker for a download. You can email me if you want to see what it looks like. It’s probably the most used trading desktop client app, so Java UI can’t be that bad. It’s similar with web apps. Compared to nice desktop apps, web apps usually look bad, but everybody uses them and quickly they don’t mind or care. They only care about if they can do what they want meaning DOES IT WORK?

    If I continue to develop large desktop apps I might turn to Java as long as I’m sure it will be around for at least a few more years. I see no reason why it wouldn’t be.

    My future REAL Studio projects are uncertain. I have not been happy with all the time wasting problem causing bugs so I’m reducing my RS project list and I’m also only trying to do small projects using RS. Ones that I hope I am not going to run into major setbacks like has happened many times to me. I’m trying to get away from that. I may go web/iOS development but not WE.

    Matthew A. Combatti :
    the ones who’ve left were unsatisfied with the way the company is handling it’s subscription/update process…

    I disagree with that. From what I have read, experienced and numerous emails and chats with fellow RS developers, it’s the lack of reliability and too many bugs that is the reason people are leaving. If RS isn’t reliable you can’t rely on it so developers move on after too many bug issues and unfixed versions. We keeps seeing IDE redsigns, new features, renaming, new products, just about everything happens except significant quality improvements. That tells professional developers where they stand using this tool. After all the complaints and not seeing significant quality improvements and no mention of going to seriously improve quality it is not an encouraging thing so why continue to put your company’s life in these hands?

    I am scaling down my RS projects and moving onto other tools. I may still buy RS every once in a while but I’m not going to depend on it like I have been, it’s too unreliable for me to do that and they don’t really fix it.

    I will probably give RS one more renewal chance but if it’s too broken then I think I am done with them. At least for 3 or 4 years. There’s many other tools that are higher quality for me to use like Corona, or Dream weaver, etc.

  29. @Paul Rodman
    Cocoa isnt a “complete rewrite” – only the IDE will have a new face.
    The next release, basically a maintenance & bug fix release, in summer 2012 will be only Cocoa & Web Edition fixes – a couple hundred of them in total if I recall the numbers.

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