Real World News Part 7
Real Software did a good job of surprising everyone during their keynote address on Thursday by announcing, almost casually, that the framework changes are necessary to unify the various existing platforms and to target new platforms. New targets? Yup, almost as an afterthought they announced they were working on iOS.
Interesting news. It is, after all, their number one request in the Feedback system and I know from various sources that getting an iOS compiler working required a number of things to happen, mainly Cocoa and LLVM to name a few.
Perhaps even more surprising was the demonstration that Joe Strout, former Real Software engineer who is now a consultant, gave. He showed a simple, but working, iOS Real Studio application! Granted, it was a very, very simple app (more involved than Hello World but still just 3 controls) but it compiled and then ran it in the iPhone simulator that runs on Mac OS X. Very cool and a surprising advancement.
I didn’t get a chance to talk to Joe or other RS staff about the limitations or capabilities of building iOS applications with Real Studio but it really doesn’t matter at this point as they only have 3 controls working. They did say the first release would have a limited set of controls and capabilities. I’m sure as the beta gets closer (announced for 4th quarter 2012) we’ll get more information. It is currently scheduled for a first quarter 2013 release.
I think this is good news and promises to grow the user base tremendously. The fact that an experienced RealBasic and iOS developer is doing the design and implementation makes me very happy and gives me confidence that it will be done right, the first time. I think their timeframe is a little optimistic and if I was a betting man I would say release one to be the summer of 2013, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now as it’s obvious they’ve been aggressively pursuing this.
I can only assume that this would be a Mac OS X only product since the simulator doesn’t run on Windows or Linux and I can’t imagine Real Software trying to re-engineer that (or Apple allowing it). I also believe that iOS apps cannot use dylibs so this means that plugins will have to be abandoned or completely redesigned. For some this will be a big deal and others not at all.
If this product means that it will be just as easy to build iOS applications as it is to build desktop and web apps then it will be a huge hit. I casually made the comment to someone that if the iOS version is ready for the next Real World attendance will easily triple, if not more, simply because it’s such a hot developer topic right now.
Like everything else, only time will tell. We know very little about what the product does and what its limitations are. I look forward to working seeing it!