Real Studio for iOS

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!

12 thoughts on “Real Studio for iOS

  1. This is good news indeed. While I do Cocoa and iOS development, I find Real Studio to be easier and more productive. And it would be nice to share code, where possible, across desktop, web, and iOS.

    I’m looking forward to this update!

  2. As what they told me, you can build iOS app on Windows, too. They simply want to link the framework with your code into an iOS app. Of course for code sign and upload to Apple’s store, you need a Mac. But some people may be happy to build their app on Windows, drop it on iTunes, sync it to the iPhone and run it.

  3. Christian Schmitz :
    As what they told me, you can build iOS app on Windows, too. They simply want to link the framework with your code into an iOS app. Of course for code sign and upload to Apple’s store, you need a Mac. But some people may be happy to build their app on Windows, drop it on iTunes, sync it to the iPhone and run it.

    That is all those who want to build in-house or niche market iOS app might need.

  4. Christian: Currently Xcode allows for remote running. Perhaps RS will implement a remote debugger of sorts where they do the same, sync’ing the app to the connected iPhone and allowing it to run there in debug mode.

    This is desirable because what you have in OSX is not an emulator but a simulator. In reality the code is native to the mac you’re running it into, which makes it enormously fast but in the end not native to the end platform. Remote debugging/running to the iphone would take care of this.

    Something I’m not clear on is whether REAL will create a new licensing category: “mobile” (if they don’t call it “iOS”) or if they’ll bundle it in “Desktop” (sounds unlikely, but desirable).

    Lastly, you can bundle libraries with your iOS app. They’re not “shared” libraries as such, and each app must have them bundled, but it’s possible.

  5. Great, more new stuff. I guess the slew of trivial Windows bugs I am dealing with in the UI controls (tab panel issues, transparency problems, listbox limitations) haven’t a chance in the world of being fixed now, because I couldn’t their attention *before* announcing all this new work. I wish I could rely on the third party ecosystem, but it is largely no-existent and doesn’t fill in all the holes (and is often not well tested or updated in a while).

    In any case Bobby is not my real name because I don’t want to be labeled a “troublemaker”. And I really do like RS, own an enterprise license and own almost every 3rd party control out there. I just wished REAL understood the importanace of an ultra-stable product as a base, before they try to tackle the world. We just spend WAY too much time doing workarounds, buying controls and dealing with trivial issues we shouldn’t have to, while watching one grand plan after another get announced each year.

  6. After struggling with two non-Apple way to build iOS apps (Sencha and MobiOne) all I can say is that they promise heaven but won’t take take you even close to the tree-tops of the smallest pine you can find… The devil is in the details – Sencha Touch has a great SDK and buildtools but only gets you started; change screen orientations supported – bummer… Get you own icon – no can do…
    Haven’t seen RB solution but if it doesn’t include Xcode in the process (hint: look at what PhoneGap/Cordova have done for comilation for iOS) I won’t use it.
    Currently using Sencha Touch, Sencha Architect, Cordova and Xcode and i pretty happy with ho it works AND that I can take the save HTML5/JS an compile for Android, WP7 and soon Kinde Fire.

    To RS: burn your midnight oil on something that would make RB a viable solution (for exampe get your Windows support in shape). Trying to be a third-party solution to the locked down iOS environment will probably get you gray hair and an angry user mob. My hat is off for your bravery of trying and I wish you best of luck in your endeavour.

  7. Bob, can you clarify your timeline given? I was reading through posts and it sounded like a dual branch 2012r1 (old IDE but working Cocoa) for August, then a 2012r2 with new IDE and Cocoa for “FALL” 2012. (Although if memory serves me, Web was originally a “fall” release which turned into late December.) So this beta iOS, is that after the r2 in the fall of 2012?

    Also, did they give any indication if current Enterprise/Studio customers would get iOS or will (by then) this be a separate platform you’ll have to buy into. (ie: new purchase $300 instead of upgrade)?

    Finally, in your opinion, do you think there will be a beta 2012r1 sometime in July? I’m really worried about how buggy this is going to be for something they swore April 7th wasn’t and couldn’t be done. I was really hoping for a new IDE by now or very soon; and promised a client a project to be completed by August.

  8. If you want iOS today, get Xcode and start learning it.
    But if you like to add an iOS app to your existing app as a companion product for enterprises, I think Real Studio is a great way. I can imaging having company app running on desktops. People on the go can access the data on the go with web app. The iOS app would allow to load data on the iPhone/iPad and even work offline on data. Sounds cool to me!

  9. Wow. Glad to hear they are finally getting to iOS. I’ve basically stopped developing with RealStudio and moved to LiveCode ( as they can already build Mac, Windows, and iOS. And Android and others… I hope there will be reasons to come back to RealStudio, but by the time it ships, it will probable be too late. I hope I’m wrong.

  10. @Jim
    2012r1 will be the old Carbon UI with many Cocoa & Web Framework bug fixes back ported to that.
    It literally will be the 2011r4 IDE with these new frameworks.

  11. One small detail – Geoff demo’d this in the keynote – not Joe. 😛

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