Real Studio Schedule Change (Again)

Real Software announced today that the much vaunted and talked about new IDE is delayed yet again.  Real Studio 2012 Release 2 was released to the beta list today using the old IDE.  An alpha for 2013 Release 1 will be released (to alpha testers only) soon for us to evaluate and provide feedback on usability.

I have mixed feelings about the announcement.  First off, I’m glad they’re continuing updates using the venerable IDE user interface.  I know there are a number of bug fixes and enhancements that I can use on projects – right now.  The updates are welcome and hopefully no new bugs are introduced (though RS has done a couple of dot releases for Release 1 so I see no reason why it won’t continue as needed).

This announcement, in general, is a good thing and I’m glad that Real Software has decided that burning their bridges with the existing IDE just doesn’t serve us, the Real Studio developer community, very well.  The flip side, of course, is that every release they use the old IDE just pushes off the new one that much further into the future.

Like many Real Studio developers I’m still not convinced we are best served with a radically different IDE.  I believe minor tweaks to the existing IDE might be a better solution.  However, it might be a matter of scale that once you change one thing you have to change this, that, and everything else and by the time you’re done you’ve rewritten the whole user interface.  Add in the new iOS framework and editors and the changes to Web Edition and it might have been the only way to do it.  So perhaps this is a good change but only time, and usage, will tell.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the new IDE and work on my large projects.  I am curious to see how the always visible project tab will work.  If it makes life easier it will be a good thing.  If it hinders me in those areas I find important it will be a bad thing.  Obviously my opinion is the only that counts – to me, at least.  🙂

This announcement also pushes back the new licensing scheme and the one-click Web Edition deployment.  For some this is a big issue and for others not so much.  I guess that’s up to you to be mad, angry, or indifferent.

What do you think of this news?  Good, bad, or typical Real Software time slip?

26 thoughts on “Real Studio Schedule Change (Again)

  1. I’d rather have this interim release than a buggy new IDE that would entertain me for a day or so with its whizz bang features, until I realized it had too many pain points. So, after some reflection I’m happy with the decision. But still mildly disappointed because the novelty of the new IDE is pretty compelling.

    Basically my sentiment matches your post. Wishy-washy between “good idea” and “dang, woulda been cool to have the new one.”

  2. Well, just want to chime in here and share my experiences after looking for alternatives to RS on the Windows platform. Have spent a month looking at Embarcadero Delphi and find that it is an easy to learn platform and Delphi’s syntax is pretty easy to learn. The IDE is fully featured with autocomplete, code insight and all of the other stuff you need. The debugger is almost on par with Xcode and way ahead of RS.

    We would have moved to Delphi unless the Big But named “Windows 8” would stop it – building and distributing apps to Windows Store is not “currently” possible in Delphi… (although it is cool that the UI of Windows 8 can be mimicked in Windows 7/8 Desktop apps) For building iOS apps Embarcadero is exporting the Delphi project to Xcode and then compilation is done there – pretty smart IMHO as this ensures compatibility with how apps are distributed on iOS.

    Reading William@Real’s recent blog-post on Realsoftware web “Win32, and WinRT, and WPF oh my!”, I became pretty sad. Maybe I am reading too much between the lines, but the “yet” in the sentence “…you will not be able to build Metro-style apps in Real Studio yet” translates to “ever” in my ears. Why? Using RS for the last 10 years to develop for Windows, it has become pretty obvious that the Windows platform is a second-class citizen to RS. Key technologies from Mac OS X are picked up and implemented (probably due to the fact that Apple seriously pushes/bullies their users to upgrade). On Windows; not so much. To access Windows technology we have to rely on MBS plug-ins or Einhugur UI components. RS has been reduced to a simple compiler.

    Furthermore, several glaring bugs are present on Windows that haven’t been fixed for years, despite example projects attached to the feedback report and pretty high ratings. I have kept my fingers crossed for a year that modal windows on Windows should be modal, ListBox scrollbars should behave and modern (i.e. OS Standard) open/save dialogues. As I have allowed my licenses to expire the I can only blame myself as these requests have fallen back in rank when my points were removed, but my points didn’t seem to count anyway.

    Going forward on Windows our current strategy is to stay with RS (2011r4.3) to build Windows Desktop apps (that run just fine in Windows 8 Desktop) and when the need for native Windows 8 (WinRT applications) comes it is back to Visual Studio (that I left for Real Basic back in 1999 – we have come completely around) and JavaScript.

    The “aged” IDE of RS2011 (and now 2012r2 it looks like…) doesn’t bother me at all. Using five different IDEs at least once a week (Nusphere PhpED, Sencha Architect for JavaScript, Xcode, RS and Visual Studio) I stick my neck out and say that the ALL suck in at least one way.
    Read my lips: there are no Silver Bullets when it comes to IDE! The best IDE is an IDE that doesn’t get in your way (like the Xcode Assistant that always opens the wrong file…), is stable, contains good development tools (debugger/profiler) and gives a correct preview of your project. Real Studio does a pretty good job, but the glaring problem is the debugger (where as Xcode has the best debugger I have used – sigh…). The best IDE is still not created! Period!
    As an off-subscription customer I can’t see the “new IDE” of RS until it is released (and I can download a demo on March 31st 2013 – or whatever “sometime in the first quarter of next year” translates into) but I couldn’t care less.

    Bottom line: RS have proven the neglect of Windows for so long that the “yet” in the context of building Windows 8 native applications is nothing I can bet the farm on. If we can draw one conclusion from the implementation of Cocoa it is that – Things Take Time! I don’t see RS adding a new framework (i.e. WinRT) any time soon.

    Microsoft seems to be running a pretty tight ship when it comes to the tools allowed to build apps for the Windows Store. If Apple moves in the same direction, the Embarcadero way of doing stuff (exporting to Xcode) will be the way to go. Embarcadero exports the Delphi project together with a Pascal runtime (a la PhoneGap/Cordova) and then building and deploying is a breeze. We got our project ported and built on the iPad in just three weeks, however the long-term strategy will be JavaScript and PhoneGap to at least standardize on JavaScript…

    Sorry for the rant – now back to the regular programming 🙂

  3. Too bad the new licensing scheme and One-Click Deployment for WE are delayed. These are the ONLY things that hold me back from an upgrade and I’ve been waiting for 6 months. Web apps, at least to my opinion, are truly cross-platform so moving to WE would make sense, especially when RB has no plan on Android and Windows 8.

  4. Well, we use Real Studio because we think it’s a good tool.
    But I have heart from quite a few people that they are very disappointed. LLVM, 64bit, Cocoa and some other topics are on the keynote agendas for a few conferences. I really thing Real Software needs to get those things done.
    The new IDE is nice to have, but not really important to making money as developer. More important are framework improvements or getting 64 bit applications delivered.

  5. @Christian Schmitz
    Agreed. Developers *need* 64 Bit, Cocoa, LLVM and other things LONG before they need a new IDE. And, frankly, Real Software needs them too and the new IDE has been a 2 year distraction.. For the amount of resources devoted to the new IDE how many of those things could have been done by now?

    Don’t get me wrong, I feel that the IDE could use some improvements and refreshes but it’s not like the current IDE keeps me from doing any work and selling Real Studio to clients. Change for the sake of change isn’t always a good thing.

  6. @Bob Keeney
    I have an old bigger project in RS. I have tried compiling it as Cocoa and it was a total mess: weird crashes, incorrect window positions, incorrect window sizes, some features not working, strange freezings… It works very well in Carbon, but it contains many workarounds for certain RS bugs (mostly HTMLViewer related) and some “bad” things like drawing outside the Paint event or using App.DoEvents, which I believe don’t go well with Cocoa. I make all my new projects using Cocoa target (it’s reliable enough in 2012r1), but have no idea how to even start migrating that one project to Cocoa. I guess it would be easier to write it again nearly from scratch, maybe reusing some classes and methods, but as it’s an old project, I’m not quite happy with them anyway.

    So, and it’s just my wild speculation here, maybe folks at REAL faced a similar problem when making the Cocoa version of the IDE? Maybe the amount of work they would need to make the old IDE run adequately in Cocoa turned bigger than they initially expected, and since a new IDE was already being planned, it led to the only logical solution. They might have no choice but to push the new IDE now, because “fixing” the old one to work in Cocoa would need nearly equal amount of work.

  7. I left the RS environment for xcode simply because of the issues Bob outlined in his blog post. I told Geoff I couldn’t wait two years for them to get their act together (LLVM, Cocoa, 64bit). I still have a valid license until sometime next year because I have some legacy apps I need to port to xcode, but after that no more RS for me. It doesn’t make business sense.

    I also agree they went about this backwards, but speculate they think the new IDE will draw in new customers. There is a lot to like about the the RS IDE, but it is the lack of resources behind the scenes that is sinking the ship. I think when they introduced linux in to the fold, it was a tactical mistake given the small size of the linux market. Now it is a constant drain on resources because they have to maintain it. When you consider they are taking on MORE development platforms like the iPhone/iPad, they are repeating the same tactical mistake again from a different angle. Who in their right mind would develop iOS app in the RS environment (even when it is finished)? You would be at a HUGE disadvantage compared to the developing in xcode. I know some people will chime in and say, “I would,” but that is a short sighted decision in terms functionality you would be sacrificing. In xcode you have direct access to all the APIs with no hassles. So I think there are some rough times ahead for RS unless they start DELIVERING soon and this delay does not bode well.

    Given what I am seeing is happening with the delays, I believe I made the correct decision to move out of the RS environment. I am a professional developer and I have no problem moving over to xcode and I feel as comfortable in xcode as I ever did in RS. The big thing that made this possible is the introduction of ARC by Apple. RS’s niche is cross-platform development, but with Windows 8 that is starting to show cracks for the reasons others have stated. I think RS is being squeezed by the market forces and the delays could seriously hurt them in the bottom line. Who wants to invest in an environment that is being developed at a snails pace compared to Apple or Microsoft? I think RS just can’t keep up with the big guys and adding more platforms will only slow them down more and it won’t benefit them as much as they think because the direct solutions available today are far superior to what they will be delivering two years from now.

    If Microsoft drops the desktop environment in the future as some journalists have said in favor of the Metro style applications only, then RS is dead as a company. Personally I don’t think that Microsoft would do that since the enterprise segment would scream bloody murder, but since they are already officially referring to the desktop environment as a “legacy” environment, there may be a grain of truth there. For the hobbyist programmer there is nothing wrong in using the RS IDE. For the professional developer, the writing is on the wall and I would think it is safe to say that there are some danger signs ahead for RS and I don’t know if there is a business model for them if certain things don’t change on their part and Apple and Microsoft don’t squeeze them out with future changes to their environments. Remember RIM? Where are they today?

  8. Well, Linux was a critical addition to support web development as most servers use linux.
    on Microsoft I’m not sure if they know where they want to go. They still sell millions of desktop OS licenses. I don’t think they will stop that any time soon.

  9. Brendan Murphy wrote:
    “who in their right mind would develop iOS app in the RS environment”

    Given how fast things change with apple, I agree providing non trivial apps for public sale with RS would be extremely risky. But where it might make a a LOt of sense if done well, is what I think RB desktop and web is best for… In-house apps used for very specific purposes.

    There the UI does not need to be up to the minute, you have control over a lot more than you would for apps to be used anywhere, it does not need to meet all App store requirements etc.

    All RS needs to do is make sure what they do supports works on new OS versions, even if it does not always keep up in other ways.

    That said the REAL blog post on Window UI does disturb me some what… It seems they are getting a TOO far behind on some Windows UI stuff…

    On “Metro”… In my work environment (laboratory) Metro is and IMO always will be inappropriate for how those PC are used.

    I predict that some time in 2013 MS will provide a configuration setting that will allow turning off metro on the desktop, at least in the Pro/business versions of Windows.

    So i don’t think supporting Metro apps for the DESKTOP should be a high RS priority.

  10. Brendan Murphy wrote:
    “who in their right mind would develop iOS app in the RS environment”

    Two years ago I would have said:
    “who in their right mind would develop a web app in the RS environment”

    I don’t understand it all, but it seems to be that there is demand for RS there. If RS can make that market work, maybe they can make iOS work for a certain niche set of developers.

  11. You guys are scaring the hell out of the children (me being one of them). I’ve only been using RS for about 2 years after 15 years developing with Visual Studio tools. The one thing I noted quickly in this community was the number of directions the company seemed to be heading off into for such a small company. Hard to follow at times. If you need OS X/Windows desktop apps out of the same code base, it’s tough to beat RS. But I have to agree with Brendan about the iOS development, hard to imagine me being able to make my OS X/Windows source code base worth the effort to do an iOS port out of it, just too different, can’t see it happening. So if it is going to be a separate code base, there goes the big advantage RS has over other development environments. Why would I start with RS and all the concessions you have to make for X-platform development (as well the fact they are at least 2 years behind other iOS development environments at this point). Just not making any sense to me.

    This all leads to bigger questions about resources, revenue, market demand, etc… that I have no insight into what is driving their decisions. All I can say that RS makes sense for me to port my desktop app to the Mac, can’t say with the same certainty about iOS or the Web. Even with the desktop market growth starting to flatten out or even decline, it’s not going away anytime soon. As much as the thought of learning yet another platform irks, me, if I am going to try to address the iOS market with my product line, just don’t see how it would be with RS and the same code base.

  12. The ability to build for iOS is the number one feature request in Feedback (see Top Cases). So there certainly is a high demand for this feature.

  13. @Eric
    Note the web version of RS is a valid and correct thing to do for RS even though it is not a cross platform thing since it is somewhat a unique environment and actually fills a need out there.

    The iOS market is a different beast in that Apple already has a far superior tool set and it makes no sense for RS to pursue it especially when xcode is free. What I am saying in general is when RS jumps into things like this, it becomes a drain on resources and thus slowing everything down just like linux being added and it requiring resources to maintain for the life of the product. Not an effective use of resources and a poor ROI.

    Microsoft has gone “all in” with the metro style there is a high risk to RS depending what Microsoft does in the next few years. If they outright deprecate the desktop or marginalize it significantly, the RS advantage of cross compiling begins to disappear. As a professional developer, I can’t wait around to have that truck run me over. In general, Metro is so significantly different that I don’t see how RS could effectively create s framework that would translate to OS X, so there is an inherent stumbling block there.

  14. @Brendan Murphy
    I disagree with the “all in” for metro style. The desktop/legacy (or whatever they’re calling it) – or the interface we’ve all known for 20 years or so – isn’t going away. It’s there in Windows 8 and except for the ‘Start’ screen there’s not much difference (minus the Start menu of course).

    Windows RT is a completely different beast and processor (ARM isnt’ it?). Now *that* will be metro only and apps can only be compiled (at this point) using Visual Studio. Apps for RT will be available ONLY through the MS app store. I see no indication that the rest of the Microsoft legacy software is going away any time soon.

  15. @Merv
    I remember hearing the same arguments 8 years ago so this is nothing new. Gnashing of teeth for missed deadlines and unclear direction will always set us on edge since many of us depend on them for our livelihood.

    I think RS sees that pure desktop apps is a declining segment and the future growth of software development is in web and mobile apps. For them to stick solely with desktop apps is akin to admitting you’re going to die as a company. Give them some credit for realizing this and attempting to grow into other segments that are growing quickly.

    I really see that much like with Desktop apps, web and mobile will serve important niches. I’ve already seen in my own company that Web Edition has grown our business because we could grow into web apps and leverage our knowledge of Real Studio without heaving to relearn a whole new environment. It’s not without its warts but what dev environment is perfect?

  16. @Bob Keeney
    Microsoft IS throwing their full weight behind Metro and they are “all in” for this path of development. Take a clue from there central marketing slogan which is, “Reimagining Windows.” Microsoft itself has labeled the traditional desktop as “legacy” and the journalists pretty much agree that Microsoft is betting the company on the new direction they have taken with Metro. You may say the traditional desktop isn’t going away, but they have come this far and forced the dual mode operating system on the user base. If you line up the sign posts, where is this pointing? Obviously such a transition would be done in phases and perhaps we are just seeing the first phase of their plans. Be it good or bad, I am saying the indications point to moving away from the traditional desktop in Microsoft’s thinking. You as professional developer need to have contingency plans in case Microsoft pulls the trigger and invalidates your development infrastructure and you are suddenly holding an empty IDE bag. Remember, Microsoft is now adopting Apple’s business model and you know how Apple is famous for dropping legacy stuff.

  17. @Bob
    I *know* they see it that way because Geoff posted as much in the Real Blog around a year ago. The jest of his post was adapt to the changing times or wither and die on the vine. I get that, really I do. It’s the whole reason, I moved from VB6 to RS in the first place, to address a growing Mac market and not depend on VB6 legacy code. My point was Real seems to have their hands in too many pots at any given time and I agree with Brendan, there seem to be a lot of obstacles towards bring a solid and competitive iOS development environment to Real Studio anytime soon.

    But I’m not jumping ship, I really like RB, and I am convinced that at some point, MS is going to announce my “VB6 built apps will no longer work on Windows 10 and too bad because we have been telling you to port your code for a decade.” I’m not upset in the least with Real, I really like the product. I just wished they would get Cocoa and LLVM finished and out the door before tackling things like a new IDE. At the least, Cocoa should have been finished before they started on a Cocoa-based IDE.

  18. I couldn’t understand why they would write a new IDE but I think Gregory hit the nail on the head with his speculation – that finally makes sense to me.

    The big draw of RS over other development tools is easy cross-platform compilation, especially with the Mac increasing in market share. While I agree that iOS (go Joe!) and web are good targets (never understood why they included Linux) I feel they have dropped the ball in their core competency a bit and need to refocus – there are simply too many bugs in basic controls which should “just work”.

  19. I couldn’t understand why they would write a new IDE but I think Gregory hit the nail on the head with his speculation – that finally makes sense to me.

    The big draw of RS over other development tools is easy cross-platform compilation, especially with the Mac increasing in market share. While I agree that iOS (go Joe!) and web are good targets (never understood why they included Linux) I feel they have dropped the ball in their core competency a bit and need to refocus (there are too many bugs in basic controls which should just work). Maybe the new framework and IDE are exactly that.

  20. I also left Real Studio after they lied and lied again about cocoa final. now i’m happy that i’m not part of this delay.
    Xcode is endless.

  21. Mahyar :I also left Real Studio after they lied and lied again about cocoa final. now i’m happy that i’m not part of this delay.Xcode is endless.

    @Mahyar
    I just fired up my Windows machine, not quite as “endless” as I was hoping for. Again, if you are trying to do Windows/OS X out of the same code base, RS is pretty tough to beat.

  22. Bob Keeney :
    @Christian Schmitz
    Agreed. Developers *need* 64 Bit, Cocoa, LLVM and other things LONG before they need a new IDE. And, frankly, Real Software needs them too and the new IDE has been a 2 year distraction.. For the amount of resources devoted to the new IDE how many of those things could have been done by now?
    Don’t get me wrong, I feel that the IDE could use some improvements and refreshes but it’s not like the current IDE keeps me from doing any work and selling Real Studio to clients. Change for the sake of change isn’t always a good thing.

    isnt the new IDE the way they are testing the new Coccoa work?

  23. scott :

    Bob Keeney :
    @Christian Schmitz
    Agreed. Developers *need* 64 Bit, Cocoa, LLVM and other things LONG before they need a new IDE. And, frankly, Real Software needs them too and the new IDE has been a 2 year distraction.. For the amount of resources devoted to the new IDE how many of those things could have been done by now?
    Don’t get me wrong, I feel that the IDE could use some improvements and refreshes but it’s not like the current IDE keeps me from doing any work and selling Real Studio to clients. Change for the sake of change isn’t always a good thing.

    isnt the new IDE the way they are testing the new Coccoa work?

    Yes and I’ve heard that doing that exposed a number of issues that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten addressed. So it’s not a bad thing. I think we’re all just a little (okay a lot) nervous that it’s taking them so long.

  24. In my opinion the new IDE is more a financial and marketing plan. Releasing current IDE that lacks many needed features, proper debugger, etc and with Cocoa will be more attractive for new developers. The current one, although could be improved doesn’t meet today’s IDE standards. With the new price schema, RS believes that will generate more revenues. If that means hiring more staff, more people, the waiting would be worth. But if the fail to surprise us with a mediocre one, that would be an absolute disaster for RealStudio. I honestly expect they have learnt the lesson and create a marvel that can impress new customers to try it and the old ones to don’t abandon the ship for 2 years of IDE work.

    The big (huge) mistake was to delay LLVM. It should be done at the same time as the new IDE, 64 bit postponed, and we need real Threading. Without LLVM RealStudio is slow, very very slow. That means we need plugins written in C++, and the market of plugins is really limited because of lack of documentation, examples, and possibly business interest. We need the compiler to be fast, fast enough create plugins with RS compiler, not Xcode, VS, etc. That has been a major handicap for RealStudio for ages.

    I think Linux was a perfect addition for RS. Not WE. RealStudio will never, ever replace PHP, Javascript. The Web edition is honestly a toy compared what with you can do with free software. IOS, I think that will be other big mistake. By the time is finished, we will see many more options than the current availables (NSBasic as an example, dozens more when RS could reach a non beta status).

    By expanding the number of options they have not taken care of the real importance of RealStudio. Framework (Win,Mac,Linux) and compiler, that is the main purpose we use RS. Before IOS we were demanding speed, reliability, bugs and instead we got more options with less quality, unstable releases, and hundreds of bugs still lying and unresolved.

    Every time I read the blog I pray for not having another announcement as Android, Xbox 360 support of whatever. There is still so much things to improve and fix in the main ones.

  25. Amando Blasco :Releasing current IDE that lacks many needed features, proper debugger, etc and with Cocoa will be more attractive for new developers.

    Does anyone that has seen an Alpha or a demo of the new IDE, know if the debugger has any improvements? I can forgive a lot in the current IDE (including repeatable bugs), with the exception of the debugger. ZThe darn things just frustrates me like no other debugger I have ever used.

  26. Agree with the first post of Brendan. *Now* there is a *real* competition between operating systems, operating systems are evolving much faster and are more specific and closed.

    Many people would be *surprised* to see how easy it is to make modern and animated interfaces with xCode. Finally, to build a modern application, it takes more time with RS.

    Make cross-platform as in the 2000s, it makes less sense.

    A good option would be to focus on the WE (true cross-platform today) and propose a PhoneGap integration.

    or … focus only on iOS/OS X products. This is an important market now. If RS can stick to apple developments, effectively, this is a possibility: do real IOS/OS X, but with the Basic language.

    But the business model seems to be less effective.

    In any case, in the coming years, it seems difficult to want to do everything.

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