Real Studio 2012 Release 2

Real Software released Real Studio 2012 Release 2 today.  As Real Software announced a while back this release still has the existing IDE and the same licensing scheme.  As with the 2012 R1 release this version contains a lot of Cocoa and other bug fixes and a number of new features that will please some and make others yawn.

Web Edition

Dynamic Constants now work without the developer going through hoops to use them!  This is very good news because it makes dynamic constants as easy to use as their desktop counterparts.  One thing that was reported but not in time to get fixed was WebPage Titles.  They plain don’t work and if you are using the #somestring shortcut you’ll see that string in the title rather than the correct one.

This release also has seen the addition of the Web Control SDK  This powerful new addition lets you create your own controls for Web Edition!  This is very much needed as it gives a standard way for developers to wrap the plethora of controls available for web apps such a JQuery and the Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library.  Think of this as plugins for web applications.  I look forward to seeing how developers start using this.

They also added the WebCanvas control.  This is an HTML5 only feature so you should check the Supported method before attempting to use it.  Otherwise, this works just like the desktop canvas control where you draw in the Paint event that passes in a WebGraphics object which unsurprisingly acts just like the desktop canvas version.  The developer then can use Invalidate and Refresh events to cause the canvas to refresh.

A number of important bug fixes for Web Edition were addressed in this release.  For one, Threads, WebContainers, WebPages and WebDialogs no longer leak memory!  Some events that could be out of order are now queued up properly.  This may cause issues if you relied on the previous event order so please double check your apps before deploying.

Desktop

The TextArea control has two new properties that might be useful for you.  They have a new LineHeight and LineSpacing property that will make it easier to change the way the text looks in the control.

One of the features that I’m really happy with is remote debugging.  For years I’ve been unhappy with how slow it is to do remote debugging from Mac to Windows even on my local machine using VMWare.  You’d think this would be wicked fast but it isn’t.  Until now.  The Debugger Stub and IDE now transmit a compressed version of the application rather than the full-sized version. This decreases the transmission time dramatically.

Another new feature that Real Software added as a new Crypto module that allows us to use SHA1, SHA256, SHA512, HMAC and PBKDF2 encryption without resorting to a third-party plugin or utility.  Without getting into the details on each one I suggest you read about it in the online wiki at http://docs.realsoftware.com/index.php/Crypto which conveniently has links to their respective Wikipedia pages.

As you might expect, Cocoa has dozens of bug fixes.  If you are not working with Cocoa in your applications, at least some of the time, I highly recommend you start.  Carbon will eventually be frozen with critical-only bug fixes while Cocoa will get all bug fixes and new features.  With the many bug fixes we are now closer and closer to that day.  Look for Carbon to be frozen perhaps when the new IDE is released.

Windows has about a dozen bug fixes that all appear to be relatively minor.  Obviously if they affected you they weren’t minor but none of the bugs fixed affect my apps.  Your mileage may vary on that one.

Linux also has a number of bug fixes, but again, seem rather minor (unless you were affected).

Databases

Users of PostgreSQL now have SSL support.  Specify what SSL connection type you need before trying to connect.

A number of bugs were fixed in the ODBC plugin that should make it more reliable when working with Unicode text.

Documentation

By my count several dozen Language References were updated to fix incorrect information or add clarifying information or added new examples.  Some of the example projects were updated too.  This is welcome news as two items have been a constant complaint from users for years.

My Opinions

Anyone who knows me will attest that I have very strong opinions.  No!  Say it ain’t so!  All you have to do is look at the list of fixes and improvements to see that a majority of their development time has been in Cocoa and Web edition and presumably the new IDE.

The New IDE has been promised for well over a year and I think we will most definitely see it in 2013 Release 1.  Despite what Real Software says I feel the new IDE has been a distraction to the rest of the product.  You just can’t continue to bolt on new features into the old IDE and into the new IDE without some degradation in productivity.  Whether the release happens in the first quarter or later is a really good question.  I hope it’s sooner rather than later for all our sakes.

For those Windows and Linux users out there, do you feel abandoned?  What bugs/features are you looking for that would make you happy?

13 thoughts on “Real Studio 2012 Release 2

  1. “The New IDE has been promised for well over a year and I think we will most definitely see it in 2013 Release 1. Despite what Real Software says I feel the new IDE has been a distraction to the rest of the product. You just can’t continue to bolt on new features into the old IDE and into the new IDE without some degradation in productivity. Whether the release happens in the first quarter or later is a really good question. I hope it’s sooner rather than later for all our sakes.”

    I agree 100% with you. IDE is something that might be changed when all the transition to LLVM and 64 bit were in Beta, exactly the same as Cocoa. I read post about these announcements and time passes, and the lack of real schedules is a major problem. Should I wait more time to see if I can move some of my C++ code to RealStudio? Will LLVM optimizations will be good enough to code and not prototype? Will be ever see real Threading (despite all the difficulties with Threading programming) in RealStudio?

    Most of us have our finger crossed about LLVM (I’m particular with compiler executables optimizations and size) and 64 bit. I can’t understand why RealStudio has taken this step, before finishing the most important stuff. If it will be written in RealStudio itself… wouldn’t be better to write the IDE with all these optimizations (LLVM, 64 bits, Threading?)

    Fantastic post, as always, Bob! Very informative and sharp!

  2. @Amando
    I truly believe that once the new IDE is released many of the things we are waiting for, like 64 bit and LLVM will come very quickly. I think it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put them into the existing IDE without a considerable amount of work. Why do the work twice when you can do it once?

    I have no inside information on this. Just my opinion.

  3. @Amando
    The speed/size benefits REALbasic gets from the LLVM optimizers will depend on the nature of the code in question. There’ll be big speedups for code that’s really math intensive, but more moderate speedups when dealing with object-oriented code (due to indirection, exception handling, etc). We’re already shipping RBScript powered by the LLVM JIT, so you can test out some code in that and get a rough idea.

  4. It is often assumed that if engineers are working on X they could instead by working on Y. That’s sometimes the case but not always. While there is some overlap, most of the engineers are very specialized. That means for example, that they can’t all work on the compiler or the web framework or the new IDE. So the effort that has gone in to the new IDE really has not distracted from much else. Schedules are important but as anyone who has managed a big project will tell you, the bigger the project, the more difficult it is to determine when it will be finished. And for us, quality is the primary metric, not schedule. We have made that mistake in the past and we are striving to not make it again.

  5. One of the bigger disappointments in 2012R2 is the lack of Mac App Store support. Currently you can’t out of the box submit an application to the store because they don’t support the 1024×1024 app icon. The app icon issue is a pretty straightforward issue to solve and it makes me wonder if they even care about developers delivering to the Mac App Store. So developers have to turn to outside solutions like “App Wrapper” (great product) and/or a bunch of other IDE and build scripts to fill in the missing parts like code signing and setting entitlements. As I have previously stated in comments to other blog posts, RS is falling behind and this is an example. All these particular issues (icons, code signing, entitlements) are brain dead simple to do in xcode and it is not like that RS could not copy those feature designs.

  6. Geoff Perlman :
    And for us, quality is the primary metric, not schedule. We have made that mistake in the past and we are striving to not make it again.

    This is very good news! This year’s updates already made a big step in the right direction.

    Thanks.

  7. “Despite what Real Software says I feel the new IDE has been a distraction to the rest of the product” – The new IDE will be built with target Cocoa. I believe that building a real product, a big product, is the only way to make this target a rock solid option for us. You must use your products yourself, otherwise you will hardly understand your clients. Writing a new IDE was the best thing RS could do for us, not primarily because of the IDE, but because of the resulting practical experience with the cocoa target. No distraction, but focus : on Cocoa.

  8. Oliver Osswald :
    No distraction, but focus : on Cocoa.

    The current IDE is written in RealBasic, and RealSoftware mantra is a “truly cross platform compiler thar works” for Windows, Mac and Linux (till now, IOS to come). If cocoa were the main reason for a new IDE, then a new IDE would need to de developed taking Windows Metro, then a new one for Linux, etc.. etc. Honestly, I don’t think that is the main reason. When new IDE is launched, developers would be able to download and program in RS, surely attracting more devs to community and getting more resources to finance their upcoming projects.

    Cocoa is needed as Carbon is going to disappear in no time, hence 64 bit support would be needed and WEB edition needs 64 bit. There are 3 already stablished platforms, and IOS coming. Windows users or Linux users won’t use Cocoa, and some of us develop either on Mac or Windows, depending on our current project.

    I can understand that RealStudio gets more attention to Mac users as there are lots of developers trying to port NET applications to Mac. But without Windows and Linux in the same line of development, I see no reason to use a commercial product that only benefits 1 of it’s platforms. Cocoa might has taken much more time than expected, but once is finished the Beta, I am pretty sure RS would put more time on the other platforms to offer best Windows and Linux UI experience to final users, that is as important as the Cocoa transition.

  9. Crap. I have found an issue with WE builds that’s causing me some heartburn tonight. I’m getting an Out of Bounds exception when opening a new WebPage instance for some webpages but not others.. This was something we had discovered during beta and was fixed but appears to be back. 🙁

    Feedback sent in but it’s private so can’t share the #.

  10. Brendan Murphy :So developers have to turn to outside solutions like “App Wrapper” (great product) and/or a bunch of other IDE and build scripts to fill in the missing parts like code signing and setting entitlements.

    I think that is a given with RS. I don’t mind third party solutions, if they fill the need, I knew that going in. We pay a heavy toll for this cross-platform capability in terms of up front development costs, third party solutions to fill holes in RS, and reduced-unctionality or performance-hindered executables. Cross-platform development tools simply cost more and are harder to maintain. As others have mentioned on this blog, if you only target one native O/S, there are better and cheaper solutions out there. The benefit, and the sole reason I went this route, is I am not maintaining two code bases written in xCode and VB 2010. I click on two buttons and I have two builds one for the Mac and one for Windows. I cannot overstate the importance of this and how much it reduces my work load. I am willing to pay for this functionality and I try to reasonable about the bugs, although admittedly, it can drive me nuts sometimes.

  11. @Merv
    I think you are missing my point. In the example of the app icon, because it is an already existing feature in the IDE and central to building applications, if you submit to the Mac App Store, you have to completely bypass the IDE’s functionality. Why? In Bob’s blog post he asserts that the new IDE is a distraction in that it draws away resources from more high priority items. My example supports Bob’s thesis in that this is an area that is being ignored. In 2012 we only got 2 releases which further demonstrates what Bob calls a distraction. The existence of a third party market is not the issue, but rather that customer needs are not being served in the most optimal way. The fact that that third party vendors “have” to invent solutions further highlights the distraction Bob has outlined. RS’s strength is cross platform compiling, but there seems to be a continual set of road blocks that keep popping up coupled with “years” of delay which starts to make things untenable. If the new IDE comes out and it is mostly a cosmetic makeover with no real substantive improvements in developer usability, then what will that say?

  12. @Brendan
    Oh, I agree, I think the new IDE was a distraction from more critical items. I am sure there are reasons why they needed to do it that we are not aware. But in my opinion, it was bigger job that they envisioned and it affected more things than they thought it would. But that doesn’t change the fact that there will be holes in the RS coverage and if a third party solution fills the hole, I’d rather spend $100 than complain about it or role my own solution. I get your point, maybe it is something they need to address soon. But if App Wrapper will get around a shortcoming in RS, so be it.

    If customer needs are not being met optimally as you say, it is either a resource issue or a vision issue where they don’t understand what the customers need. I think it is more of a resource issue, so when they announced the new pricing structure that will take affect at the time of the new IDE and said it was revenue-neutral, I was almost disappointed. I’d rather see more revenue coming in and more engineers hired. I’m apt to give Geoff and Company more leeway than I would have 10 years ago, because computing platforms are fracturing and splintering badly right now. I’m having a tough time keeping up and I only plan on support Windows and Mac for the time being. I haven’t the resources to individually go after iOS, Linux, and Windows RT, so unless Real Software makes it somewhat easy for me to address them (as they have with desktop X-Platform with Windows / OS X) the market limits me as well and I FULLY understand what they are up against. I can understand why things don’t get done as quickly or smoothly as we like.

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