Real Studio Developer Issue 10.3

Real Studio Developer Issue 10.3 March/April 2012 is out.  In this issue I have my regular column where I talk about how to attract clients to you rather than you hunting them down.

There’s an interview with Paul Lefebvre.

There’s an article from Anthony Mousel titled “Adventures In the Dark – Hard Lessons in Consulting”.  I highly recommend reading it if you want to do any consulting.  Good lessons to learn.  Even I still make some of these mistakes!

Real Studio Developer 10.2

The Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Real Studio Developer came out a few weeks ago.  I was incredibly busy and I forgot to post about it.

In this issue I did a report on the Real Studio Database Days event held in Frankfurt, Germany in early November.  It was my first visit to Germany and I enjoyed myself immensely.

My BKeeney Briefs column was about evaluating last years consulting business and mapping out strategies to make 2012 better than 2011.

Tam Hanna had an interesting article on Outsourcing.  Jens Bendig had an article on global variables and Marc Zeedar had an article about building your application based on assumptions.

So how did your 2011 go?

 

What’s Holding You Back?

The September/October 2011 issue Real Studio Developer Magazine is now out.  My regular column asks the question, what’s holding you back when it comes to being a Real Studio developer?

I talk about the following problems and give some ways around them:

1.  Lack of Education

2.  Lack of Experience

3.  Lack of Clients

4.  Lack of Confidence

5.  Fear of Success

What did I leave out?

Of this list, the only one that’s the hardest to overcome, in my opinion, is number 5.

Showing RB Code in WordPress

If you use Real Studio and are a blogger, the fine folks over at Figa Labs have (re?) released a plugin for WordPress that formats your REALbasic code properly in WordPress.  This is a very nice plugin and is apparently based the PHP code of an old Real Studio employee.  So now your code snippets go from this:

Function Ask(instructions as string, byref initialtext as String, bPassword as boolean = false, w as Window) As Boolean

stInstructions.text = instructions

efText.Password = bPassword

efText.text = initialtext

efText.SelectAll

if w = nil then

self.ShowModal

else

self.ShowModalWithin w

end

if bSave then initialtext = efText.text

return bSave

End Function

 

To this:



Function Ask(instructions as string, byref initialtext as String, bPassword as boolean = false, w as Window) As Boolean
   
   stInstructions.text = instructions
   
   efText.Password = bPassword
   
   efText.text = initialtext
   
   efText.SelectAll
   
   if w = nil then
      
      self.ShowModal
      
   else
      
      self.ShowModalWithin w
      
   end
   
   if bSave then initialtext = efText.text
   
   return bSave
   
End Function

 


The only tricky part it remembering the shortcodes, which isn’t really all that hard.  “[“rbcode”]” starts the formatting and “[“/rbcode”]” ends it (remove the quotes to actually get it to work).  Ideally I’d love to have a button that lets me do format the code without having to remember the shortcodes but hey, life isn’t perfect.

Happy coding, and blogging!

REAL Studio Magazine May-June 2011

Issue 9.4 of Real Studio Magazine is out.  In this issue there’s a lengthy article about the Atlanta Real Studio Conference hosted by the Association of REALbasic Professionals (ARBP) and Real Software.  The big news is that I am no longer the president of ARBP.  I have truly enjoyed my time guiding the fledgling organization but after three years of organization and two conferences it’s time for me to move on.  I’m not going away as I’m staying on as treasurer for at least a year.  If you didn’t know, ARBP paid members can access the conference videos after logging in to the ARBP website.  Direct link to the session list.

My Briefs article is titled When a Handshake Just Isn’t Good Enough – Why A Contract Is Necessary where I relate about how a recent client stiffed me out of some serious money owed to me.  Of course I didn’t have a contract with him because of the referral and the connections this client has with Real Software and the RealBasic community.  Learn from my mistake and always have a contract in place before doing work!

And, as always there’s a plethora of good information and reviews in the magazine and I highly recommend getting it.  It’s not just for beginners as there is good information for all skill levels.

RB Developer Column: Face Time

The January/February 2011 edition of REAL Studio Developer magazine is out.  My regular column talks about the value of ‘face time’ and how, despite all of the electronic means available to us, of communicating with one another, sitting across the table with another person is a very powerful thing.

Sadly, we (BKS) meet very few of our clients face-to-face.  Those that we do have become more than just clients – they’re colleagues, partners, and sometimes even friends.

Personally, I think this is why I’m so excited about the REAL Studio conference coming up in March in Atlanta.  It’s a lot of work to put on a conference and do a presentation.  But past conferences have shown that I always come home very happy and jazzed about the things that I’ve learned and people I’ve met.  Exhausted?  Definitely!  But well worth it.
What about you?

Those Who Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Yesterday I created a new Feedback item to stop the 90 Day Rapid Release Model.  <feedback://showreport?report_id=14252>

In less than 24 hours it’s gone from the 4,000-ish rank to #11.  Feel free to make it one of your priorities and let your voice be heard.  If the Feedback system is truly the way to get things to change then this is our opportunity to test it.

I think we’re all fed up with half-baked and incomplete new features.  Lack of documentation and examples aren’t helping us either.  It’s to the point where each new release brings it own new set of problems.  Each release causes anxiety rather than anticipation.

It makes using REAL Studio a pain.  During the 2010 Release 3 cycle, the huge memory leak issue in Windows was causing me to revert back to Release 2 which also had its share of issues in Windows.  I seriously debated if I had to go back to Release 1 or even earlier.  Thankfully, RS decided to do a dot release for R 3.1 and subsequently R 3.2 but testing those two releases kept me from testing R4.

To be honest, I’m not opposed to the 90 day release cycle per se. I have a huge objection to the way it’s currently handled.

There doesn’t seem to be much planning going in to each release. It seems that the RS engineers are told to develop something new. They start development in *that* cycle and it gets added and released in *that* cycle. This leads to a lack of examples, lack of documentation, and features that are half thought out with too many outright bugs.

Here’s an idea:  Anything added to the project *must* have an example project that exercises major functionality. Ideally it would tweak all properties to ensure proper functionality. This does several things:

1) Ensures that the feature works as it was intended by the RS engineer

2)  Gives the RS internal QA staff and management something to verify before it’s released

3) Gives beta testers a reasonable example to start from. It becomes the de-facto baseline project for the RS engineers

4) The project becomes part of the official release and gives end users an example to use  and learn from even if documentation is missing and/or incomplete

Let’s face an inconvenient truth here, shall we?  The 90 day cycle is too fast for PROFESSIONAL users.  There’s a reason why no other development tool uses that fast of a cycle.

RS needs to properly plan features out.  They are in the R5 release cycle now so any new features not already added for beta testing can NOT be added until the 2011 R1 release.  This also means that any major bugs found in a R5 feature be pulled from this release.

I don’t know if this can be done given current engineering leadership and personnel.  If certainly feels that the current release and feature schedule is *marketing* and *sales* driven and that quality is not “job 1”.

Personally, I’d be happier giving my money to RS knowing that each release is as solid as they can possibly make it.  I’m okay if that means that a release takes a mere 60 days or takes 180 days.  A solid release means more to me than incomplete new features.  Circling a date on the calendar as a drop-dead date is fine every now and then but it shouldn’t be an every release occurrence.

Some have asked why me, of all people, is forcing this discussion.  The answer is simple.  I use the product all day long, six days a week.  I really, really like it – it’s the only product I’ve found that’s quite like it.  It puts a roof over my head.  It’s a good product now but it has such great and awesome potential.  However, each release brings new problems and new pain.  I’m getting old enough to know that I need to stop banging my head up against a wall.

I either effect change or move on.  This is my attempt at changing RS for the better.  Maybe they will and maybe they won’t.  At least I can say I tried and I’ll have no regrets either way.

For Those Complaining

For those complaining about REALbasic bug and feature requests being ignored I offer you this: http://arstechnica.com/journals/microsoft.ars/2008/05/13/windows-live-messenger-9-0-beta-program-frustrates-testers

My guess is that Microsoft will fix the problems and add new features, but just like Real Software, Microsoft really does have limited resources for any given project.  Just food for thought.

The RB Forum vs. NUG List

I’ll admit this: I like the REALbasic Forums better than the NUG list. If I have a spare minute or two I peruse the forum looking for a question that I can respond to. The NUG digests in my inbox get ignored.

When I visit the forums I often hit the ‘view unanswered posts’ link to show me anything that hasn’t been answered. This seems to be the best way for me to help others. If the question hasn’t been answered then I’ll take a look at it. If a question goes unanswered for over a week I’ll respond to it even if I don’t know the answer just so it gets some activity and gets the attention of others who use the ‘view posts since last visit’ option. Trust me, it works.

The other reason why I like the forum over the NUG is that I don’t have to constantly shift through the garbage in my NUG mailbox.  Even with mailbox rules and digest mode I find myself ignoring the NUG more and more because my email is my To Do list.  I can’t stand having unread stuff anywhere in my email client so it’s a waste of my time.  Using the forum is easy because I get an email whenever a reply is posted to a thread that I’ve responded to – but at least it’s smart enough to only send one email even if dozens of responses has occurred since my last visit.  The NUG can’t touch that feature.

This is NOT to say that others can’t find the NUG useful because it is and there are a lot of very knowledgeable people that lurk on that list.  It’s a resource that I encourage everyone to use because it’s been around forever.  If all other resources have failed to answer your question, try the NUG.

The forum is easier to search than the NUG given that you can narrow it down into broad categories and date range.  I guess you could argue that the NUG posts can easily be searched using Spotlight on the Mac or using the NUG archives but it’s not quite the same thing.  Or maybe it’s just what makes sense to you.

I’m willing to bend on this one because I remember the furor that went up when REAL Software tried to shut down the NUG.  You’d have thought they were killing a baby seal or something and in the six or so years of reading the NUG I was amazed at the hatred that welled up from the community.  So REAL did the only reasonable thing they could do – keep it alive.

So I’m curious on what you think of the Forums vs. the NUG.  Which is more useful to you?  What do you love or hate about the forums and the NUG?