All Old Posts Converted

We’ve converted all of the old posts over to the new format except where, in a few cases, there were graphics in the original post.  In that case we’ve linked to the old posts.  We’re going to leave the old posts around because of the considerable amount of comments people have given over the years.  Also, some links didn’t come across so it’s just easier to leave everything up.

Thanks for reading and giving your comments!

I Miss Aaron’s Pseudo RB Blog (i.e. The Value of Blogging)

You can look at blogs in many ways.  Some are silly, some don’t say a thing, some are really just mouthpieces for the marketing department,  and often a good blog is a bit of everything.  It can make a large company more personal and it can make a small company look larger but to do so you have to be honest about the company and what you’re doing.

The big value of company blogs, in my opinion, is that they create a dialog between the company and the end users.  It’s a way for the technical folks to disseminate information to end users that would sometimes take months to come through official channels.  For example, Aaron’s blog posts on how to create REALbasic plugins via Visual Studio 2005 are wonderful posts that in-leau of dedicated RS resources were the definitive source on the topic.

So can it let a big company look smaller and more personal?  Absolutely!  The blog makes it more intimate.  Microsoft seems to have learned that being compared to the Borg is a bad thing and now link to some blogs made by employees.  For them, allowing their employees to talk about things is healthy and allows more input from the community.

It can also let a small company (project?) look bigger.  One example that comes to mind is the blog concerning The Cocotron, an open-source project that allows Cocoa developers to build for Windows.  I have no idea how many people contribute on a regular basis to Cocotron but just by having a regularly updated blog they look bigger.

Another example is Rogue Amoeba’s blog.  Sure, it’s mostly marketing, but it talks about bugs in the product and how they’ve fixed them.  It also points to personal blogs where they talk about geeky, very technical stuff.  It’s all good because it’s a dialog.

There are a fair number of people who blog regularly about REALbasic.  Here are the blogs in my RSS list:

Christian’s Soapbox
Oatmeal & Coffee
Random Writings From the Sticks
RBDevZone
RBJottings
Software Made Simple
The ZAZ Blog

And finally, I check http://www.squidoo.com/realbasic on a regular basis to see what I’ve missed in the community.  If I’ve missed your blog, please don’t take offense.  Post your blog URL in the comments!

This all assumes that your employees can write intelligently (I generally see myself as barely adequate in this regard but people keep reading and making comments so I must be doing something right!).  My advice would be that if you (or your employees) can’t write – don’t bother.

Topics to stay away from:  religion, politics, sex, race, personal financial difficulties, and negative health issues.  The absolute last thing you want to give to potential clients is a reason to not like you.  And I guess that seems at odds a little from the above.  If it’s your personal blog talk all you want about that stuff.  If it’s a business oriented blog don’t alienate your customers!

I guess all I’m saying is that I wish RS would fill the void left by Aaron’s departure.  I see it as a good way to personalize the company and yet get some useful information out there.  Need some ideas on what to blog about?  Just look at his suggestion box.

Politics

There’s an old saying (at least where I grew up in Northern Illinois) that there are a couple of things you don’t talk about in ‘polite’ conversation: Religion, Sex, and Politics.  I find the current trend of weaving political commentary into non-political news and opinions to be less than ideal.

The last two presidential elections have been amazingly close.  Roughly 50% of the country is aligned with the Democrats and the other half is aligned with the Republicans.  In 2000, President Bush won (some say stole) the state of Florida by just a couple of hundred votes.  Ohio in 2004 was close and it was also contentious.  It should be obvious to all, that regardless of political affiliation, that you’re going to piss off 50% of your readers (assuming you reach the entire country).

There are a number of blogs/sites on my regular reading list that are now injecting political commentary into their sports and technical news reporting/commentary.  I find it amusing (and disgusting at the same time) that they’re being so childish in their comments.  It seems like presidential elections brings out the stupidity in everyone (including the candidates themselves).

Quite frankly, I don’t care what these people think.  I’m an independent voter (really!) and I’ll make my own mind up by researching the candidates myself.    The chances of a single individual (including me) knowing the complete ‘truth’ about anything or anyone in politics closely approaches zero.  Besides, I go to these sites to read about sports and Macintosh and technical news NOT for politics.  There are plenty of websites available for political commentary for all sides (can’t forget about the Libertarians or Green parties).

If you really want to impress me, compare and contrast some particular viewpoint about technology issues that the candidates have weighed in on.  That angle I can deal with, but one-sided, childish comments about one candidate or the other is just as silly as the Ford vs. GM argument we had back in high school.

Yes, they have the right to publish whatever you want on your blog just like I do.  Just as I have the right to not read them.  If part of your income derives from people advertising on your site or people buying your products, then perhaps you should rethink the importance of pissing off half your readers in your political commentary.

Welcome to the BKeeney Briefs Blog

Greetings and salutations!  My name is Bob Keeney and I’m the Vice-President of BKeeney Software Inc.  This blog was started after RBDeveloper magazine agreed to publish a BKeeney Brief’s column on a regular basis.  This is a very cool thing and I’m happy to do it.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and did a lot of writing for various Mac user groups back in the day.  On a regular basis we’ll talk about being a developer and what it’s like to make a living as a developer.

BKeeney Software does cross-platform application and database development using a variety of languages and tools.  We mainly use REALbasic by REAL Software.  REALbasic is to cross platform programming to what Microsoft Visual Basic 6 was to Windows.  In my opinion there is no other tool that is as easy-to-use and as powerful than RB.  Many critics complain that basic isn’t a real language when in fact (in RB at least) it creates a native executable for Windows, Macintosh and Linux.  And this is done with one code base.

RB isn’t a panacea for developers.  RB does a great job of making a decent application that’s reasonably close among all the platforms.  However, that means it’s not a true Windows, Macintosh or Linux application without a little bit of elbow work for each platform.

RB isn’t without its critics.  Some of the well deserved and some of them just petty.  Just as with any development environment, it’s easy to make a bad REALbasic application.  For those code purists out there, I’ve seen exceptionally bad .NET and Cocoa applications for Windows and the Macintosh respectively.  Let’s face it, a bad app is a bad app.

The trick with any development environment is to learn the little tricks of the trade the make life easier.  When I use Visual Basic 6 we have a bunch tools and routines that we’ve found over the years that helps polish an application.  Without them the application just appears “not done”.  In the accounting app we work on, we have close to one hundred Windows API calls that help out with one thing or another.  So it is with RB as well.  We have our classes and utilities and little helper apps that help us out.

One such help application we use with REALbasic is QuickKeys.  We set it up so that QuickKeys calls an RB Script that does any number of things.  One such thing is to add basic exception handling into the current method.  With a simple press of a button we add the name of the object, the method and a call to our global error handler.  It beats the heck out of typing it all in.

So what tools and utilities do you use for REALbasic?