REALbasic vs. Revolution

curry curry at kagi.com
Thu Oct 10 21:24:01 EDT 2002


The question of RB vs. Rev is interesting and is getting more so, not 
less. The main reason I'm still interested in RB is its potential for 
3D. That's the only place where Rev doesn't offer anything.

The main difference for me is that I *enjoy* working in Rev. I'm not 
sure if that point has been brought up as much! If I want to make 
something creative, I feel that Rev helps me do that because it's 
enjoyable to use. I like the scripting syntax most of all, and there 
are also some things about the developing environment that I like to 
use better.

I feel that scripting syntax is not only convenient to learn, but 
it's *superior* to other programming syntax. Readability is not just 
nice, it's also practical. (And if more of the world's code was 
written with syntax more similar to the English-like scripting syntax 
we find in HyperTalk and Transcript, we'd have a better world.) I 
like BASIC too, but the way MS took BASIC in adapting to GUI just 
didn't make it very readable. A more readable syntax would be 
possible for supporting those elements, and a few BASICs out there 
have been a bit more creative, but as it is, scripting is much better 
if you want something English-like;  which of course was what BASIC 
set out to do originally, right?.

Here's another thing for me: I don't like having to declare every 
single variable. I was actually flamed by many users on the RB list 
when I suggested that RB allow writing without explicit 
variables--which I think VB has an option for, and some people had 
let that trip them up with a hard-to-find problem until they finally 
thought of turning on explicit variables. Sounds like not everything 
is right for everyone and it's their problem, but these users were 
scared out of their pants to allow this capability--even though they 
could just not use the option themselves, they couldn't stand the 
thought of someone else doing it. That kind of mindset just didn't 
impress me, especially since RB seemed to accept it readily.

Then there's the runtime development environment. You always have to 
run and quit with RB, and I like the way you can "tinker" in Rev, and 
really run  it outside the environment when you want. But here's a 
suggestion: Rev could have an easier way to run, maybe a menu item, 
that would immediately run the project alone with all the necessary 
resources and libraries but without the development scripts getting 
in the way. (I know about the option to hide the development 
environment, but the dev scripts are still there and get in the way 
sometimes, and if you run the project by itself, it won't have the 
icons and libraries it needs unless you use the distribution 
manager.) That would be a really strong feature, and I urge Rev to 
consider it, whether just beefing up that hide-environment option, or 
with a new option.

So I have many reasons to like Rev and will do everything in Rev that 
is supported. But RB is also a very good tool and with a Windows dev 
environment coming out, that's going to make it a lot more realistic 
for cross-platform development.

One thing about the dev environment in Rev is that for a multimedia 
tool, it's still not quite convenient enough to get media in and out. 
I would really like to be able to copy and paste images as well as 
you can in  other programs. Yes, you can import, but no, it's not 
always convenient. I would like to paste in from the Mac clipboard 
and have them stored in a Rev-acceptable cross-platform format. The 
paint tools could also use a little work. I think Rev also needs to 
update sound and speech capabilities--multiple sounds, full support 
on all relevant platforms for speaking and hopefully listening, etc. 
I can understand if Rev doesn't tackle 3D, but on the other hand it 
would be nice; however, that's optional since it's a difference 
field, whereas the sound, speech, and extra convenience in media 
handling is a clear part of the kind of things Rev is already used 
for and intended for, so it's not optional and I think it should not 
be put off. I want to write once and have great sound and speech 
effects on Mac and Windows. In some cases such as the speech support 
and lack of ability to tell when sound is finished, as well as XP 
support (?) lack of basic features can mean the need to reluctantly 
consider another tool for some projects. (And believe me when I say 
reluctantly!) I think the coming support for throbbing and sheets 
will also be very welcome.

As for third party support, I think it depends on the size of the Rev 
community of users. If we can sell solutions to enough Rev users to 
make it profitable, some of us will make them. But if third-party 
solutions is a selling point for new users, it could be a catch-22, 
but I see more and more people here, so I think it's coming along 
well and like Kevin says, it's just been a year. I think if people 
see clearly, they will find that Rev is a great solution, even if 
both products are good and perhaps one or the other is not suitable 
for every job. But the fact of life is that too often, people don't 
see clearly! So I hope the Rev community continues to grow--I think 
more promotions and cross-grade offers could really help, because the 
more people we have using Rev, the more we'll ultimately be able to 
do with it. That's my suggestion to Rev--more promotions like the one 
last year.

Both Rev and RB are good products. But the ultimate factors for me 
are what I can do and how I can do it. I enjoy working with Rev a lot 
more, and I'm trusting that the few remaining areas that need more 
support will be supported.

--

Curry



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