RunRev vs RealBasic (Richard Gaskin)

Thomas Gutzmann thomas.gutzmann at
Sat Jan 15 18:25:23 EST 2005

Am 31.12.2004 um 05:30 schrieb Ken Ray:

> Personally I think on of the biggest advantages that Rev has over RB 
> is that
> you can go from editing to running *immediately*; you don't need to 
> compile
> and run. So for example, if you're working on a dialog box that would
> normally take you 5 mouse clicks to get to from the start of your 
> program,
> you would have to run that sequence every time you made a simple 
> change to
> the dialog box. In Rev, you'd just switch to the browse tool, and 
> you're
> "running" immediately; you can test right away.

I know that this discussion has been over since half a month, but I 
haven't read the thread before.

Using BBEdit as an external editor (on MacOS/X) gives even more power: 
stay in run mode, modify the script, save it, and go on testing. This 
is something I'm missing in RB. If you combine this with the power of a 
"scriptable" database like PostgreSQL or Oracle, you can can even go 
further, by modifying database procedures and functions on the fly 
(which would work in RB the same way). In my > 30 years of software 
development I never had a development environment which gave me such a 
comfort. It's like a dream.

The good thing in RB is that you have true OOP. The bad thing in RB is 
that you have true OOP. If the application can be divided in small 
chunks, e.g. windows for working on different tables in a database, 
you're better off with Rev, because you can work on all of them 
separately - given that you don't switch to the second window (well, 
stack) before the first is really perfect. Then you can clone it, and 
making the second is amazingly quick.

But there are cases where OOP is simply better, and then RB is the 
better choice, of course (better than Java, too). I have an application 
where I need a very fast and complicated graphic interface with a large 
number of objects. This I have written in RB; the rest of the 
application is being written in Rev. All these single and largely 
independent windows can be done in RB, sure, but it simply takes too 

I'm not sure yet how to do the printing and reporting part - maybe I 
switch to a third tool for that, like Perl.

There are some other points to consider.

- RB has more interface elements; it's easier to make tabbed windows (I 
have given this up in RB), there are much more options for lists, and 
so on.
- In Rev this good old HyperCard idea of cards, combined with the 
substacks, can be used to combine all elements of a user interface for 
a given part of the application (e.g. managing data entry using a 
selection list, modification dialogs, and so on) in one stack. This 
makes the code MUCH easier to maintain. We have stopped development in 
RB when the number of dialogs got about a certain threshold - 
development time exploded.
- It's also easier to share development in Rev, because there are less 
mutual dependencies. If you have one stack for common handlers and 
functions, you can reduce the sharing just to this stack, the rest can 
be distributed amongst developers (given, it's a database oriented 
application with a central db).
- Though both systems claim to be x-platform, my experience is that Rev 
is better in this respect than RB. Maybe that's due to the smaller 
amount of interface elements. It's a bit disappointing that Rev doesn't 
provide support for the other Unixes any more - that was one of the big 
advantages against RB.
- Documentation is often criticised in Rev, but after working with it 
for some time, I think it's not worse than RB. The online documentation 
is faster to work with, once you have found out how to get around the 
weak spots.
- Support is better in RB, but that may be due to the size of the 
company; RB brings out new versions faster, and their bug tracking 
system is better. But on the other hand there are VERY engaged people 
on this list which make good a lot - but not all.
- I sometimes have the impression that Revolution as a company doesn't 
really exist. They are hardly ever seen in this list, it's hard to get 
responses from them. I think that one of the secrets of the success for 
RB was (and is) their presence and visibility in the developer 
community. But that's also in our hands as customers: we must help them 
sell licenses...
- The IDE of RB was much better in the past, but with 2.5 Rev has 
improved so much that - after having worked with it for several weeks - 
I think it's as good as RB now, if not better. Hard to explain in 
detail - I don't want to waste more or your time.

Bottom line: we will continue developing with RB, Java etc. - but now 
that I'm nearly through with a pilot, we will start using Rev for many 
portions of applications where we used RB, Java and Perl before, and 
I'm sure that the larger percentage (by far) will be done with Rev. And 
once they have finished the transition to SunOS etc. (if ever), we can 
abandon Java for all GUI programs.

Now please don't flame!


Thomas G.

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