REAL BASIC's offer
Wed, Apr 6 2005 12:13
In case you haven't seen, REAL BASIC is offering their standard edition for free to VB6 developers.
Brendon Chase contacted me last week to get my opinion on this... You can see his write up here.
Personally I find REAL BASIC interesting, it has some "unique" approaches. There are also many things I don't like such as the IDE which provides only single method view, although somewhat mitigate by the fact you can have multiple code views open at once.. Still the sense of a code document seems lost. Their proprietary binary code format I also find a nuisance. But probably the biggest thing I dislike is their lack of true properties. (note some at RealBASIC will refer to fields as properties, but if you are form the VB6 world you know these are two different things)
The lack of true properties in REAL BASIC, means simple things such as having a component say a grid control with multiple columns just don't work nicely at design time, such as it can't display to you 3 columns when you set the column count to 3, because you can only set fields, not true properties, so no action can occur.
This lack of properties also means you are probably going to hate what happens when you try to upgrade any VB6 code to REAL BASIC. I know I certainly did.
So I think if you are looking at REAL BASIC, you need to view it as an alternative, NOT a replacement. If your goal is to upgrade existing VB6 code, upgrading to VB.NET is a lot easier and a lot closer to your original code than REAL BASIC provides.
What REAL BASIC does offer though is some unique approaches, some interesting flexibility in the way they allow types to be extended, the promise of greater cross platform compatibility, and possibly a greater commitment to not abandon their customers (although one can only assume there, that was a feeling I got from discussion I had with Geoff).
So if you are a VB6 developer, you may want to look at REAL BASIC, but do not expect it to be a upgrade path, rather view it as an alternative path. Personally, I think more developers will go with REAL BASIC purely because they are just so pissed with the way Microsoft has treated them, and I can fully understand that. Myself, well I'll be holding off to see what their next version brings .. Pretty safe to say it would have to have a lot of improvements for me to be "REAL"ly interested, especially the inclusion of true property's.