One year later: Thinking outside the cube.

It is hard to believe that it has actually been just over a year since I wrote my controversial post about REAL Studio. So what has transpired in the last year?

  • REAL Software has dropped their SQL Server product. (Yay!)
  • ARBP has put on one conference in Colorado, and has another one announced this year in Georgia.
  • The Cocoa framework is still not done.
  • The horrible 3-tier product line still exists.
  • The database server has been replaced a new “Web Edition” build. (*cough* Cocoa is still not done! *cough*)
  • The first Omega Bundle has been executed to a great success!
  • REAL Software’s logo has changed to minimize the cube.
  • They made a report designer.

Last year I wrote that REAL Software should scrap their database server product.  They did, but replaced it with the new “web edition” and embarrassingly tag all of their messages with “Web 3.0 is here”. Really? Again, embarrassing. Developers still are not able to pre-compile their classes for others to use, they must still use “encryption” and it still defaults to the broken encryption format!  It is not hard to default that checkbox to true, in fact, that checkbox should no longer exist. Compatibility with a five year old product is not necessary (v2006R2)!  There still is not a way to drive the IDE.  I was told by Geoff after my post last year that switching to LLVM for the compiler would fix the problem with large binaries.  That, along with Cocoa, still hasn’t happened.

Launch time. Last year I complained about how long it takes to launch REAL Studio, and that hasn’t gotten any better either. My 6 month old MacBook Pro (until yesterday) was top of the line. 2.66GHz Core i7 with 8GB RAM and 7200RPM 500GB drive.  Time to launch Xcode: 2.9 seconds.  Time to launch REAL Studio: 33.4 seconds.  Pre-compiling plugins in the background still doesn’t happen, so if you change your plugins folder, the next time you compile, you will need to wait. That is why I still have empty projects (1 console, 1 GUI, and 1 Cocoa) and I compile them each time I change my plugins folder so when I have work to do, I don’t have to wait. Obviously, by stating my routine, plugins can not be added dynamically yet.

From my “do nots” last year… As mentioned before, the Cocoa framework still is not done… STILL WAITING? REAL Software still hasn’t put on a conference.  The ARBP put on a conference in Colorado last year instead. Geoff was invited to speak, but instead of actually showing up he did a video chat via iChat.  REALLY? At a minimum it was rude, perhaps arrogant. I’m still trying to decide.  Perhaps it’s another “REAL thinks it’s Apple” moment where they don’t need no stinking conferences.  On the brighter side, I think Geoff is actually going to show up in the flesh at the Georgia conference.

What does the state of these things mean for me and REAL Studio?  Well, it’s not looking good.  Over the past few years, REAL has lost some excellent developers, false-started a database server, and extraordinarily raised the price of both REAL Studio and the developer program.  In order to justify their price raise for REAL Studio, they bundled in the database server which we didn’t want.  Then, when they got rid of the database server they replaced it with the Web Edition. Since Cocoa isn’t done, I’m not giving REAL Software any more of my money; they’ve had enough time. I’m speaking with my wallet.  I already allowed my developer program membership to lapse because it honestly didn’t bring in much money.  My REAL Studio license expires on March 5th.

To be honest, I am slightly torn. The OmegaBundle was a great success which means people do want 3rd party REALbasic add-ons and, I have plenty of new customers!  Thank you bundle buyers! You have restored some of my faith in the community!  Does that mean I’m going update my Studio license right away? Heck no. If REAL is still supporting old broken “encryption” from 2006, I think my current version of REAL Studio will continue to work fine for quite a while.

On a side note, have you seen the new Xcode 4? YUM! And WWDC is looking awfully appealing this year.