Note: This page has fallen into abeyance; my REALbasic book is out of print, the REALbasic people threw me off the Beta mailing list, and I have not used REALbasic for anything since then. However, I’ve left this information here, as it might be useful to those interested in REALbasic. Just be aware that the facts may be out of date and that I have no intention of updating them.

Things Having To Do With REALbasic

What is REALbasic?
It’s a cool program that lets you create small, fast Macintosh applications as easily as you’d write a HyperCard stack. (Now also runs on Windows, and creates Windows and Linux applications as well as Mac applications.)
I’ve written a number of instructive articles about REALbasic in REALbasic Developer magazine. Unfortunately the magazine has never made available an online archive of articles from back issues, which means that the only way you can read one of these articles is to be a subscriber to the print/PDF edition. I think that’s pretty ridiculous, so I’ve undertaken to reproduce them online myself.
image REALbasic, the BOOK!
I wrote a book about REALbasic — my second book for O’Reilly and Associates! REALbasic comes with documentation, but my book adds details, fills gaps, provides examples, and teaches programming concepts from the ground up.
The second edition covers REALbasic 3.2.1 and Mac OS X; it is corrected for REALbasic 3.5 (that is, where bugs are fixed or functionality is changed), but there wasn’t room or time to cover the totally new 3.5 features such as regular expressions. REALbasic is now up to version 5.5 and the book is somewhat out of date, but it is still useful. O’Reilly has permitted the book to go out of print and is not interested in an update.

I like to talk and teach about REALbasic in person, too! Here’s me haranguing the crowds at Macworld Expo in January, 2001.

The first edition was written starting in late 1998 and first published in October 1999. You can read some of the wonderful comments from readers. If you have the first edition, please note my page of errata which lists errors and covers changes up through REALbasic 2.1.2. (Of course, all those errors are corrected in the second edition!) Also, here’s the code for the code examples from the first edition. (RB 2.1 required.) Plus, here’s the table of contents of the first edition.

Complete REALbasic Examples
These are some complete applications written in REALbasic. If you don’t have REALbasic, you can download the applications themselves just to see a small variety of the sorts of thing that can be easily done in REALbasic. They are all small projects that were simple and quick to write. If you do have REALbasic, you can download the source code.
An implementation of the standard Blowfish encryption algorithm. Send secret messages! Amaze your friends, foil your enemies! A number of extras are included: generate your 448-bit key automatically from a username-password pair; decode email directly within Eudora; and, REALfish can be driven by Apple events or AppleScript, so other applications can incorporate it. The application (PowerPC only). The Windows version (by popular demand - now you can send coded messages to your Wintel buddies, if you have any). The source code.
Plays my favorite card game, Durak (the national card game of Russia). It presently plays only at novice level, but it’s still fun. A good example of a small complete REALbasic application; the source code illustrates some useful standard techniques. Best of all, it was amazingly easy to write, and I did it all during a week when I was on vacation, during some odd hours here and there. The application (PowerPC only). The source code.
The second program I ever wrote with REALbasic. A simple but satisfying game: you have to click on “moles” as they pop up from the ground. Shows smooth animation of color graphics, and use of sounds; it was very easy to write, thanks to Timers, multiple instantiations of a single custom class, and other cool REALbasic features; only about 80 lines of code, and presto, I had myself a working game that has kept me happily clicking away for hours! (But of course, I’m rather easily amused.) The application. The source code.
A game of Othello, also known as Reversi, with minimal interface. It knows the rules, and it understands how to interact with the user to play the game; and this turned out to be amazingly easy to implement in REALbasic, thanks to REALbasic’s object orientation and control arrays. Thus, as I explained in my original review of REALbasic, I was able to write the program in less than a day. This amazed me, and the exercise also caused me to “get” REALbasic; from there on, I was hooked. Originally, I provided no computer “intelligence” - the computer chose its moves at random. So it was a “dumb” Othello, which is why I called it Odummo. (Since then, I’ve added a smattering of elemental strategy, so that the computer at least tries to play sensibly; but this is still not intelligence, and a decent player can easily beat the pants off it.) The application. The source code.
SimpleText-like word processor example, with a Find dialog. Demonstrates many important basic REALbasic coding techniques, such as dynamic Font, Style, and Window menus, Save Changes dialog, drag-and-drop of files onto your application’s window or icon; works with PreFab Text Machine (if you have it) to implement GREP finding easily in a REALbasic app, as an example of how to do Apple events with REALbasic. The application. The source code.
PacMan On Mars
REALbasic makes game animations. This one is simple but fun to play; you use the arrow keys to aim PacMan at the ghosts who are bouncing around, uh, on Mars (don’t ask). Good example of all game animation features: SpriteSurfaces, Sprites, moving the sprites, changing their appearance as they move, collisions, responding to keys, scrolling the background. At its heart are two abstract classes, SmartSurface and SmartSprite, that make REALbasic’s own SpriteSurface and Sprite classes much more object-oriented; you can use these abstract classes in your own games, to make them easier to construct. This is the game developed in Chapter 28 of my book. Also shows several other interesting techniques, such as how to incorporate a movie as a resource. The application (Mac OS X only). The source code (REALbasic 3 or later).
REALbasic can make global floating palettes - palettes that appear in other applications! This one puts up a palette containing from 1 to 10 “clipboards”, allowing one to have multiple simultaneous clipboards in any application. Genuinely useful! Communicate with the palette through popup menus, or drag-and-drop. Besides illustrating the obvious functionalities (global palettes, clipboard, popup menus, drag-and-drop), shows how REALbasic makes Mac Toolbox calls directly (here, we call the Process Manager to determine what application is frontmost). The application. The source code.

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