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Issue 2.3



Issue: 2.3 (December/January 2003)
Author: Brian Jones
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,138
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 2302
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One of REALbasic's major strengths has always been its drag-and-drop GUI tools. For many REALbasic developers, it was these features that drew them to the platform in the first place. Now SolidWave lets an even larger number of programmers in on the fun with RADicode. Using RADicode, PowerPlant programmers use REALbasic as their WYSIWYG interface editor while still working with pure PowerPlant code. For the uninitiated, PowerPlant is a C++ application framework from Metrowerks to be used in conjunction with their CodeWarrior development environment.

The process is very simple. The developer simply opens REALbasic and lays out the interface, saving the project file. By simply dropping that project file on RADicode, you will have a fully functioning PowerPlant interface in no time. There are no arcane resource languages, just simple WYSIWYG.

There are several worries that arise with using an application that automatically generates code for you. First, you often have to put up with the generated code being in a different structure and adhering to different coding constants than you would like. You either have to live with it or spend a tedious amount of time making all of the changes you need, with each bit reducing the saved time and convenience that motivated you in the first place. RADicode, however, lets you set some preferences to set your own prefixes for class names, class members, different types of interface elements, and so on. The result is code that looks much more consistent with the rest of your code and fits better into your work habits.

Another problem you typically worry about with products like these is that they will add in a bunch of their own third party code that is either slow, poorly documented, both, or that they will make their generated code rely on some third party library that may not be maintained as well as you would like. Again, RADicode avoids this problem by generating only pure PowerPlant code to serve as a foundation for your own programming efforts.

Finally, you worry that the code that is generated won't stand up to your standards of clean, responsible coding. Fortunately, RADicode's code output could not be more careful. Every object instantiated is asserted and all exceptions are handled. In addition to the built-in safety valves, the code is specifically written to take advantage of PowerPlant's built-in debugging capabilities.

One thing you might expect from RADicode that it does not in fact provide is full REALbasic translation. RADicode does nothing with code entered in REALbasic; it only translates the interface. Some may see this as a weakness, but really it is the best balance for the strengths of REALbasic and the strengths of PowerPlant.

RADicode is a great idea. It's well supported and easy to use. It may seem overkill to buy REALbasic just to use as an interface editor, but, if you can swing it, RADicode will make your life as a PowerPlant programmer a little bit easier.

End of article.