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Issue 4.4


Euro Converter Pro

Issue: 4.4 (March/April 2006)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,886
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 4403
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When REALbasic first hit the Mac scene, it was pretty easy to tell if an application was programmed using REALbasic's IDE. It gets harder and harder to tell whether or not this is the case with each RB revision, as REALsoftware has put much time and effort into mimicking Cocoa to help create a unified look over the entire operating system. A great example is in an application called Euro Converter Pro by Macron Software.

Euro Converter Pro simply does math, but it does math that no one wants to do -- currency conversions. Users can input an amount of one currency and have it converted to another, just as fast as it can be typed. Users are not limited to one conversion type either. The power of REALbasic allows the developer to duplicate controls in real time, possibly by using arrays, allowing multiple simultaneous conversions.

This program does not stop there. It takes this converted information and performs more calculations. A built-in calculator allows all sorts of math to be done with this one program, rather than juggling between two different programs cluttering your Mac's screen. More complex equations, like tax and investment calculations, are built in to the program and provide quick results, thanks to REALbasic's impressive math capabilities.

Speaking of cluttering, what if the user only wants to do a quick conversion and does not want the calculator feature? A quick click on the calculator disclosure triangle hides this functionality. Using REALbasic's integration with system calls, a smooth, aqua-like, transition is made when the calculator disappears.

Something users will notice when they first launch Euro Converter Pro is that it does not use standard editfields for data input. Instead, keeping with the math theme of the program, Euro Converter Pro uses modified editfields with yellow/green backdrops, giving a true calculator "feel." Subclassing and canvas controls built into REALbasic allowed Macron Software to do this presumably easily.

Users will also notice that Euro Converter Pro is built on a metal window interface. The developer was able to enhance the look of his product by simply changing the window type setting in the property section of the REALbasic IDE. A quick change providing enhanced user interface functionally -- it was that simple with REALbasic.

The world of economics is always changing, and Macron Software knew this when they created their program. Euro Converter Pro can download updates from the European Central Bank web site with the click of a button, partially thanks to the socket control built into REALbasic. By passing a few lines of code to a socket, the wanted information is retrieved and is left up to the program to parse, which it does beautifully and rapidly.

There is not much, if anything, negative to say about this remarkable program. It takes a concept and runs with it, leaving similar programs in the dust. This method of programming can be difficult for developers using other languages, but not so for REALbasic developers like Macron Software.

End of article.