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Issue 4.5


REALbasic 2006 Release 2

Issue: 4.5 (May/June 2006)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,185
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 4506
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Full text of article...

In keeping with its 90-day release program, REAL Software sent out the second iteration of REALbasic 2006 in mid-April, bundling some nice new features and a few optimizations with a massive horde of bug fixes.

While there is no earth-shattering change in this release, many of the small improvements are noticable and of course pleasant surprises for many users. The first change I noticed, after using Release 1 for several months, was the speed at which the program starts up. This has not traditionally been a problem in REALbasic, but Release 1 seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to get past the splashscreen and down to business. (No mention of this was made in the release notes, so it could have been a problem specific to this author's system.)

The new release features a couple handfuls of additions to the IDE, most notably the ability to hide empty events in the code editor. This is obviously not very useful for new projects, which involve populating many of these empty events, but for mature programs which see mainly debugging and small feature additions, this can clean up the programmer's workspace quite a bit.

The "Switch to" option in the code editor's contextual menu has returned; for many, no one noticed it was missing. However, there are those out there that found navigating a menu to get to another method was easier than tracking it down in the list on the left-hand side of the code editor, and their voices have been heard.

The project pane received several nice additions, including the ability to duplicate a project menu item using the Edit menu (something that has been noticably missing since REALbasic's inception!). The ability to have multiple projects open becomes even sweeter in this release, with the added capability of dragging entire folders of project items from one window to another.

For those who use declares quite a bit, the compiler is a little more friendly in Release 2 with the addition o the Ptr type, and the ability to dereference objects of that type with any type that makes sense. The Ptr even has an optional parameter to indicate byte offsets.

REALbasic's object vocabulary has some nice improvements in Release 2, though frustratingly none of these additions seem to appear in the built-in Language Reference. Three new cursors are available: MagnifyLarger, MagnifySmaller, and InvisibleCursor. Managing the cursor's visibility can also be managed with new .Show and .Hide commands.

Drag and Drop becomes a little more functional with an new parameter for an object's drag-related events that allows the object to detect what type of drag action (default, copy, move or link) is taking place.

PopupMenus and ComboBoxes are given a new AddRows function which allows the entire control to be populated, in one line, with an array. Unfortunately, the Listbox is not given the same function, but that seems understandable since PopupMenus and ComboBoxes are always one-dimensional.

Overall, Release 2 is about what one might expect from a 90-day release program; 90% bug fixes with a few new goodies thrown in to make it a must-have.

End of article.