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Issue 6.4


Introducing Yuma

Web Development for RB Users

Issue: 6.4 (May/June 2008)
Author: Joe Strout
Author Bio: Joe Strout has been actively involved in the REALbasic community since serving on the REALbasic engineering team for six years. He's now a partner in a consulting firm, Inspiring Applications Inc., which announced Yuma at this year's REAL World conference.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 24,366
Starting Page Number: 15
Article Number: 6409
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Excerpt of article text...

Since you're reading this magazine, you probably already know how great REALbasic is for developing desktop apps. Sometimes, though, the situation calls for a web application. Web apps are often a better solution for presenting data to, or gathering data from, a large number of users who don't want to be bothered with downloading and installing a desktop app. They also expand your audience beyond the major desktop platforms; everything from game consoles to cell phones allows access to the web these days.

It's possible to create a web app in REALbasic by building a custom web server; in fact I've been building web apps this way, including some that are in commercial use, for over two years now. I haven't been very satisfied with this approach, though. First, generating HTML entirely from RB code is tedious and error-prone. Even with the help of template files, it's much more of a chore to create and edit web pages this way than by editing HTML directly. Second, this technique doesn't work well on a site that's already using some standard web server such as Apache. Finally -- and perhaps most critically -- it means that you have to restart the server every time you change the code. In many commercial environments, that's a show-stopper.

Most commercial web sites are developed in a system called PHP. PHP code, which resembles a weakly-typed variant of C, is embedded directly into the HTML code wherever you need dynamic content to appear. So you write your HTML in plain old HTML, and you write your code in PHP. This works really well -- except for the part about writing your code in PHP. For someone used to the elegance and safety of REALbasic, PHP is hard to swallow. This is especially true if you have desktop apps and web apps accessing the same databases; writing the web app in PHP means two completely different sets of code to do the same tasks. Wouldn't it be great if you could write that web code using the REALbasic language instead?

This was the reasoning that led to the development of Yuma. Yuma is a web development environment for REALbasic users. First announced at REAL World 2008, Yuma is still in beta at the time of this writing, but it's already generating quite a bit of excitement among those who have seen it. Read on to see if Yuma is a tool that would be useful in your own toolbox as well.

Yuma Overview

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