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Issue 8.2


REALbasic Tutorial

Issue: 8.2 (January/February 2010)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,152
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 8206
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Full text of article...

Last year, REAL Software updated the tutorial that's included with REALbasic. The company dropped the old tutorial that helped you make a basic word processor. In it's place, they refreshed the old quick start guide and made it the new tutorial. This new tutorial helps you make a URL Manager application. I tried the new tutorial with some students to see how well it worked with them. The results were interesting.

The new tutorial spans thirty-six pages, compared to the old tutorial's one hundred and thirty-six pages. It's much quicker to go through. Students moved through it in about two hours. It accomplished its purpose; students became very interested in REALbasic and what they could do with it. It had a few errors, but the students worked through them fairly well. I'm having them compile feedback and I'll send it to REAL Software, which is a good learning experience for my new programmers. I gave them a background in Object-oriented programming and practice projects in the Alice programming environment, so that may have helped them work with the REALbasic Tutorial so easily. It also helped a great deal to have the demo version of REALbasic available with full functionality. The coming fall's class will have full versions to use, but running test lessons with some students now helped to really whet their appetites. They're already asking how they can find out more.

To contrast things, I gave them the old tutorial to work with. It's a much larger project than the URL Manager, even more than the expanded page count would suggest. It's already becoming obsolete, with some aspects no longer working. I regard that as a learning experience for the students. I surmise that REAL Software decided (and/or has gotten feedback) that the old tutorial is too long or dense to get new users started and interested. I like the fact that it really shows you almost all the way around the program. It's pretty thorough. The students are still plugging away with it, but they should be finished within another week or so (they'll have to, because their demo copies will expire soon!). They find it much more involving than the URL Manager tutorial. However, this may be because they gained familiarity with REALbasic from doing the URL Manager tutorial first. It seems that the old tutorial functions well as an advanced tutorial. Perhaps REAL Software might make it available again if it's not too much trouble to update and maintain.

Regardless, the students have already asked for a new tutorial: games. There's nothing like that currently, although REALbasic Library has a couple of options. REALbasic Developer Issue 5.1 from 2006 has a zombies game postmortem by Joe Strout. The students jumped on that, downloading Joe's source code to play with (the code is hosted at http://www.codenautics.com/). It seems like an even newer gaming tutorial would be welcome, but for now, the new URL Manager tutorial does the trick.

End of article.