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Issue 6.5


Article: Beginning Object-Oriented Programming with REALbasic

Issue: 6.5 (July/August 2008)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,151
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 6507
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Full text of article...

Dr. Scott Steinman's write-up on object-oriented programming at RBLibrary.com weighs in at 51 pages. It's more like a small book than the articles you normally find at the website. The book, Beginning Object-Oriented Programming with REALbasic, is a downloadable pdf file that discusses OOP from a REALbasic perspective. The book takes you through both theory and practice, culminating in a finished program using the programming principles discussed in the text.

Scott begins by discussing procedural programming and some of the problems involved as this kind of program grows. He then moves the discussion to object-oriented concepts and how they solve these problems. He explains modules and classes, showing how they come into play in a program. He takes special care to explain what procedural programming issues modules solve (and don't solve), and how classes further address these programming problems. Scott covers methods and properties, constructors and deconstructors, class interfaces, polymorphism and inheritance, and more. He explains the difference between public, private, and protected methods, and how they work with properties: instance, shared, or computed. The book takes the traditional laundry list of OOP terms and explains them from a conceptual standpoint, but also from a REALbasic IDE perspective. It shows exactly how REALbasic implements object-oriented programming concepts.

The great thing is how Scott basically traces the development of OOP from a needs standpoint. He shows you how and why object-oriented programming makes good programming possible. He talks about what makes a good method and what makes a good class, and how to decide what should be implemented as a class and as an interface. Everything is thoroughly covered and explained fully. For instance, I've never read a more lucid explanation about how you can make new data types with classes (and why such a thing is so powerful). Then he shows you how to implement it all in REALbasic.

Reading the book is very enjoyable. It's like Scott is there teaching you (understandable, since he's a university professor). He stresses that there are other ways to do things than the specific steps he covers, but he always explains why something is (or is not) OOP.

The second half of the book helps the reader develop a calculator program. First, the concept is developed as a procedural program, and then in comparison as an object-oriented program. It's extremely enlightening to see the contrast between these strategies.

After I finished this book, I wanted more. Luckily, Scott has obliged by writing more. The story continues in his RBLibrary column in successive articles. The full collection (at least the first 4 articles) are available for $12.99, and successive articles are also available at the rblibrary.com website.

End of article.