Getting to Know REALbasic ...
1. An Analogy.
I would like to begin our REALbasic tour with an analogy of how RB helps you to concentrate on creating your own program for your Mac by moving past the mundane and frankly, confusing and difficult tasks associated with getting your Mac to simply display a window and a menu bar. The analogy attempts to compare some virtual computer programming concepts with the real world we interact with on a daily basis. It's not a perfect analogy, but it should help you. : - )
Welcome to a perfect world in your future. You have all the money and time you want. You would like to build your own "smart" dream house to live in. Homes in our future world have come a long way. They anticipate your needs, monitor your movements and respond to these actions. They can be manipulated in ways like never before. For instance, when you unlock your door, your door informs the house and it turns on a light for you, turns on your favorite CD and many other nice amenities. It is not a static house, it is a dynamic one.
You have carefully selected a beautiful lot to construct your new home on. You decide that it would be better if you enlisted the help of a professional to assist you in building your new home. You decide that you want to be intimately involved in your home construction, but will need the help of a competent builder. You want your new home builder to work closely with you, because although you have a house plan, you may want to make some changes during the construction process.
Your call to the C++ Construction Company, indicates that they would drop off the wood for your walls, pipe for your plumbing needs, electrical wires and all of the other components you need to complete your home. They would provide you with a little assistance, but it would basically be up to you to figure out what piece went where, how it is attached and how it will all work together. Given enough time and experience, you could build almost any home you can dream of with the C++ Company.
Your second call goes out to the RB Construction Company (our hero). This company offers you a different approach to your home building project. RB Construction offers many fine quality homes that are predesigned to be useful and fully customizable. The pieces that make up your home are modular in design. A door, a living room, a garage, etc. RB Construction company doesn't just drop off ten doors, or two living rooms. They drop off several devices that create each of the individual components. For instance, one device that creates doors, one that makes living rooms, etc. So if you need another door, you tell the device what kind of door to create and presto, there it is. The same goes for all of the other items needed to construct your home. These creational devices have been preprogrammed by RB Company to know how to do certain tasks. And they have the ability to be programmed (told ) what to do by you.
These created pieces are part of your "smart" house. Doors know how to open, windows know when to close and open. RB Construction has anticipated what each of the parts or components of your house should know how or what to do.
Now the C++ Construction Company house also has all of these abilities and more, but you have to tell (program) the creational devices, like the door how to open. Their creational devices take more instructions from you to get them to produce the proper components.
Building a computer program is very much the same as this little analogy. If you want to create your own program, you have to select an application that helps you build your program. Many professional programmers use C++ to write their computer programs for the Mac. By myself, I found as a hobbyist programmer, that it is tough to learn the C++ language. RB on the other hand has given me confidence and has taken a lot of the drudgery out of building a computer program. RB provides you with a unique tool that allows a beginner to gain some confidence to proceed. I have not moved on to the C++ language (and maybe I will not), because RB provides me with a rich and in depth programming experience.
This programming confidence is built upon by learning about a computer programming concept and then following it up with examples. I will refer back to our home building analogy so please keep it in mind as we move on to . . . . .
Chapter Three - The RB Language
Your REALbasic (RB) Learning Library
The Definitive Guide (version 2)
by Matt Neuburg
This great book, published by O'Reilly, is a must if you decide to continue to learn how to create your own Macintosh applications with RB.
The bad news is that the book only covers up to RB Version 3.0. But it still is worth your time and money as far as I am concerned - it's that good.
It is a comprehensive guide to RB, with background and examples. It is "the" reference source for RB and worth every cent of its suggested retail of $43.95.
Find it at Amazon here:
As a brief introduction to some terminolgy, the creational devices mentioned in the analogy are synonomous with CLASSES.
And the actual pieces (like a door) they create are INSTANCES.