RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

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RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby Simon Knight » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:03 am

Hello All,

I thought I would introduce myself and pose a few questions to what I can see is a very helpful user community. I am Simon Knight, I am based in the U.K. and I work with military communications equipment as a technical consultant work. I started playing with computers in the early 1980s owning a BBC micro and then later RiscPCs (and yes I still think the big boys Microsoft and Apple could learn about user interfaces by studying at RiscOS but that is another storey) I swapped to Mac when Acorn killed off the Phoebe project and at present I use a MacBook running Leopard.

I have been using RealBasic for some years to produce either standalone databases that typically hold less than 3000 records or applications that either encode or decode binary files produced by 3rd party specialist monitoring applications. None of my code would win any prizes but it has generally managed to get the job done and using RealBasic has introduced me to Object Oriented programming. One of the strengths of RealBasic is that I can write the code on the Mac and deploy on Windows.

Being an Apple user I have also dabbled with AppleScript to create applets to use the power built into applications such as Skim and Omni-Outliner. Although I have to say that most of my scripts are based on examples that I have found on the net as I fine the application dictionaries very difficult to understand.

This week I decided that perhaps I should teach myself another language and as I am not that keen on C or Java (to many braces and hard work) I decided to look at Python. It was while searching the net for details of Python GUI modules that I found references to Revolution, a language/IDE that I had never heard of before. I have downloaded the 30 day trial and watched some of the excellent tutorials which I plan to start to work through as soon as I have time.

The reasons I am now thinking of changing from RealBasic to Revolution are partly "a change is as good as a rest"; the fact that Revolution seems to be very visual - I'm thinking of the demo scrolling "hello world" web application that would be difficult to code in RealBasic or at least would take much more (longer) code; that Revolution describes itself as aimed at SME's; that RealBasic is quite expensive to own and still has many old long standing bugs and lastly Revolution gets a task done in fewer lines of code. Well that is what I think after a days exposure to revolution, please correct me if you think I am mistaken.

Now a couple of questions:

Once I have completed some of the tutorials I would like to replicate an application that I have written (and deployed) in RealBasic. This application prompts the user for a CSV file, examines the contents of the file to ignore some rows of data and plots a graph to the screen and prints the Standard Deviation and other simple statistics such as number of points and file date. What sort of Revolution object/tool/thingy/widget should I be looking at to plot the graph to/on?

Second, I have a number of RealBasic databases that use SQLite under the hood. Does anyone know how difficult it would be to import these database files into a Revolution DBS?

I will close now as this post is probably rather long.
best wishes
Simon
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Postby SparkOut » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:48 am

Hi Simon
I think you've got a fairly realistic impression of RunRev. It does have its faults, but it's a marvellous environment to produce high quality applications (now with all sorts of fancy additional possibilities of web deployment etc) very simply.
To draw a graph you can do your own plotting, which is perfectly feasible (as per the online demo on the revMedia page http://revmedia.runrev.com/revMedia/ - not the samples, the actual demo, after a few other demonstrations, it moves onto charting financial data scraped from the web). See this thread for some more insights into that avenue: http://forums.runrev.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3431

Better yet! Buy Malte's ChartsEngine (and AnimationEngine for that matter!)
Malte is one of the great contributors to the RunRev community, and has a forte in making stunning results in clean and simple code.
There was a webinar back in July showing the feature set and giving some guidance, I think the link to the recording of that session is here: http://runrev.com/offers/webinar-2009-0 ... Engine.wmv

As for SQLite databases - as long as it's not the free revMedia version, ie Studio or Enterprise required, then RunRev connects to them natively, as well as several other types. Enterprise is required for Oracle. Anyway, RunRev is not specifically a database front-end or design package, so the tools inside mean you will have to do perhaps more work than with FileMaker, say - how that compares with RealBasic I don't know, but I suspect it's probably about the same as with RunRev. Trevor DeVore has a brilliant offering out now, SQL Yoga, which makes things a lot clearer and cleaner, with lots of how to and tutorial material on his site (currently seems to be down for maintenance... although the reported dates concerned are not correct?) so have a look here at least http://forums.runrev.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=17614 and check back often to see when the site is back.

HTH
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Postby Simon Knight » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:32 pm

Sparkout,
Thanks for the prompt reply. I have spotted the graph in the RevMedia demo and have asked Rev Support for a code example. I will now follow the links that you kindly provided and investigate further. The ChartEngine that you mention keeps cropping up in the Forum and I will certainly investigate it in the near future although I would like to understand what can be done with the included controls and functions first before I start extending the language (Its good to know that it can be extended). I have to say that I am quite excited about learning Revolution as it seems to tick so many boxes.

Thanks again for your post.
best wishes
Simon
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Postby sturgis » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:47 pm

Hey Simon,

On the topic of graphs, if you don't mind linking the ability to produce graphs to the ability to connect to the internet, you might also look at the google charts api at http://code.google.com/apis/chart/

Nice looking graphs, not too difficult to understand, and then you can just set the filename of image "imagename" to "url"

I've been experimenting with this recently, and as long as you can get an understanding of the different encoding schemes and how to work with them its possible to produce really nice graphs.

The way I do it is to use one of the online google chart front ends, setup a sample graph then take the generated url and replace the data sets with a placeholder in the form of [[dataset1]]

At this point its easy to build up a dataset, put it into variable dataset1 and use the merge funciton to replace the placeholder with the values. Merge is amazing, google charts is fast and seems to work really well.

Of course if you can't rely on a net connection being available, none of this matters!
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Postby ukimiku » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:26 pm

Interesting links, I had never heard of Google Charts before. Thanks
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Postby malte » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:00 pm

Hi Simon (and welcome)

just a side node: chartsEngine and animationEngine are both written completely in revTalk. They both use native code (and controls for that matter), so I won't claim it can not be done by other people. However, it took quite a bit of time to build both of them (and I lost quite a bit of hair in the process of building them). Just to say, if you look at the demos for both libraries, you will get a realistic impression of what can be done in rev, if you dedicate a bit (or a bit more) time to the code. I am very fond of my 2 babies of course, but I would never claim you can not live with out them or that they couldn't be done by other people. :-) All cooked with rev.

Cheers,

Malte
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Postby Simon Knight » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:23 pm

sturgis and Malte - thanks for your posts and the welcome. I have only been using RevStudio for one day but I am pretty certain that it is a programming environment that I want to use. I have been posting on a second thread about the graph plotting in the RevMedia web page demo and am very impressed with what can be achieved in so few lines of code.

However, I also recognise that there it is often more expensive to build your own when there is a 3rd party solution available. I will have a look at chartsengine in the very near future, I just thought that it might be a step to far on day one.
best wishes
Simon
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby mvreade » Fri May 07, 2010 4:08 pm

Simon,

I'm just wondering how that transition from RealBasic to RunRev is coming along...

I myself have been using RealBasic for some years, and am wondering what to pick up next. I even bought a license of RunRev, but I'm also interested in GoogleApps, for which I'd have to lear Python.

Please let me know,

All the best,

Michael
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby Simon Knight » Mon May 10, 2010 8:07 am

Hi Michael,

In many ways it is quite hard to judge although I am sticking with RunRev rather than either jumping back to Realbasic or to the likes of Python or Ruby. I smiled when I read your post as I had decided to teach myself Python and had even purchased several text books about the language when I discovered RunRev. I have no regrets about my decision to try/continue with RunRev.

I suppose the biggest hurdle that I am attempting to overcome is the one of what is the optimum design structure for an application; RunRev is very flexible in allowing code to be stored/attached in many locations (card/stack/substack-n/card of substack-n) and I have yet to fully understand how these many programming structures work together. At present I am watching the RevLive09 DVDs and reviewing the mountain of training material that is available. I just wish that Matt Neuburg could be persuaded to write a Definitive Guide.

The couple of applications that I have written so far have executed faster than the same app written in Realbasic and as yet I have not found any nasty bugs in RunRev.

I am sticking with RunRev because it meets my needs and is pleasant to use.

best wishes
Simon
best wishes
Simon
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby mvreade » Mon May 10, 2010 3:06 pm

Simon,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. The applications I currently write are all database apps. I am wondering how connecting to a database in RunRev compares to doing so in RealBasic. Does SQL Yoga offer major benefits? Does it work with complex queries?

Also, generating reports and printing out stuff. RealBasic's relatively new reporting engine is filled with bugs, so I wrote some reporting classes from scratch. It was cumbersome but I am happy with the results. It have seen Quartam Reports, and it seems like a good tool. What are it's limitations? (A few years ago I bought On-Target-Reports and became so frustrated with its limitations that I dropped it ASAP.)

All the best,

Michael
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby bangkok » Mon May 10, 2010 3:40 pm

mvreade wrote:Thank you for your thoughtful reply. The applications I currently write are all database apps. I am wondering how connecting to a database in RunRev compares to doing so in RealBasic. Does SQL Yoga offer major benefits? Does it work with complex queries?
Michael


I'm using a RunRev mainly for DB applications, as "intelligent front ends". And it's a real pleasure (but I can't compare with RealBasic because I never tried it).

Starting with version 3.5, I never had any problems with ODBC or MySQL drivers, with RunRev.

I use RunRev with MySQL servers, local and distant. And with FileMaker Server and MS SQL through the ODBC driver. Smooth.

I don't use the "Database query builder" within RunRev. I found it's more easier to use the straight way.

As a matter of fact, I think the couple RunRev + Database is the real killing app, :D if I may say. It's so fast to create a front end, and other "batch processing tools" linked to a DB.
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby mvreade » Mon May 10, 2010 3:48 pm

Hi Bangkok,

How about reports and printing stuff? How does that work?

Thanks,

Michael
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby bangkok » Mon May 10, 2010 5:52 pm

mvreade wrote:How about reports and printing stuff? How does that work?
l


I use a stack, linked to a batch task on Windows, to launch some queries, process the results (here RunRev is very useful to twist text results, in a word to "enrich" the "raw" results returned by a SQL query. You can go much further than with a classic reporting tool like Crystal Report. You can add serious value to your reports by using the very powerful text manipulation functions given by RunRev)... and then the stack, using a SMTP library (from Sarah Reichelt, working great http://www.troz.net/rev/), sends a few emails to people with the result in the message body.

As for printing, I don't have a lot of experience. But RunRev is able (with the new version 4.5 if i'm not wrong, to be checked) to print a PDF document.

But, using a third party PDF printer driver (like Cute PDF driver), you could :
-put all your results in a nice RunRev card, with colors, graphics.... the whole nine yards.... Then "print" the card, generating a PDF file, and then sending this PDF file by email as an attachment....

Great solution for "automatic" report, to be sent every day, every week etc.
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby mvreade » Mon May 10, 2010 7:32 pm

Thanks for your reply, Bangkok.

I feel like I may put off learning Python for a while and give RunRev a run...

All the best,

Michael
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Re: RealBasic to Revolution Questions Questions...

Postby Simon Knight » Mon May 10, 2010 7:49 pm

Michael,

I also used Realbasic to create database front ends and I also had to write a custom report generator; what a pain keeping track of the cursor position, number of lines in a field and page overflow. I looked forward to the RB reports tool and when it arrived it was almost useless. Worse than the tool was the attitude of the designer who refused to accept that a report field should be able to grow (and shrink) to display all the data held in a database field. RealBasic reports were the final straw I moved on.

As yet I have not attempted a database in RunRev as I have found that using Tabbed Text Files have met all my needs so far so I am unable to answer your questions about them but I am sure that other forum members will be happy to answer them.

best wishes

Simon
best wishes
Simon
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