Matt Neuberg's REALbasic: The Definitive Guide is a diligent and thorough introductory text for REALbasic 2 on the Macintosh, an object-oriented programming environment based on components and BASIC. Even if you've never programmed before, this title--combined with the power and ease of use of REALbasic--is all you need to start writing your own software for the Mac.
In addition to being a tutorial to the REALbasic tool itself, the author's introduction to object-oriented software is remarkable for its patience while also getting the beginner to think in objects. (Besides an authority on Macintosh programming, Neuberg has a Ph.D. in ancient Greek. This book is probably alone in that it discusses objects while quoting Plato.) There is a full tour of REALbasic program statements, data types, and the nuts and bolts of working with the environment and building basic programs.
The heart of this text covers the various controls and features available in REALbasic. The author discusses simple and advanced user controls (like buttons, edit controls, menus, and list boxes). Neuberg's tour here will let any reader design user interfaces and add event handlers to provide program functionality. Highlights include how to display images and create animation, sound, and video within REALbasic. (Here, the author extends the already strong multimedia support in REALbasic with his own code for a simple video game.) For more experienced users, there are how-tos on using files, databases, and socket programming with TCP/IP and AppleScript.
In all, REALbasic: The Definitive Guide serves its purpose well as a one-volume reference and tutorial to getting the most out of this capable tool, whose functionality certainly rivals any of today's RAD-style programming environments. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Overview of the REALbasic environment, BASIC language keywords, constructs and datatypes, arrays, objects, classes and instances, subclasses, events, menus, application architecture, building and debugging, window basics, system events, mouse processing, canvases and graphics, displaying images, basic controls, list boxes, progress bars, sliders, shapes, menus, tab panels, keyboard and mouse processing, files, databases, clipboard, drag-and-drop functionality, sound and MIDI, playing movies, game animations, printing, socket programming, Apple Events and AppleScript, and language extensions with XCMDs and plug-ins.
REALbasic is a very inexpensive program that allows users to design full-fledged applications. Simply put, it is like having Visual Basic on the Mac. It is an application for writing applications that are astonishingly small and fast. REALbasic uses a simple interface and an object- and event-oriented language; this makes development, maintenance, and alteration of projects very easy. There is no other program like this for the Mac. If you want to write a Mac application, you have little choice of application frameworks, and REALbasic is the only one with visual design, object orientation, and an easy language. With the Macintosh's popularity on the rise and REALbasic, which presently only runs on Mac, with plans to make Windows applications, the interested audience is wider than the platform implies. Presently there are no ordered instructional books for REALbasic. REALbasic: The Definitive Guide gives people the information they can't get from the documentation alone and provides new users with the details they need to grasp the program's essential concepts. This book takes the reader from zero knowledge of programming to the ability to program every aspect of REALbasic.
The book is divided into three main sections. Divided into three main sections, REALbasic: The Definitive Guide covers: Fundamentals: provides a detailed and comprehensive summary of the language that does more than list the details -- it quickly shows you how to think about programming and accomplish your goals in less time User Interface: goes on to cover the creation of a complete application with details of the rich classes and pre-defined tools that make life so much easier for the REALbasic programmer. Reaching Out: rounds out the book with comprehensive coverage of Internet communications, databases, multimedia, game programming and more! This book covers REALbasic 1 and REALbasic 2. Version 2 adds an internal database, an interface to SQL servers, and the ability to compile for Windows and Java. REALbasic: The Definitive Guide is poised to become an essential reference for the expanding legion of developers who are are discovering the power and flexibility of this program.