But you're a 4gl guy!

It’s true, I currently make a living (and hope to for some time) writing database applications in IBM Informix 4GL. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always done that, and doesn’t mean it’s all I can do.

Like many people of my age who were dragged up in ol’blightly, I started programming in BBC basic, on the Acorn Electron and the BBC micro, many, many years ago. I also had a little play with Commodore C64s in my school’s computer lab as a teenager.

Later on I migrated to MS Visual Basic, which was a complete shock, the speed that you could write software was quite staggering to me, and a real eye opener. At uni however, I started playing with ANSI C, much to the annoyance of my lecturers, who couldn’t read what I wrote, it was their own fault for not specifying what language to use for solving our engineering assignments! And yes, my code was beautifully commented, so they did get some clues as to what was happening :-)

Since then I’ve dabbled in this and that, tried Java (yuk), tried Python (interesting), stayed well clear of Perl (double yuk), even spent quite a bit of time with Objective-C and WebObjects (where’s the job market?). But always harked for the simplicity and speed of MS Visual Basic, where I truly felt productive.

So, you’re probably saying, so go use VB already! Well, you see, even though I have dabbled with VB.NET in the last couple of years, when it comes to developing desktop apps, it’s got two rather large flaws as far as I’m concerned.

  1. That bloomin’ huge runtime, I hate it. I want to create easy to install “all in one” executables. What I give to the customer is all they’ll need (apart from a computer and a basic install of their OS that is, and, ahem, one other little server side app for my program to link up with).
  2. It’s not cross platform.

Many people would agree with me on my first reason, even Joel Spolsky has miss-givings, so I’ll not dwell on that. But some might argue with my second reason, highlighting that the desktop app is all about the Windows platform, that’s where the market is.

Well, I agree, but it doesn’t mean I like it, and it especially sticks in my throat as my preferred desktop is my Apple PowerMac, running the best UNIX ever, Mac OS X.

So, how am I going to get the same productivity as VB, but using my Mac as my main development platform, and still capture that huge Windows desktop market, with REALBasic, that’s how.

No comments.

  1. I think your reasons for not using VB.NET are quite sound and are very similar to the reasons why Delphi is my environment of choice.

    This posting by Scoble is about Delphi but I imagine is very applicable to REALBasic too.


  2. Thanks for the link Lachlan, you’re right, it’s a very good summary of the reasons not to use VB.NET. Quite funny given he’s working at Microsoft.

    I’m only just now getting into this blogging lark, but it’s already hit me just how powerful a medium it is, and just how huge the community has grown in such a relatively short time. So, Scoble’s blog is now on my Bloglines list. Have you any more tips for good software and (particularly) shareware/software business blogs that I should monitor? Have you a blogroll I could peruse?