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More choice for BASIC afficionados: REAL Software announced on Tuesday that it would port its highly-regarded Mac development platform to Windows.

Since 1999 REALbasic been able to create Win32 binaries, but once it will run natively on Windows too, so PC developers will be able to target Macintosh users too. And have an excuse to buy that Titanium PowerBook "for compatibility testing", natch.

The BASIC world is dominated by Visual Basic, of course. There's hardly a Microsoft product that doesn't have BASIC in there, somewhere: Bill's first commercial success for "Micro-Soft" was a BASIC interpreter for the Altair microcomputer, about which you can read first-hand from the third developer involved in this historic piece of software, Monte Davidoff.

(This story spawned several fascinating subplots, including one about billg's promise to release the source - he didn't, but it eventually turned up behind a radiator at Harvard - and a discussion on his programming prowess).

We digress. The ubiquity of Visual Basic doesn't mean that it's universally loved. And don't take it from us, take it from the Dame of the DIM declaration, the Verity Stob whose Thirteen Ways to Loathe Visual Basic (first published in EXE) picks out many of the vilenesses of the language. REALBasic exhibits very few of these.

REALbasic was originally a shareware product called CrossBasic, the company's Lorin Rivers tells us. It was developed by Andrew Barry, and "somewhat" based on VB but also Java and BASIC, but was designed to be OO from the ground up. CrossBasic went on sale in 1997.

"Geoff Perlman (President and CEO) saw it mentioned on some Mac news site, checked it out, and thought it was what he had been looking for, himself, all along. Geoff asked Andrew if he'd be interested in a making it a commercial product. Geoff secured some
financing, shut down his database consulting business, and released REALbasic 1 a year or so later. REALbasic 2 added a bunch of stuff, such as Database support, Windows compilation and some new controls," he tell us.

Barry left REAL three years ago to return to Australia. With Cocoa such an attractive environment for developers, it's a credit to REAL that it's maintained mindshare in the move to OS X.

We'll be putting the OS X version through its paces shortly. ®

Related Links

REALbasic
Thirteen Ways to Loath VB - Verity Stob
Recent, gag-free Stob on the elegance of C#
RealBasic FAQ

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Microsoft Altair BASIC legend talks about Linux, CPRM and that very frightening photo
Raiders of the Lost Altair BASIC Source Code
Could Bill Gates write code? [Hell, yes - apparently]
RealBasic brings quick app-making to MacOS X
RealSoftware upgrades MacOS 'Visual Basic' tool

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