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The REALbasic IDE running on Windows Vista
Developer(s) REAL Software, Inc.
Stable release 2009 Release 4 / 2009-9-29; 138243302 ago
Operating system Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux
Type Programming
License Proprietary

REALbasic (RB) is an object-oriented dialect of the BASIC programming language developed and commercially marketed by REAL Software, Inc of Austin, Texas for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and 32-bit x86 Linux.



REALbasic was created by Andrew Barry. It was originally called CrossBasic due to its ability to compile the same programming code for Mac OS and Java (although the integrated development environment was Mac only). In 1997 CrossBasic was purchased by FYI Software which renamed it REALbasic as well as renaming the company REAL Software. At this time they dropped the Java target, later replacing it with a Windows target and database support. The IDE is now available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and 32-bit x86 Linux and can compile applications for Windows (Windows 2000 and higher), Mac OS X (PowerPC, Intel, and Universal Binary) and 32-bit x86 Linux.

Language features

RB is a strongly typed language with minimal automatic type conversion, which supports single inheritance and interfaces, class methods and class properties, automatic memory management via reference counting, and operator overloading. A very important feature is the ability to extend (not just inherit from) existing classes, like Objective-C Categories. This considerably reduces the need for the Abstract Factory Pattern, which complicates using Application Frameworks in Java and C++. REALbasic also includes delegates, introspection, and namespace support, which allows modules to contain classes, interfaces and other modules.

Framework features

As described in the language reference, its built-in framework supports (REAL Software 2008):

The framework functionality can also be extended by creating plugins using the Plugin SDK provided by REAL Software. Plugins are created using C/C++ with a variety of supported compilers, including Xcode, Microsoft Visual Studio and gcc. Plugins can support any platform REALbasic supports, but are not required to support all platforms.

File format

The source file format contains window and control placement data and is proprietary, although XML import and export are supported. All source code can be contained in one project file, but it is also possible to have classes/modules in separate files in the same way as most other languages or dialects can. REALbasic compiles directly to machine language for each platform that it supports. REALbasic 2006 Release 3 and newer also supports a human-readable version control format which allows easy collaboration with tools such as Subversion or CVS.

Current editions of IDE

A typical GUI building session in REALbasic's IDE

There are three versions of the IDE:

  • REAL Studio has all features of the Professional edition plus other features for full-time programmers.
  • The professional edition can compile programs for Mac OS X (PowerPC Carbon Mach-O, i386 Carbon Mach-O and Universal Binary), Linux and Windows from the same source code file; it can also access databases (REAL Server,MySQL,Oracle, PostgreSQL, ODBC, etc.) including the built-in single-user REAL SQL Database engine based on SQLite; it compiles console applications, has a code profiler, can remote debug and has numerous other features.
  • The personal edition only compiles programs for the platform that the IDE is running on (either Windows, Linux or Mac), and does not allow access to databases other than the built-in REAL SQL Database.

IDE features

Both versions of the IDE permit building the application's graphical user interface by dragging the controls from a toolbar to their parent window. Layout of the controls is helped by the IDE, which permits aligning them (both horizontally and vertically) and which gives information about the distance between controls or between a control and the window borders.

Like many modern IDEs, the code editor supports customizable syntax highlighting, autocompletion and refactoring tools. The IDE also includes editors for menus and database schema and viewers for multimedia files such as pictures, movies or sounds.

The IDE gives the programmer access to scripting features via RBScript, which allows control of the IDE for automating tasks such as running regression tests or doing nightly builds. The scripts can be either global or project-specific.

REALbasic supports incremental compilation, whereby the compiler needs to recompile only those parts of a project which have been modified. For instance, if only the body of a method is modified, then only the project item containing that method need be recompiled.

Example code

This is an example of operator overloading for a hypothetical Complex class which permits to sum a real to a complex number, and to sum two complex numbers:

Function Operator_Add (rhs As Single) As Complex
  Dim ret As New Complex
  ret.Real = Self.Real + rhs
  ret.Imaginary = Self.Imaginary
  Return ret
End Function
Function Operator_Add (rhs As Complex) As Complex
  Dim ret As New Complex
  ret.Real = Self.Real + rhs.Real
  ret.Imaginary = Self.Imaginary + rhs.Imaginary
  Return ret
End Function

The same function can be defined to accept Double datatype values. This code shows how to use the Complex class to sum a real with a complex number:

 Dim First As New Complex (0, 1)
 Dim Second As New Complex (1, 1)
 Dim Sum As Complex
 Sum = First + 5.0 + Second
 // Sum will be (6, 2)

See also

Comparable Basic Dialects

Other Programming Languages


External links


et:REALBasic es:REALbasic fr:REALbasic it:REALbasic nl:REALbasic ja:REALbasic pt:RealBasic ru:REALbasic fi:REALBasic sv:REALbasic zh:REALbasic

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