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Building Mac Applications Using REALbasic 4.5 for Mac OS X
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Seeking Help

When you are moving to a new development platform, you always have this problem on knowing which function to use and what the parameters are for each function. Fortunately, REALbasic has done a very good job in helping programmers get started quickly.

For example, after I have typed the word "selectcolor," REALbasic immediately knows that this is a defined function and displays an information window telling me the expected parameter as well as the return type:

Screen shot.
Information window shows the parameter of each function.

Similarly, whenever I start typing, REALbasic will anticipate the word that I intend to type. It will append an ellipse "..." after the word to signify that it has identified a list of possible words that I am going to type. For example, after I have typed the word "edit," I can press the Tab button to see a list of words that I can choose from. This is very much like the Intellisense in Visual Studio .NET. I find this feature very helpful, and it has no doubt eased my entry to Mac programming.

Screen shot.
Auto Complete is similar to Intellisense in Visual Studio .NET.

Another very helpful feature is its online Language Reference. Simply type a keyword, and you can view the explanation as well as sample codes. Best of all, you can drag and drop the sample codes (the dotted rectangle box) directly onto your application.

Screen shot.
The Language Reference window allows sample codes to be dragged and dropped directly onto your application.

Deploying the Application

With the application built, it is now time to deploy it. REALbasic allows you to deploy your applications to be deployed as a:

  • Mac OS 9 application
  • Mac OS x application
  • Windows application

To deploy the application, click on the File menu and select Build Settings.

Screen shot.
Building the application.

You can select the various platforms that you want to deploy to and the detailed settings of each platform:

Screen shot.

Screen shot.
Specifying the platforms to deploy to.

To build the application, select Build Application. If the build process is successful, you will see two icons on your desktop:

Screen shot.
The two executables generated by REALbasic.

You can now run the application by double-clicking on the icon. Of interest is the EXE file, which is meant to run on Windows. I tried running the application on Windows 2000 Professional:

Screen shot.
Running the sample application on Windows.

It works similarly to the way it works on the Mac platform. However, the user interface seems a little bit unpolished. I think I really cannot complain, though, since the application works as promised on Windows. For large projects, this feature is definitely useful, but I have yet to work on a moderately large-scale project to see if the multi-platform support is usable.


If you are an experienced Visual Studio (or Visual Studio .NET) programmer, you will definitely feel comfortable with REALbasic. The syntax of the language is very similar to Visual Basic, and the online help reference is a real lifesaver. REALbasic has also recently announced that it will release a version of REALbasic for Windows, which means that you are now use REALbasic on Windows and target Mac users at the same time. For more information, check out REALbasic announcement

Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft MVP) is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies.

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