Real Software adds Linux app capabilities to suite

Real Software Inc. Wednesday released a new version of its Realbasic cross-platform product that allows developers to write applications for Linux using Windows or Macintosh systems.

In an announcement, the vendor of Windows and Macintosh software development tools said Realbasic 5.5 software allows developers to easily create Linux desktop and server applications by migrating them from applications written in Visual Basic.

“The Linux community really needs some easy-to-use tools to write applications” if Linux is going to succeed on the desktop in the future, said Geoff Perlman, president and CEO of the Austin-based company. Realbasic is similar to Visual Basic, which makes it comfortable for developers and allows them to focus on what makes their applications unique, rather than on the complex code-writing needed to produce their work.

“If you’re moving an application (from Windows) to a (less popular) platform (like Linux), then the cost of moving it has to be really low,” Perlman said. “Realbasic helps keep that cost to a minimum. We don’t have a platform agenda. Our agenda is our customers’ agenda.”

The application is easier to use than other cross-platform environments, including Java, he said, because it’s more familiar to developers because of its Visual Basic influences.

Realbasic 5.5 supports Linux for x86 Intel platforms running Red Hat Inc.’s Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux AG’s version of the operating system. Remote debugging is included in Realbasic 5.5 to allow Linux applications to be tested and debugged from either Windows or Macintosh systems.

Steve Weintraut, MIS director at Endless Pools Inc., a vendor of exercise-pools in Aston, Pa., said he’s been using Realbasic 5.5 to write applications for Linux workstations in the company’s warehouse to limit how workers can use their computers. The machines would include programs to allow warehouse staff to manage inventory and orders, he said.

Weintraut said he also uses Realbasic to develop XML applications more easily. Recently, he wrote code in Realbasic that allows the company’s customer service department to get shipping estimates faster from the United Parcel Service Web site using an XML plug-in he created. “I’ve been pretty pleased with it,” Weintraut said.

A key benefit, he said, is being able to create an application for one operating system and use the same code to port it to another operating system. “Being able to write a program in one environment and cross-compile it to run on Windows or Linux or Macintosh…is really a blessing.”

Dan Farrand, president of and chief developer at Green River Computing, a Pinedale, Wyo.-based corporate treasury and currency management software vendor, said Realbasic provides him with a convenient application language that could open the door to new Linux applications for customers.

“I just think that, as a matter of principle, we should always be as platform-agnostic as possible,” Farrand said. “Everybody sees Windows as the big standard, but I can see 10 years out where America is just a Windows ghetto and the rest of the world is increasingly moving to open standards and open platforms like Linux. We want to be able to run on every platform, and we only want to have to develop that code once.”

Pricing for Realbasic 5.5 starts at US$399.95 for Realbasic Professional Edition, which is required for cross-platform software deployment for Linux and other operating systems.

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