updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri September 12, 2008
Almost everyone has had an idea for a computer program, but trying to convert those ideas into a working application has usually meant using confusing, complicated tools and learning cryptic programming languages such as C++. To make programming more accessible for novices and more productive for veteran programmers, Runtime Revolution offers a unique cross-platform development tool dubbed Revolution 3.0.
The most unique feature of this program is its cross-platform capabilities. Not only can you write programs on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, but you can also create applications for each operating system as well. Write a program once on your Mac and with a click of the mouse, you can create three different versions of your program.
Each time you create a program for a specific operating system, your program takes on the native appearance of that operating system. That means a Windows version of your program won’t look like a poorly ported version of a Mac version of your program and vice versa. By freeing you from dealing with the quirks and complexity of each operating system, this tool lets you focus on making your program work.
Besides wrestling with operating systems, most programming tools also force you to learn arcane language commands with rigid syntax rules. Omit a single character such as a curly bracket or a semicolon and your program will refuse to work. As a result, it’s nearly impossible for novice programmers to create any but the most trivial programs.
In comparison, this tool uses an English-like programming language based on the Mac’s own AppleScript language. To display text on the screen, you might use a simple, English-like command as follows:
put “My message” into message
Such intuitive commands make writing a program easy, but also makes understanding and modifying a program later just as simple too. Of course, one problem with learning an AppleScript-based programming language is that there are few books or training classes available. To overcome this lack of training, this program includes plenty of online tutorials and documentation such as a language dictionary that organizes commands into different topics.
Learning this English-like programming language isn’t difficult, but if you’re already familiar with traditional programming languages such as C++ or BASIC, this unconventional programming language may prove initially confusing. However, if you’re already familiar with AppleScript, you’ll have no trouble programming in this language right away.
Writing language commands can make your program work, but you still need to create a user interface. Like most modern development tools, this one also includes a way to draw your program’s interface in a window and customize the different parts.
Creating a menu bar with pull-down menus is just as simple. Just type in your titles, create a list of commands that appear under each title, and you’ll create your application’s menu bar. Then you’ll just need to write commands to make your menu options actually do something.
With plenty of tutorials and sample programs, Revolution 3.0 does its best to guide novice and experienced programmers alike into using this unusual development tool, which models itself on Apple’s antiquated HyperCard program. Like HyperCard, Revolution 3.0 allows non-programmers to write their own programs with little formal training.
If you’re willing to learn its programming language, Revolution 3.0 will reward you with a development tool that makes it easy to write programs faster and easier, for multiple platforms, without any extra effort. Revolution is available is three versions: Media ($49), Studio ($249), and Enterprise ($499).