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Updated Aug 2003
for RB 5.2 !

Introduction to REALbasic for the Mac

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What You Should Know
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Lesson 6
Lesson 7
Lesson 8
Lesson 9

Example Code and Tutorials

1) A Silly Hide And Seek Program Example

2) Learning About RB Events

Back To My RB Samples Page

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Lesson 1: Getting to Know the REALbasic IDE
by Thomas J. Cunningham

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Getting to Know REALbasic ...
1. What You Should Know:

I personally believe that as a newcomer to programming, the Tutorial example that REALbasic provides, while excellent, is way over the head of most "Newbie's". I know it was for me. I could go through it (and you should too), but not much of it made sense to me. That's the reason for this little tutorial, to back up a little bit and grasp some basic programming concepts.

A little more background. I am assuming that like me a short while ago, that you are an experienced Mac user and that lurking in the back of your demented mind has been a desire to learn how to write an actual Mac program. Perhaps you have bought the "Dummy" book on how to program your Mac or some other "C" related book or software program and found them, well, interesting, but not very useful or practical and down right confusing. So what if it took 400 pages to teach you how to say "Hello World!" - Yikes!. This was my background and experience before discovering REALbasic (RB).

If you have any background with writing computer code, you are way ahead of the game and probably should stop right here, as this is a very gentle introduction. If you do not have this experience however, you probably should read up a bit, but you don't have to know much to go through this tutorial or to try out RB.

You will find a few links and tips in the right side columns throughout this tutorial that will guide you in some helpful directions. You learn how to program computers by following examples. Many of the tips and suggestions about computer programming that you will come across will fly over your head like an F-16 on full after-burners, no worries, go to the next one, it will sink in if you keep going. Persistent is the happy coder.

It's ironic, but a computer is a very stupid piece of hardware, with untold potentials. That potential comes from you, the new RB programmer.

Ok, so you know your Mac and you want to learn how to expand its' power even more. I also am assuming that you have already purchased the program or have gone to the RB internet site and downloaded the Demo program. If not here is the link:

Download REALbasic Demo Here

Also, if you're ready to buy, Amazon now sells the standard edition of REALbasic. You may find it here:


As of this writing here is what you get with the download after it has been unstuffed. I am using REALbasic 5.2, Mac OS 10.2.6, but you can follow along with any Mac OS.

**-These download files do change, so yours may be a little different from what you see here -**


  • Read the "READ ME" files in the ReadMe folder and the License Agreement.
  • Your First Assignment is:
  • Before you begin with Lesson Two, look through the files that came with RB. There is a lot of very good information that the people at REAL Software have provided you with to help you be successful.
  • A nice new addition to the RB download is a "QuickStart.pdf" file. Go through this little introduction to RB.

Chapter Two - Let's Build A House!


REALbasic (RB) is described as follows:
"REALbasic: the visual, object-oriented BASIC
development environment for the Macintosh"

What does this mean?

"the visual" - RB uses what you purchased a Mac for in the first place, a graphical interface. Not line by line text instructions. You drag pictures into a window like you do in a drawing program.

"object-oriented" Programming; - This concept is one that you need to work up to, but each object
"knows" what it is supposed to do. As a beginner, the concept of Object Oriented Programming and the structure it brings to programming will gradually become clearer to you.

"BASIC" - BASIC is an acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Your computer does not understand the French or Spanish language, it knows BASIC. It is a language that you need to learn. Your understanding of the REALbasic language will be something you will learn with time and practice.

"development environment" - RB is the program environment that will give you the tools to write your own stand alone double clickable applications.


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Copyright 2002,Thomas J. Cunningham
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