Software Spotlight

You Say You Want a Runtime Revolution?

The founders of Scottish dev tool maker Runtime Revolution (RR) might be accused of engaging in a bit of high-tech hyperbole with the claim that their latest product offering is "the world's easiest programming tool." But the Edinburgh-based company is pulling out all the stops to throw a spotlight on the usability of its just-released Revolution 3.0.

Revolution is a commercial, cross-platform rapid application development (RAD) environment based on HyperTalk, a high-level programming language first created in 1987. It was originally used with Apple Computer's HyperCard media program. (Oft-forgotten Apple Co-Founder Mike Markkula is an RR investor.)

What makes Revolution especially friendly to newbies and hobbyists is the language, which relies on plain words and phrases for most of its operations. Casual users, the company said, can ramp up quickly, and advanced users find that "a single Revolution command performs the equivalent work of pages of other kinds of code."

The Revolution architecture is designed to let users write their applications using the platform of their choice and to deploy to virtually any desktop environment. The applications automatically assume the correct appearance and behaviors of the target operating system, the company claims, without special effort on the part of the programmer.

The big upgrade in this release is the tool's script editor, said RR's CEO Kevin Miller. "This is where our customers live," he said. "So improvements to the script editor are felt most directly. They really make a huge difference."

The new version of the tool integrates coding and debugging tools in a customizable way that is "robust, efficient and understandable," Miller added

Along with a bunch of bug fixes, the list of new features in this version of the tool also includes some graphics enhancements, among them, seven types of programmable gradient fills and strokes for vector objects. Version 3.0 also comes with nested, multidimensional arrays and a resource center stocked with hundreds of examples "to help new users get up to speed quickly," the company said.

Revolution 3.0 is available in three editions: Revolution Enterprise for professional programmers, Revolution Studio for consultants and business managers, and Revolution Media for beginners and hobbyists.

The company was founded in 1997 to focus on bringing user-centric software development to all major platforms, Miller said, including Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Unix.

A free trial version is available now for download here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA.

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