just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

June 21, 2012

B4A adds Object Oriented support

Last year I began dabbling in Android programming.  Just for fun and only as time permitted so....not a lot.  I did manage to find time enough to run across Basic4Android (B4A), a visual IDE and language similar to VB.Net.  Though not overly advanced, B4A was inexpensive to get into and much easier to set up and churn out a first app than Android Java + Eclipse.

This week B4A took a big step forward by adding support for classes and, therefore, objects -- the fundamental requirement for object oriented programming (OOP).  Suddenly B4A is looking a lot more attractive for serious app development...

Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to download and fire up the new v2.0 OOP-enabled release of Basic4Android, yet.  I'm assuming it's as good and probably better than my B4A experience to date.  To recap my earlier experience:
  • B4A has a very decent visual IDE that more accurately mimics the final product than a few other Android visual IDEs I've tried.
  • I created a simple dialer app as my standard "Hello World" test app for comparing different Android IDEs.  The footprint of the compiled B4A version was just over 100K including a 30K JPG image.  Not terribly tiny but not too bad, either.
  • Although there is a free trial that lets you evaluate ease of installation and the utility of the IDE, B4A restricts access to support libraries making it difficult to write a useful app under the trial version's limitations.
  • B4A's pricing is very reasonable.  Scout online for a discount code and get B4A for $40 or opt for a generous two-year subscription with product support and upgrades for $80.
One of the things I'd originally liked about B4A was the visual IDE, a.k.a. the "designer".  The company now offers the designer standalone so Java developers can make use of it as well as B4A devs.  At the moment you can pick up the Designer for a paltry $19.  That's quite a deal if you're not already using a WYSIWYG layout tool.



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