Archive for February, 2012

There’s an easier way!

February 25, 2012

There is now an easier way to install Gambas 3 than by compiling from source. It won’t be the latest version but is better than starting off now with Gambas 2 which has quite simply reached end-of-life.

A Gambas user, Kendek, has created a repository which works fine. You have to tell your operating system where to find this repository. I am doing this on Lubuntu 11.10 but I guess the process works on any Oneiric derivative. There are versions for earlier Ubuntu versions (and derivatives) described at:

Drag over the following address, and copy into the clipboard with Ctrl and then c, or file, copy from menu or right-click copy on the mouse. The address is:

deb oneiric main

Go to preference, software sources and click on the ‘Other Software’ tab. Click the Add button and paste the clipboard into the apt line with the reverse of any of the three methods above (the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl and then v). Click on add source and provide a password. You will now see two lines added under the ‘other software’ tab.

Close the window. That tells the operating system where to look for an installable Gambas3. Open a terminal window (Accessories, LXTerminal on Lubuntu or equivalent). Type in:

‘sudo apt-get install gambas3’ (without parentheses) and enter.

Provide a password and Kendek’s Repository package will be installed. You can then run Gambas 3 with ‘gambas3’ from the terminal or add a menu entry or a desktop icon.


Is Gambas better than Python?

February 5, 2012

I have decided to turn a comment into a topic. Here is the comment to this blog by kelvonyrroh.

“Is Gambas better than python. I have a problem in designing a GUI with data grid capability in python. I discovered Gambas on Synaptic package manager in MINT LINUX 10-JULIA. Am very curious about gambas. Please shed some light on this one”

Is Gambas better than Python? Simple answer: No. Just different.

As you point out, Gambas is very well integrated with the gui process. Having said that the gui part of the Gambas application is separated from the program logic to a degree that is not possible with say Python and (wxWidgets or TKInter).

My requirements from a programming language are narrow. Most of what I enjoy doing is desktop-based database front-ending. I use SQLite and mySQL.

I do not think there is a finer front-end for SQL work than Gambas.

I accept that I am a victim of my history: I used Fortran on an IBM 360/50 at university and did a LOT of BASIC work in my first job using an HP9830. Interestingly this was really a programmable calculator and not even microprocessor controlled. For its time, it was simply wondrous. I wonder if any readers can date these activities?

I guess I am saying that if I were a youngster starting out, there is no way I would use any BASIC derivative. Fine as many versions of BASIC are, there is little standardisation and probably no guarantee of continuity. From various Clustr maps and forums, I suspect there are countries which are still teaching BASIC in schools. They shouldn’t be.

On the other hand, I am sick to death of the Pavlovian antipathy to BASIC which is found on forums like the Ubuntu Forum. It is the same kind of immaturity which turns Apple users into fanboys. Gambas is a fine modern language which on occasions smells more of coffee than another leading brand. And it’s quicker too!

Gambas has a high dependency count (it requires a large number of standard libraries) to run. Each of the libraries used by Gambas is itself subject to development which in turn impact on Gambas. For example, the discontinuation of QT3 in favour of QT4 has effectively killed off Gambas 2. The newly released Gambas 3 is quite simply the only way forward. Library inconsistency between Linux distributions also has an effect. Gambas is better suited to development for own-use or controlled distribution. If you develop an application for widespread distribution around the world then I think the dependency issue will destroy you. That’s a comment on Linux in general rather than Gambas itself.

There is team effort in Gambas but at the end of the day it is the creation of one very bright chappy, Benoit Minisini. Should he be run over by a bus or lose interest, Gambas is in trouble.

Gambas is also Linux only. Whether we like this or not, it is a disadvantage. I was looking through the RealStudio forum the other day. RealStudio is a commercial BASIC variant originating on the Mac but now working on Windows and Linux. It is ok but in my opinion can’t hold a candle to Gambas. Anyway, this forum contributor had written a piece of cross-platform software which he had managed to sell 7000 times. Of those 7000 sales, 4 were for Linux. This may be in part cultural (typical Linux user: “You want me to PAY MONEY for SOFTWARE?”) but is not a good indication.

Python is of course cross-platform. I often wonder whether it would have suffered the same oddity status as Gambas had it been Linux only.

I personally don’t like Python but accept that it is good software. If someone were to ask me to point them to a good Python application I would probably suggest Gramps, the genealogy program written in Python, pyGTK and using XML data. I am not sure I could suggest a similar demonstration of Gambas’s abilities. Would Gramps have been written this way if Python was Linux only? I wonder.