Paul Howson’s Website

Building a Better Structured Editor

Scotty Interviews Me About Programming and RealBasic to MacRuby Translation

Sometime around May 2010 I was interviewed by British software developer “Scotty”, the genial host of the MDN Show. MDN stands for the Macintosh Developer Network and the MDN Show was a podcast about programming on the Macintosh. The show had originally started as “Late Night Cocoa” some years earlier, when each show consisted of an extended interview with one software developer. The MDN Show in contrast had more of a “magazine” format.

The subject of the interview was a “case study” of this Structured Editor project having been started as a RealBasic project in the early 2000s and subsequently ported to MacRuby circa 2009. This conversion was done by writing in Ruby an automatic translator which translated the RealBasic source code into MacRuby.

The interview covers the following topics:

  • Some of my history as a programmer.
  • The original project being written in RealBasic.
  • After a break from the project of a few years, needing to move it to another language.
  • The choice of MacRuby as that language.
  • The process of automatic plus manual translation of RealBasic to Ruby code.
  • Some of the pros and cons of MacRuby vs. Objective-C.

Scotty says at the conclusion of the interview:

“I found that incredibly interesting and fascinating. It’s an area that I knew existed, but I really wasn’t sure of where it fitted in, and so speaking to someone who is not only obviously using it but is using it on something reasonably large scale and has tried translating things into it, it’s been a really interesting time just learning about that.”

Click here to download an edited version of this MDN Show interview (mp3, 41.5mB), or else use the player here: