twinBASIC Update: March 6, 2022
Highlights include a sneak peek at the new twinBASIC IDE (currently under development) and a brief comparison between RAD Basic and twinBASIC.
On April 23, 2021, I helped Wayne Phillips introduce the world to twinBASIC at the Access DevCon Vienna conference. I boldly predicted that twinBASIC (along with the Monaco editor) would replace VBA and its outdated development environment by 2025. With that goal in mind, this weekly update is my attempt to keep the project fresh in the minds of the VBA development community.
Every Sunday, I will be providing updates on the status of the project, linking to new articles discussing twinBASIC, and generally trying to increase engagement with the project. If you come across items that should be included here, tweet me @NoLongerSet or email me at mike at nolongerset dot com.
Here are some links to get involved with the project:
- twinBASIC Installation Guide
- GitHub Issue Tracker (report bugs)
- twinBASIC Discord Server (chat about the project)
Sneak Peek at the New twinBASIC IDE
Wayne announced last week that he would be taking some time to build a simple, standalone IDE for twinBASIC. Today we got a sneak peek at the progress he's made since then.
In addition to the main code editing window–a twinBASIC WebView2 control hosting the same Monaco editor as VSCode–it appears Wayne has also implemented several supporting panes:
- Project Explorer
- Open Editors
- Call Stack
- Watch Window
- Debug Console
Based on the original preview from last week, I think it's safe to assume Wayne had to build each of these panes from scratch. It's also worth noting that Wayne built the IDE using twinBASIC itself. This provides a glimpse into the kinds of desktop applications one can already build in twinBASIC.
Around the Web
RAD Basic vs. twinBASIC
Over at VBForums, user Attilio started a discussion soliciting opinions on RAD Basic versus twinBASIC.
As user wqweto pointed out in the thread, it's difficult to compare RAD Basic to twinBASIC as the RAD Basic download is currently restricted to paid supporters according to the RAD Basic website:
In a later comment, wqweto posted a link to a 0.4.0 version of RAD Basic.
I wrote briefly about RAD Basic (and twinBASIC) in an article at the end of 2020. I revisited the RAD Basic site this morning after reading through the VBForums thread.
There are a lot of similiarities between twinBASIC and RAD Basic:
- Primary goal of 100% VB6 compatibility
- LLVM-based compiler
- Planned cross-platform support
- Closed-source, single developer approach
Over the past year, though, it seems that RAD Basic's lead developer, Carles Royan, has not been able to devote as much time to RAD Basic as Wayne has been able to devote to twinBASIC. As wqweto pointed out, though, it's difficult to judge the two side-by-side as most of RAD Basic's development work–including weekly project updates–are taking place behind a Patreon paywall.
Even though both projects are closed-source, I think Wayne's approach of working in public (particularly through the GitHub issues project) has built up trust over time with the fledgling twinBASIC community. That said, I've never participated in a crowdfunded project via Kickstarter (RAD Basic Kickstarter page). It could be that there is a thriving community of RAD Basic backers collaboratively building a great project outside the view of the wider public.
It will be interesting to revisit this comparison over time as both projects work toward a stable version 1.0 release.
Here are the updates from the past week. You can also find this information by installing the twinBASIC VS Code extension and clicking on the Changelog tab of the extension page:
Nothing to see here this week!
(It appears that all development has been focused on the forthcoming standalone twinBASIC IDE, which has yet to be released.)