🤗 My happy introduction to B4X

Peter Simpson

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Hmm, I see that Anywhere Software has created this new section in the forum, so I've decided to add my actual B4X story.

WARNING: This is going to be a loooooooooooong read :cool:

I've always enjoyed creating software from the early days of the humble 48k ZX spekky, to machine coding my 68000 Amiga A500 beast, then the IBM PC revolution took over the world, thanks for that IBM. At this point I stopped programming and ran a few different businesses before I got back into programming again. Being a person that mainly used VB.Net and later on C#, I concentrated on creating bespoke business solutions for clients and selling my own invoice software solution.

Back in 2012 I decided that I wanted to create myself a couple of test apps for my new Android powered smartphone so I did what any self respecting wannabe Android developer did back then and I downloaded the Eclipse IDE tool. My very first issue was that I didn't really know Java and to tell you the truth, I didn't want to know Java. I purchased 2 physical books on Android development using Java and Eclipse ISBN 1449390501 and ISBN 9780470770184, needless to say that my plans didn't quite go as expected. After spending way too much time getting lost in endless terminology and that ridiculously overly complicated IDE layout of Eclipse, I decided to stick to developing for M$ Windows.

A few days after my complete and utter failure to learn Android development using Java (I only gave myself 3 or 4 days to learn it), I'd had enough of using Eclipse and it's overly complicated IDE, so I uninstalled it. I then had an epiphany, what if there was a company out there already creating another way for developers like myself to create Android apps using a much more developer friendly IDE and language, one that we all know and love. I mean Java to me is like an alien language, maybe something more akin to Martian. So the search began, the search terms that I remember using in Google that faithful day were Android, Development, Developers, BASIC, C#, Tools and of course FREE ;). Within the first few Google search results I had found some potentially good software but either their forums were too quiet for my liking or something silly put me off after testing their Android development solutions. I then installed Basic4Android (B4A) and literally within half an hour I had a very BASIC (excuse the pun) app up and running on my HTC Desire phone. All of a sudden I could see $£€ in my bank account, but $£€ never quite happened as I didn't create Flappy Bird or Angry Birds :mad:.


How did I discover B4X tools back in 2012, this must be too good to be true.
The whole planet was saying that developers HAD TO USE JAVA to develop on the Android platform, who on earth was I to say otherwise. Well a small software company called Anywhere Software said otherwise and man did they say it loudly. But who on earth are Anywhere Software, what exactly do they do and why on earth (at the time) do I have to pay them for using their simple to use but extremely powerful Android RAD tool when other more complicated and overly bloated development tools were available for FREE (I hope that you all saw what I did there ;)). My partner Joanne said that I have my laptop sitting right there on my lap so I should just do some homework on Anywhere Software, if I don't like what I read then just don't pay them, so I started my research on Anywhere Software.

Hmm, strangely enough I actually do remember thinking the following to myself 8 years ago after doing some research on Anywhere Software. If this is the same Erel Uziel who incorporated Anywhere Software then this has to be the same Erel Uziel who has co-authored some publications, worked for IBM and also has his name on some patents whilst working for IBM, so this is definitely a good start. Believe it or not this all happened within a four to five hour window of me first searching for Android app development tools and testing B4A. On that faithful day, Tuesday 3rd April 2012 I purchased B4A and I've never ever looked back.


What do I use B4A and B4J for?
Being a self employed software developer from Birmingham, England in the UK, I specialise in creating bespoke applications for small to medium sized businesses up and down the UK. I started using B4A for creating bespoke Android business applications for clients that mainly needed to connect offsite employees to main offices or to their own clients, I do not create apps for the app store. From a local delivery firm (signature with GPS pads), bathroom nationwide bathroom and kitchen fitters, multiple warehouse stock control solutions, invoicing with stock control using dedicated Android powered 2D laser barcode scanners, invoicing on the move to tablet EPoS solutions etc, B4A has help me to help small to medium sized businesses run more smoothly and efficiently during the day to day running of their business.

In the last couple of years, I've been using B4J to learn and create some bespoke desktop solutions for clients. Don't get me wrong, I still use another well know IDE tool which I will not mention here, but the simple fact that I can develop one application using B4J that runs on Windows, OS X and Linux is still like 'dilithium crystals' or 'warp speed' theory to me, it's slightly above my pay grade. I have now developed a number of applications for clients using B4J, in the future that number will increase as my client base increases. So far I've mainly developed stock control, invoicing, data management and reporting solutions. Believe it or not I've even been paid on a couple of occasions to create OS X desktop applications (I didn't charge much though, as I was still learning B4J at the time). Me creating OS X desktop solutions sounds absolutely crazy. I ended up purchasing an A1 mint conditioned used Macbook Pro Retina just so I could test these apps before delivering the compiled .jar files to the clients. One application uses B4X XUI xCharts and that particular CEO loves his monthly printed employee reports, his employees aren't so keen on them though, I wonder why lol. Me creating Mac OS X applications was only made possible because of Anywhere Software and their B4X suit of RAD tools, so thank you for that.


What do I use B4R for?
I use B4R at home for personal IoT projects, I've even written a few tutorial on this forum for other B4R developers to learn from. B4R is absolutely great for developing on Arduino and ESP based microcontroller boards as well as others. Just like B4A, B4J and also B4i, B4R is simple to use and if need be you can either easily adjust one of the current Arduino libraries to suite your own needs or just use the built-in inline Java facility that is available in all of the B4X suite of RAD tools. You can trust me when I say that you DO NOT NEED to be an expert in Java to use inline Java in B4X. Just read Erels basic tutorial and look at some of the many inline Java code examples that can be found on the forum, you will be up and running in no time, but in almost all cases you will never ever need to use inline Java. I have plenty more IoT hardware devices to write tutorials about, so watch this space, well actually watch the B4R forum ;).


What do I use B4i for?
Okay, now that's a tricky question. Currently I don't develop using B4i even though I do have a B4i license. I'm still looking into iOS and learning every step of the way, but as I'm not really an Apple fan lets wait and see what happens with iOS and myself in the future.


What have I learnt whilst using B4X?
Well for starters I've learnt that another well know package that we have all used and still probably use to this very day lets you get away with writing ridiculously terrible sloppy code without any warnings whatsoever (your code might work but it's not the correct way to write code), B4X points you in the correct direction on such things. Over the years B4X has actually taught me a lot, from coding techniques, creating and using a correctly thought out code flow (where are you starting from and where you hope to end up the correct way), correctly designed layouts, drawing actual GFX, some Java, some Android quirks and features, utilising different types of modules in the correct way, optimising code and keeping it easily manageable through predefined well thought out processes, once again the list just goes on and on and on.

Basically Anywhere Software and this whole community has help me to learn how to create and develop better applications (software) for my clients, not just whilst using B4X but in general. Dare I say it, I obviously use more than one development tool and not just those from Anywhere Software. I've found myself implementing what I've learn from developing using B4X RAD tools directly into other development tools. B4X helps developers to create better applications for their end users because in my personal experience Anywhere Software support helps developers to write better code and to design better application layouts.

I could go on and on and on but I'm not going to.


What are my future plans with B4X?
World domination :p

Not quite, but in all seriousness B4X has help me to create some great business apps for clients, apps that I thought were way beyond my development skills and impossible for me to create when I first started using B4A back in April 2012, but I'm happy to say that I was wrong. I personally intend on creating more applications for prospects whenever I can. But as always you first have to convince prospects that you are the right developer to create their business software, and that's where B4X comes into its own.

I have been given permission from a couple of clients to give demonstrations of my work to prospects but with 100% fake data, and that's exactly what I intend on doing. Lately I've made a couple of B4J examples to show prospects what I can develop for them. Why B4J examples, I personally prefer the finished look and feel of B4J created JavaFX applications compared to another well known IDE tools finished look and feel created applications. To me B4J created apps looks nicer, modern, really sleek, fast and functional, and I can sell nicer, modern, really sleek, fast and functional to anybody, hopefully.


And finally, phew.
For starters Anywhere Software does all the hard work so that we the B4X users don't have to, we can concentrate all of our efforts on creating great apps for our end users. In my personally opinion the greatest asset to B4X is not just the software, but also the community forum. The help that you receive from the whole community really is second to none. What you don't believe me, well go ahead and post a B4X related development question and start counting (excluding night time). Unlike other forums that I can but will not mention, you will get a response to your query relatively quickly and I do not mean days later, I mean hours, and on the odd occasion in just minutes.

I personally believe that B4X (one language fits all approach) is the perfect solution for both beginners and more experienced developers alike. Can you create the next great 3D shoot-em-up game using B4A or B4i, why would you want to sit up all night doing that much work, go and get some much needed sleep instead. There are plenty of B4X developers on this very forum today that have created some absolutely brilliant 2D games (using one of the multiple game engine libraries that can me found on here) and have made some serious amounts of $£€ after creating those very games using B4A or B4i.

I've read many times about developers on this forum who have for example compared Android .apk file sizes created in B4A to other packages, and the B4A created .apk files are always smaller in size, and that is just comparing two basic 'Hello World' created .APK files. This is no coincidence, Anywhere Software takes great care when deciding what new features to implement into their B4X suite of RAD tools and especially how to implement them the most logical and efficient way possible. I personally like the way that the Anywhere Software suite of RAD tools IDE are not over bloated and full of unnecessary features that less than 1% of developers will ever use, hmm naming no names again. The B4X IDE has a nice clean layout with more than enough features for most app developers like myself.

And finally b4x.com has a lot of great assets going for it, from the library creators and library wrappers, the forum support that you receive from both Anywhere software and other B4X developers, IDE features like instant debugging and live updating of code to the emulator or to real devices, inline Jave (rarely needed if at all), Wait For, Sleep, Conditional Building and configuration of applications, to the fact that there are absolutely no firewalls between us the B4X users and the creators of the B4X suite of RAD tools, the positive list just does on and on and on again.

I will personally be sending donations/contributions to Anywhere Software so that they can keep up the development of B4A, B4J and B4R. Those products are 100% FREE to download and to use and take a lot of time, energy and knowledge to develop for us the B4X users to use. I personally strongly suggest that if you use B4A, B4J or B4R and if you can afford to do so, you should try to send donations/contributions. I'll personally be sending donations/contributions every couple of years as if nothing has changed, because as far as I'm concerned nothing has changed, but that is my own personal decision to make.


Enjoy... :)
 
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f0raster0

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In my case my old laptop didn't want to work with Android Studio, then I found B4A, used the free version then bought B4A.

I created my first basic App.. I'm not sure how I sold (subscription) that App :cool: but I did, it was a simple Loyalty Coffee App.

Later I needed a Mac 😒 it is the only thing that I'm not happy with Erel o_O..
he released the Hosted Mac Builder for B4i just a couple months later.. :mad:
before me to learn to use the keyboard of that Mac 🤪

...In my personally opinion the greatest asset to B4X is not just the software, but also the community forum. ...
+1
 

Peter Simpson

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AnandGupta

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And for the first time a read such a long text message :), which I generally skip/skim.
Thanks Peter for writing 👍
I think it propagates to all us old programmers coming from different programing languages and environments.

Regards,

Anand
 

karld

Active Member
Licensed User
Awesome read! Enjoyed it.

I also attempted that dog of an IDE called Eclipse. (Shudder).

One weekend I also Googled around for an IDE to make Android apps and found B4A.

The demo was a breeze to use. I promptly bought it.
That afternoon I actually wrote my first working app for my phone. A week later everyone at work was asking for a copy. I figured out how to put it up on the play store.

I then forgot about it!!
A year later I was cleaning out my email box and found the one from when I signed up on the play store. Just for giggles I logged in and was shocked that I had almost $700.00 in undeposited funds waiting for my bank info to be verified!

I did that straight away!

I then bought the B4I IDE and pestered a bunch of folks on the forums to help me figure out how to convert over to IOS.
I borrowed an iPhone and a Mac to test and compile.

Got it accepted by Apple on the first try, thanks to the aformentioned folks on here.

That app is still selling on Android and Apple to this day. Brings in a few thousand bucks a year. Anywhere Software was and is a great investment.

I have renewed it several times. I even bought a copy for my son to play with.
 

rabbitBUSH

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Licensed User
This is going to be a loooooooooooong read :cool:
Crickey didn't realise people from the town where two of the Led Zeppelin hailed from could be so verbose 🎸 ..... 8.0 minutes Dude 8....stairway to heaven.....

[edit... Was reading this and the battery died 😁😷].... Otherwise nice story where the background music?
 

Peter Simpson

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Awesome read! Enjoyed it.
Right back at you, thank you...

A year later I was cleaning out my email box and found the one from when I signed up on the play store. Just for giggles I logged in and was shocked that I had almost $700.00 in undeposited funds waiting for my bank info to be verified!
Nice one, but where's my 20% cut lol :cool:

I have renewed it several times. I even bought a copy for my son to play with.
I kept renewing my license too. Thats because as far as I'm concerned, B4A is worth every single penny and I'll will keep donating/contributing well into the future. so

That sounds like a good idea. Get your son hooked on B4A whilst he is still young, hopefully he will create the next ??? Birds game, thus you and your wife and fully retire on your own private island ;)

Crickey didn't realise people from the town where two of the Led Zeppelin hailed from could be so verbose 🎸 ..... 8.0 minutes Dude 8....stairway to heaven.....
LZ were absolutely huge back in the day, absolutely huge, especially with stairway to heaven that did really well world wise. No I'm not a fan, but if their music is on in the background, I will not ask Google to turn it off, down or over :)

You must be super fan to know where each band member come from...
 

rabbitBUSH

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Licensed User
You must be super fan to know where each band member come fr
Who wants to know? 👻 Are 'they' watching. When is the next meeting. I'm too far gone to recall that stuff... Google it is your memory if you ask the right question... Now quiz Who was the Lizard King? {PS game rules: you can't ask Joanne}

Oh and those two started in Sounds of Joy in Birmingham ask your Auntie Jane
 

LucaMs

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Licensed User
Back in 2012 I decided that I wanted to create myself a couple of test apps for my new Android powered smartphone so I did what any self respecting wannabe Android developer did back then and I downloaded the Eclipse IDE tool.
That's very similar to my bad vicissitudes.

One of the first things I thought was: "When I understand enough, I will develop a tool, using VB Net, which allows me to create Android apps in a language similar to VB".

Fortunately, before I went crazy 🤪 with Eclipse, I discovered b4x.com 🥳
 
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