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  1. Bob G's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  

    Default Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?

    NSBasic says their "App Studio" can create native BlackBerry apps via "PhoneGap." I was thinking about trying it. Does anyone have experience with it?

    NS BASIC/App Studio for Mobile Devices
  2. NickA's Avatar
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    #2  

    Default

    Wow, that's a blast from the past. I used to use NSBasic when I did Windows CE apps. I liked it a lot. Your best bet is to skip NSBasic and go directly to PhoneGap and use Eclipse.
  3. TimmyEv's Avatar
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    #3  

    Default NS Basic App Studio is not for professionals, just amateur apps

    I have been working with NS Basic App Studio for two years, since launch.

    My thoughts are this:-

    If you plan to do any kind of development which you want to look professional then forget App Studio. NS Basic App Studio has some major failings, number one on the list being documentation. The documentation supplied with App Studio is truly appalling, covering basic commands and functions only, and even then, not fully. The moment you want to dig deeper there is no help for you and even the writers of App Studio say "Search the Internet for answers". This makes App Studio a 'development' system for amateurs.

    If your intention is to develop anything that remotely resembles a professional application then I am very sorry to say you will have to use something else.

    I speak as a professional developer of 30 years experience, having developed on all sorts of platforms. We recently completed a project (not the way we wanted to due to the limitations) using NS Basic App Studio and it took a whole year to make. The equivalent in almost any other environment would have taken a matter of weeks. There were times when my team and I wanted to blow our brains out in frustration, mainly with the woeful documentation and zero support offered by NS Basic.

    NS Basic bill App Studio as a Visual Basic-like environment. Do you remember the days when IBM clone-makers were saying that their machines were compatible to the IBM PC and it turned out they meant they both use a 5amp fuse in the plug? Well that is how App Studio is to Visual Basic. Whilst App Studio uses the BASIC language, it is so far removed from VB when you start wanting to do anything interesting that it makes the comment "Visual Basic-like" a mockery at best and misleading at worst.

    There are many fanboys of App Studio, but don't be misled. The product is not at a fit state yet to be used for any kind of professional development. You will end up going insane. From the advancements I have seen the product make since launch (two years now) I would guesstimate that it will take NS Basic another five years to create a development environment that is suitable for professional developers.

    NS Basic App Studio could be a good product, however with so many fundamental flaws, which become apparent only after you have gone through the very basics, you start entering a nightmare world.

    I hope this post helps prospective developers in making a choice about their development environment.
    chgaida likes this.
  4. #4  

    Default Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?

    Jump to my final review >>>> Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?


    Thanks for sharing! Sad to hear. I'd love a strong VB style language for mobile

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9360 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by KermEd; 02-27-2013 at 11:39 PM.
  5. George Henne's Avatar
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    #5  

    Default

    Please don't take the troll's comments seriously. He posted the same comment about a dozen places on the web, under different names. In the many years we have been in business, he's only guy we actually had to ban from our forums. Here are some real comments on the product:

    NSB/AppStudio : User Comments

    Feel free to contact us for more info!

    George Henne
    NS BASIC Corporation
  6. #6  

    Default Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?

    Fair enough. IDEs can be a tough market.

    Sent from my BlackBerry Veedu using Tapatalk 3
  7. #7  

    Default Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?

    You know what,

    I happen to have a very good knowledge of VB and I build cross platform. Its my native language of choice and one I understand thoroughly.

    Ill give it a spin - and depending on my experiences, give an honest review on here. I can't trust the ones on your site as I see no links to the comment sources. But I can judge for myself.

    Lloyd

    Sent from my BlackBerry Veedu using Tapatalk 3
  8. #8  

    Default

    1: Installation. 3/10
    2: BB Support Documents. 2/10
    3: Usage. [pending]
    4: Look & Feel. [pending]
    5: API Functionality. [pending]

    Recommendations: Difficult to implement, not for new users.

    Alternatives: If you want a simpler basic interface, and are wishing to stay with basic for Android and iOS - I would recommend investigating GLBASIC. GLBASIC has an active user community and uses an older QBASIC style programming language.

    Thoughts: For the price, I would have expected an all-in-one binary Windows installer. The installation proceedure is painful and leaves a lot of room for error. Additionally, it leaves users in a potentially dangerous position with updating and components.

    Breakdown:

    To use NS Basic you need to:
    - Install Webworks SDK
    - Install Java SDK (Phone users)
    - Setup Signing keys
    - Install Chrome
    - Install Phonegap
    - Install ANT
    - Install Java JDK 32bit for Windows
    - Install NS Basic (AppStudio)
    - Install any simulators you need

    Now, NS Basic appears to be surviving off of Phonegap for the most part, and just has a list of API's. So, you need to know where to get what documentation.

    Documentation locations
    BlackBerry: Documentation on Ripple/WebWorks/etc.
    • Benefit: Java+HTML - Can also leverage and supports BBUI / JQueryMobile / Sencha / Phonegap
    • Cost: Free


    Phonegap: Brief notes on setting up ANT / Phonegap / SDK's (note: They are a Linux focused team, so new developers will struggle here a bit as its not an "install and go" package)
    • Benefit: Cross platform, Java + HTML. They support JQueryMobile / Sencha
    • Cost: Free


    NSBasic: Only API stuff. Didn't see documentation on setup - just sporadic notes.
    • Benefit: Can use Basic programming
    • Cost: 99/Developer. Its also 99 a month if you want support (meaning upwards of 1300 a year for one developer). Does not include free upgrades.


    Its important to mention, NS Basic is an extension of Phonegap for BlackBerry, which is also just an extension of WebWorks for BlackBerry.

    Therefore, you should mess with and understand WebWorks first. Once you know how basic HTML or BBUI apps work, move on to Phonegap. Phonegap leverages off of WebWorks, so if you have cryptic errors you need to understand WebWorks to resolve them. Finally, NS Basic leverages off of Phonegap, so you need to understand Phonegap to resolve those issues. You may want to deeply consider the importance of using a basic interface on BlackBerry.

    There are no videos, support documents or references to BlackBerry that I can find anywhere on NS Studio. So if you decide to go with this selection - expect issues and supportability problems.

    Next, configuring ALL those installation packages and then I can test some applications.
    Last edited by KermEd; 02-27-2013 at 05:03 PM.
  9. #9  

    Default

    Notes: Its taken about 2 hours to get Phonegap correctly configured.

    For those interested, the paths they show you - use \\.

    Read the full set of instructions for the BlackBerry tutorial, it will help get your signing keys and passwords configured. It also shows you what you need to fill out if you change debug devices often. Phonegap looks very promising and quite powerful.

    Built a few apps to get comfortable with Phonegap. Its not much different from BBUI and WebWorks, just takes some configuration and relies on ANT (which I'm not a big fan of on Windows).

    Next, getting NS Basic to work and publish an application...
  10. #10  

    Default

    Update:

    1: Installation. 3/10
    2: BB Support Documents. 2/10
    3: Usage. 6/10
    4: Look & Feel. 8/10
    5: API Functionality. [pending]


    The look and feel is great. The buttons work well. When you press Play, it drops you into your native browser. If your tech savvy, you can use Chrome + Ripple to test this on a mobile platform (unfortunately, it does not connect through Ripple automatically, so the browser experience is not as exact as it could be).

    With that said, the experience is fun. I will attach a sample BAR after for those who want to preview the application. I have not tested the push to the device yet.

    Had to remove points, because the IDE doesn't catch a lot of issues. If you delete an object, but do not delete the VB code on the back-end, your browser shows blank. Having a hard time finding drawing functions still though.
  11. #11  

    Default

    Well, making an application is fairly simple. A lot of the functionality is undocumented.

    One issue I see right away, no easy way to deploy your application. The deploy options are grayed out (no reference in the help files or website). And the only deploy option that is available, just sends you to some private website (nsapps.com) --- again, no real explanation on why or what to do next. I'm hoping they don't expect me to pay 99 dollars just to see if this application can export to the PlayBook properly.

    Interestingly, several times I've had issues with the wiki. Including the following error message:

    Sorry! This site is experiencing technical difficulties.

    Try waiting a few minutes and reloading.

    (Can't contact the database server: User nsbasic_2 already has more than 'max_user_connections' active connections (db146c.pair.com))

    Note: For those on a more limited budget, I do see Basic4Android (which is a competitor product). They have a pretty snazzy website and better true reviews on the web. I dont see iOS or BlackBerry support, so it might need to be used as an Android port converted (assuming it compiles to Java instead of Native for android).
    However, the price is half of that of NSBasic (49 bucks) or 99 bucks with 2 years of free updates.
    Last edited by KermEd; 02-27-2013 at 11:23 PM.
  12. #12  

    Question

    Final result:

    1: Installation. 3/10
    2: BB Support Documents. 2/10
    3: Usage. 6/10
    4: Look & Feel. 8/10
    5: API Functionality Trial. 0/10 - API Functionality Full ??/10


    I had to give the API Functionality a 0 out of 10 for the trial. The applications trial has no ability to export the application to any mobile device, and therefore cannot be tested on PlayBook/BB10/Android/iOS. API functionality of the full version may be higher, but without the ability to test your application on a physical device (or any clear documentation on what to do) the application you make in NSBasic seems to be of no use on the trial compared to just previewing screenshots.

    Verdict:

    Cute software package with potential. But this is not ready for use.

    Cons
    • Applications are unusable in the trial for device testing. This will adversely impact purchases.
    • Suggestion to NSBasic: See Marmalade or Watermarks for ideas on how to overcome this.
    • Documentation is severely lacking - this could be due to a small development team. A wiki is a good idea with a larger client base.
    • Installation was tedious. All in one installer would be smart. They should package mobile API's they test + phonegap + their add-on.
    • No clear instructions. An in-your-face getting started tutorial would greatly improve the experience.
    • IDE improvements would be wise. Obvious errors get through.
    • Ripple engagement would be wise to allow mobile device emulation via Chrome, instead of just debugging via default browser.


    Pros:
    • Seems to be solid and has a pretty design (see photo).
    • Fun to play with, easy to size things and layout your design.
    • Many options for themes and designs.
    • Assuming applications can be debugged on multiple devices without delay, it has the potential for fast application creation.


    Published a detailed review on my blog: http://www.filearchivehaven.com/2013...or-blackberry/
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Has anyone tried NSBasic/App Studio?-capture.jpg  
    Last edited by KermEd; 02-28-2013 at 01:00 AM.
  13. Savagefury1's Avatar
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    #13  

    Default

    Thank you for taking the time to do such a thorough review.
  14. TimmyEv's Avatar
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    #14  

    Default Not a troll - just a frustrated user, as others have seen

    To Mr George Henne (owner of NSBasic corporation)

    Are you going to accuse everybody who uses your substandard products of being a "Troll".

    You just need to face the facts that App Studio is not a serious enough development environment for professional development and for professional apps. It is fine for amateurs who want to produce Mickey Mouse apps. The latter are willing to suffer the numerous bugs, appalling documentation and general failings of your software, although I suspect not at $99.

    What you need to do is quite simple. Just listen to your users and find out why so many of them are displeased with what you are charging $99 for, rather than rubbish them and proudly state that you banned them from your forum.

    Recently, you issued a 3.0 update, which fixes many bugs and shortcomings of the 2.00 software yet you have the nerve to charge an additional $49 for the privilege of having an update which fixes the fundamental shortcomings that simply should not have been present in the previous version.

    This is how you lose customers.

    So, once again, I am not a "Troll", as you like to mislead people about. I am an honest user, who paid good money for a substandard software package. I am out of pocket by $99 and was driven nearly insane by your software.

    I have no doubt that you will eventually get it right, perhaps in several more years. NSBasic App Studio simply is not a viable option at this time. It cost me and my team many hundreds of frustrated hours due to fundamental bugs and appalling documentation.
  15. George Henne's Avatar
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    #15  

    Default AppStudio's official reply!

    KermEd was kind enough to encourage us to make an official reply to his review. He missed a few things, which will be discussed below, but he does make a good point.

    AppStudio does not create the .bar file that is so handy for BlackBerry installation. It relies on PhoneGap Build to create the executable. While this is nicely integrated into AppStudio, .bar support would make it better. We don't claim to support BlackBerry currently (just iOS and Android), but we would like to hear from people who are interested in this. Let us know at support@nsbasic.com!

    Cons


    • Documentation is severely lacking - this could be due to a small development team. A wiki is a good idea with a larger client base.

      We introduced a Wiki with AppStudio 3.0. (I'm not sure which version the reviewer used). It's pretty extensive and is constantly being added to and improved. The reviewer mentioned glitches accessing the Wiki: we noticed that as well back then and had our ISP move it to another server.

      It isn't necessary to read the Ripple, WebWorks, jQuery Mobile, Sencha or PhoneGap docs to start using AppStudio. AppStudio doesn't use Ripple or WebWorks at all.

      We haven't made dedicated docs for BlackBerry. While AppStudio seems to work fine on the devices, most of our users are concentrating on iOS and Android.

    • Installation was tedious. All in one installer would be smart. They should package mobile API's they test + phonegap + their add-on.

      Actually, all you have to install is AppStudio itself and you're ready to roll. The PhoneGap/Eclipse toolchain isn't needed.

      If you want to use PhoneGap to make a native app instead of a web app, there is an option in the Run menu called "Build Native App with PhoneGap". AppStudio is tightly integrated with PhoneGap Build: nothing else need to be installed. Select this option and you'll be able to download an executable in a few seconds. This works in the Demo.

      There is no need to install the complete PhoneGap toolchain before AppStudio is usable: less than 1% of our users do this. It's really only needed if you want to use your own or third party PhoneGap plugins. These days, very few apps need this.

    • No clear instructions. An in-your-face getting started tutorial would greatly improve the experience.

      Tutorials are on the Help menu, on the front page of the Wiki and in the ReadMe. Where else could we hide them?

    • IDE improvements would be wise. Obvious errors get through.

      The example cited, where the VB code does not get deleted in the back end when a control is deleted, is exactly how Visual Basic itself handles this. No IDE should delete code automatically - there would be a lot of upset programmers!

    • Ripple engagement would be wise to allow mobile device emulation via Chrome, instead of just debugging via default browser.

      We looked at Ripple (nice guys - they are about an hour away from us) and were about to integrate it when they were acquired by RIM. Since we support iOS and Android, we didn't want to make this a permanent part of the product. It turns out that using a regular desktop browser works just fine for most development. Having full use of the Chrome Debugger is really nice!

    Other points:

    • The vast majority of users do just fine with the free support, not spending $95/month. Premium Support is designed for companies with tight deadlines who need to get up to speed quickly. Here are the full details:
      https://www.nsbasic.com/app/support.php



    Be sure to let us know if you have questions!

    George Henne
  16. #16  

    Default

    I just wanted to say that since posting this I have rubbed elbows with a few developers with NSBasic experience - as well as chatted with some of the NSBasic team.

    I believe my review needs adjustment. One consideration I wasn't taking into account as well is blackberry really isn't officially supported. So expecting a seamless experience was short sighted on my part.

    I plan to rereview and update my posts on it.

    Thanks to everyone who's provided feedback and I'm happy to see a basic driven IDE available.

    Posted via CB from my LE
  17. daimage's Avatar
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    #17  

    Default

    looking forward for your improvement, by the way, i saw your signiture about scanning qr code and then i can join the BBM chat, i am a developer and want to join.
  18. #18  

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daimage View Post
    looking forward for your improvement, by the way, i saw your signiture about scanning qr code and then i can join the BBM chat, i am a developer and want to join.
    Absolutely I think that QR wouldn't work anymore. If you want, send me your PIN via PM, and I'll add ya asap

    Posted via CB from my LE

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