First signs of Phoenix 3 seen ... reports from testers welcome

Started by Theo Gottwald, October 23, 2012, 12:10:31 PM

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Theo Gottwald

Another Visual Designer may be in beta-Test.
Wanted to note that there are first sights of Phoenix 3 on heaven.

I did not personally see anything of it, otehr then the posts in the forum,
but if somebody has seen it, let this be the starting place for some reports.

Peter Weis

Theo Gottwald

I have taken some time today to download the preview version of Phoenix 3 to take a look.
Note that this is just a first impression.

Phoenix is a large program, it includes 15 MB of DLLs (and part of it as SLL's - for example the Layout Manager is now a SLL (see attached pic).

The largest of these seems to be the "Handmade" Edit-Control "EditEsx.dll", that alone needs 2.4 MB !
For sure there is quite a lot of work in it.
Lets stay a moment with it, as it seems the largest part of Phoenix. (See attached picture)

Let me say at this place that actually we have currently four major Visual Designers for PB.
Two of them do not have "their own Editor" (they use the PB-Editor) and therefore do not need any Editor-Text Control.

Firefly and Phoenix have their own Text Controls. You edit and change the code directly in the Visual Designer.
Why did they make own Editor/Text Controls?
Because the Richedit and such Controls are outdated, bloated, slow and do not have a lot of features that customers will expect today.

And while already the Edit Control in FireFly was very good, the Phoenix Editor Control was made to compete with state-of-the-art Editors like Ultra-Edit or VS,
as you can see it even has a "Column Mode" (attached picture).

It has Intellisense (picture) an the way you can change and tweak it should be good enough for anything thinkable.
The Intellisense does not only suggest you the proper API it will also suggest parameters for it (see picture)!
Besides that, the speed of the control is beyond all competing controls. In short its artwork.

The only slight disadvantage about these Editor Controls is, that none of them can be used by the Owner of the Visual Designer for their own Programms.
We have to stay with the old fashioned stuff - or again make our own from scratch. I hope this will change in the future.

As there is a lot of work in this Edit-Control, it should be available for other users also. Maybe even as SLL or DLL.

The Phoenix-Workspace Explorer is also "state-of-the-art" and can not be beaten by anything the competing programs have to offer.
It will even beat Visual BASIC and stamp it into the ground. See the attached picture.
Only the ideas built into this part of the program are far above what we have seen until now.

The Code-Building Process is very fast, faster then with FireFly, the program does not seem to do any "Code reordering" and this just saves time.
However at this time i can not say anything about the quality of the generated code as i did not manage to compile something.

The available Controls exceed in numbers those i have seen with all other Visual Designers, lets say at least times 2 to times 5.
There are a lot of OCX and other Stuff - like for example an Adobe PDF-Reader.

Anyway i doubt that this complex stuff already work as it should, for example, when i added an "CoverEdControl" the whole program crashed without any warning.
And that was not after a lot of testing, it was just the second control i added to the form.

After a restart something interesting happend, it asked me "if it should restore the project" ... haha reminds me my Video-Editing program from Pinnacle.
This also crashes often but as the Author knows that it crashes they have also built in this sort of recovery.

Are we entering a sort of "Software crashes-and recovers" century, because modern software that includes third party components can not be "really stable" anymore?
If so - and that is the only Minus point i have here for my todays Pre-View - from Phoenix 3, then Phoenix 3 is the first such product in the PB Market.

From its features, speed and complexity it will easily beat all competitors into the ground possibly under gras level.
But from what i saw today, i doubt it already works stable for complex projects.

I will not make a Conclusion this time, as i have only spent a few minutes with Phoenix 3.
However when it hits Market it will be worth a closer look, and that will mostly be about if it really works stable then.

If so it will again bring fresh air into the PB Market. In that case i wish PB would simply buy that VD and kick VS out of the market.

Theo Gottwald

Today i had the chance to take a second look at Phoenix 3.
Like all previouse version of Phoeniox also this version comes with a lot of great ideas, that would need possibly 5 people to have them all really implemented. But at least ONE Jose Roca is missing in the Phoenix Team.

I did not yet use a lot of time using Phoenix, just tried it today because i would have needed it.
Its a small project, just a form with 5 buttons.

So from the first look, i can say that the help-file is more complete then the help in the versions before.
Yet all things that are easy to find out are additionally explaind in the help file. As usual.

Those things that are more complicated (for example the "Phoenix workspace") are wether incomplete (Explorer-Help) or missing (Properties and tools missing in helpfile).

The program itself has a lot of switches that can be changed, while it seems not to be able to handle all possible combinations. Thats where a person like Jose is missing. Joses's programs are round. No bugs.

This program (Phoenix 3) is - even after the first update) not complete and it does not really work for somebody who does not take a lot of time with it. Its not round. Many things do not work as expected.

I liked the idea to make a form for another program as a "SLL". Would be a great thing.
Phoenix offers to make a SLL.

I made just a small form with 5 Buttons. Generate, Compile, Error.

It looks like that the code generation for SLL seems not to work at all.
I have sent in the very simple stuff to Dominic.

In a quick overlook on the code i would say that Phoenix tries to generate code for DLL, that will not work in a SLL.
A SLL can not have a "LIBMAIN" etc. as i know it. But Phoenix generates this.

Also it does not compile because partly the snytax is wrong (function names are missing)
and there seem to be procedures beeing called that are missing (UnregisterXXClass).

I think i am unable to repair this. Will possibly need to use Firefly and make a DLL if there will not be a patch.
Yet, as said i believe this is complicated stuff - possibly too much for a single person.

I would wonder if this programm will get ready. I like Dominic and his ideas, but his Phoenix programs are never round.
They just need to be a month with Jose ... thats just whats missing.

Thats a difference to Firefly. FF has much less features. Does not offer SLL as option :-(.

But whats there works as expected.
In most cases the code is bug free and the options - whats there - works as expected.

Like all previouse versions of Phoenix, Phoenix 3 continues to go the way of the gigantic idea that will possibly never get really ready in all parts. This is how it was in the past, and this is how it looks - again.

Has anybody other experiences?

Theo Gottwald

The support (Dominic) answered really fast and ...
QuoteThe code Phoenix generated is for a DLL, therefore, even if the code genrated was correct, it

will not work in a SLL.  A SLL cannot have a LIBMAIN function.

What I normally do is,

1. Generate the code as a DLL.

2. Convert it by hand to an SLL.
For example, a control in SLL form needs an initialization and cleanup functions since there is no LIBMAIN.



But hey - thats exactly the problem. Thats why i buy this thing - so i do not have to make it "by hand"

And in another mail today:

QuoteActually all optiions in Phoenix with the exception of SLL have been implemented.
It is just that all possible scenarios have not been tested.

A GUI as an SLL is something I have not done tests on.
PowerBASIC is a bad example to give as something that is bullet proof.
The implementation of COM in PowerBASIC is buggy as hell and light years from being completed.



Its just the first thing i started in Phoenix 3. I wanted use it to make a SLL.
May it be that I just found the unready edge?

Jon Eskdale

OK- I don't push the limits of Phoenix 3 but I must say I do love using it.

I do have Powerbasic's IDE
I have CSED
I have Firefly 3.62
and Phoenix 3

For a simple and quick program or try something out It is hard to beat CSED - Thank you Jose - Every thing works as you expect (except control F when you already have a search box open but thanks to Jose supplying the source I was able to amend that)

Phoenix 3 takes a little bit of getting into as there are a lot of options but once you have done that it is my IDE of choice.  For me the intellisense of the editor (Sometimes I just use it as an editor together with CSED) makes it worth the cost alone.

I've tried Firefly and must congratulate Paul on his nice clean simple and intuitive interface and agree the learning curve is easier with Firefly but if you invest a couple of hours with Pheonix - I think you will like it


Theo Gottwald

Tell a bit more about Phoenix 3.
No crahses?
Everything works dine for you?
As said this was just my first try that failed ...
If you have used it more, report a bit what you like and how it works.

Aslan Babakhanov

I'm using Phoenix 3 for serious projects. Must say, that it is almost on the same level as VS2010 if compared to the complexity to the build in engine.
Really impressed with intellisense and autocomplete features. Once you added the COM object, then you can see all members! -- this is the big step forward for me, saving huge time for getting memebers, interface names etc.

Yes - it's complex, lot's of stuff within and be ready to work with SDK style!
The latest build is quite stable - haven't encountered any crashes so far

Theo Gottwald

Thanks Aslan. Therefore it seems to be very good for complex projects (as it failed for my 5 Button SLL) :-).

Theo Gottwald

@Edwin: Ok, but i'll send it to you via PM, as this here should be for user experiences with Phoenix 3.
I have cleaned up here because we had some postings not belong to Phoenix 3.
I would like this thing here as a place where use share their experiences with the program and with the support.

Let me add for fairness, While Phonix is not a cheap tool, its far cheaper then MS V-Studio Tools.
Therefore Aslans statement " Must say, that it is almost on the same level as VS2010 if compared to the complexity to the build in engine." shows that Phoenix 3 targets people who like such features.

Theo Gottwald

I remember, it was on the 3.11.2005 when i wrote to Dominic about Phoenix I:

QuoteJust waiting for my next "Visual Job" and maybe your Version 2, as said in Mails before, the Actual Version  - while beeing really amazing in its features - is not yet really reliable.

My Test Project I have to compile outside of Phoenix because inside i get strange errors (something in the .rc-file is not as it should be).
Sometimes it just dies without any error-message after loading a project.

Sometimes the form dissappears and I have to reload the project

Then i remember Phoenix 2, it was just the same. I reported to Dominic that i had resource problems.
He said that time that he stopped support for Phoenix 2 because he can not access the Source code anymore.
I did not use it then anymore.

Here is a mail i got from anotehr Phoenix 3 user.
In short, he tested more complex and got to the same conclusion as i with my 5 button project.

I did not feel like putting this up in the forums as I feel that it would reflect phoenix in a bad way.
I have been in touch with Dominic but the repairs have been extremely slow. 
I have requested him to give me a license to version 2 so that I can do create something that is usable.
There are too many bugs in the editor. Try working on a Menu and you will see how slow it gets. 
If you introduce the Docking container then the designer will misbehave after adding a few more controls.
A rebar control containing toolbar does work but after that your menu is not accessible by mouse.
Create an imagelist and try to assign it to menu then it will not be accessible by the toolbar.
IDE allows combining icons and bitmaps in the imagelist but when compiling it just messes up things.
Once you create a large form, you cannot touch the IDE for any programming. 
It just bombs every time you try to edit the code. 
I have to use Ultraedit to change the code and again after sometime it becomes too much to work upon. 
I am using the latest update.  I am running it on a i7 - Quad core machine.
I am attaching the project files for you to check it out at your end... 
Just try to add an entry in the menu and you can see the issue.
Similarly, when you compile and execute the program you can see that the menu is not accessible.   

Now i got Phoenix 3 and again the same game. Very high ambitions, all started, many not implemented to the end.
A bit more then half documented. At least "Half hearted" documented.

Why do i tell this so open?
The reason is very simple. In the current state i see it as dangerous for a commercial project to use this tool.
There are many, many good ideas in Phoenix, but the result is not ready and not stable.

Did i expect this before?
Honestly i hoped Dominic would change, also because i tell him the same stuff every version again and again.
Maybe men never change, i see it with me :-).
The strange result is that Dominic comes up with a much more complex thing that works less then the thing before.
He should wether get a companion or somebody who organizes his projects,
and get his hi-flying ideas from time to time back on the floor.

If Powerbasic continues and we get Phoenix 4 this is something i will look at before i buy it next time.

Other testers and their opinions are welcome.

Theo Gottwald

Sidenote: Post here your experiences and your feelings about the product.
Please keep personal stuff out. This posting should help people to decide if this is what they need or not.

Some people may ask themselve if I like Dominic or not. This is not in question.
I know Dominic and his postings in the PB Forum for many years.
I believe that he is one of the most talented PB Programmer possibly alive at this time.
Yet this makes me even look closer why we get an unfinished product.
Once i get something that is ready and working at least to the level of FF,
then find out, if I am not the FIRST to post it here and recommend the product.

Edwin Knoppert

>Yet this makes me even look closer why we get an unfinished product

From my experience and for some unclear reason such development eats time!
Much more as anticipated.
Been there as well and for me it may be a lack of knowledge to setup the project better in those days and later on more difficult to re factor code (not much interest as well :) ).
PwrDev became somewhat of a mess inside, the code being generated 'looked' messy but was intentionally to deprecate altering(*).

The reason i stopped has nothing to do with the internals of the project though.
At some point i got myself more spare-time but even that is not enough, hours simply fly by..

For phoenix, i think it's simply a matter of not really being interested to make money from it, it may be lack motivation this way?

(*) i have tried to use sll's but frankly.., the language is not that suitable imo.

Theo Gottwald

QuoteFor phoenix, i think it's simply a matter of not really being interested to make money from it, it may be lack motivation this way?

I have also shared my opinion with Dominic that i think he uses Phoenix as some sort of "Pool of challenges" for himself. As a consequence we see many interesting developements, not working as a full, planned product together. However this is speculation. We do not really know what his intentions are. We can only look at the results. This is how it should be understood what i am writing.
If the words do not sound fine to everybody, please note that iam not an native english speaker. The fine diplomatic words may not have been tought to me. Sorry for that.