Solve Elec 1.0
Issue: 3.3 (January/February 2005)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,790
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 3307
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Every so often, an application comes along that exemplifies what Apple Computer, Inc. strives to achieve; excellence through beauty and functionality. At its current 1.0 release, Solve Elec by Corinne Queme is a great example of an application worthy of praise that functions with REALbasic. Solve Elec is an electrical circuit analysis and resolution utility.
Solve Elec was recently recognized by REAL Software in the 2004 REALbasic Design Awards as the "Best Educational Software." REAL Software certainly knows a winner when it sees one, as Solve Elec is a beautifully programmed application. The first thing a user sees when they launch Solve Exec is a clean canvas with an organized toolbar. The graphics on the toolbar are very similar in context to the objects toolbar in REALbasic. The items that a user can select on the toolbar to put on the canvas appear exactly as they will on the canvas. Queme uses a great canvas mouse-over technique to create a ghosted image of the tool that the user has selected, implemented quite simply with REALbasic. After a user adds an object to the canvas, moving and manipulating the object on the canvas is very smooth and responsive, thanks to REALbasic's superb vector graphics handling.
Creating a visual circuit on the screen is just a small part of what Solve Elec does. For instance, Solve Elec can "test" the circuit to make sure it works. Solve Elec can also get values and formulas for currents and voltages within the circuit and can create graphs. The graphing function of Solve Elec is very powerful and unique. Solve Elec presents the user with another beautifully designed window with a coordinate plane. From within the window, the user chooses which variable should appear on which axis and sets a minimum and maximum value. The user then clicks the custom "graph" button and the graph with the respective values is drawn. It is here that Solve Elec makes extensive use of the flexible canvas control of REALbasic for its zooming in and out effects and smooth drawing.
The power of REALbasic displayed in Solve Elec does not stop with the main functions of the program. After a user has created the perfect circuit, they will want to print out the diagram and perhaps a graph or two. Solve Elec makes this easy for the user. Simply choose "Print" from the "File" menu and Solve Elec prompts the user with options on how to create the perfect printout. Solve Elec quickly creates a picture on a canvas of the options the user specifies and sends the job to the printer. With other programming languages this task would have been more difficult, however REALbasic's printing and superior canvas functions made this programming obstacle a breeze.
No matter how you approach Solve Elec, it is a brilliantly designed and implemented application. Much of what makes the program an enhanced success is the ease of use and intense power of REALbasic and the REALbasic programming language.
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