I was not entirely surprised to read on the REALbasic NUG that REAL SQL Server would no longer be a REAL Software product but would go back to its original developer, SQLabs. Even with the bundling options available with REALbasic, a database product that cannot differentiate itself cannot survive. Now there is even a special offer for disenfranchised REAL SQL Server users until October 10, 2010.
REAL Server launched in a pre-natal version in 2007/2008, then later as a branded product as REAL Server in 2009. Now in 2010, a REAL product no longer. I don’t know all the details, however you only kill a product if it cannot generate enough money to make it worthwhile. I can’t fault REAL Software for their marketing efforts of REAL Server. It is hard to find a press release or web page that belongs to REAL Software, about REALbasic, that doesn’t also incorporate a marketing message about REAL Server. REAL did make an effort to make it as easy as possible to use within the REALbasic environment. So that only leaves one possibility as to the fate of REAL Server: there is no real technologically compelling reason to buy it.
Underneath REAL Server is SQLite. There is no end of enterprising and thrift minded developers out there who wanted to turn the public domain SQLite into something they could make their own. On almost every platform Valentina Database and Valentina Reports support, someone has come up with a free, cheap or not so cheap SQLite product. But pervasiveness does not equal value, and while SQLite is well engineered, the benefits are prosaic at best. That does not cut it in a very mature market space – and it doesn’t get much more mature than the database market.
Valentina DB for REALbasic is either the first or among the first third party databases to support REALbasic, with a very sizable user base to date. Valentina has not only survived in a market populated by Oracle, MS SQL Server, MySQL and Sybase but prospered, and a product only does that because it offers specific functionality at attractive price points. Good thing Paradigma Software is running a special offer for REAL Server users until October 10, 2010.