Xojo Developers Conference 2014

Geoff Perlman of Xojo gave the keynote address at the Xojo Developers Conference (XDC) today.  In his hour long talk Geoff talked a lot about Xojo Cloud and a little bit about the upcoming iOS version of Xojo.

This years XDC sold out and attendance was up over 16% over last year.  Attendees represented 14 different countries and over half were first time attendees.  Early on in the presentation Geoff acknowledged over 20 attendees that have been using Xojo since version 1.0.  He also presented Marc Zeedar (of Xojo Developer Magazine) with having attended every single conference.

Geoff then went on to acknowledge that the name change from Real Studio to Xojo has gone well.  There is one issue in that a sports drink made it to market about the same time with the same name.  The two separate companies are on friendly terms and on Friday all of the attendees will get a bottle of the sports drink.  This may or may not be a good thing on a Friday in Las Vegas.

Xojo Cloud

Xojo Cloud has now been released.  It has a number of benefits including zero configuration, one-click deployment, no maintenance, and better security.  The latter issue is incredibly huge since Xojo discovered that it takes about 15 minutes for a brand new server on the internet to get its first unauthorized access (attack).  With Xojo Cloud the servers are automatically configured with security in mind.

In the long run anyone creating web apps does not want to be a security expert.  However, those developers should be, so the security focus of Xojo Cloud is worth the additional cost.  Xojo admits that it is not the cheapest host, but it doesn’t take too much of your time doing configuration and maintenance on your (non-Xojo) server to make up the cost difference.

Xojo is paranoid about security and this is a good thing.  It was during XDC 2013 that their servers got hacked.  They feverishly moved all their backups into the Xojo Cloud servers.  Since then there have been no infiltrations (that they know of) in over 15 million scans.  When they reviewed their security with RackSpace (their server provider) who told them, “Only our most paranoid customers have this much security.”

Framework Changes

Parts of the Xojo framework have been been around for 15 years.  In that time Xojo has supported Mac OS 68k and PPC, Windows x86, Linux, Mac OS X, Cocoa, and Web (to name a few).  Obviously there are a few areas of cruft that have crept in and there are inconsistencies in the API.  Add in iOS, ARM, 64 bit, and LLVM and Xojo has some serious issues in the framework.  Thus a new framework is in the works.

The existing framework (classic) consists of the desktop and web.  Each of these sits on top of the console framework.  The console framework consists of non-ui items like FolderItem, TextInput/OutputStream and BinaryStream.

With the new frameworks there will be framework namespace for each platform (desktop, web, iOS) and will contain things that are specific for each.  For common elements (like buttons) these will live in the UI framework that lives underneath the platform frameworks.  The ultimate goal of this change will be copying common UI from a desktop app and pasting them into a web app the controls will just work with no problems.  This can’t be done now as the desktop and web controls have separate frameworks.

The new framework will arrive first in console, then web, iOS (initially it will have its own version of the new framework), and then finally desktop.  My advice is to not stress out about this until more information is known.

iOS

The big news of the day is that iOS is very close to being sent to alpha users.  The current schedule (always take schedule news with a grain of salt) has the alpha shipping in May with a beta in June and hopefully shipping to end users in the third quarter of 2014.

Pricing will be $400 for those users that want iOS only.  Pro licenses will go up $200.

Geoff did an initial demo with the iOS application running in the iOS Simulator.  This is similar to things we’ve seen before.  What was new, however, was that Geoff did a final build, used Apple’s Configuration Utility and ran the demo app on an iPhone and an iPad.

From this evidence it seems that work on the LLVM and ARM compiler is well advanced.  Built iOS apps are currently only 32 bit.

Another interesting tidbit from the demo was that Auto Layout is in full force in iOS.  Auto Layout is a super advanced way to handling automatic layout for windows, views, containers, etc. and is much more advanced than the simple locking properties.  This should really help in localization.  Other than the quick aside in the demo there was not much said about it.

All-in-all the keynote was fairly quiet.  Not a whole lot of new information was given out.  Ta ta for now and if I find out more information I’ll share it with you.

 

14 thoughts on “Xojo Developers Conference 2014

  1. Thanks for posting this. For those of us who can’t go to the conference this is a big help and somehow I knew this was gonna be my first place to look. My big take away is that I’m happy to see that iOS will be reasonable in terms of cost. I’m also happy to hear about the new frameworks that are being developed.

    • I am really blown away by how far along iOS is. I was expecting it to work with the iOS Simulator (x86) but having it actually work on the iPhone/iPad (ARM, LLVM) was impressive. This is a real product!

  2. Someone posted a thread (https://forum.xojo.com/10467-xdc-downloads) on the Xojo forum tonight requesting that slides from XDC be made available to non-attendees. It could have been done more politely than it was.
    However it was disappointing to see the thread subsequently locked and the nature of the statement that went with it.
    Maybe I’m paranoid but to me the transition from RB to Xojo has been accompanied by a noticeable increase in control-freakery (closure of old forum, undermining of the mailing list, increased willingness to lock threads, insistence of real names, request for head shots etc).

    • “Maybe I’m paranoid…”

      Yes you are. The actions are not malicious.

      The old forums are still there for historical reasons. All new activity should be in the new forums. Seems simple to me.

      The NUG mailing list needs to die. Having 2 sources of information essentially containing the same information is silly. The community needs a one-stop location for all things Xojo.

      The locked threads: With very few exceptions I agree with the locks. Flame wars and individuals bickering about stupid stuff never did the community any good.

      Real name and head shots: The intent is to make the forums more civil. It doesn’t always work and when it does not those threads tend to get locked.

      Now, should the thread about getting the XDC slides be locked? It seems excessive at first but the answer to the question is no. No amount of bitching is going to change that and you KNOW that people will bitch. Therefore the solution is to lock the thread before it gets out of hand.

      XDC comments overheard this week: “This is the friendlies developer community I’ve ever been part of.” (Not my quote). All of the above things you’re complaining about contribute to the overall health of the community.

  3. Not sure I agree with you on this one Bob – I’m finding Xojo more and more detached from the way I like companies to work. So much so that I no longer visit the forums and have essentially stopped using Xojo. I think they have made some good decisions in the past and some absolute shockers. I just popped over to the linked thread about downloads and, whilst I thought the OP was a bit rude, I thought the response was a bit childish – “it’s only for attendees”.

    I while back I renewed my license based on something Geoff spoke to me about privately and feel terribly let down. That’s how I feel about the company entirely – let down.

    As far as iOS progress being advanced – that’s almost laughable given how many tools there are now for iOS development. And I don’t mean that as a dig at you Bob, it’s just that we’ve been hearing about iOS for so long it’s embarrassing how behind the eight ball they are. In the time we have been waiting for XOJO iOS to get to alpha we have learnt new tools and have a couple of iOS apps up and running.

    • it’s just that we’ve been hearing about iOS for so long it’s embarrassing how behind the eight ball they are.

      Are you !@$& serious? The first they told anyone publicly they were doing anything with iOS was XDC 2013 which was in May 2013. It was in Feedback in 2008 but having it in Feedback is not the same as the company talking about it.

      The iOS App Store didn’t open until July 2008. And at that point is was only available to Xcode developers. 3rd party developers weren’t even allowed to play in the app store. It wasn’t until September 2010 that they changed their mind.

      September 2010 to now seems like forever but let’s be realistic. iOS is a completely new platform. In that same time period they got Cocoa out, a new IDE, had to integrate an ARM compiler and the LLVM backend compiler. They’ve also had to create a new framework specifically for iOS, new Layout Editors, pretty much new everything.

      It’s a Herculean task and as we all know – they are a small shop. They’re also approaching it a little differently than many other iOS dev tools. They’re using native controls, which should lesson the impact converting from iOS6 to iOS7.

      Apple deprecates stuff quickly. Microsoft and Linux change too and let’s not even talk about browsers that seem to change daily. Xojo will always be behind the 8-ball. That’s nothing new.

    • I’m finding Xojo more and more detached from the way I like companies to work. So much so that I no longer visit the forums and have essentially stopped using Xojo.

      To me it sounds like you’ve already stopped using the tool and are just finding excuses to justify the decision. But hey, to each their own.

      I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I have zero issues with their new policies.

  4. Oh, and I should say this is in no way a reflection on the users of XOJO – the ones I have met have been friendly and helpful.

  5. Yes, I am serious. From the moment it hit Feedback it has been discussed. But keep in mind we are still a long way from seeing it being released and if past experience tells us anything we can safely add 12-24 months onto most timelines. I had great hope for XOJO and iOS but there are many ways to skin a cat and we went a different direction because we couldn’t be sure when, or if, we would ever get there. It kills me really as we have so much invested into the system but we just can’t wait forever.

    The more reasons you give for them being behind the eight ball the more reason to use the Apple tools. I’m not saying it’s ideal, and it’s not the way I’d like it, but if nothing else I am a pragmatist.

    • Discussed versus the decision to move forward are two different things. I’ve discussed a lot of things, privately, with Geoff, too. Just because we’ve talked about it doesn’t make it ‘in the pipeline’ to be a product.

      Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that Geoff tends to be an optimist. All you have to do is look back at my developer conference reports to prove that. 🙂

  6. Well, we’ll have to disagree then – you’re not privy to the private discussions I’ve had which is what I’m basing my decisions on. It’s not appropriate to discuss them publicly.

  7. “Discussed versus the decision to move forward are two different things.”

    Yes, I know, which is why I feel the way I do…

  8. Xojo Inc is a small company and as such it have limited resources. Therefore I don’t find the criticism to be fully fair. Xojo Cloud is an interesting step and should attract many developers. As for the support of iOS it seems that the expectations are more based on feelings than based on a business minded orientation. If You can’t wait then it exist a great number of other options. Some of them are also priced at a low level.

    It exist a group of developers that are tight to Xojo Inc. This group is the first defenders for whatever Xojo Inc do. I must give You, Bob, credit for being/trying to be rather objective and have Your own opinion. However, the major issue with this group is that they identify themselves with the company and with its CEO and staff. I wonder if they see themselves as independed developers or employed by Xojo Inc.

    It’s too common to see comments like “I talked with Geoff about…” and so on.

    Sorry for the rant 😉

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