What I Like About the Xojo Navigator

I’ve stirred up quite a bit of controversy with my “What I Hate about the Xojo Navigator” blog post.  Despite the various things I dislike about the Navigator there are some things I like about it and that I would hope that if Xojo Inc makes changes to the Navigator we don’t lose these items.  This post will be about those things.

Multiple Select Copy/Paste

One of my biggest beefs in Real Studio was that it was very tedious to copy anything from one object, or one project, to another.  You had to select the singular object, copy, and then paste it wherever you needed it.  Depending upon the version of Real Studio you could sometimes copy the entire group of methods and properties but it was never very reliable in my experience.

In Xojo, this problem is mostly eliminated because you can select multiple items in the Navigator, copy, and then paste wherever.  Not only does a continuous block of selections work but non-continuous selections work too.  This, of course, assumes that copy/paste works since the keyboard shortcuts don’t always work as you expect (but it’s getting better), and sometimes it depends on where you try to paste on whether the paste actually works or not.

For example, if I select a WebPage and then a single method and copy it and then go to another project and without selecting anything I use the Paste command.  The WebPage is pasted but the method is not.  However, if I have an object selected, like say the App object, the WebPage is pasted and the solitary method that I copied is pasted into the App object.  So while it’s a very powerful new tool in the arsenal, it’s possible to get some very confusing results.


The other thing that I like about the Navigator is the Filter search field.  This let’s me quickly find the objects in my project that match the name I’ve typed in.  This is really handy when finding your control subclasses or container controls since the Library (sadly) does not show those.

Finding an object in Real Studio was hard.  Our projects are loaded with nested folders and namespaced objects.  I sometimes remembered the name and location of a particular class but digging through the various folders was a waste of time so I usually searched the project for the name, found the object in the search tab, double clicked to open it in an editor, and then switched back to the Project Tab.  Most of the time the parent folders would be expanded and the object was selected.  Usually I’d have to scroll the Project Tab list to view it, though.

The Navigator Filter eliminates that goose chase.  What’s interesting is that if you type ‘open’ it will find all objects, methods, properties, etc, that contain ‘open’ in the name.  However, if you were to type ‘.open’ it finds nothing.  This limits its effectiveness and forces you to you the global Search function.  In my ideal world ‘.open’ would find object ‘open’ methods.

Effectively, the Filter function is just a specialized search.  The only difference is that the Filter doesn’t look in source code (just definitions) while Search looks at everything.  This isn’t a bad thing but I hadn’t thought about it much until I wrote this up.


Could both of these functions been added to Real Studio?  I believe so.  Presumably, there was some technical issue that made the multiple select a problem in Real Studio or they would have implemented it long ago (it was a highly requested feature).  The filter could also have been implemented but because the Real Studio project tab doesn’t show methods it wouldn’t make sense, but you accomplished the same thing by using the global search.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Xojo during the Release 3 beta cycle.  I also spent about 50% of my time using Real Studio 2012 R2.1 for an older client project that may or may not get updated to Xojo.  Real Studio looks really ‘old’ at this point where Xojo looks ‘right’ though I will be happy when the monochrome icons/colors phase leaves the industry.

What features of the Xojo Navigator do you really like?


5 thoughts on “What I Like About the Xojo Navigator

  1. In general I agree with your blog post. But there are 2 things missing:
    – Type ahead is missing ()
    – There is an annoying bug in the navigator: when the navigator is filtered the edit button in the debugger doesn’t work anymore ().

    PS: For the name, email and website fields the description goes away as soon as I click into the fields. For the comment this is not the case and so I need to write under the comment header.

  2. Oh blech, the Feedback links got removed:
    – Type ahead (27613)
    – Edit button in Debugger (29555)

  3. Nope. Gone back to 2012R2 and only use Xojo for compiling to Cocoa. Still feeling happy in REAL.studio on MacOS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, with iOS 6 on my iPad (I unfortunately upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS 7).

    Maybe I’m getting old but I don’t like Lion/Mountain Lion (grey in grey), iOS 7 (garish colour scheme, flat and boring), or Xojo. They are just no fun to use, and I fear it will get worse when Mavericks comes out (being both grey AND flat).

  4. Well it looks nicer. The icons are cleaner, the visual appeal is better now that they got rid of the chiseled font in the Navigator which was brutal on eyes after 30 minutes are so. +1 for Looks. I do like the Filter, it is nice to work with, searching is easier. In fact, much like using a local variable instead of digging through the debugger, it seems to be easier just to use the finder and be done with. +1 for the finder. I suppose when they get all the focus issues, Tab lock issues and graphical glitches resolved, the tabs will work well. Currently they are a little on the buggy side and I get behavior I am not expecting.

    But overall, I am still fighting the vertical space issues. I CONSTANTLY find the Navigator has too many objects open at once and I have to spend a lot of time closing them. I have to do this WAY too much. I am not sure what else can be done, but this is the one issue that is really holding me back from embracing Xojo (that and the fact that built code on Windows at least is just slower than the exact code built on Real Studio. Not a lot, maybe 10%-15%, but just enough that I notice it in the UI. But that is a story for another thread).

    One other area that I don’t think gets much attention (I’d feel bad about hijacking this thread, but only two other people commented in 4 days?? Not going to bother me this time) is the Find Window at the bottom. I hate that damn thing. I’d much rather see the search results in a tab. To see my results, the Finder at the bottom must be open and that cuts into my code window BIG time. Another vertical space issue that I can’t believe they didn’t see when it was designed. But making it worse, on a large monitor, it is a ridiculously bad use of horizontal space as well. The results start at the left and the code runs over about 80-100 characters for most lines of code, leaving tons, and tons, of open, unused white space to the right. I’d much rather have my results pop up in a new tab. And I would like to keep multiple search tabs open, like you could with the Profiler results under RS 2012 (haven’t messed with the Profiler in Xojo much).

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