2013 was an interesting year for Real Software, Real Studio and the resulting Xojo company and IDE. After a long wait the new Xojo IDE with new branding and company name change was announced at the developer conference in May.
Xojo Release 1 occurred in June. It was buggy and the controversial Navigator was at the top of everyones list (mostly the naughty list but a few people liked it). The new Cocoa framework largely worked as promised and people rarely complained about it. Subsequent Xojo releases fixed most of the worst of the bugs in the IDE but even after the 4th release there are bugs in the IDE that obviously are not easy to fix (or they would have been fixed by now).
The change in licensing for Xojo affected everyone and mostly for the better. You can now use Xojo for free but you need a license as soon as you want to build for a platform. This made Xojo cheaper for many but a bit more expensive for folks like us that build for all targets. The only real issue that we had with the licensing change was that the licensing terms require non-builders to have a license if you want to save in the version control format http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2013/10/when-a-license-isnt-a-valid-license/.
2014 promises to be a huge year for Xojo. Many of the things they announced at the Xojo Developers Conference should be coming to fruition this year.
Xojo Cloud: Originally scheduled for June 2013 (as stated at the keynote address in May http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2013/05/xojo-cloud/ ) it looks like it will finally be released in 2014 Release 1. It promises to greatly simplify the deployment procedures for web apps. We already know it will be missing database server support in the initial release but it appears we will be able to purchase additional RackSpace options for that. I will be curious how this works for consultants like us that have multiple clients we’re writing apps for. Chance of it happening in 2014? 100%
64 bit apps: At the developers conference they said http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2013/05/xojo-64-bit/ it would be summer 2014 for 64 bit applications. It will be an option to compile for 32 bit or 64 bit applications and eventually 64 bit becomes the default. This will be an interesting transition. At the conference they said they were 70% done with Cocoa and for Linux and Windows they just needed to do testing. Chance of it happening in 2014? 75%
.NET Framework Usage: Developing Windows apps is always an interesting experience. Since the Win32 API doesn’t have double buffered windows like Linux and Mac OS X has, what looks good on those platforms can often (usually?) look awful in Windows because of flickering. There are ways to minimize flickering but it’s next to impossible to eliminate it entirely. I hope something can be done this year. One of the possible solutions is to hook the Xojo framework into .NET libraries. I am by no means a Windows expert but one of the possible issues with this is that Windows XP doesn’t have .NET libraries shipped with it by default (though Vista and above does). Does this mean the end of Windows XP support or appropriate error messages? Chance of it happening in 2014? 10%
iOS applications: http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2013/05/xojo-for-ios/ Using Xojo to develop and compile native iOS applications should easily be the biggest news item of the year for Xojo. To say that this might be huge for the company is an understatement – assuming it works as advertised and Apple accepts the built apps in the App Store. With the exception of a couple of demos we really haven’t heard much about iOS other than it’s progressing. If memory serves they are saying a beta will be available around the Xojo Developers conference in March with a summer release date. Chance of it becoming usable in 2014? 60%
iOS is going to introduce a new NameSpaced framework http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2012/05/new-frameworks/ that will eventually make its way into web, console, and desktop applications. iOS is a completely different beast which requires a different framework and their goal is unify the framework so that it can be used universally for all targets. There has already been much teeth gnashing over the proposed changes but I’m not too worried. First, it will only affect iOS (for now) and then maybe web by the end of 2014 and who knows how long it will take for desktop to get it. Second, the old (global) framework will be around for a while for a (hopefully) smooth transition. Until it starts affecting us I refuse to worry about it. Chance of it happening in 2014? Same as iOS – 60%
For a company as small as Xojo this list is rather daunting but they’ve been working on some of these items for years. I would expect something to slip into 2015 but we’ll find out more in March at the developers conference. What are your predictions for 2014 from Xojo?