New Navigator Preferences in Xojo 2014 R3

Without reigniting some of the flamewars of the past I think we can all agree that the Xojo Navigator is less superior to Real Studio in some ways. The old Real Studio IDE project list and method list showed you a lot more information at a glance without having to dive into the details. With all of the attention on iOS in release 3 I forgot to mention two new preferences for the Navigator that might make life easier for some.

Under the General Tab in Preferences there are two new checkboxes that affect how the Navigator shows some information. The first is the Default Values checkbox. This option changes how Properties and Constants are displayed.Xojo Preferences

Don’t Show Default Values:Don't Show DefaultShow Default Values:

Show Default Values

The other option is the Show Types in navigator checkbox. That option allows you to see the Property and Constant data types in the Navigator.

Don’t Show Types in Navigator:Show NothingShow Types in Navigator:Show Types
While certainly useful, it does make the the Navigator more cluttered, in my opinion. Cluttered makes things harder/more complex so I’m on the fence if this is a good option or not. I think what would be far more useful is to show the Super and Interface(s) of objects in the Navigator like how Real Studio did. What it did was put that information in separate columns so you could resize them as needed. In Xojo you have to hover the mouse over the object to get a help tag of the super and interfaces, or you look into the Inspector for the Super and go into a stupid dialog to get the list of Interfaces.

Real Studio:

Real Studio

Xojo Help Tag
My beef with the Navigator hasn’t really changed much since the initial version. It shows me too little information when I want more, and too much when I don’t. There are times when I’m okay with the Navigator but to work with it on a regular basis I find myself right clicking on objects to open it in a new tab – which is what Real Studio did. If the goal was to reduce ‘tab management’ Xojo is an abject failure in how I work.

I’ve been using Xojo on an every day basis since the new IDE was still in alpha so I don’t think it’s just a matter of ‘getting used to it’.  It has clearly affected how I manage my projects and there are still significant bugs, a year and a half later, that still affect us.  Yes, the list of bugs if getting whittled down but it’s obvious, to me at least, that the Navigator is an incredibly complex piece of code and starting with complexity is never a good start for a project.

Let’s hope that with iOS finally out the door, Cocoa working well, LLVM and 64 bit seemingly ‘close’ after several years worth of work some time can be spent on the IDE interface, the Windows framework, and some other long standing issues that drives us Xojo developers insane.

What do you think?  What’s on your wish list for the new year?

5 thoughts on “New Navigator Preferences in Xojo 2014 R3

  1. In general I agree with you about the navigator… I am definitely less productive with that than with RS… But I don’t think there will be any major changes to it in the foreseeable future…

    Because I still tend to get lost in the navigator I too use tabs extensively, but they seem less ‘friendly’ than in RS for some reason…

    In any case I still have not figured out what Tab locking is supposed to do… and if it actually does it!

  2. I stopped using Xojo for exactly this reason. I still use the latest RealStudio until I see some progress in Xojo’s usability.

    My wishes are a more compact Navigator and Inspector plus more space when working on a 13” MacBook Pro. This all worked perfectly in RealStudio.

    However, I don’t believe that they will fix it. Look like usability issues always have the lowest priority at Xojo Inc. It’s error by design. It would take months to fix it.

  3. My biggest problem with the new IDE is that I can’t reliably “go back”. At some unpredictable point, going back gets me into neverland, where I’m not in the tab I was working in. Instead, I’m in the navigator list with the tab I was working in selected, but not in “edit mode”. So to get back where I was, I have to right-click the module/window I was working in, open it in *another* tab, then close the original one.

    This has definitely taken my productivity a big step backward from RS. I continue to work in Xojo because I need to keep everything up to date, but it’s painfully awkward to use. If nothing else, why can’t I just double-click something in the navigator and have a new tab automatically open?

    • I do like the new options to show/hide constant values and such, though I still don’t know why we can’t view a list of constants in order by value, not just alphabetically.

  4. The navigator is one of the top reasons I stopped using xojo. Still use real studio 2012 for 90% of my work. Any new projects now are done in visual studio or java if cross platform support is needed. Nothing like having an IDE that understands multiple monitors, and is stable.

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