I will be honest and say that I did not think that Xojo for web apps was going to amount to much of anything. Granted, I said this as I was struggling with a beta of the very first release to do some actual production work. Since then it’s gotten considerably better and more stable and it’s become an increasingly large portion of our consulting work.
I was asked the other day what I thought about Xojo for iOS. I replied that it’s stable and the community seems to be coming up solutions at a much faster pace than Xojo for web. But until it starts bringing income into my consulting business I’m hesitant to say much more about it.
Let’s talk about that aspect of it for a bit. When web came out I immediately landed a few consulting projects which was an awesome (and horrifying) way to learn the new framework. Here it is roughly six months after release and I’ve only had a few nibbles but no actual projects on Xojo for iOS projects. This despite the ten plus hours of training video I’ve created for Xojo for iOS.
So it makes me wonder if Xojo for iOS is really going to take off. Part of me wonders if Xojo misunderstood the market for mobile apps. Sure, iOS is where the money seems to be, but Android has the marketshare and Windows mobile (whatever they call it these days) just keeps hanging around. Xojo simply doesn’t address Android or Windows mobile.
I think one could reasonably argue that part of Xojo’s strength on desktop is that it makes decent apps that are cross platform and it doesn’t matter which platform you develop on. You do have to spend extra time for a Xojo app to be 100% compliant on Mac OS X and Windows (I’ll leave Linux out of the mix since I don’t cater to that crowd) and I don’t think many people would argue that if you were going to make a Mac-only application you might want to stick with xCode and Swift or Visual Studio for making a Windows only application.
Apple and Microsoft will always have the best gadgets and goodies for those platforms. That’s just a fact. Xojo is often a compromise of the lowest common denominator between the platforms. It’s RAD capabilities are important but I’m not sure that I’d give it THAT big of an advantage once you get past the learning curve of all the respective platforms and languages.
Xojo for iOS is nice and works well but I feel that without Android it’s not going to get much traction. Xojo is known for cross-platform apps yet it only supports one mobile platform. If you were going to go the trouble of developing for more than one mobile platform wouldn’t you go with a tool that supported more than just iOS?
I mean no disrespect to Xojo. They’ve accomplished a pretty amazing thing. They have an IDE that allows you to create iPhone and iPad apps without learning Swift or CocoaTouch. However, you are limited to developing on Apple hardware (that’s Apple’s not Xojo’s fault) and to do any remote debugging you have to use the iOS Simulator that’s part of xCode. Just that part eliminates a good chunk of Xojo’s potential market (the Windows and Linux users).
Xojo for iOS works well. It has good developer community support. I see no reason why developers wanting an easier mobile development environment wouldn’t choose Xojo except for one thing: It’s iOS only.
So what do you think my fellow Xojo users? What do you think of iOS for Xojo? Is it anything without Android and Windows Phone or is it missing something else?