iOS 64 bit builds was introduced in Xojo 2015 R1. Raspberry Pi support and 64 bit builds for Xojo desktop, web, and console apps was released in Xojo R3 in October 2015. iOS, Raspberry Pi, and the 64 bit builds are all using the LLVM compiler. The lack of a 64 bit debugger really holds back adoption of these new platforms in Xojo, in my opinion.
I’ve spent the last month working on a couple of different Raspberry Pi projects. One was for a client and one was for fun. In both cases the projects weren’t exceptionally tricky or complex but they took way longer than necessary since you can’t ’see’ anything while it’s running so I was is forced to use ‘old-school’ debugging methods with log files, message boxes, console messages, and whatnot. Regardless, it’s not fun using the Raspberry Pi with Xojo.
It’s obvious that the move to 64 bit is much harder than they anticipated. If it was easy the Xojo IDE would already be 64 bit by now – a year after 64 bit was released.
As a company we’ve officially held off on supporting 64 bit builds of our products. Both Shorts and Formatted Text Control use XojoScript which isn’t 64 bit compatible yet. XojoScript can be stripped from both products but it’s not an ideal situation and one that seems pointless since 64 bit is coming – eventually.
Xojo 2016 R3 was released a few weeks ago so the chances of R4 coming out in October is pretty slim. The Xojo Developers Conference (XDC) is coming up in two weeks so I’m sure everyone at Xojo is gearing up for it. And since they are all at the conference there is not much chance of real work getting done that week. Good for those attending but bad for those anxiously awaiting new features and bug fixes.
In the past two and half years Xojo has added two new platforms (iOS and Raspberry Pi not to mention 64 bit builds) and not added any permanent staff (that I’m aware of). Xojo does amazing stuff with the limited staff it has. While they swear it doesn’t take away from their work I have to call them on it. Two new platforms with initial development cost, debugging time, and the subsequent bug reports from users HAS to slow them down on other things. It simply does.
I’m not doing their level of work but we manage five employees each with their own set of projects. To put one person on ‘project x’ when they’re already working on ‘project y’ means that ‘project y’ gets delayed. Since 2016 R2 was a big iOS release one has to wonder what was delayed to get those features added (and some would argue they were a year late anyway but that’s a different post).
I’m hoping to see a 64 bit debugger at XDC but I’d bet on a 64 bit IDE first. This makes sense because they need time to work with it internally before we see it. This will mean that XojoScript and whatever else was holding 64 bit back has been figure out.
Other things I predict for XDC:
Android. Don’t get me wrong, I want Android because I feel it’s the only way for Xojo to grow into the mobile space, but if it means that the same staff are now adding yet one more platform it’s not worth it. I’d rather have the big ticket items they’ve already said are coming than yet another platform that takes precious time away from what they already have. Likelihood: sadly, pretty good given a recent Xojo blog post
Windows framework changes. It’s been a while since Windows has received significant love. We know they’ve been talking about using part of the .NET framework in Windows and now that Windows XP support was dropped this might become a reality. The only question is what does it give us and when do we get it? Likelihood: Good
New framework additions. The Xojo framework has been slow to gain momentum in the community. Part of it is bugs those brave enough to use it have discovered and part of it is that it’s incomplete. I’m not sure how much of the new framework is used in new parts of the IDE but it seems like this would become a bigger part of their mission as time goes on. Likelihood: Good
New database frameworks. In iOS we’re already seeing the potential changes coming where a database error throws an exception. This is a good change but will require a lot of patience on our part to get used to. Many XDC’s ago Xojo showed off ORM classes (a lot like ActiveRecord but built into the IDE) for SQLite that looked interesting so it will be nice to see if that’s gone anywhere. Prepared Statements are now built into the SQLExecute and SQLSelect commands but they’ve also screwed up (read removed) dynamic queries with the lack of BindType and BindValues so I’m looking for a new solution in this front. Likelihood: Maybe
Libraries with Xojo. This was brought up last year at XDC so I don’t expect to see a lot of news about it but I do expect an update. It would be really nice to create libraries using Xojo instead of using plugins or encrypting source code. Likelihood: Mention only
Plugin Management. The simple fact of the matter is that many Xojo developers (myself included) use plugins. For many it’s the simplest way of doing things and between Monkeybread Software and Einhugur they offer a ton of functionality that is not built into Xojo. It would be nice to have the IDE manage them so you can have multiple versions of a plugin installed and only some of them activated on a per project basis. Likelihood: Wishful thinking
I’m sure there will be a surprise or two but honestly I expect methodical, evolutionary changes. What news do you expect to see from the Xojo Developer Conference? What would surprise you?