Xojo 2016 Release 4 hit the web today. In many respects this is the IDE that I wish had been released three and a half years ago as a few of the more insidious
features bugs have been fixed. And, as usual, there is a plethora of new features, changes and bug fixes that make R4 a must-have release. Let’s get to it!
First, the tabs in the IDE now work like most of us want them too. Open an object, say a window, into a new tab. By default this tab is locked and it will stay in that window. The small back and forward arrows at the top of the navigator are not even visible. To ‘use’ the tab for another object click on the lock symbol in the tab to unlock it. It might take a click on the name of the Window at the top of the navigator but the arrows come back and you can navigate back to the project stack. Or, as I tend to do just close the tab and open another object.
In a somewhat related fix, the Back and Forward arrows in the toolbar now work properly per tab. As you navigate through an object, choosing the back button remembers where you’ve been in that object. In previous releases the Back and Forward arrows seemed to be a exercise in random number theory as it seemed to go to locations in the IDE I had never visited. There might have been a pattern to it but usually I just never bothered to use the buttons.
If nothing else, these two changes are a compelling reason to use R4. The locked tab feature and the back/forward buttons never worked the way I wanted to use them. It is sad that it took this long to get it right.
The Navigator filter received some updates too. Now you can use type’s like ‘type:property’ will only find properties. ‘Type:shared%’ will only find anything that’s shared. It’s pretty powerful and I recommend playing with it a bit to get used to it.
There is now a contextual menu item for Pictures to convert them to an Image Set and put the selected picture in the first image slot. This eliminates multiple steps with the mouse and is a very useful addition.
For Windows users there has been some changes. UseGDIPlus has been deprecated and is replaced with Direct2D drawing. Make sure to test any of your Windows apps that use a lot of drawing in a graphics object as things might have changed a little with the switch to Direct2D.
New Picture only creates 32 bit depth pictures and this now matches what the other target platforms do by default. This also means that NewPicture method is deprecated. HiDPI builds for Windows are no longer beta.
Xojo cloud received a major update. Uploads to Xojo Cloud are now much faster. Libraries are now cached by the server so only code and image resources are uploaded. For example, in R3 one of our largest web projects took over three minutes to upload. The first time I used R4 it took a little over two minutes (it was caching new libraries) but every time I uploaded the project thereafter it took a mere 44 seconds to upload. That’s a significant time savings!
The WebListbox now has a CellPicture method that allows you to assign a WebPicture to it. The WebSession shutdown mechanism has been refactored to help keep sessions from getting stuck and not quitting. Exceptions in Websession.close no longer keep subsequent sessions from closing.
Due to changes, especially on the Windows side, you might want to check on updated versions of your plugins. MonkeyBread software recommends version 16.5, or newer with R4. 16.5 is currently in preview and they expect to release it next week. Einhugur has a couple of updated plugins for Release 4 as well.
As with any major Xojo release, you should test your projects thoroughly before releasing anything into the wild. The beta program catches a lot of bugs but it’s not a perfect program. One such bug that got through is an Application crash when using the Super button in the Inspector. Until a fix is released type the class super by hand rather than using the dialog.
R4 is a small, but significant release. It moves Windows forward using Direct2D drawing, and Xojo Cloud is significantly faster for deployment, but perhaps the changes to the IDE are the most important. The Navigator is not nearly as horrible as it was in previous releases and, in my opinion, makes it as useful, now, as the Real Studio IDE. If you are still using Real Studio I recommend checking out R4 as I think it takes most of the pain out of using Xojo.
What’s new, changed, or fixed, that makes you happy?