Why Do People Leave Xojo?

I’ve been a member of the Xojo community for nearly twenty years.  In that time I’ve seen a lot of people join the community, become fantastic contributors, and then suddenly leave the community.  There are a lot of reasons developers would leave the community but I thought I’d capture some of them.

Xojo scratches an itch and if the developer no longer has the need to scratch that itch they use a tool that scratches their next itch.  Xojo is great for cross-platform applications but certainly less so if you need only a Mac or only a Windows application.  Xojo’s strength is cross-platform which means compromises in abilities and controls so I can understand people wanting a pure Windows or MacOS application.  Apple and Microsoft have large developer communities that are attractive.

The Rapid Release Program held much promise when it was introduced many years ago.  Xojo went from two big monolithic releases a year to three, four or more releases per year.  Sure, Xojo fixes a ton of stuff in each release but they also seem to break stuff in each release.  I know we have a list of verboten releases for various platforms and it gives the impression of a perpetual beta status for Xojo.  I have been a big fan of releases that are almost all bug fixes with no new features but those are pretty rare.

Xojo is a modern object oriented language and is quite powerful but it’s not a popular language.  Many developers have never heard of Xojo.  There is no standards committee that adds features to the language and the language itself is closed source.  If there was a standards committee I suspect there would be some serious language additions done sooner rather than later.  It certainly would have given much more forethought into API 2.0 and how it would affect the existing user base and the documentation done long before any coding started.

Xojo isn’t like any other development tool I’ve ever used.  It’s great that it doesn’t allow a developer to make a stupid mistake when declaring a method.  It forces you to use the Xojo IDE user interface to do everything from creating methods, declaring properties, constants, enums, etc.  I’ve never used another developer tool that does this.  Xojo pretty much forces you to use it the way they want you to rather than what most other languages do with a text editor.  This makes it easier for beginners but if I’m being honest it’s a drag for someone like me that (usually) knows what they are doing.  Forcing developers into the Xojo-way of doing things makes the IDE seem like a toy at times.  It’s certainly slower.

Change does not happen quickly with Xojo.  It has a small development staff and I’m always amazed at how much they get done.  But it means that it can take an incredibly long time for things to change and become stable.  The transition to 64-bit was a huge multi-year project.  iOS was a huge multi-year project.  Web 2.0 and Android have become huge multi-year projects (with still no idea on when we’ll see them).  The new targets might be good eventually but history shows it will take a few releases before they’re really stable.  Meanwhile older targets seem to get significantly less attention.

Xojo isn’t really a business development tool.  When I say business I mean databases and reports because that’s practically every application we’ve done for the past twenty years.  Doing database development in Xojo is NOT Rapid Application Development (RAD) because you have to deal with everything database related yourself and the IDE and compiler give you zero help.  Reports are simplistic and aren’t exceptionally powerful and there’s no way for an end user to create or edit reports.  There’s a reason why BKeeney Software has its own database Object Relation Model (ORM) classes and reporting tools and classes because we have to use them in nearly every project we do for clients.

In addition to all that it’s really missing some things that business users need.  The TextArea control has pitiful RTF support, there is no built-in calendar, date, or time controls.  The built-in grid (Listbox) is more powerful than many people give it credit for but cannot hold native controls and can be very slow with large data sets.  There is no PDF read or write support either.  There are 3rd party options for all of these things but something lightweight would go a long way to supporting new business users.

These are a few of my thoughts.  What am I missing about developers that leave Xojo?  And is there a way to stop them from moving away from Xojo?  What are they doing to?

52 thoughts on “Why Do People Leave Xojo?

  1. Bob,

    this is a very well thought out post. the main reason I left Xojo was the lack of communication. They believe they communicate and communicate clearly & fully.

    all of us want to plan out our lives (and at work it is the projects). but without knowing the direction, or have any clue of what is going on, it is hard to do. lack of communication.

    I am currently working on learning Flutter (mobile framework) with Dart. both of those communities have larger amounts communication. everyone knows the direction of the languages/frameworks. we all have a clue what the ETAs are for the items. YES oh YES the ETAs do change. the order of the changes change.

    the community for Flutter/Dart reminds me of the Xojo community. open and welcoming to new developers. I have looked at other frameworks/languages, and their communities weren’t as welcoming.

    As you went through the list of things that Xojo (the company) does right. The community is one of the key ones. and they do have a great community. it made me learning the language and other aspects of development easy & fun.

    I hope the Xojo (the language) takes off and becomes more utilized. I hope Xojo (the company) does well. But until some of the practices of the company happens, I have to look elsewhere.

    –sb

  2. Bob,

    As you know I am one of the n00b’s taking on Xojo, and your post hit the nail on the head why I am learning it.

    It is a bit disheartening to hear about their communication, but, I will work with them for as long as I can, then will move on if it no longer is a fit.

  3. Your mention of the small development team reminds me why I left way back when it was still RB. I was fairly active in the community.

    I had loads of consultancy work with one client who usually wanted the source code. When I produced an excellent windows solution for one of their requirements and they were pleased with it till I told them it was developed in RB.

    We agreed that I would contact Geoff, offer to sign an NDA if he would answer a couple of questions regarding the number of developers and the security of RB for the future.

    My client was happy to answer my assurance that I was satisfied with the response.

    Unfortunately, the only reply I got was “We don’t discuss commercially sensitive matters”

    I rewrote the project in Turbo C, I think.

    I carried on using RB for personal projects for a while but I never offered it as a solution to another client.

  4. I would guess that most people leave Xojo when they determine that xPlat is not really what they’re looking for and they can do what they want much better by focusing on their target. This is to be expected of course as xPlat will always be a compromise.

    I would suggest a better question would be “Why do people stay with Xojo for 20+ years?”. Yes there’ll be inertia – it’s what I know & I don’t want to change, but there’s more to it than that, there’s innovation. When I first started with Xojo there was no concept of a Web Application, an iOS app wasn’t even on the radar. Innovation has happened and can’t be denied. Being able to use my ORM classes in both Desktop & Web apps. But yes iOS is the orphan that needs some TLC (and will be getting it as part of the upgrade to mobile to include Android).

    So is Xojo a tool that helps me or hinders me?

    I’m staying with Xojo because as a Windows Service developer it is so much easier to build an app with Xojo than with MS Visual Studio, and of course I’m looking forward to Web 2.0 (I know you hate 2.0 Bob) & eventually full mobile.

    Bob good luck with your hunt for a replacement & I’m looking forward to what you find.

    • I hate Web 2.0? I’ve not seen it or used it yet so how can I have an opinion?

      If you mean API 2.0 I don’t hate it. It has changes that makes a lot of sense. It’s the changes that don’t make sense that irritate me. A language standards body that many dev languages have would have prevented the issues we experienced at release, IMO. But as outlined above I don’t see it ever happening so we are at the whims of a very small development group that hasn’t communicated well.

  5. Why do you have the impression that people are leaving?

    There are developers coming and going in the Xojo world. Yes, some are more vocal, but your reports on the other development tools show us what Xojo has to offer.

    And we got more requests for Xojo related work than we can handle.

    • He asks for the reasons WHY people are leaving. He didn‘t say new ones are not coming.

      It is a very valid question: how far can Xojo get you until you hit its limits. Some might never hit them. But quite a few have moved on because they did.

      You yourself as a plugin developer help to push those limits further out. So the question should be of particular relevance to you: what can you offer developers to help them stay with Xojo by using your plugins?

  6. Lots of good points Bob. I’ve been frustrated with minimal public communication, long-standing bugs, years to ship Web 2.0, docs issues, and new bugs introduced in updates.

    I’ve been a Xojo/RealStudio/RealBasic user since 1998 and prefer to use Xojo, but all this time waiting caused me to experiment by moving code to PHP and haven’t experienced any of these issues. Ironically, PHP feels more like Xojo than Xojo to me.

    What really drives me nuts is that Xojo is becoming less cross-platform. An example of this is http://docs.xojo.com/URLConnection.Error where you have to look up error codes based on the platform. I realize that URLConnection uses native calls, but the reason I love Xojo is how it abstracts platform differences.

    What I need from Xojo is to be able to keep up. I hope that Web 2.0 will be what I understand from the demos over the past years, but when will it ship? And when will the post shipping bugs be fixed?

    In the meantime, PHP doesn’t have these problems. My plan is to press forward with PHP and evaluate Xojo Web 2.0 when it becomes available.

  7. I’m one of those that has dipped in and out of RB/Xojo since RB5.5. I have a Mac/Win app that makes a bit of beer money and started to mess with a web app as well as an iOS app.

    Web frustrated the hell out of me, so I jumped back to PHP and Laravel. Oh sweet. Then the iOS app started to piss me off in Xojo, then Android demand came, so built it in Appcelerator. Made a few $ in both stores. Not life changing!

    I didn’t renew my Desktop subscription this year, (down from pro a while ago) as my desktop app is getting maintenance and small updates. It now frustrates me when go back to the Xojo IDE after spending time in PHPStorm or VSCode.

    I just naturally have moved on. If I get the x-plat need again, it’s either Xojo or Electron depending on what I need to do.

  8. While I am not “leaving Xojo”, I am suspending all current and future license renewals based on what I consider to be the “Great API 2.0 Debacle of 2019”. This coupled with their lack of communication (still have several polite emails left unanswered). And the fact that there really seems to be little forward motion.

    The fact that Xojo is xPlat was not a draw for me, but I used it to create Windows versions just “because I could”, not becuase I needed to. And iOS (for me) has never gotten past the “Lego” stage, and seems to be a platform requiring mostly declares to get anything done. And I seriously doubt that Android will ever be must better.

    So I have decided instead to focus my efforts on completing my own develiopement platform which will be similar to Xojo in some way, but will produce Xcode compiliable source code for both iOS and macOS devices

  9. Like Dave, I’m not leaving the Xojo world since I have too many projects and contracts that require it. However, I don’t plan on renewing my pro licence until a stable desktop release is available that I need to support some new evil that Apple or MS has added to their OS. I also plan to ditch the pro licence in favor of a desktop one, since the other offerings (iOS, Web, and probably Android) are really not pro level.

    API 2.0 was a solid poke in the eye with a sharp stick, and the bad taste lingers in my mouth.

    As I’ve stated before, Xojo is a love/hate relationship with me, which causes a lot of unnecessary stress. The rapid release model has not worked. Just a way for Xojo to increase revenue using FOMO. It’s always three steps forward and two steps back (if you’re lucky).

  10. Personally, I left after years of seeing Xojo’s absolutely zero love for the Windows target platform. Instead of taking to opportunity to move to modern Windows UI controls with Windows 8/10 they introduced iOS target. Now with Windows 7 EOL Xojo is focusing on bringing yet another crippled target – Android. I had much hope for Web 2.0 (we even completed a couple of Web 1.0 projects that still work fine) but alas – Xojo development seems to be focusing on other things like API 2.0…
    I have mixed emotions – both sadness after about 20 years with Xojo and anger with myself for not taking this step earlier. I held out for too long, but as you put it Bob – Xojo was simply too good and hard to find a replacement for.

    • That‘t what I don‘t get. The way Xojo ignores what made it special, its core market: cross-platform desktop development.

      Maybe it’s no longer a viable market. Maybe they got lured by the much bigger mobile market. But they seem to have forgotten a core tenant of any work:

      “If you do something, then it is worth doing it well. Because otherwise it is not worth doing it.”

      • Totally agree. Due to Apple’s “short” support cycles for OS:es, Xojo is dragged (probably kicking and screaming) into the future, bringing modern macOS functionality to the product. Microsoft on the other hand allowed users to be on Windows 7 for way too long.

        Supporting Dark Mode on Windows?
        Working HiDPI on Windows in Xojo?

      • If they’ve been lured by the mobile market they’ve not implemented their solution very well. iOS development with Xojo is terrible. I hope it will improve when/if API 2.0 supports comes to iOS and when/if they support Interops. They’ve been banging on about android for ages but if their iOS offering is anything to go by I suspect Android will be poor too.

  11. Good, well thought out article, Bob. I haven’t left Xojo so much as de-emphasized it. I picked up RealBasic in 2005 because a) my boss was a Basic programmer and didn’t want to learn a new language, and b) they had a promotion going where RealBasic was free to Windows programmers, in order to attract VB6 refugees.

    The first thing I did was develop an ORM database framework and a reporting framework. And subclass the heck out of every single window and control. That created a real RAD environment that we got very comfortable with. I became very active in the forum and the community, to the point where on the old forum, I had twice as many posts as the second most active poster.

    In 2013, I realized that the Way Forward for us was Web. Unfortunately, my excitement over Xojo Web fizzled very quickly. I moved that development initiative to PHP and Drupal. Another issue we had was a high level of frustration with the new IDE. And finally, I realized that it would be much harder to find and hire new Xojo developers, compared to PHP developers.

    I hesitate to call my Xojo projects “legacy”, as they are still being actively used and enhanced, but most of our new projects are PHP. I think the writing is on the wall.

    • Boy would I love to read a more in depth account of this. Why did you choose php and drupal over other tools, what are the good and the bad points as compared to an ide such as Xojo and most of all why do you believe the writing is on the wall for desktop development. You say you have Xojo applications not only still out there but being enhanced. Is that just because they exist and it’s too much work to retire them for the web out are they in niches that are better done as desktop applications still. In particular I wonder about applications that interact heavily with a multitude of devices.

      • By the way you are a great loss to the forum. At the risk of banging the same drum over and over, the fact that the huge amount you and others contributed was effectively thrown away is an indictment of the forum migration.

        I’ve been looking at drupal, totally free, millions of users and over 100,000 active contributors to the codebase, very many of them funded by companies using drupal for their websites. Incredible when you think about it. I’ve also just watched some videos on YouTube. None of them about coding unfortunately. I’m finding it hard to visualize how an equivalent of a desktop type app would be constructed.

        • Thanks. I’m actually enjoying my time off the forum – I did spend far too much time on it, so only having read access is good for me, even though I sometimes find myself despairing somewhat when my advice could be useful.

          I’m using the time gained currently to work my way through Matt Neuburg’s excellent books on programming with Swift – it is actually a very elegant and easy language. If it becomes usable on Windows too then I know where I go next …

          • There are several tools in this sort of state.
            If MS made VS code + Xamarin work well on macOS it could take off there – but they have no real interest in that
            If Swift and its UI toolkits worked well on Windows/MS platforms it too could take off – but Apple has no huge burning desire to do that.

          • I think the difference is that Apple open-sourced Swift, and there seems to be quite an active community trying to get it to work on Windows. There also seem to be a few companies supporting the development but who knows …

        • Yeah, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to create a desktop-type app in Drupal. It turns out you can do it, but we’re kind of an anomaly in the Drupal world. It took some effort. But with the use of Panels and Views you can create a typical header/line item presentation (such as an invoice or order form) that looks very much like the desktop counterpart. Drupal has a very robust database framework, once you get past the vertigo of not having a traditional table structure. The benefit is that every field is indexed by default, so even complex queries are very fast.

      • We chose PHP because web. And I already had a PHP programmer. We chose Drupal on the advice of a friend, who also provided invaluable assistance and guidance in getting up to speed. Drupal provides a great deal of functionality out of the box. I never want to hand-code a login page again! Let the experts deal with that. On the other hand, there are some frustrating things about open source. The core, heavily used parts are very solid, but when you get out to more fringe, specialized functionality, the quality is hit or miss.

        We use phpstorm for our IDE and it is awesome.

        My existing Xojo products are just too big to port to the web. And it would be a tough sell to ask my clients to switch from something that works really well and has no latency issues to a web-based replacement that may not be as responsive as they’re used to. Those products will be phased out over time simply by attrition.

  12. We agree that xojo does not offer the best solutions for everything. I would say look for a platform in which you feel good and with which you can do what is not going well with Xojo. You will certainly return to Xojo often because there are a lot of things Xojo is really good at. By using more than 1 development environment and programming language, you are moreover less at the mercy of the risks and uncertainties of a tool and you are flexible and get best of both worlds.

  13. I left when they rewrote RBScript with the new LLVM compiler. It may or may not have run faster once it got going but it for sure took much, much longer to start running a script.

    My RBScript scripts now took 10 times longer or more to run which completely broke my app’s fundamental use-case. RealSoftware were non-responsive to the issues I raised.

  14. I’m a new user, probably a little over a year under my belt. I’m always shocked when I hear that someone is using Xojo for anything OTHER than x-platform development. I can’t imagine why someone would use it if they were targeting just Windows or MacOS. There are so much better tools for that purpose.

    I believe Xojo is by far the easiest method to create a X-platform app from scratch. Nothing else even comes close. Also, as I use it, I do see how it does make a few things even easier than my favourite IDE, Visual Studio. I would love to see a Xojo plugin for VS that gives the amazing debugging and text editing tools that VS has to creation of Xojo apps.

    It’s growing on me, and because I’m firmly entrenched in X-Platform and don’t have the time to learn how to program Macs, I expect I’ll be here for a while.

    Xojo should absolutely concentrate on being the very best Cross-Platform development platform, I think that’s where their strength is.

    • Cross platform on the desktop is their USP my opinion. I think if they would have focused on that and not gone after web and mobile they’d be in a better place today. It may be a declining market but there’s a lot of mileage left in it particularly when others are focusing elsewhere.

      • Looking back through the wayback machine I tend to think that as a small development company they would have been better off not doing web and mobile. If I look back at my thoughts when Xojo web was introduced they were basically: it’s interesting but flawed and I’d rather have had new desktop improvements. My thoughts when iOS was introduced was basically: it’s flawed and without Android it’s useless and that I’d rather have new desktop improvements. See the thread?

        With all that said, I’ve used Xojo web on a number of consulting projects and iOS on one consulting project. I fully support Web 2.0 and hope they can pull it off. iOS is barely adequate and I fear that Android will be the same way.

    • Keep in mind that many users are not programmers per se, but Scientists, Engineers, Technicians, etc that use their expert knowledge to write apps that are useful in their work – and that need to be cross-platform (eg students and co-workers use different platforms from you). They are called “citizen developers”, only have time to learn ONE language (it’s not their job to programm those apps), and they chose Xojo BECAUSE of the cross-platform capability.

      And even if they start out just writing apps for themselves and target just ONE platform, cross-platform might become important down the line, so for their purpose cross-platform is an important selection criterium. I know that was the case for me.

      • Markus,

        That is how and why I got started with RB all those years go (RAD , Platform and easy), though I had coded significantly in other languages before that.

  15. 2019 R3.1 released this week to fix a critical database bug and a new fairly critical database bug discovered. The API 2.0 rollout may take a year to get fully fixed. 🙁

    • And that is what I directly attribute to the Rapid Release Model.

      Release features when they are good and tested, not half-baked when they make a release unusable.

  16. Bob, could you maybe post your list which versions you consider unsuitable for what? And which ones are recommended? That is the kind of information that I consider essential for developers but that is nowhere to be found.

    • That’s a tough one, really. Just because I’m using an IDE on a project doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone. And that, in my opinion, is one of the larger problems with Xojo: never knowing which release is good or bad.

      Right now, I’d say the safest release is 2019 R1.1. If you stay away from API 2.0 2019 R3.1 seems to be okay but I’ve not used it enough to give it my blessing for others.

  17. I’m driven away from Xojo because using their tools sucks. I’ve said that often before. The IDE is really bad in terms of navigation, even compared to the previous Real Studio IDE. It requires more mouse movements and clicks than previously, less is doable with the keyboard shortcuts, and finding my way around in large projects is also worse than in the older IDE, because the Back button is very often failing, and there’s no History menu.

    All things Xojo Inc could easily fix if they just wanted. But they don’t seem to care, despite claiming the opposite at conferences every time.

    I don’t trust Geoff – he’s not true to his words and tries to protect his company too hard instead of admitting what everyone knows already anyway: That they’re understaffed and cannot handle the load. Yet, they keep trying to expand Xojo’s reach without having the staff to support it.

    There’s just no future in Xojo. It’s just lingering along. And while Geoff knows this, he cannot openly admit it because then he won’t only lose those who learned this the hard way being long-time followers but won’t be able to attract the new ones, who are still clueless (and that’s what Xojo caters to, mainly).

  18. With great interest we read the discussions about the current state of Xojo.
    We have been working with Xojo for about 8 years now. For over 25 years we have worked with various programming languages (including dBase/Clipper, 4D, Filemaker, Delphi). Our main app we are currently creating for Windows and macOS.
    For new projects and for the redesign of our main product we don’t want to use Xojo anymore, because we don’t trust Xojo anymore and Xojo has no future from our point of view.

    Some reasons for us:
    – Xojo Inc. does not behave towards professional developers as a serious and reliable partner.
    – Massive problems and errors are usually not solved in the short term, if at all.
    – Updates are often beta versions that solve some problems but create new problems.
    – Old versions are not maintained. One is forced to use Xojo versions (e.g. 2019 R2+) with substantial changes, e.g. to solve a current problem with macOS.
    – For many problems one must work laboriously through the forum. From Xojo there is no direct information. For example, a list like “What you have to consider under Catalina when using Xojo 2019 R1” is meant. Xojo-Feedback doesn’t seem helpful to me either, because often there is no concrete information about bug fixing.
    – Instead of worrying about the problems that have been around for years, such as anachronistic IDE, outdated design e.g. under Windows, limited number of controls and many more, more and more operating systems had to be supported. The end result is a patchwork quilt with sometimes very modest features (e.g. for iOS).

    One of our main problems: On certain Windows PCs (certain hardware and certain Windows 10 update) suddenly crashed while executing arbitrary Xojoscript code. We have diligently written error messages in the feedback. The whole thing cost us several hours. The workflow is always the same: gain time, keep the user busy, create sample programs and debug logs, etc. Since the Xojo sample code (buddhabrot) also crashed, we hoped for a quick solution. At some point we got the message that the Xojo developers couldn’t reproduce this despite all the information. Since our customers of course did not accept that they could not print on certain PCs after a Windows update for example, we had to remove Xojo script with great effort and program new solutions. After this incident we could hardly imagine working with Xojo for the next years.

    In the last months we have evaluated various programming languages and tools. These are our findings:

    – We prefer the development with Javascript e.g. with the following stack:
    – Frontend: React, alternatively Angular
    – CSS: Material and / or Tailwind or Boostrap
    – Test framework: Jest
    – Backend: NodeJS/Express or NextJS, alternatively: Golang / GO
    – Database: Postgres in conjunction with GraphQL
    – Mobile: PWA with React, alternatively Angular
    – Mobile “native” iOS / Android if desired: React Native, alternatively Flutter
    – Desktop Win/macOS/Linux if desired: Electron
    – IDE: Visual Studio Code, alternatively WebStorm
    – Serverless Hosting: Docker / Kubernetes via AWS or Heroku, AWS-Amplify, AWS-Lamda
    – Local hosting if desired: Docker Containers

    The mentioned stack is of course much more complicated and more complex than Xojo. Also the learning effort should not be underestimated. From our point of view, there are many arguments for such a stack: excellent IDE with many extensions, GIT integrated into the IDE, huge communities, thousands of commercial and non-commercial components and templates, maintenance of the frameworks via big players like Facebook and google in conjunction with the communities, millions of javascript developers world wide and much more.
    In addition, in recent years, especially under macOS, it has become more and more difficult and expensive for developers to create software and deliver it to customers, especially without AppStore (Hardening, Notarization). However, the web browser will always be supported. The operating system on the client is less important.
    So it’s time for us to say goodbye to Xojo

  19. Like many here I have a love hate relationship with Xojo. I came from a Windows background and although I was programming in Java, PHP and C/C++ back then, when we needed a quick solution we were hacking something up in VB 6.0. When Apple switched to Intel back in 2006 I gave it a try and got my first Macbook. I was very excited back then when I found out about Realbasic back then: I could hack some stuff together on a Mac too. Also I never got warm with Objective C. I even wrote my BSc thesis project in Realbasic (I went to Uni in my mid-30s).

    But it took not long for me to realize that Xojo had its issues: if you wanted some special features you had to buy plug-ins. Also it was clear that the cross-platform was just a nice marketing feature. Realbasic/Xojo always was the Basic for the Mac that could also compile on Windows (and to some extend on Linux if you used the right distro with some strange libraries).

    The major problems I see with Xojo are the following:

    (1) Xojo Inc. hates its heritage. It was a Basic language and a lot of people are using Xojo just because of that. However they always had a problem with that bad Basic-reputation. So they changed things to satisfy people who wouldn’t use Xojo anyway. They changed the name from Realbasic to Xojo just to get rid of the Basic name. With the API 2.0 they now get rid of Basic-style stuff like Dim etc. It is understandable that it alienates people who came to Xojo/Realbasic because it was a Basic-dialect.

    (2) They say they are Xplatform but they are not really. They are simple the Basic for the Mac that can also compile on Windows. IMO Web was done in first place because they wanted to get somehow onto the iPhone early. They neglected Windows for so long…

    (3) Xojo Inc is not sure who their customer base should be. They try to concentrate the hobbyists but need the the professionals who have the money to buy the pro-licenses. The result is that they alienate the pros because their IDE is so awful, awkward and ugly. It lacks features like SCM integration, automated builds, compiling from the command line and and and

    (4) They are understaffed. Xojo Inc should have at least 10 times more developers than they currently have. So every of their projects takes years to finish. Still they have to many projects…

    (5) The community is too old. This maybe has to do with the Basic heritage, but without a lot of young people you cannot grow. And for youngsters Xojo appears not to be cool enough.

    IMO Xojo will be around as long as Geoff does not retire. So I’m pretty sure it will be around in 10 years.
    15 years ago Realbasic had potential. Today Xojo still has potential. But it is not enough if nothing is done with this potential.
    For the first time in a very long time I am really thinking about not renewing my license this year. As I’m working as a freelance project manager and do not program anymore I do not need it, I just used it for inhouse stuff which I can still do with the older versions of the IDE. So, yes I’m also probably leaving…

    • > (5) The community is too old.
      I guess at 45 I’m ready for the graveyard.;-)
      With a community like Statler & Waldorf Xojo is doomed.

  20. B4X have just this week announced that they are going to go open source and no longer charge for the two of their four products that were not free.
    The motivation behind the move is that they are not as widely used as they feel they should be. They believe that having the source code closed puts many customers off while charging (even the modest fee that they do) is also holding back adoption.
    Simultaneously, they have lined up an investor in the company.
    Clearly this should help increase the rate of adoption particularly from students and young people but as to what their plan is on how to make money, I don’t know.
    Would it be by pivoting into a company that primarily exists to use their own tools on a consultancy basis for large corporations?

    • It sounds like they make money on two of their four products. Open source probably isn’t the panacea they many believe it to be but their investor probably believes so.

      I’ve believed that Xojo could use a consulting arm for nearly two decades. If they created one they would have more impetus to fix parts of their product. And it would create another revenue stream, one that has the potential of paying for product development better than just our sales.

      • Nothing like dogfooding to learn what really needs attending to. Failing that the next best thing would be closer collaboration with people who are Xojo consultants.
        I have some recollection of Christian offering to help develop parts of Xojo as a way of helping his own business, maybe I’m mis-remembering.
        It would be fantastic to hear of something like this happening.
        What Xojo have achieved down the years is incredible but they’ve also shipped a lot of criticism which if I were them would have me feeling very defensive. It’s hard to listen to your critics but when it comes form long term users like such as yourself, it’s coming from people who fundamentally wish them to do well.

    • Yes. Incredibly verbose language. Drove me nuts (and I loved HyperCard):

      C: “Salt!”

      Xojo: “Please give me the salt.”

      LiveCode: “If it doesn’t inconvenience you, Sir, would you mind terribly to pass me the little salt shaker? But only if you really don’t mind. Thanks. And sorry again for your troubles. Most kind, Sir.”

  21. Hope is not a viable long term business model.

    Perpetually hoping that “the next version will be better” isn’t a way to build or sustain any business. The next version _may_ well be better, but as others have noted old bugs may reappear or new bugs that cause different issues, possibly worse than the ones you already have, isn’t a great position for any of us or Xojo to be in.

    A lot of us hope it will be better.
    But years of hoping have soured many that it will actually be true.

    Xojo needs to take steps so their tool is seen as reliable. As reliable as say Xcode, Visual Studio and the frameworks that underpin them. Neither of those is perfect BUT when they fix a bug it remains fixed and the frameworks they rely on are very solid and reliable. Yes they both still have bugs but again once fixed they generally stay fixed. And new things are _generally_ well tested once they get released (again not perfect but usually quite solid)

    Xojo needs to be there

  22. Has Xojo stated what happens with the their source code if the company goes under? Does Xojo fund a legal framework to make sure customers have access to source code if such an event occurs under Chap 7 parameters with no sale of intellectual property etc?

    • I know this question has been asked before but the answer was along the lines of “There are plans in place” but beyond that I dont recall anything more specific

  23. Nah, if you can say you’ve been with a dev tool for 20 years you’re already way ahead of the pack. You’ve missed several steep learning curves and nasty refactors when your dev tool vendor pulled the plug.

    You’ve also missed having to learn different languages/frameworks for different platforms and your libraries can be easily ported and often don’t need to be.

    The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence but in Xojo’s case it’s hard to find a substitute. But if you want platform-specific eye-candy Xojo is not for you and never was. But I’ve saved heaps in licence fees building Linux services without cutting myself off from the Windows and Mac worlds where users live. So Xojo is quite strategic that way.

    For those professional devs who have grown out of Xojo after 20 years, good luck to you but it takes about five seconds to grow out of most of the easy-to-use alternatives.

    • I agree. As a xojo/realbasic user since 2000 I am frustrated, but I have been dumped by other tools too. My app originally was developed in Turbo Pascal for Windows and Borland Pascal 7.0 starting in 1992. They were dumped for Delphi and Delphi did not do what I needed to do at that time. Think Pascal was used as the mac side and also died a miserable death. Many other tools came and went. Embarcadero tools are a combination of crap and unaffordable even though on paper they look superior. Open source is too slow in development to be competitive (Lazarus is a good example). There are only two solid reliable tools: Visual Studio and Xcode. Both don’t perform cross platform. For IOS, I would never use Xojo, I would go to Xcode because it is not cross compatible with other versions anyway.

      I understand their problems because I have also dumped my customers in the cold because I just did not have the capability to update the software and put food on the table at the same time.

      So in the end I have just renewed my license because while Xojo sucks at a lot of points, the alternatives are even worse for me.

      BTW I like what I see with API 2.0 and it has fixed some serious issues for me.

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