Xojo MVP’s

Xojo announced today the creation of the Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) advisory board. More information here: https://www.xojo.com/mvp/

Having ‘known’ these five Xojo developers for many years (mostly online and a few in person) I think they are an excellent group to advise Xojo. Most of these developers have many years of Xojo experience ranging from being 3rd party control and library developers to consultants to commercial application developers.

It makes me happy that every single one of the developers on the Advisory Board is what I would call part of the ‘professional’ developers of Xojo. It is surprising, however, that there are no ‘citizen’ developers on the board. So I call this a mixed signal to who Xojo is trying to appeal to (obviously it’s everybody but I think you get my point).

The Association of REALbasic Professionals (ARBP) tried to do this ten years ago with no success. The groups mission was to help inform Xojo (then Real Software) on what the professionals wanted out of the tool. If I recall correctly the only thing that was ever implemented out of our top 5 list was reporting. Grids, PDF support, and more basic controls never materialized. Sadly, we all still want those options.

It’s not being said but I believe the MVPs Advisory Board is a direct response to the virulently negative (and vocal) reaction by some Xojo developers had with the rollout of API 2.0. I am one of those developers and it is no big surprise that I was not invited to be on this board and, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I would have accepted anyway.

We don’t know how the advisory board works, or even if it will significantly change how Xojo approaches future changes. Even if they do have significant input I’m not sure we’d know unless Xojo specifically tells us.

Good luck to this group and Xojo: There are some relationships to mend.

What are your thoughts about the MVP’s?

64 thoughts on “Xojo MVP’s

  1. 1st thought: MVPs???
    2nd thought: MVPs is lame. Should have just called them Advsory board.
    3rd thought: Hmmm. Seems like they picked the people who criticised them the least. Cheerleaders?
    4th thought: But that might just be me – Scientists love and invite differing opinions (we just hate idiots sticking to their opinion rather than accepting facts) so I would have taken on my biggest critic. Bob … or Norman? HA!
    4.1 thought: „Keep your friends close … and your enemies closer …“
    5th thought: Will be interesting to see what happens if one of them criticises them.
    6th thought: Ah well, baby steps … give them a chance …
    7th thought: … though I expect that it is just a PR exercise and their input will be ignored …

    P.S. thought: I‘m thinking to much …! 🤔

  2. I have about 4 hours of IDE time, created 3 *small* programs that actually run and am now miffed I am not an MVP.

    I guess after a decade or two of paying a subscription fee, I might get there.

    ;>

  3. Bob,

    While i think you are right about one of the reasons for no “citizen developers” being included, it could also be that in general they don’t think we have enough It save to be useful in such a capacity… We certainly don’t spend as much time day and day out with the product. I can spend spend a lot of time for a few weeks but then not do any coding for a month or two. (then I start missing doing it!)…

    Right now most of my free time is being taken up on planning a bathroom remodel for example (and I thought you had to be detailed oriented for coding! 😉 )

  4. The fact that Bob wasn’t invited says a lot, when you think about it.
    Bob says he might well have not accepted an invitation anyway but I think he might have if he received assurances that this wouldn’t be just a PR exercise.
    As regards the information given on the actual role of this board, all it says is

    >>Our MVPs will be acting as an advisory board to help us make Xojo even better!

    Could you get more nebulous and vague?

    I’ve seen most of those board members on the forum aka message BOARD where their and everyone else’s ideas (except Markus!) are openly available.
    A fig leaf for Xojo and a flattering bauble for the chosen ones about sums this up, I’d say.

    • Nah. I’ve had a very public spat with the company so no biggie. I can see why they wouldn’t want me as on the Advisory Board (AB). Though I could argue that having me on it would say more to the community than not.

      I’ve had a good 20 year run with the product and I hope that 2019 was just blip in my long relationship with Xojo. For all of my criticisms, Xojo has many unique features that no other product has come close to matching.

      • Speaking as a long time user, the thing about having long relationship with the product is that one tends to get more frustrated with it’s limitations and it’s necessary foibles

        • The frustration is definitely there. How long have we wanted a better grid, date, time, and calendar controls, and the ability to do anything with PDF’s (to name a few)? From my perspective the things I want the most are ignored and instead I’m getting targets that I don’t need for my day-to-day work.

          2019 was not a good year for Xojo. Let’s hope that 2020 is better.

          • Xojo will never have those as

            – third party solutions are available
            – it means stepping on third-party toes

            So add improved reporting to the list.

  5. Hopefully the company is serious and knows how to use an “Advisory Board”. MVP is definitely not the best description for this special group in any company. Xojo (Geoff) needs to make sure their meetings are regular, formalized with meeting minutes, and actually making progress, etc. Those with access to the Beta Testers group (Pro licenses?) should receive a summary of the meeting minutes. Otherwise, the Xojo community won’t find an Advisory Board as being worth very much. Also, others with no personal relationship with Xojo staff, but who are definitely professional long-term developers with Xojo and other tools still want their voices heard.

    • I seriously doubt it’s going to be anything that formalized. From conversations with a few of the MVP’s they don’t know what all is involved yet. They’ve all signed NDA’s too so we may never hear anything.

  6. You guys can read how FileMaker does it:

    https://partner.filemaker.com/s/fpc

    We don’t expect Xojo to duplicate it. But I’d expect at least a quarterly meeting, regular news published on what they discussed about, Xojo Inc. acknowledging what changes were made based on the board. And finally a plan on how to rotate members.

    For XDC it would be great to have a session with those members on the stage, Xojo staff and they explain how the board works, what they discussed so far and what they plan to do.

  7. I have heard for years about people wanting xojo to have PDF support. Having worked with several different PDF libraries for years, I just don’t see how xojo would ever have the time and expertise to incorporate any sort of comprehensive PDF library into the product. If they do end up adding something I’m afraid it will be lame an extremely limited. I would prefer leaving that to the third party market . Einhugur has a nice class and obviously dynapdf is extremely capable.

    • Einhugur PDF plugin is built on Open Source Code… Xojo Inc could do the same thing.

      The Einhugur plugin is nowhere near as extensive as DynaPDF, but it does the basic stuff that most need.

      That level of PDF support SHOULD be built into Xojo at this point IMO to be called a RAD environment for developing most business applications.

      • SHOULD it be build in? Yes.

        Is it a priority? No.

        Is is smart for Xojo to damage it’s small third-party market? Hell no.

        • Well, I think you can have it both ways. Have very basic PDF capabilities built-in but if you need anything beyond that then you have to go to the 3rd party market. Think reporting: The built-in reporting tool is pretty weak and if you want more capabilities then you can go to Valentina, or BKS Shorts, and probably one or two others.

          • Your argument only works if your third party customers all need advanced capabilities. But I’d bet most would be happy with decent basic capabilities (like Einhugur’s pdf). I’d also bet that Jim’s DataView got a lot more users when Einhugur abandoned its Grid control – there was no other choice. But luckily Einhugur is cheap enough to still be worth it even without the Grid control.

            Basically:

            You want basic pdf capabilities? Einhugur.

            You want massiv pdf capabilities? MBS.

            Xojo gets basic pdf. Einhugur will suffer.

            Xojo has laughable reporting.

            You want excellent reporting? Shorts or Valentina.

            Xojo improves its reporting to basic level. A lot fewer people will buy Shorts or Valentina.

  8. I think you have it wrong Markus. The health of its add-on market is almost never a priority for the product that’s being added on to, nor should it be.
    Only a tiny percentage of Xojo users would ever buy an add-on if the general experience of add-on makers applies to Xojo as well.
    If PDF capabilities of something a large percentage of its users want then then it would make sense for Xojo to add that in itself because it would likely drive sales of Xojo. Being able to point to an add-on is not going to boost sales to people who feel your product should have such a feature builtin.

    • You’d be right if Xojo was a big company with many engineers (like Apple, Microsoft, Google who don’t need to care about what developers do), but Xojo’s engineering staff is frightfully small. As it is they have too much on their plate already, and in the current situation undermining the third party market would harm Xojo in two ways, not just one: delay important new developments (like Web 2.0) and harm the very add-on market making Xojo a viable market for professionals.

      And while the professionals are a small percentage of the user base, they are a larger percentage of the revenue, and have an even stronger effect on the community. Who do you think answers all those questions? And how many FileMaker developers gave Xojo a try because of Tim Dietrich? How many more used his Aloe? And how will they react now that he left Xojo behind? (see https://timdietrich.me/blog/xojo-2019-r2/).

      If you want to make an argument then you need to take the specific circumstances into account, you can’t argue with general “wisdom” because that leads to failure aka bankruptcy. Even Apple made that mistake and nearly went under, and Microsoft lost tons of money for the same reason. IBM is the next giant falling into that trap.

      It’s not a “one size fits all”.

      • Maybe you are correct Markus but then again I think that part of the reason why Xojo can afford so few developers is because it’s left the development of what should be built in features to add-on developers while they focused on the latest shiny new thing.

        • Can’t disagree with that assessment. In my opinion basic functionality needs to be rock solid and dependable. There are way too many serious bugs in Xojo, and every time one is fixed a new one pops up (like objects not being released in the latest one that Norman discovered).

  9. Well, seems the first action of our MVPs was to lock the thread “Why is Xojo so slow” under the pretense that “ the thread has run its course”. Now that’s a new one to me. And no, there was nothing in the thread that was against forum rules, just observations that on some systems Xojo AND apps compiled with Xojo are very slow, especially in dark mode.

    Not what I would call “their finest hour” …

    • Totally agree. Locking that thread made no sense. No one brought up competing products or was being obnoxious.

      My initial beef is that originally it was a generic “moderator”. But it’s since been changed to one of the MVPs. Not sure that’s it’s ‘better’ now that we know it wasn’t locked by a Xojo employee…

    • Unbelievable is what it is. Not least because when a thread had run its course it dies a natural death and so there’s would be no need to lock it.
      We’ve been used to this ridiculous justification from Xojo employees for a long time. Getting it from one of the newly appointed MVPs supported by a second MVP not only confirms my suspicions about the reasoning behind the setting up of this grouping it for much further. The MVP advisory body is a joke. Can someone set up an alternative Xojo forum please?

      • I don’t think that’s quite fair. The thread was well over 100 posts long, the first half of which contains multiple engineer responses and links to Feedback cases. I think it probably had run its course in terms of usefulness by the end and there’s nothing to spot a new thread being started.

        • It’s not uncommon to find old threads with new, pertinent information added to them years later. Anticipating that a thread is “done” on a tech forum is rather silly — are they going to start locking all threads after a certain period of time? What is the measure for “this thread is done”? Does anyone think it will be consistently applied to posts by the moderators?

        • Was the problem solved? No? Then it hasn’t “run its course”. Simple as that.

          And why this one and not other long-running threads? Some have run for over a thousand posts without being locked.

          And as Aaron says, there a lots of threads that get added to over time until a solution is available.

        • Gavin, the more I think about your reply the more it bothers me. “Not fair”? “Had probably run its course“?

          It is blatantly obvious that the given reason is nonsense, and the locking wrong.

          So why justify what can’t be justified? Whom are you trying to convince? My guess would be its yourself – and that is disturbing as that also implies you know its wrong but you still “toe the line”.

          It’s telling that your last sentence was “there’s nothing to stop a new thread being started” as that immediately invalidates your argument for locking …

          • And now we see the slippery slope of being an MVP. You feel obligated to defend the company regardless of what they do or you might lose the MVP status. Not saying that’s what’s going on but I’ve been in the position tying myself into knots to argue a position that’s not logic based.

  10. Hmm. I was not asked to be a forum moderator and like Bob wouldn’t have accepted the invitation. So it would seem that moderators are a different breed to MVPs.

    I too was not happy with the “Locked by ForumModerator1” and would have taken this up with Geoff if it hadn’t changed. A lack of anonymity is what makes the Xojo community one of the best!

    • I wasn’t happy about the anonymity either, even though I totally understood the goal of it. I think it might have caused more animosity in the long run so I’m glad they changed that decision. I too like the more personal nature of the forum.

  11. Is there any interest in setting up a third party Xojo forum? I’m happy to do it. A place to discuss Xojo without fear of posts being locked simply because they mention other products, etc?

    I know there’s the Discord server but I’m not a fan of that medium.

    Thoughts?

    • Personally I think this is a bad idea. The Xojo forum is *THE* place to go for information and another venue just dilutes the community.

      Think about how many people hung out on the old RB email list, for years, before it was finally killed. It was a good list but that knowledge base only grudgingly, if at all, went to the forums.

      My other fear is that it becomes a venue to air nothing but dirty laundry and grudges against Xojo. That tends to be pretty toxic.

      • Even if you DID create a new forum I expect that Xojo would not let you post references to it in their forum to attract people to using it.
        At best you would attract a small cadre of people much like the Discord server and new NUG have

    • I prefer independent forums ever since Dell closed theirs when user complaints about faulty hardware became too loud for Dell’s liking.

      It would still need moderation (eg remove spam, insults etc) but it would also allow talking about how other languages compare, advantages and disadvantages of Xojo, suitability of certain versions of Xojo (eg a thread for each version with collection of problems that make it unsuitable for certain projects, eg data corruption in SQL databases in one Xojo version comes to mind – that alone would be a very valuable resource).

  12. I don’t think it need dilute the community any more than your blog does, i.e. not at all. It could be an added resource for stuff that is not allowed on the official forum and could direct people there for technical answers.
    A place where people could call out Xojo for heavy handed moderation the main forum. But also a place where people could get in touch to do stuff like contact vendors (Server Warp thread) or even to buy and sell licenses.
    In other words do the stuff that isn’t allowed on the forum but still happens
    in a normal community.
    BTW there is already a Xojo subreddit. One of the moderators is a good guy but unfortunately he is also a Xojo employee.

  13. There looks to be some positivity about an additional forum resource. I shall get a domain, investigate forum software and report back. At least I can use something other than the terrible esoTalk software.

    Any recommendations?

        • I personally hate Stack Overflow and would prefer the old fashioned BB’s, like Purebasic is using (phpBB):

          https://www.purebasic.fr/english/index.php

          It performs fast and is easy on the eyes (doesn’t have a cluttered “modern” interface with large white spaces).

          At least choose one without “like”, “upvote”, “downvote” buttons.

          • up and downvote is, in my opinion, worth keeping to somehow flag “good” and answers

            one of the downsides to the existing forums is not being able to flag better or best answers and so new people may find answers that will lead them astray which is not generally a good thing

          • I’ve made some progress on this. I’ve spun up a server and installed Discourse on it. I really like this forum software. It’s closed to registration at the moment just while I set it up but hopefully we can do some good for the wider Xojo community with it.

            I’ve even written a custom plugin for light and dark mode with proper Xojo syntax highlighting (including &c Colors). Eat your heart out Xojo Inc!

            The URL will be https://ifnotnil.com once it’s up and running.

            Yes I’m aware of the irony in that If Not Nil is not valid Xojo (since Xojo hasn’t overridden the Not operator for Nil). It’s tongue in cheek. 🙂

    • What positives?
      Beside that you are maybe the one to decide what is allowed, I don’t see much to gain.

      Xojo Forum has about 19000 accounts, 600 active people within last months, 450 posted over 100 entries, 3500 users posted something, plus thousands just reading. This is huge compared to a potential other forum where you may just get 10 people complaining about Xojo Inc.

      • >> What positives?

        The way the current Xojo forum was set up had the distinct feel of (a) starting afresh without all the pesky complaint threads from the old forum (b) having staff moderate more closely, they are now continually on the forum liking and (occasionally) locking things from a standpoint of PR and (c) controlling users going forward by making everyone prove their identity (or else being labelled ‘Not verified’) and post under their real name and picture for all to see.
        It’s more like something China would come up with its citizens!
        To my mind it reflected a desire to suppress criticism rather than deal with the issues raised.
        It’s unhealthy, somewhere else is needed to provide some balance.

  14. Dang reply limits wont let me reply to you Gary

    > I’ve even written a custom plugin for light and dark mode with proper Xojo syntax highlighting (including &c Colors). Eat your heart out Xojo Inc!

    Would be curious what you based it on
    I’m sure its better than none though 🙂

    > Yes I’m aware of the irony in that If Not Nil is not valid Xojo (since Xojo hasn’t overridden the Not operator for Nil). It’s tongue in cheek. 🙂

    not sure what if not nil would even mean
    if you meant
    if not foo is nil
    thats a different issue since that has to do with operator precedence if you intended
    if not (foo is nil)
    not as a unary operator just has higher precedence than IS as far as I understand things

    • I was thinking more along the lines:

      If a Nil…

      The domain name only has to be memorable. Not necessarily meaningful 🙂

      As for the plugin, I wrote a custom syntax definition for highlight.js and then some custom JS that runs after the parsing phase, splitting up the colour token tagged by the highlighter into its constituent characters that are each given a custom span class that I can target with CSS.

    • I was going for :

      If a Nil

      but the domain name itself doesn’t need to be meaningful, only memorable 🙂

      As for the syntax highlighting, I wrote a Xojo language definition for highlight.js and then some custom JS that runs after the parsing phase. The JS splits any &c tokens into their characters and assigns each character a custom span class that I can target with CSS.

  15. I like Bob’s critical columns and reviews about Xojo and the discussions following. This one was clearly less. A bit of nagging about the forum that has brought us all so much. Probably just because Xojo prevents not to derail discussions too much in the wrong direction.

  16. Clearly there are some underlying issues with the community that Xojo needs to address. At first blush the MVP program is the start of an attempt at helping build bridges. There has been so little information shared with us on what the program will do that it was inevitable that there would be skepticism. More information is better with a program like this.

    It’s also quite clear that Xojo is gun-shy about their forums as it is, in my opinion, one of the strengths of the community. On one hand they want information that’s useful to the overall community and on the other they don’t want rants and less helpful information to sully the forum helpfulness. It’s a very fine line to walk sometimes.

    With the forum threads that were locked I think the moderation was too quick. I don’t think there was any nefarious intent behind the locking other than new moderators (non-Xojo employees at that) trying to do a good job and being a little too zealous. They have obviously heard the feedback and won’t be as quick next time.

    My official opinion is that having another forum is not helpful. The community is small enough as it is without fragmenting it with multiple forums. I have no problem with someone creating another forum but I simply wouldn’t expect anything useful to come out of it as I think it will tend to be the people with an axe to grind that use it the most.

    FWIW, I do think this thread has pretty much reached the end of its usefulness.

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