Lot’s of drama on the Xojo forums the past couple of days. People are gnashing teeth at perceived slips in timeframes that were really estimates at the 2013 Xojo Developers Conference. There’s also some gnashing of teeth going on whether or not Xojo Pro licenses will include iOS ot.
Xojo has a number of options in regards to feature sets, timeframes, and pricing. Let’s review:
One: They tell us nothing and release new features when they feel they’re ready. Always an option but not satisfying to the users especially at developers conferences. We go, in part, to find out about the new and upcoming features and provide some feedback. Without this information it’s hard to get excited about future releases.
Two: They tell us about possible features and give rough timeframes. They’ve done this in the past and it seems that once they say it, people assume that’s it’s gospel and that it will be in the next release. It doesn’t take long for people to complain about ‘missing’ features but at least the new features get released – eventually.
Three: They give us a timeframe and release regardless of whether it’s ready or not. It’s been a while, but I can remember new ‘features’ that did not work. Period. Not how I wanted them to work or even how they intended it (as in demo projects didn’t even work as intended). Thankfully they don’t pull crap like that anymore and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go back to that. Trust me, that lead to very pissed off customers and people leaving the community for good.
Of those three options, option two is the only viable one and is a balancing act. Unfortunately it leads to speculation, misinformation, pissed off users, and much trumpeting of outrage (real or feigned). I can live with this because option 1 is hard to deal with as a professional users and option 3 is simply unacceptable for any developer.
Pricing is a bit trickier since the new licensing scheme lets anyone use the IDE without buying a license. If you wish to build a final executable you need a license for the target. Theoretically, this should mean that when Xojo iOS is released anyone on a Mac can test it. It’s only when you want to build you’ll have to buy a license. Currently, Pro users can build for all known targets targets (note that this does not include iOS).
The question everyone is asking: Will current Professional license holders have to upgrade or will iOS be included? As with features and roadmaps it’s an irrelevant question right now. You either need the Pro license or you don’t. Forget about 3, 6 or 9 months from now. Buying a license now for a feature that doesn’t currently exist is kind of pointless. Get what you need now.
Honestly, I doubt that iOS will be included in current Pro licenses. Maybe I’m wrong but iOS is a HUGE deal. Perhaps the biggest deal Xojo/Real Software has ever done. If it were *MY* company iOS would be an additional cost even for existing Pro users though I’d give a nice discount for early adopters since there is a risk for those developers.
So my bit of advice is to hold tight. The 2014 Xojo Developer Conference is towards the end of March. That’s not very far away and in realistic terms it means that Xojo is already preparing for what they’re going to talk about at at the conference. I’m sure they already know what new features, updates, roadmaps and pricing they are revealing.
Watch this blog and I’m sure I’ll be writing about all of these things. Just take it all with a grain of salt. Oh, and I’m sure we’ll be reliving this conversation about the same time next year.