Xojo's 2016 Developers Conference

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Xojo's 2016 Developers Conference Overview

I flew back from the Xojo Developers Conference ( XDC ) on Saturday. After reflecting on the three day event, I couldn't be happier about developing software with Xojo. The Xojo Keynote covered the what is planned over the next year. Afterwards, fellow Xojo-er's presented their sessions including my session on 'Database Driven Design'. I discussed Xanadu, our code to make Xojo development using databases faster. All of the sessions were well put together as I learned something in each session I attended.

The following is what was discussed during the keynote and what that means regarding what we can do for you.

Xojo Keynote Stats and 20 Years

Geoff Perlmann, CEO of Xojo, discussed a few stats and went over the plan for what Xojo intends to do over the next year. This year 45% of the attendees were from overseas and 25% were first time attendees. The forums now now have 15k users which is a 15% increase over last year.

This year is Xojo's 20th Anniversary! I can't believe we've using Xojo since Version One!!! Geoff discussed how Xojo 'eats it's on dog food' which means they are using Xojo to develop Xojo. Xojo staff turn over has been extremely low over the past twenty years. Over that time, the following of software development platforms have stopped being supported:

What does this mean? This is great news. Xojo's been around for a long time and the developer community is expanding. The great thing about Xojo eating it's own dog food is that the Xojo engineers are using the same tool that they are developing / selling so they aren't just making apps for other people, but they are literally making the software they are using! Having a low staff turn over is an indication of happiness of the team which is excellent for a number of reasons. Looking that the list of platforms that are no longer supported just shows how picking a big name platform doesn't mean they'll be around for a long time. All of this makes Xojo a good AND safe choice.

Last Year and Next Year

Since last year, 949 bugs have been fixed and 187 new features have been added. A few major features have been added as well such as:
  • Being able to build apps for Raspberry Pi.
  • Replacing iOS Declares with Xojo methods.
  • Being able to build apps for 64bit.
  • Updates for Mac Retina and Windows HiDPI

Over the next year Xojo plans on the following:
  • The next version will be focusing on updating the Windows framework.
  • Q1 - Building 64bit apps will be out of beta.
  • Q1 - XojoScript will work in 64bit.
  • Q1 - Strings will be faster for Joining and Splitting.
  • Q1 - 64bit debugging will be ready.
  • Q1 - Windows Icons on Apps will be added.
  • Q1 - Debugging on Raspberry Pi will be added.
  • Q2 & 3 - 64bit will become the default. The IDE will be 64bit.
  • Q2 & 3 - The Xojo Framework will be ready for all targets, not just iOS.
  • Q2 & 3 - The plugin format will change so plugins can be written in Xojo.
  • Q4 - Interops will be added to enable calling declares like methods with type ahead and converted to Xojo data types.
  • Q4 - Android will be added as a new target, compatible with JellyBean 4.1 or later ( 97% of Androids ), and will compile to native controls and code.
What does this mean? In short, Xojo had a busy 2016 and a busy 2017 scheduled and all of it will help us build better software for you. Here's what all that stuff means to us and for you:
  • Raspberry Pi allows us to build apps for this inexpensive tiny little computer that can be plugged into a TV, as a workstation, and many other uses.
  • iOS now has more built in features like a tall scrollable area, getting GPS coordinates, being able to customize what is shown in lists, grabbing photos from the camera and library, and a few other items.
  • 64bit allows our apps to utilize more memory and also run faster.
  • Mac Retina and Windows HiDPI lets us build high resolution apps.
  • Almost all of our apps manipulate strings / text. The faster text functions are, the faster we can process text.
  • A Framework is just a library of code that determines how you interact with code. Having the Xojo Framework ready for Desktop (Mac, Windows, Raspberry Pi) and Web Apps means that we can reuse code with iOS apps. When Xojo released iOS they introduced the Xojo framework as a replacement of the Classic framework.
  • Plugins written in Xojo means that those plugins will be able to be used in iOS apps as the current plugins cannot be used. This may also result in more developers creating plugins due to how much easier they will be to create.
  • Interops is how Xojo will enable the calling of hardware code. With Interops, we can just call built in iOS, Mac, Windows, and down the road, Android code. One example would be asking the user to upload a photo on iOS. Last year we had to use a messy declare and this year Xojo added a clear and easy to use method to select photos. With Interops, we won't have to wait to utilize many built in features.
  • Now that Android has been announced, we'll be able to build apps easily for every popular operating system.

As you can see, Xojo is really hitting it out of the park and super focused on making Xojo even better. It's going to be a GREAT year!!!