Blast From the 64-Bit Past

For many years, the #1 complaint from my customers has been lack of 64-bit support. To find out exactly how many years, I searched through my email archive, and found the first one, dated October 9, 2005 - TEN YEARS ago:

That’s right; 64-bit goes all the way back to XP. As you might imagine, I was very upset about not being able to help my customers. It was a problem for which there was absolutely no workaround. And because of that, I boycotted REALbasic, buying the minimum number of upgrades, holding out for 64-bit support. I think my longest stretch of boycotting was three years. I’m sure that my competitors who coded in C had a good laugh at my substandard product.

BUT! And this is a big but; a Kim Kardashian sized but, in fact.

Because I could code so much faster in RB, I got to market way ahead of my “real programmer” competitors. I think I was second in the niche. So, while I lost sales to power users and their fancy new 64-bit rigs, I rang up many more sales while the competition as still in development.

And what did I do with that saved time? Marketing. I’m pretty sure that I was the best in the space with SEO, AdWords, etc. I could also fix bugs, and add new features faster.

But the coup de gras came when the Macintosh rose from the ashes. Thanks to RB, I had a Mac version of my app from day one. My competitors did not. And as far as I can tell, none of them ever made the jump to the Mac, and missed the entire revolution. And I profited directly from their travails.

I visualized former PC users starting up their first Macs, and then searching for replacement apps for what they had been using on Windows. So, I would advertise, and SEO on phrases like “Brand X Mac Version” and my landing page would say: “Sorry, Brand X does not have a Mac version yet, but you might like my app.” I cleaned up.

So, the moral of the story is: while Xojo can’t do everything, it can do A LOT. And now with LLVM compiler technology, Xojo will be much quicker to support new hardware. We’ve already seen evidence of that with timely support for 64-bit iOS apps, and the Raspberry Pi 2.

But LLVM isn’t much help with frameworks. It might help somewhat by freeing up engineers from compiler work, but I’m guessing that migrating to new frameworks will remain very labor intensive. For example, moving from Win32 to .NET will be a herculean task. Here are some options for getting more manpower: taking venture capital, merging with a larger company that has deep pockets, open-sourcing, or fielding a vast army of shoe-less Asian slave-grammers who cheerfully code for $10 per hour.