Considering Xojo

I currently use Filemaker and I use the Runtime option, as I plan on selling a small dog sports secretarial software that I’ve been developing. However, the Filemaker Runtime may be depreciated and it also is very limited in what it can do.

I’m wondering if Xojo would be a better choice. I need a software that I can distribute on both Mac and PC. At first it will only be a desktop application, but eventually, it would be nice if it could interface with online websites, could Xojo do this?

Does Xojo have any limitations with distributing a small application via desktop to users? How would that work… does it have a runtime option or how is the application built?

Thanks for the answers.

First FileMaker deprecated runtimes 5 years ago and they don’t invest anymore in them.
FileMaker 17 still includes runtimes, but of course each new version could be the last one.

And once runtimes created with all FileMaker versions will not run in future, e.g. on an ARM Mac, you are stuck!

So either you build a nice solution, which works if clients have to buy FMP licenses or you use Xojo.

With Xojo, you buy a Pro license and you an use it unlimited without royalties.
So each app you build is like a FM Runtime and can run on as many computers as you can get.

Xojo (with the correct license) can be used to create applications for macOS/Window/Linux Desktop, and for iOS (in a limited way [my opinon]).
All versions support SQLite as a database, with the more “Pro” versions allowing for other database engines.

Any software you write, you can deploy any way you wish… there is no “run time option”… the app is fully compiled to run in a native mode on the selected platform, meaning there is no psudo-code, but rather a true binary format

NOTE : contrary to wht Christian just said… PRO is NOT required if the database requirements can be met with SQLite

and chat with @Tim Dietrich

You build your app by pressing a button. There are no limitations.

Be prepared to have a lot more work with the interface compared to Filemaker. You need to do much of the “plumbing” that Filemaker does yourself. But then the interfaces aren’t as severely limited as in Filemaker.

IIRC the desktop license allows you to use DB server plugins, so is not limited to Sqlite and a lot cheaper than Pro…

If she only needs a desktop app that can connect to a web service then Pro is not needed.

And if doing web app is something that she may want to do some indefinite time in the future after the desktop, I would say buy the desktop license now and upgrade to Pro when/if that time comes.

  • Karen

[quote=381282:@Dave S]Xojo (with the correct license) can be used to create applications for macOS/Window/Linux Desktop, and for iOS (in a limited way [my opinon]).
All versions support SQLite as a database, with the more “Pro” versions allowing for other database engines.[/quote]

The Xojo Store shows Database Access is included in Desktop, iOS and Web editions.

I was thinking of the “Lite” version…which is SQLite only

Also be aware you can download the “FREE” version and write you application and evaluate Xojo… then when you want to compile it for deployement, at that time buy the license

Just try the free version and you can find out if Xojo works for you or not.

If it works for you, just design and create your application. When everything works as expected and you are ready to build the application itself, buy a license.

I am using Xojo since 2005 and am still happy to use it, despite having sometimes my frustrations.

Xojo can do certainly more for you than Filemaker can.

One of the things to be aware of is that Xojo isn’t as integrated with the database as FileMaker is. So you’ll have to build up your database coding skills a bit. I suggest you start off proving you can connect to a database and then display some basic data in list form and in add/edit form. Then do some basic insert, update, delete stuff and at by that point you’ll be most of the way there. Then it’s just doing the UI and it’s a lot of rinse, recycle, and repeat.

If you want your database code to be more object oriented you can go with something like ActiveRecord. But I’d recommend going through and doing the above first.

Reporting might be a gotcha as the built-in reporting isn’t very good but it might be good-enough for what you’re doing. If it’s not, you can take a look at BKS Shorts which has a Report Designer component for Desktop apps. The Report Viewer works on both desktop and web and you have the ability to do dynamic (i.e. change some parameters at runtime).

We’ve been using Xojo for 17 years and offer developer products and do a fair bit of consulting. We offer training videos if that’s your sort of thing.

FM is a DATABASE with a programming language attached
Xojo is a programming language with the ability to attach Database(s)

[quote=381358:@Dave S]FM is a DATABASE with a programming language attached
Xojo is a programming language with the ability to attach Database(s)[/quote]
for FM “programming” is not appropriate.
“scripting” would be a better term.

Thanks, everyone! When I worked as a programmer (I’m retired) I used programs with DBs attached, so have experience in both. Sometimes I feel a little too constrained about how Database oriented Filemaker is.

The reporting limits may or may not be a big deal… most of my reports are just generated to PDF for viewing or saving. The ‘meat’ of the application is taking and process dog sports entries… my Filemaker application is for Barn Hunt. So mostly a person will enter their dog into a trial, get an email confirmation… the software tracks the people, dogs, events… and allows the secretary to score individual runs for each dog, produce results, email results and export a spreadsheet that is used by the Barn Hunt Association, so needs to be formatted to their specifications and uploaded to their site.

I don’t like that the Filemaker Runtime doesn’t support PDF exports. And it’s XLS exports are also limited.

I can’t require these dog clubs to buy a full Filemaker license. They are small and don’t make money and usually just want to break even so they can put on more trials. Most of the applications that exist now are just Access DBs thrown together to track these things. I prefer my Mac and develop on my Mac and want to provide both a Mac and Windows application.

Can the Windows version be produced on the Mac, or is Windows required? I have a Windows laptop but it’s old and slow.

I may try Xojo for another type of dog trial I’m planning on doing an application for… Scent Work. I’ve been working on my current one since last July and it’s just about ready to go.

Thanks again!

With the correct license the answer is yes, but it is highly suggested to have a Windows computer (or VM) to test the compiled app just “to be sure” you dotted all the "t"s and crossed all the "i"s

Xojo comes with SQLite baked in, and other DB’s can be accessed with the proper drivers etc.

And there are plenty of 3rd party add-ons to produce PDF files… one being my own gPDF class, which uses the same syntax as the Xojo Canvas/Printer controls

Ah great thanks, yeah I’ll hang onto my Windows laptop just in case. :slight_smile:

The plugins for Filemaker seemed very expensive… at least the one I was looking at. At least for reselling, it was over $1200. :frowning:

Xojo imposes no royalty or resell fees… you buy the license, you write your code, you compile it… and do with it as you please.

As to 3rd party “plug-ins” we all have our opinions… mine is not to use them…(I have always found a solution)… but the argument here is “time is money”… personally I can afford to invest the time

Also, you DO NOT have to buy a new license every year… only if it contains features you need/want… You can continue to use the last purchased version until a) you want to upgrade, or b) the version of Xojo you have won’t work with latest OS (and I think the last time that happened was many years ago?)

Well, you can of course buy Xojo plus a few plugins.
MBS Plugins are there for Xojo and FileMaker to do things.

For FileMaker, well it does a lot and if you made a solution for them, you can ship a runtime and let them print though PDF Printer on Windows or print to PDF on Mac. This way you may not miss the PDF exporter.

Doing the same in Xojo will be significant work.
And if the client buys himself a FM Pro copy and a plugin license, that may be cheaper than rewriting everything in Xojo!

Xojo is usually great, if you want to save a lot of FileMaker licenses, e.g. for a data collecting web app.

Xojo is awesome, fun once you get the hang of it, and makes cross-platform development quite easy (I code on Mac but my users are often PC-only). For PDF, though you may have to invest in a third-party plug-in (royalty-free and not very expensive). Excel may also take some work or plug-ins, unless you just export CSV, which is simple.

The Einhugur plugin set is fairly inexpensive and renewals are a REAL bargain… Lots of useful stuff including enough PDF and excel support for a lot of uses as well as lot of other useful functions (Zip, Barcodes, encryption, image manipulation and a bunch of controls among other things)

It’s PDF support is no where near that of the MBS DynaPDF plugin but is sufficient for most PDF creation, and there also is enough support of creating and and reading excel spreadsheets. for may uses, again not nearly as comprehensive as the MBS support of LibXL, but overall it is a lot less expensive.

Xojo is sounding better and better to me… I’ve put almost a year into my Filemaker application… so, for now, I’ll stay with that for the current one, but when I convert it to work for Nosework trials… I think I may also convert it to Xojo.

One thing that is bugging me about Filemaker is having to flip to a Layout based on a certain table to access that table’s data. And then I’m struggling with a Drop Down / Pop up menu where I’m trying to populate it with dynamic data from an un-related table… UGH. I use a LOT of SQL in my Filemaker App, so I can access data directly. :stuck_out_tongue: