How to answer the question "What programming language is this written in?"

PLEASE forgive me if this is a FAQ, and if I did an inadequate job of perusing the XOJO Forum.

After almost 20 years of using RB and now XOJO, I still stumble when someone asks what I’ve written an app in? Everyone seems familiar with names like Visual Basic, C++ etc. I tend to say “XOJO”, and that never seems to (easily) satisfy someone’s question.

I’ve recently been replying by saying "I use XOJO, a cross-platform IDE that allows me to target a wide variety of project types, deployment environments, and enables my organization to share, reuse, and leverage a large collection of modules, yadda yadda…"

XOJO is so much more than a simple RAD environment!

If anyone has a more eloquent response, I’d love to make use of it. IT Directors and Product Managers always need a ton of convincing as to why they shouldn’t be using Microsoft Dev Products. I hate feeling like I need to defend my XOJO-based solutions, and I’d really like to point doubters to a link that illustrates all the pros/cons of the final solutions (not just the great aspects of the IDE itself).

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Xojo is the IDE, but it is also the language. So you are correct in saying Xojo.

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It’s a matter of catering the answer to each client. What do they want to hear? For some business customers, they might want to hear that it’s possible to have a version of your app for another platform. For example, they might be paying for an iOS app, but they may be interested in the prospect of an Android or Web app somewhere down the road, and you can remind them that you will be able to offer those at a reduced price due to the reuse of code and other assets.

For other clients, I talk up the “native” aspect of a Xojo-built app, as opposed to some other frameworks and languages that produce sub-par user experiences. In fairness, not all business customers care about that though.

A few customers like the idea that one of their own employees could, theoretically, if required, tweak the code in the future. For those customers, I let them “see over my shoulder” a little, show them how simple the language is. Of course, it’s important to not talk down your own work (and price), but it can be an attractive thought to some customers that, although they haven’t heard of Xojo, they could work on it, if required, in the future. (In reality, they almost never do, they always come back and ask me for updates, but it’s an attractive idea for a few clients).

Finally, nearly all customers care about the “rapid” part of “Rapid Application Development”; the way it’s possible to prototype an app quickly, and then take that prototype and build it into a fully fledged app.

When talking about Xojo itself, I mention the fact that there are lots of languages, and many come and go, but Xojo has been around since 1998, continually updated and modernised. That is a very powerful fact and shouldn’t be underestimated.


Thanks @Gavin_Smith , the longevity of the product itself should not be underestimated.

I tebd to use the following argument:
When I turn the lights in my house I am not worried about if the energy comed from a eolic generator, from a diesel generator, from a nuclear generator, from an hidraulic one or from any other source of energy generating system. For me as customer I want to have an stable source of energy, whatever it is, that let me have light in my house. Of course it will be very important the cost of the energy, and at that point I will prefer the cheapest one.
Xojo is for me a software language that let me write high quality software at a very cheap cost and have also many other positive feature: multiplatform, easy maintainance, easy to learn, and many other etceteras…

That only works for in house app or when you deliver closed source compiled apps.

But a lot of coding work is to deliver code. When that happens, the client DO cares where the “energy” comes because he will need to mantain the “generating system” and no amout of speech is going to change the fact that they are going to have a hard time finding people with experience and “spare parts”.

Web 1 devs are going to disagree with that.

Well, part of their job is to protect the investment and Microsoft Dev Products have stable releases with a LTS, and even a longer runtime support. VB6 for example, it had like a decade of updates and apps are still running in the latest OS more than 2 decades later. It is hard to convince a big enterprise to risk their operation with a dev tool that dont even have a stable rlease, not any LTS.

And yes, I still use xojo but I use it for internal apps and compiled apps for end users.


I suppose I should have lead with this “Why XOJO?” statement on the XOJO website. Thanks for the contribution(s) from everyone.

That is a great marketing tool for newcomers. But for IT Directors and Product Managers maybe is not a really good idea to lead with that.

I couldn’t agree more Ivan; it will really take a chart of performance and cost metrics to convince the true decision makers.

It can be a combination of risks:

  • If you are a one man shop - risk of getting hit by a bus – no go for professional companies;
  • Xojo - risk of not being able to find replacement programmers – even not being able to assemble a fresh Xojo development team;
  • Located in The Netherlands – Xojo is very niche – not many showcases
  • Xojo - very intelligent development staff, but vulnerable since it’s still a small company
  • If you want to build a complex modern looking and responsible gui – even with Xojo it’s quite a lot of work and tweaking

Since 11 years now I still love programming in Xojo, but commercial it’s probably not the most obvious choice.

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