How to make Xojo far more popular?

To all experienced Xojo developers,

I want to pick up a new skill to create apps for variety platforms (desktop, web, mobile, & raspberry pi). It seems like Xojo is very powerful and relatively easy to learn compared to Java or any other programming languages. But Xojo has been around for many years. What are the key factors why Xojo is not getting popular? I hardly ever seen any apps or websites written in Xojo. I want to hear your experiences with Xojo before I start learning Xojo.

It’s expensive, not open-source, and a very closed source and expensive eco system around it.

Why would anyone teach Xojo if they could teach .Net?

Don’t misunderstand me, I like Xojo and it’s simplicity. But there are not that much use cases where Xojo is the best option. Certainly not when just starting out.

I think you might be surprised at how many apps are written in Xojo. I’ve been doing this for fifteen+ years and I’ve written a number of very successful commercial apps for clients. For cross platform applications it’s really good.

So why it’s it more popular? Well, that’s a big question and is an bigger answer. First, if you are a single platform developer you’ll most likely stick with the preferred dev tool of that platform which means Visual Studio and Xcode. Xojo, by its very nature makes it the lowest common denominator among the supported platforms meaning that since it works on all 3 desktop targets (Mac/Win/Linux) out of the box it doesn’t dive deep into any of them and give as rich an experience as the platform specific dev tools can give. Example: Windows has really great grid controls but Mac and Linux do not so Xojo doesn’t have really great grid support.

You don’t tend to find Xojo until you’ve said, “I want to create a cross-platform application.” If you’re a .NET developer you’ll probably look at Xamarin first to leverage the language you already know. On the Mac and Linux side I’m not sure what you’d look at, naturally, before Xojo (Java?) but I’m sure it’s out there. At the end fo the day a language is a language and you gravitate to what you know. Xojo was a natural fit for those coming from VB6 since it was very similar.

Xojo is a small company that doesn’t have deep pockets. It’s no Apple, Microsoft, or Oracle (java). With the size of its team it does phenomenal work but it limits what they can do marketing wise and getting exposed to more developers. My own personal belief is that their focus on hobbyist and citizen developers makes them less attractive to professional developers - but that’s just my opinion being around the community for 15 years.

If Xojo were backed by the marketing machine of either Apple or Microsoft, it would be immensely popular. Among certain circles, it also suffers from the “BASIC” stigma. Completely undeserved, but nonetheless…

There are quite a few commercial applications written with Xojo. Xojo will not produce web sites, but web applications. Also, a large portion of software written with Xojo is destined at the corporate world. You will never find such software, especially if it was written under contract, on the web.

Take a look at this page to see just a few examples of applications created with Xojo.

In my opinion, Xojo fits the classification of a generalized tool rather than a specialized tool. If you need an application in a weekend then Xojo is my preferred option. If I need to develop a specialized tool for a robot that requires specialized requirements then I’ll likely develop in another language.

Heck, I am working on a high-temperature high-pressure tool in Xojo right now. The reason why this information is not publically known is because this proprietary information is behind the shroud of intellectual property.

I come from a Visual Basic background and it has taken time to get used to the specialized syntax - yes it is basic-like, and it is also its own unique language. When I first started using Xojo is 2005, it was a younger language and company and was a good -medium-ranking programming language. The latest versions are more specific and in-depth which requires more knowledge, as with any language.

The biggest reason why I am using Xojo is because of the community that provides great support. Without the support, I would be going to another language. The C++ forums are downright mean and toxic. Although there is the occasional quibble in the forums, almost all responses are very helpful.

Sure, there are variations of ‘free’ C++ or Java languages- and if you can’t learn about them by asking honest questions or you need to pay high dollars on specialized courses, then what is the real monetary ‘cost’’? In my opinion (and that’s all it is) is that paying upfront for the Xojo language will allow you to use the program for a long-time and you will have support from a friendly community. Languages such as C++ or Java require more money in the long-run and deliver an almost similar quality.

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Probably because it is related to BASIC.

If Xojo is really for hobbyist and citizen developers. The development cost would be expensive to them unless they can sell the profitable apps. I’m working for a large company. I think the annual enterprise license is pretty cheap to us. If the cost is the issue, not the product. Xojo should lower the price for hobbyist & citizen developers, and raise the price for big company like us in order to get more developers onboard. Right now, I can’t even find a series of good quality up-to-date video tutorials about Xojo in Lynda.com. So where do the beginners get started? The training may be another issue, perhaps?

This is a good place to start:

http://developer.xojo.com/videos

Thanks, Jason. That’s super helpful : )

We’ve got about 65+ hours of video training for subscribers at http://xojo.bkeeney.com/XojoTraining/. This does include some older Real Studio content but we’ve got iOS, web, and some of the new Xojo framework up too.

What did you say when someone ask “What Development environment are-you using ?”.

Xojo ?

(What is Xojo ?).

£99 is not expensive.

From a ‘need to learn to program’ basis, probably they would go .Net
It’s more popular, certainly.

But if you want to go Mac and Linux, oops…

Xojo is my secret weapon. For Xojo’s sake I wish it wasnt such a secret.
The brand name was changed to Xojo (I suspect) to avoid the ‘stigma’ attached to BASIC.
Well sorry… it was BECAUSE it was REALBasic that I found it in the first place.

I’ve been using Xojo and RB before it for 15 years, and believe me, I have made money from it.
£99 for a lite licence even if I bought every year without fail, is a drop in the ocean.

Anyone missing VB can get up to speed in Xojo pretty quickly.
Anyone using VB.Net would also feel at home.

Anyone familiar with C++ or C# may not be very comfortable, but I’ll race them to market any day of the week. :slight_smile:

+1

I think the marketing is not clear at all due to the, not conflict between, but the different aspirations the “pros” and “citizen developers” have.

By definition, most citizen developers are not going to be overly engaged in forums since their desire is not to learn to program but rather to learn just enough to solve their own immediate problem. Once that is solved, saying learning to tie in a database, they leave until the next time they want to solve something (make a pie chart/ generate an excel file).

Consequently there is no big, visible community of citizen developers “showing off” what they’ve done or sharing their energy in a way potential citizen developers might run across searching for solutions.

They are more likely to find this forum which is generally populated by “real programmers”, a community with which “citizens” do not readily identify.

I personally found Xojo (RB) simply because the specific problem I wanted to solve at the time required cross platform - just as noted above.

It was only after that initial acquaintance that I found Xojo could solve other problems on the macOs platform and that was easier than learning Xcode since I never really set out to “be a programmer” (though to be honest , at this point I’d be better off if I knew Xcode).

Getting back to marketing, Xojo could do far more to appeal to citizen developers by sharing many many more “success stories” and - ahem - completely redoing the Language Reference.

a question to which I have not found answers, so far. Are there corporate web applications in the world, with dozens (or even hundreds) of daily concurrent users?
for example, banking, industries, hospitals, etc …
in short, a portfolio that induces a developer to start a business project with Xojo, instead of .Net, Java, etc.?

It’s not important which tool your using, it’s important what you made and what you will made in future!
Programming isn’t a fashion, it’s creativity and solving problems and requests.

All platforms, languages, and frameworks have shortcomings and Xojo is no exception. The difference is with Xojo you are either “all in” or you choose not to use it. The plugin story is complex and financially non-viable. The libraries, IDE, and language are completely proprietary and unable to be massaged, improved, or upgraded in any meaningful way. The open source community is extremely small by any measure where many libraries are created to offset aspects that Xojo’s RAD promise should already include.

It’s a neat stack and you can achieve a lot with it. The struggle is what happens when you succeed. When your web app needs to scale, or you want to use multiple cores, or you want to use native features of the platform, or you want to zip files or create PDF’s, or sign your application, or any number of things taken for granted in .NET/Java land.

If it offers the capabilities you require out of the box then you will find success with it. If you need something unusual or very difficult then the value add may not be worth the disadvantage of having to circumvent it when necessary.

Four years ago, when I was looking for a new Rapid Application Design environment, not tied to just one operating system, I got impressed by Xojo’s documentation and helpful community. And now 2018, I am still convinced that both are still there and valuable. Like more languages Xojo is known as Rapid Application Design, at least a 4th generation language, but you still need the value of your own libraries and code bases in order to do rapid development with a minimum of unexpected workaround programming. Issues will always be there, Xojo isn’t an exception in the forest of programming tools. In the last four years, I did not make much money with Xojo due to the fact that I was learning and setting up solid codebases for projects. Hope this work will pay off now. Last but not least, from Xojo conferences and the forum I made quite some good friends. And what I learned is that working together is much more informative and valuable than working alone. Happy coding.

[quote=374751:@Dave Kondris]I think the marketing is not clear at all due to the, not conflict between, but the different aspirations the “pros” and “citizen developers” have.

By definition, most citizen developers are not going to be overly engaged in forums since their desire is not to learn to program but rather to learn just enough to solve their own immediate problem. Once that is solved, saying learning to tie in a database, they leave until the next time they want to solve something (make a pie chart/ generate an excel file).

Consequently there is no big, visible community of citizen developers “showing off” what they’ve done or sharing their energy in a way potential citizen developers might run across searching for solutions.
[/quote]

At least in my case you are mistaken on multiple counts.

Many of is us do stuff to help us with our day jobs and as such simply can’t share what we use Xojo for. I also think we initially get xoxo and coding because we have some attraction to programming and not just because we have problem to solve. We just see how that interest can help us get things done.

Also I think you are wrong about not being in the forums (or the old days the NUG). You can’t always tell who is a “citizen developer” by how they post and what questions they ask.

Over the 17 years I have been reasonably active on the NUG and here (really like mailing lists better so was not on the old forum much). I doubt I am the only one.

  • Karen

I think the biggest issue, and one that Xojo (and others) simply do not have the resources to overcome is… Inertia

Microsoft for example entered the Programming Language arena over 22 years before Xojo existed (1975 vs 1997), and during that time (1975 to 1996) they were (for the most part) the only game in town. So now you have thousands of companies that have been either using Microsoft products forever (and are entrenched in that environment), or newer companies that follow "Hey what are you using? Microsoft? cool… #MeToo), or those forced to use it because THEIR vendors do.

I know that last company I worked for paid Tens of Thousands of Dollars a year to licence Microsoft Products (and yes that did include OFFICE, but also VB.NET, and who knows what 3rd party tools from places like Infragistics)…

Personally I switched from VB6/VB.NET to Xojo when I also switched from Windows(Vista) to macOS…