Productivity with Xojo on existing projects

First and foremost, this first release of Xojo gives me greater confidence in the company’s direction. It’s a fine first release and for the most part, it’s much better than any previous versions. With that being said, I am having some difficulties with this first version on some of my existing projects – enough to make it clear to me that I can’t afford the time right now to use Xojo for my production stuff. This means that I will need to stick with RS2012R2.1 until either Xojo (the company) fixes some new bugs or until I am done with my current projects and find the time to fight fires porting them to Xojo.

Here are a few issues I am having:

  1. Xojo crashed hard on me last night, taking away roughly 40 minutes worth of work (my fault for not saving frequently, I know)
  2. Parts of my app are broken under Xojo. For example, I have a complex, custom canvas control with draggable items. In Xojo, when I drag the items, the entire app now moves with my mouse. Going back to older versions works fine.
  3. Productivity on Xojo is much slower for me. Hidden controls (to add methods, properties, container controls, etc…) and the cumbersome inspector/library are a major time killer for me. I routinely adjust my controls’ width, height, top, left via the panel. With Xojo (and I don’t understand why these controls are put way at the bottom as they are very frequently used), I have to routinely scroll down to have access to make these changes. The on/off switches are pretty, but they are so big that I often have to do a double-take to make sure I am clicking the right one. If you enable tab via double-clicking, the tabs often confuse me because sometimes more than 1 tab of the same thing shows up when switching to different parts of my program to work on.

I know that #3 will become easier over time as I get used to the new design, but for now – wow… time killer.

I’m pretty sure that I will be using Xojo for new projects going forward, but for current complicated projects, Xojo is not the right tool for me. I can’t wait for the next release of Xojo (hopefully with a much more streamlined inspector and library – along with unhidden common tasks).

I will say that I too have a VERY complex graphics program, with object dragging etc… and it ported just fine…
The only big issue I have found so far is making array of MenuItems via the IDE (see another post of mine about this)

But #3… I agree with 100%… the layout of the Navigator, Inspector etc needs alot of work… I’m clicking 100x more than usual to get the same amount of work done

#3 seems to be a common issue. Please sign on to <>, though that one is just to tighten up the vertical spacing. Up to number 6 as of this writing.

I think it safe to say that Xojo Inc knew that there were parts of Xojo that we were going to dislike, perhaps even vehemently. They will spend the next 4 or 5 releases (or more) tweaking and replacing things we’re the most vocal about.

After working and testing all day (and night) long with new xojo I found some major IDE issues which slowing me down. I am missing Duplicating, Coping and Pasting between projects working properly most and looking forward for xojo R2. For me the new IDE is a lot snappier than the old one and I do not wanna go back anymore.

FWIW: my issue with the entire window moving happens to do with some nswindow declares that I had in place prior to Xojo to make my app more “Cocoa-like.” One of them was to allow users to drag the app by clicking on the window itself. In prior versions, some contsols (ie, canvas, etc…) controls don’t leak through to the window so I was able to drag objects within my canvas around without moving the entire app.

Xojo… an entire different beast it seems.

I solved these issues by using the right click (contextual) menu copy/paste commands. Seems to be more reliable than the keyboard commands for copying between projects.

I really like the new Xojo IDE but agree with many others that it needs quite a few tweaks before it will deliver productivity levels equal to or higher than Real Studio.

  • Spacing of controls needs to be addressed for even high resolution displays but especially low resolution displays on laptops.
  • Some of the controls themselves, particularly the boolean slider and top/bottom/left/right locking animated graphic, need to be replaced or improved.
  • The location and representation of build properties needs review.
  • Ability to view the Library and Inspector simultaneously is a must for users with very high resolution displays.
  • Better ways of supporting multiple displays needs attention.
  • Smoother animation when running on Windows is needed until the transition to .NET for double-buffering and other benefits.
  • A configurable and/or smaller toolbar is needed for productivity and reduction in screen real estate.

There’s more to address than that short list and many people have been much more vocal than me but it seems most of us are in agreement that these should be a high priority. The Xojo engineers know as well, if not better, about the need for improvements because they have been living in the IDE for quite some time now. I had hoped some of this would have been taken care of in the beta cycle. Hopefully 2013r2 is realistic.


You may unlock lib and prop palettes and making them float in preferences.

.NET? Hell No! It’s a killing feature of xojo and xojo built apps, that there is no need of any bloaty middleware framework. And with LLVM I hope that we soon get back to single EXE Files.

But I agree, new xojo IDE needs some clean up and fit and finish work.

Agreed, my index finger gets really sore in Xojo.

Is there some reason why the Navigator on the Left has such a different look and feel than the Library on the right? The font is chiseled (and ugly as hell and brutal to look at for long periods) on the left, on the right it is a normal font. On the left, the highlighted items is a gray that is gradient, on the right in the library it is a bright blue. On the Library, the scroll bar is normal, on the left it is that skinny Mac looking scroll bar that is so much harder to click on (can’t tell you how many times I have barely missed it and dragged a control instead). On the Left it is hierarchical with disclosure triangles on the right it is segments with all elements showing. It’s as if two different engineers designed them and never talked to each other during the entire development process.

I for one would trade some of this “eye candy” for better functionality. Debugging is not better in Xojo, my choices are a mouse click for each and every statement, or a 2-handed / 3-finger combination of Control+Shift+O. What is wrong with the tried-and-true single finger function keys? Visual Studio is a a hell of a lot easier on the fingers.

Right now I can’t switch to Xojo (and I have been usign Xojo on and off for 3 months in the beta program), I’m just not nearly as productive in Xojo as I am in RS2012r2, even with all of its warts and bugs. Will wait for 2013r2 and see what they have addressed.

While once stated as a possibility, this is no longer a goal that we’re working towards. However, this, and the entire discussion about .NET should be in a different thread.

I’m still experimenting with Xojo and taking notes, but I’m running into similar productivity issues. The impact is severe enough that I simply cannot use Xojo r1 for production.

Real Studio is, overall, the most productive IDE I use for day to day work, with Visual Studio coming in second. That was a big point for me when considering what tool to use for a job. All other factors being equal, Real Studio would beat Visual Studio on productivity alone. (Though I should point out that in some specific UI areas Visual Studio had Real Studio beat. But overall I can get more done faster in Real Studio.)

Right now I would place Visual Studio well above Xojo in terms of productivity, to say nothing of Real Studio. Tasks that I could simply race through in Real Studio now involve multiple new steps. Worse, many of the new steps are mouse actions. My mouse hand is stressed after a long Xojo session. Also, certain tasks are now forced into the mouse or the keyboard without an alternative choice, so I find my hands are jumping between the two much more often. Creating, defining, and writing code for methods is a perfect example. Events is another one.

The Navigator is a big part of the problem IMHO. It’s cluttered and it leaves me feeling lost and searching. But it also forces me to constantly mouse to and click tiny triangles. Drilling down in the left panel of the code editor was an issue in Real Studio, but it’s magnified 10x by the Navigator. Part of this is because there are common actions that cause the Navigator to change or lose its state. Search is the prime example. In Real Studio I can open a class in a tab, expand some sections, search for something, then come back to my tab and the state is the same. In Xojo I get to try and find what I was previously looking at and click, click, click the tiny triangles.

Both Frederick and Melvyn hit some key points.

[quote=11297:@Daniel Taylor]I’m still experimenting with Xojo and taking notes, but I’m running into similar productivity issues. The impact is severe enough that I simply cannot use Xojo r1 for production.

Ease into it. During the betas, I liked it at first, but it took a couple long days with it to understand its quirks. When there were more bugs in the IDE, I found it convenient to (CAREFULLY) take a project back to 2012r2.1, do some editing, then come back. The need to do that went down considerably from February to May.

And if you’re doing web apps, the framework fixes are worth at least 5x the productivity hit :-).

That’s the thing with productivity issues though: you can’t ease into them. They simply cost you time.

For some of the bug fixes I will likely work in 2012 and build in Xojo for now.

Mmm is it possible that Mouse-Users have to suffer from UI changes in xojo?
I am using magic Trackpad from the very first beginning, it took me a while to get familiar with but since Lion a mouse doesn’t make any sense to me… and I do not recognize more “Clicks” or any longer mouse trails/ paths…

The Search window at the top of the navigator helps, but that raises this issue that I am getting nowhere with the Xojo staff: I miss the bookmarks. I was told to use the Tabs, but between sessions Xojo doesn’t do a good job of remembering what I had open before. So I end up doing a lot of searching, over, and over, and over again…

I hope that after they get some of these IDE bugs anbd crashes worked out (it was to be expected with a completely new IDE), I sure hope they set aside some time and look at some of these productivity issues. They are a killer and it has nothing to do with getting used to the way things work in the new IDE. Knowing that it is going to take twice as many mouse clicks than it did in RS, doesn’t make you any more productive.

[quote=11316:@Tomas Jakobs]Mmm is it possible that Mouse-Users have to suffer from UI changes in xojo?
I am using magic Trackpad from the very first beginning, it took me a while to get familiar with but since Lion a mouse doesn’t make any sense to me… and I do not recognize more “Clicks” or any longer mouse trails/ paths…[/quote]

I have a MBP. I haven’t spent as much time using Xojo away from the desk, but my complaints are pretty much the same whether I’m at my desk with the big monitor and mouse, or away with the MacBook in my lap.