Thoughts on making Xojo IDE open source

The Xojo community is full of developers who would most likely be interested in improving the software/fixing bugs if we had the opportunity. Considering the amount of feedback cases currently open, and the fact that Xojo isn’t a large company, why not get free help from the users?

I know it’s a very complex subject to tackle, and may not even be technically possible. The Xojo IDE is already free, so why not make it (or parts of it) open source so it can be improved upon by the community?

It would also give beginners an idea of how more complex projects are set up, and it would let more advanced users give better feedback and tackle bugs without using up so much of Xojo’s time.

I searched around for conversations on this but I couldn’t find any. Sorry if this has already been discussed at length.

Well, I recently suggested to make the frameworks open source, at least have the source accessible so we can search for bugs ourself.
The possibility to look into the sources to find bugs is a great idea.

The IDE is so complex, the ROI would be very low. Even experienced developers would be daunted by even the simplest of bugs. You really need to spend about 6 months daily in the IDE code to actually feel comfortable with it.

This ignores the fact that it would cut off Xojo’s revenue stream. It doesn’t make business sense, I would not expect them to do such a thing.

I have a feeling it would consume MORE of Xojo’s time, not less. They would need to look at every submitted patch, probably reject most, and respond to questions from users such as “why is x like this?”

I agree and understand how incredibly complex the IDE must be, but a project being complex doesn’t preclude it from being opensource-able.

Regarding revenue stream, the IDE itself is already free to download and use, it’s simply the compiler that requires licenses. And the idea doesn’t have to pertain to the entire IDE, it could simply be classes or functions used within the IDE that could be improved.

That could be true too, but they could probably limit contributions to Xojo Pro users, or even a higher level of exclusivity.

[quote=50731:@Tom I.]The Xojo community is full of developers who would most likely be interested in improving the software/fixing bugs if we had the opportunity. Considering the amount of feedback cases currently open, and the fact that Xojo isn’t a large company, why not get free help from the users?
[/quote]

Respectfully… It’s their code. If they want to open source it, the initiative to do so will come from them. It would need to come from them because, you know, it’s their code.

Practically… The few here who might actually have some small chance of eventually making a positive contribution aren’t working for free.

This again? Oh no…

They won’t do this. I think they would need a very good way to make the same income then.
Perhaps you have one?

Silly question but, why wasn’t xojo written in RealBasic?

If Xojo was written in Xojo then why aren’t the controls that the IDE has not part of the users toolbox?

I couldn’t find any other discussion on it via the forum search, so I didn’t think it would be inflammatory to simply ask. Can you point me to the threads on this, as I’m simply interested on what Xojo has to say about the subject.

Obviously it’s their code and they can do with it what they want. Obviously if they wanted to have some open source repositories, they would have to do it in a way that doesn’t affect their sales of the full functionality of the app.

This was meant to be a discussion of Xojo’s thoughts on open sourcing select parts of their program.

This is a conversation that has come up in one form or another many times over the years going back to when the discussions were on the mailing lists only. The bottom line is always the same. We users would be thrilled to be able to fix our own bugs, but they are not going to do it as a practical or economic matter.

The Xojo IDE is written using Xojo itself.

Just because we are using a custom control for the IDE does not mean it has a suitable API or enough functionality to warrant adding it to the public framework.

If you have specific controls you would like, find or create a Feedback case for them and add them to your top cases so they get ranked.

They’re custom controls we wrote
And they are written in a way making a generic one available for you use would be a ton of work

Many would be thrilled. A handful, self included, would be quite saddened to see the demise of a great tool under most imaginable scenarios. The only way I’ve ever seen something like this work as open source is when its value is rounding error on someone else’s development budget.

[quote=50863:@Tom I.]I couldn’t find any other discussion on it via the forum search, so I didn’t think it would be inflammatory to simply ask. Can you point me to the threads on this, as I’m simply interested on what Xojo has to say about the subject.

Obviously it’s their code and they can do with it what they want. Obviously if they wanted to have some open source repositories, they would have to do it in a way that doesn’t affect their sales of the full functionality of the app.

This was meant to be a discussion of Xojo’s thoughts on open sourcing select parts of their program.[/quote]

We have some tiny bits
https://github.com/xojo/TextInputCanvas

But I don’t think open sourcing is enticing for us

If you search in here for “open source” - with quotes you’ll see this has come up before

Well this would indeed be an argument for paid Pro User Licenses 'cause 1st these ones are using xojo on a regular basis for paid projects or own customers and 2nd these Pros Users might be more contributive than the casual ones.

[quote=50888:@Norman Palardy]We have some tiny bits
https://github.com/xojo/TextInputCanvas
[/quote]

Norman, didn’t know that you already have portions open-source! This would be great for more of your custom controls, you are not making public. This could be an ideal path between both sides, don’t you think so?

[quote=50891:@Tomas Jakobs]Well this would indeed be an argument for paid Pro User Licenses 'cause 1st these ones are using xojo on a regular basis for paid projects or own customers and 2nd these Pros Users might be more contributive than the casual ones.
[/quote]
I would think the opposite. The paid pro users really don’t have the spare time to fix Xojo’s bugs for them. I know I don’t.

They don’t. I believe Norman mentioned that control as a potential candidate for open source, because it is fairly self-contained.

Ok when thinking about this twice, you might be right Tim :frowning:

I’m a paying pro user. I would be willing to pay more for a license that granted me access to the source, the right to compile builds for myself, and the opportunity to contribute changes back to Xojo for consideration. Yes, I have contributed to other languages in the past (IDE and framework, but not compilers). No, it didn’t take 6 months to be productive or start fixing bugs.

I understand the “no time” sentiment, but the opportunity to fix some bugs would save me time.

I do not expect this will happen for practical reasons. Xojo would need to commit a good portion of an employees time to management and testing in order for them to publish and maintain the repository and to take advantage of submitted code. Even though I believe it would pay off in the long run I just don’t see this happening any time soon.

But I fully expect this will come up again in the forums. It’s natural for programmers to see bugs and think “I wish I could see the source and fix that.” Maybe it’s naive in that some bugs are deeper and more difficult to resolve then one would expect. But it is natural.

It really does. Heck Thoms the one that wrote that comment initially on this thread & he HAS worked on the IDE.
Ask our most recent hires - Greg and Travis.
Heck I’ll admit it did when I started - any fix I proposed was reviewed by Aaron before I actually made the fix & committed it.
Parts of the IDE (like the debugger) are so complex they truly boggle the mind.

Its one reason I chuckle every time folks say “well that should be easy to fix” … uh huh yeah :stuck_out_tongue: