Upgrade and build existing app from Xojo 2017 r3?


I have an existing app that was last built years ago with Xojo 2017 r3.

I have a mac mini 2009 with El Capitan (10.11.6) and would like to make a few tweaks to this simple Mac app (which just loads, manipulates and saves text files).

  • Can I renew my licence and just continue using Xojo 2017 r3? If so will builds work on the latest versions of macOS?

  • Or should I install Xojo 2019r3.1 (last Xojo IDE supporting El Capitan) and build with that?

Am I able to trial any of this before purchasing a Xojo licence (which I will if it works)? Sorry but this app is infrequently updated.

Any help appreciated! :slight_smile:

Do you have a valid licence for Xojo 2017?
if so, nothing to stop you building with that… you dont need to ‘renew’ your licence, just download it and use it. (sign into the Xojo site to get it)

Getting the app signed and notarised is another issue, mind you.

should I install Xojo 2019r3.1

If you do, you can test the app does what it needs to do, but you cannot compile it into a distributable app without buying at least a $99 licence.

If all you are doing is manipulating text files, you might even get away with redoing it as a bash script…?

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You wouldn’t need to renew your license to continue using 2017r3. Builds may not work on the latest macOS, as I’ve seen intermittent FolderItem issues with builds from pre-2020 releases running on Big Sur.

You may have to reach out to hello@xojo.com for this. You have access to IDE versions your license covers on the Download Archives page, but I don’t think you can download an IDE you don’t have a license for to try it out.

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Yes you can. I did this for three years or so before getting a licence. It took me that long to be assured that the IDE could do all I needed it to.

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Thanks @TimStreater, @Tim_Parnell and @Jeff_Tullin for the quick replies!

I thought Xojo licences only allowed you to build for the 12 months they were valid… if not then great and I’ll try updating the app and testing it on a more recent MacOS build.


Builds may not work on the latest macOS, as I’ve seen intermittent FolderItem issues with builds from pre-2020 releases running on Big Sur.

I take it these issues are fixed when using the latest version of Xojo?

On Windows, this answer is much easier.
Windows is very backward compatible, and if Xojo runs, your old licence will work and you can build.
The one-year thing is updates.

On Macs, the same is true, although Apple break OSX for Xojo apps by changing the rules with alarming regularity.
Nonetheless, I would expect Xojo 2017 to work fine even on Monterey (untested)
Although for some apps you need to allow permissions to full drive access in security preferences.

(On iOS, however - and I speak from bitter experience - even though it costs 4 times as much and does a lot less, you will would be lucky to get 18 months worth of useful building time from your licence, due to Xojo’s tight coupling with specific Xcode versions)

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You can download and use any version up to that released before your licence expiration date, indefinitely.

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Provided you continue to use the same computer / OS.

Compatibility is broken with time (32 bits vs 64 bits, Intel vs arm processor, High Sierra vs Catalina and following versions)…

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The folder item issues disappeared because they switched out the underlying system APIs, but Xojo introduced several other critical issues. It’s a juggling game, and I’m not sure which IDE is the most reliable currently.

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Now and then I have a user or 2 who lose access to their Application Support folder. Yesterday, I had a user who had an IOException for the application folder. For Mojave. Then there is the user who suddenly can’t create a file in the temp folder anymore. After thousands of files already have been created.

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The temp folder used by 2017r3 / old file system APIs has some weird security attached to it in newer versions of macOS. We see lots of weird issues reading & writing files and also with the Xojo Mutex class which also uses the temp folder.

Is the drive on NTFS or FAT32?

For FAT32: max number of files in a directory is 65,534 if the filenames are all short (11 chars or less I think)
The use of long file names can significantly reduce the number of available files and subfolders within a folder.