XDC in London is in a bit and Xojo announced already there might be no XDC the upcomming year(s?). They say it is due to the general decrease of attandence of business venues. I personally doubt that andI want to share my pov.
What I think the reasons for a shrinking audience are:
it is super expensive. For americans, but for Europeans as well. Everyone has to take a flight because its on an island. Flights are expensive, the location you’ve chosen is expensive.
With this pricetag you wont attract young developers which you definitely should. Looking at other developers conference I take part, 75% of the folks are under 35. That must be your audience imho.
These people care more and more for their carbon footprint, and they think twice if they wanns take the plane. At least in Europe.
For americans its just not attractive to take a 9hrs flight to the ‚old world‘, just to spend there 4 figures for a mediocre develeper event.
The XDC is not hybrid. Why not? We‘re in 2023, everything is hybrid and I attended plenty venues only online. It costs less, its flexible, its climate friendly and convenient. This could push the attendance count to never seen numbers.
XDC doesn’t feel and look like a fun event. The marketing, the visuals, the location smells like an old men gathering. It doesn’t look modern and hip and it doesn’t attract young developers, young professionals.
Companies aren‘t really attracted to send their employees to the event. Due to the price of the conference, of the accomodation, of the trip. And it doesn’t look like the employees take to much away from the event. When I look at Conferences and Barcamps I attend recently, there is so much you can take away. It simply doesn’t look like XDC can catch up with this.
Sorry for the harsh words and criticism. Its only my opinion but because I care. And I doubt that I am the only one with this thoughts.
dont just make an event for old veterans, but for young interested persons
announce earlier what will go on. Today it is just a very expensive gathering.
have sponsors? Let them invite their folks. Suitable for recruiting?
offer company packages.
I cannot stress this enough: have a modrrn and consistent look-and-feel. Xojo Inc always throws stock footsge around but has no clear corporate identity and design. This looks unprofessional. Even open source project care more for their branding.
Yes, I agree with much of this as well and specifically…
Make it hybrid
Yes, absolutely agree! Although I know this adds more logistics and expense, I suspect attendance would grow to help offset the costs involved.
Make it cheaper
Yes, I also agree here as well. Years ago I frequently attended various CocoaConfs as well as Voices that Matter conferences. These were either weekend or long weekend events and in particular with CocoaConf, they were held at airport hotels so that you could keep total cost including travel under $1K within the U.S.
Make it appeal to younger developers
This is something I’ve been pondering lately as well, as it feels like the user base and/or community is aging or maybe not growing with an influx of younger generations. Of course making things less expensive is a step in the right direction here but there are other things that could be tried…
1.1 Other major conferences like WWDC historically have offered scholarship opportunities.
1.2 Now I’m not saying that Xojo has deep pockets or needs to entirely foot the bill for something like this, but sometimes a community has banded together to do sort of a makeshift GoFundMe to get a person or two to be able to attend.
New Developer XDC Promo
2.1 Maybe Xojo could offer brand new license holders a free or heavily discounted XDC pass for the next conference. This would be an investment in the future by helping these folks get off the ground and increase the likelihood of them continuing to be customers down he road.
New Developer XDC Track
3.1. Maybe for the first day or even two of the conference, there’s a separate track focused on brand new Xojo developers. Essentially show them the ropes, explain various tips and tricks and even help them kickstart a project or two. The beauty in this is that this track doesn’t even need to be done entirely by the Xojo team. I bet there’s enough of us in the community that would be happy to help out and teach a session or two.
We are in the north east of England so only 3.5 hours from London on the train. Two of us were planning to attend the previous London XDC until it was cancelled because of Covid. This time, we plan to send nobody.
One reason is because the sessions are of no interest to us. The main reason, however, is because there is no point attending a conference on a product that we currently cannot use due to the issues / bugs / limitations that aren’t being addressed.
I disagree, Lars, it looks like a really fantastic event, and is marketed excellently, especially for a small company. Have you looked at the website? I’m not sure what you’re expecting. Xojo Developer Conference 2023 Yes, flights are expensive, but pick and choose a hotel that suits your budget, it’s London for goodness sake, there are hotels everywhere you look.
Criticism about older attendees comes with the territory. Free, open-sourced languages and tools will naturally have a younger crowd, but a lot of them aren’t making actual products or have actual developer jobs, like Xojo users typically do, and those other tools come and go, of course. Xojo will always have an older userbase, although they’ve had initiatives to boost student usage, such as the GitHub partnership.
Conferences are suffering everywhere, I’ve seen it in smaller events that I’m loosely involved in, where numbers are down about 50%. I’ve no idea how many signups Xojo have for XDC this year, but if things really are tough then maybe in future years there could be something of a hybrid between conferences and the meet-ups that already happen. They could be called Xojo Developer Days, and include one or two Xojo employees, feature a couple of sessions, a lunch and a discussion. These wouldn’t necessarily require hotel accommodation (except for Xojo staff). The price of a ticket for these dev days could be hugely reduced from an XDC, of course. And from a user’s point of view, they could choose the ones near them, cutting down on costs. It would also provide valuable video content for YouTube on a fairly regular basis, as sessions could be released later.
As Michel said, culture is changing, and maybe, in future, Xojo can look at dev days or something as I’ve described above. But it’s unfair to say that this year’s conference doesn’t look great.
There’s a fallacy here. “a younger crowd, but a lot of them aren’t making actual products or have actual developer jobs”. Well… The matter is, younger devs are the result of the job markets and the diffusion of some languages are the result of Computer Science classes teaching the modern concepts and listing the satisfactory ones and young people spreading that knowledge on those markets. There’s a closed circuit. Teaching influence liking ones, markets drives the desire of masses to learn some specific ones. Outdated ones loses relevancy, free or not. Markets are full of young people working and making money using “free things” as Java, that I hate, but it is a fact, it is as is market driven.
Young people will check productivity, features (concurrency (threads (xojo has fibers, not threads)), async/await, futures, etc), memory management, Exceptions, Generics, (Xojo not being able to have silly things as local function inside a function puts Xojo near to 70’s language), Closures/Lambdas, etc) and open source ready solutions and libraries for it (UI, reports, database support, graphics, charts, barcodes and QR, etc). People can’t lose a product if some vendor disappear and don’t update something necessary. Paid or not is not the problem, being modern, stable, safe, fully featured, community supported and markets accepted recruiting devs for it is what attracts youngsters. The markets are FULL of young people working in real products, and the Juniors of 2013 are the Seniors of 2023.
My son is graduating Newcastle Uni this year for his BSc in Computer Science. Nearly everything he has done has been in Python with a smattering of C and Java.
I tried to show him Xojo and what it could do but he just wouldn’t engage - the appeal of Python and the other popular languages is the huge number of libraries that available, the massive user base and the availability of online resources for learning/assistance.
Xojo, in my opinion, made a HUGE mistake dropping the RealBasic name - it was well known, resources existed and it had a sizeable user base.
That and the questionable changes to the language over the last few years have left me a little bewildered to be honest.
I’d agree. There are a lot of people who wanted a replacement for VB.
We searched about for a BASIC, and thats how I got here. (Happily.)
Changing the name to Xojo seemed an attempt to distance the product from BASIC, which is a bit like General Motors trying to distance itself from Motor cars.
And now Xojo is back in the ads saying ‘hey- do you want something a bit like VB, but…’?
On topic, I haven’t seen anything in reports about XDC in recent years that gave me FOMO.
(And announcing Android ‘coming soon’ year after year hasn’t helped)