Xojo's market and it's needs

I wrote most of the following in a private message… But thought it might be a good idea to share it here to see what other’s think

IMO it was never likely that Xojo would become a WIDELY used language by professionals for producing apps for sale.

Too much prejudice against it’s BASIC origins that the name changes won’t hide as well as the fact that no X-Platfrom RAD environment will produce the best result for any single platform, and most apps apps sold are not X-Platform and do not aspire to be

What IMO is Xojo’s market is those that want to produce custom apps (which is what RAD was always all about IMO) that are X-platform

IMO three classes of people tend to do a lot of that (and of course there is overlap):

  1. Certain pros: Consultants/Contractors/Full time in-house developers

  2. “Citizen Developers” : that i will define as those who write apps to help themselves and others at work, but who’s job is not coding… We know the workflows and users best and combining that with some coding skills (if done well) is a huge plus (and how I got into coding)

  3. Pure hobbyist that do not do business apps or people just learning to code in general

I think (as originally for VB) #2 is Xojo’s biggest market… While more price sensitive than the pro’s, they are less so than the pure hobbyist I think. The 3s being most price sensitive, are likely just to use it in the IDE or use a free platform specific tool. 1s and 2s need compiled apps for sure.

But to sell to #2s, besides being a more complete easy to use RAD environment, it helps to have some commercial apps made with Xojo AND have the 1s around as it gives them confidence that Xojo can be safely used at work, and is OK for big complex projects. The 1’s are the ones helping create a 3rd party ecosystem and help it to grow and help the others on the forum a lot.

The 1s may not be the biggest source of income, but they matter more than for just the money they bring in IMO

BTW Xojo being done in Xojo is not that convincing to many because it is the same company … independent examples are always better.

In large part IMO what the 2’s need is the same as the 1’s in terms of RAD AND backwards compatibility… (Workplaces tend to have a mix of OS versions) …

I have multiple copies of expensive software at work that runs equipment that would cost of north of 10K each to upgrade to run on the latest OSes that I need to run apps on to interface with it… In general often management would rather not have such machines running old OSes on the net rather then spend the cash to upgrade… If it’s not broke don’t fix it. But I also have the same situation with some on the the latest OSes as well…

As business needs/workflows change these custom apps need to be updated even if the expensive software does not. I don’t have the time (or desire) to maintain separate code bases based on OS version… some #If XojoVersion is OK…

Backwards compatibility matters.

What concerns me is that these days Xojo seems to be worrying less making producing solutions easier by being a more complete RAD environment for desktop (which is still what is mostly needed for in-house apps IMO), or really any environment they support… In the past that seemed to be more of a priority. And now besides, that the concern for backward compatibility seems not to be what it was… or even understood.

These things make me fear for the future…

-Karen

Well well stated Karen. While personally I am not a #1 as you described… I think I am more than a #2… (Software was my career, but on enterprise level platforms (ie. not desktop)). And today I write software to cover subject matters that peak my interest (being retired, I can do what I want to do , not what I have to)

The one underlying premise that Xojo seemed to use as a justification for a majority of the changes seen in API2 was “to make it easier”… And perhaps I am biased due to my background… but I tend to call BS on that. OPEN vs OPENING (and all the other related changes) amount to nothing but changes for the sake of change, and offer not added benefit to either Xojo or the potential learning curve of a “newbie” developer… while in fact causing determental effects such a backward compatiblity etc.

[quote=462589:@Karen Atkocius]What IMO is Xojo’s market is those that want to produce custom apps (which is what RAD was always all about IMO) that are X-platform

IMO three classes of people tend to do a lot of that (and of course there is overlap):[/quote]
I propose a fourth class:

  1. None of the above.

Because we, as forum members, are not privy to Xojo’s actual client list. And nor should we be.

Has anybody wondered whether the number of members active in the Xojo forum is the “majority” or the “minority” of Xojo’s customers?

This forum is a great resource when you need hints or solutions in your code, but interestingly, you don’t have to sign up as a member to search and make use of the forum’s content. That also counts for the online documentation.

If we’re speculating about Xojo’s market base, please consider factoring in some of the acrimonious sentiment that flies around this place on occasion, and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the majority of their market is outside of this select group of fine forum members.

Scott… I think Karen has it as to the “classes” of Xojo users… “None of the above” is not a “user”

As to active forum members vs Xojo clients… certainly those of represented on the forum make up a very small amount of the client base… but we are those with the highest interest, and usually the most vocal , as well as helpful. Those who are not active members, are either no longer Xojo users, are way way more experienced than any of us… or simply do not see the benefit either socially or from a knowledge persepctive.

The forum has 19,383 members, of which over 15,000 have NEVER posted even once
over 200 haven’t been here in at least a year, with only about 1,100 or so being around in the last 12 months [not including those with a hidden login date]
and probably 50 people or less account for 80% of the traffic here…

So is the forum representative of the Xojo Client Base? not even close

I once ran an international forum for Specialized Motorcycles… we had 18,000 members worldwide… the forum had about 1200 members, of which about 200 were ever active…

[quote=462597:@Scott Cadillac]I propose a fourth class:

  1. None of the above.
    [/quote]

What other use did you have in mind?

They buy a license to feel like they are a programer? :wink:

Seriously though, IMO another category is unlikely to be a significant portion of the user base…That opinion has nothing to do with forum membership, just reasoning.

I may be wrong, but I also don’t know how Xojo Inc can know for sure what most people are doing with Xojo after they buy it…

They can do surveys but depending on response rate, that may not produce an accurate picture either…(While I have gotten surveys from them, i can’t remember if I ever got such a survey from them about how I use it in the last 18+ years)

So I am not sure what your point is.

  • karen

Yes, there is in fact a lot of prejudice against BASIC, but that is just pure ignorance. The sintax doesnt make the framework, and xojo could be focusing on offering a better frameworkt than deprecating the basic sintax.

As for that, it is the same, most people will value the RAD capabilities (date and time pickers, reports, calendars, layout containers) and the framework itself, PDF, SVG, XSLT, SOAP, betther than the actuall keywords in the languaje.

I believe that the market is looking for a multiplatform RAD, easy to use with a good RAD framework out of the box. And unfortunately xojo is trying to cover more platforms than they can cover, ending with many platforms but with a poor and outdated framework. Contrary to the market needs.

But who knows, maybe they really made an outstanding market analysis.

[quote=462597:@Scott Cadillac]I propose a fourth class:

  1. None of the above.[/quote]

[quote=462600:@Karen Atkocius]What other use did you have in mind?

They buy a license to feel like they are a programer? :wink:

So I am not sure what your point is.[/quote]
I must have rewrote that post a half-dozen times, because what I was trying to say was that I think it’s impolite to apply labels or categories to people without their permission. But I thought it too rude to just say that directly. But now I have, because obviously I’m not as articulate as I would like.

I can label myself, i.e., an inarticulate rude self-taught professional software developer, and tell the world about it, but until that time, I would feel highly uncomfortable being slotted into either of your classes by someone that doesn’t know me.

I was also trying to make some other points, for which @Dave S provided some interesting numbers (thanks Dave).

So, there you go. I apologize sincerely Karen for my rudeness. And in case it’s not clear, I’m only speaking for myself.

Scott… I do not think you were rude… but based on your description of yourself… I would describe myself in much the same manner… And while any one person may not fit 100% into any of the 3 categories mentioned… .I think that everyone falls along that scale… myself… I’d label a #1.5.

But I think the point is… WHO is Xojo aiming at? and are you, or me, or Karen or anyone else around here still in that target area? To me, it is seeming not so much. They seem to think that Xojo is the tool to turn “Script Kiddies” (#3) into “Professionals”… and its not, and should not be. Its not the job of the Hammer or the Saw to teach someone to be a carpenter, nor should it be Xojo’s job to teach someone to be a programmer… Its a tool… you build with it… once you learn how to wield it…
And you either end up able to build “birdhouses”… or Mansions… but its the same hammer and saw

But by the same token… You don’t go up to a carpenter, grab his hammer, and give him a crowbar and say “Hey this is easier…”

[quote=462601:@Ivan Tellez]I believe that the market is looking for a multiplatform RAD, easy to use with a good RAD framework out of the box. And unfortunately xojo is trying to cover more platforms than they can cover, ending with many platforms but with a poor and outdated framework. Contrary to the market needs.

But who knows, maybe they really made an outstanding market analysis.[/quote]
There is still a lot of work ahead for Team Xojo for sure, but I think you’re heading in the right direction Ivan.

I believe Xojo has the potential for being a major player in exactly this market. I’d love for this to happen now for Xojo, as I’m sure many would, but it’ll still take some time. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) nobody else is crushing that market, yet.

[quote=462602:@Scott Cadillac]I must have rewrote that post a half-dozen times, because what I was trying to say was that I think it’s impolite to apply labels or categories to people without their permission.
[/quote]

To do that to any individual person against their wishes I agree… But that was not what i was doing. I did not say the categories covered everyone or anyone in particular, just most customers… I also said not all will fall into one category neatly.

To analyze anything one needs to make categories , at least as a hypothesis, to be able to reason about it.

Again I was not doing that. It’s unfortunate you took it that way and I wish you had not … but at the same time I don’t think I did anything I need to apologize for… and you don’t either!

BTW one more thing about that category …

These day I think most in this category tend to work in smaller companies so financial resources are often limited… In the really big ones the IT departments lock down the machines too much to allow us to put our own apps on them.

They are also hostile to such things as they worry they will have to wind up supporting the apps written in something they are not familiar with and mumble about issues with “islands of automation”… but then don’t provide a solution because it’s not budgeted and they don’t have the time and when they do the results often are not user friendly or fit the workflow well!

BTW that is why I wrote my first in-house app… the one the IT department provided was a pain to use and I could not stand it! That was in VAX days so I taught myself VAX pascal (as it was on the system) and replaced their app with mine… and everyone in my department that had to use it was much happier!

  • karen

I’ll take that as a compliment Dave. Thanks.

As someone said in another thread, I must be living in an alternate universe, because that’s not how I see Xojo at all.

It just so happens carpentry is a hobby of mine and I tell ya, the tools have really changed for the better over the years. But to get the most out of those new tools, e.g., better accuracy, more finishing options, less strain on the body, I had to learn a whole new way of design, planning and implementation of woodworking (I spend the last 11 years renovating our house, in my non-existent spare time).

The same applies to software development. The tools, the languages, the platforms, the targets AND the users - they’re all changing. So if we want to continue being developers, we have to learn and change too. I think that’s all Xojo is doing, keeping abreast of the times and trends (which is smart). Xojo is not telling us to change, Xojo not the “saw” trying to teach the carpenter. It’s us deciding whether the old saw worked fine, or I’d like a new saw please, that cuts more accurately, doesn’t ware down as fast and maybe has some new safety features to help keep all my digits where they belong.

I like learning new stuff. And I like API 2.0 very much. It has a modern and updated appeal, and once is propagated to all it’s targets, it could potentially revolutionize cross-platform development under one language like nobody else is doing (or doing easily or well, that is).

Here’s hoping for the best.

You’re right, you don’t need to. As I said, it was me that was uncomfortable with it so it’s my problem, which I thought I could fix by suggesting the fourth class. My bad.

But as I said, I’m not as articulate as I’d like to be :-}

The top 20 account for just about 40% of all posts

[quote=462607:@Karen Atkocius]In the really big ones the IT departments locks down the machine too much to allow us to put our own apps on them.

They are also hostile to such things a they worry they will have to wind up supporting the apps written in something they are not familiar with and mumble about issues with “islands of automation”… but then don’t provide a solution because it’s not budgeted and they don’t have the time and when they do the results often are not user friendly or fit the workflow well!

BTW that is why I wrote my first in-house app… the one the IT department provided was a pain to use and I could not stand it! That was in VAX days so I taught myself VAX pascal (as it was on the system) and replaced their app with mine… and everyone in my department that had to use it was much happier![/quote]

Good on you Karen, give IT the slip :wink:

It took years before our IT would even give us dedicated developers admin access to our own machines. Now they have systems that scan all the machines on the network looking for software not licensed by the company.

I’m entirely self-taught, and been professionally contracted and/or employed as a developer for nearly 25 years. We’re using some of the latest technologies where I work, and I hate it - it’s all so #@$%*&^!! complicated with endless lines of dependencies, etc. Having management breathing down your neck, with arbitrary timelines and no additional resources doesn’t help either.

As I said in another thread, Xojo is a life line to sanity for me. It’s so straight-forward. It can do a heck of a lot of cool things, all under one roof. My experience in these other tool sets tell me a lot about the potential for Xojo. Geoff and his team are some smart people.

Personally I don’t know a lot about marketing. I’m a tech/geek/nerd who loves to learn things. And right now Xojo is right up my alley and that road looks pretty long from where I stand.

So at the end of the day, I just want Xojo to succeed so I kick some of this other junk to the side of that road.

[quote=462604:@Scott Cadillac]
I believe Xojo has the potential for being a major player in exactly this market. [/quote]
This has been true since the first version in 1997/1998

Fulfilling that potential is the hard part

[quote=462618:@Norman Palardy]This has been true since the first version in 1997/1998

Fulfilling that potential is the hard part[/quote]

It really seem like it should be able to, and that is what gets many of us passionate about it and willing to bear with it and it’s foibles …

But in all these years for some reason it never seems to get there… and after enough time that gets very frustrating/disappointing.

-Karen

Xojo can never be mainstream as a language because it is closed source. Nobody pays for programming languages anymore.

Commercial languages do exist and even niche ones like Matlab are on the TIOBE index.

However none of those are actually mainstream languages. There is no job or contract market for them. The third party markets are non-existent or insignificant. They have micro-communities just like this one.

It would be best not to try and delude ourselves into thinking Xojo needs to do things that are mainstream.

What Xojo needs to do in my opinion is try to expand on the cross platform r.a.d. environment it used to be. Now way too much time is spent navigating API changes and researching third parties for actually useful controls and features.

If I was Geoff I would be envious of Christian and Anthony because they have achieved what Xojo could not. In the future I hope they are consulted more as they seem to understand the market better than Xojo does.

[quote=462621:@Phillip Zedalis]What Xojo needs to do in my opinion is try to expand on the cross platform r.a.d. environment it used to be. Now way too much time is spent navigating API changes and researching third parties for actually useful controls and features.
[/quote]

Since about the time of the name change to Xojo the company focus seems to have changed in a way that I think misses what it’s market needs most and frustrates existing users.

I just looked at the TIOBE index and see that at least one competitor is on “The Next 50 Programming Languages” list, but Xojo is not there… it seems like it could be, if only…

To get there they need to keep existing users as well as entice new ones and get better word of mouth… Those that leave frustrated and disappointed don’t help with that.

  • Karen

Never going to happen with the current business model.