A lot happened this year with Xojo. Some I was lucky to be part of, and still more that I was pleasantly surprised by. In all, though, I think 2020 was a pretty good year to be a Xojo customer.
I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the strides that were made with Xojo Web this year. I was fortunate enough to have a front-row seat to this massive shift. I, and the other MVPs, were testing well before public release, building examples, reporting bugs, and providing feedback.
For me, it was clear early on how much thought, planning, and work had been put in to addressing the issues that plagued Web 1.0. I’ve been so pleased with the shift that my own plans for GraffitiSuite have changed a number of times to require even less work as I dig into the new framework. Well done, Greg et al.
While I’m not an iOS developer and only rarely tiptoe in to the mobile waters when necessary for specific client projects, this landscape has also been renewed. As Xojo prepares for the imminent release of Android support, iOS has been given a major bump in out-of-the-box abilities that I’m sure all iOS devs appreciate.
With the release of a few new controls for Desktop, Xojo is again stepping up their game. Expanding the built-in set of tools is something many in the community have clamored for, and it’s happening. We’re not just talking canvas-based classes, we’re seeing new native offerings! This can only be a good thing for all of us who write desktop software in Xojo.
Control previews were added this year, too. While this is something I’m excited about, it’s something I can’t yet implement for my customers as it’s not backward compatible. It’s a big step, I think, toward plugins made in Xojo, and that’s something I’ve wanted for a very long time.
Then there’s Apple Silicon M1 ARM support. I’ve been working exclusively in Xojo on my ARM Mac Mini for quite a while now, and Xojo has been rock solid for me. The IDE feels more stable on my M1 than it does on my Intel Mac, debugging is as stable or better than on Intel, and building Universal Binaries is exponentially quicker than I expected (it always felt so slow when compiling UBs for PPC and Intel). While others have had issues with Big Sur and M1 while using Xojo, my experience has been stellar.
Next, Linux. For a long time Linux users felt left behind. A number of bugs made working in Xojo difficult but — after a year packed full of new features — Xojo buckled down and knocked out a bunch of those outstanding issues! I’ve spoken to a few Linux devs this year about their concerns, and most seem to be quite happy with the current release.
And Workers! This feature was badly needed, and is an excellent addition. I’ve been using them for all kinds of stuff, but they really shine with CPU-intensive calculations. Xojo is no longer stunted to single-core processing, and that’s absolutely huge.
Finally, the HTMLViewer control saw massive updates this year. We got a lot of great new functionality for interacting with web pages loaded in this control, and it’s really expanded my own toolset. There are things I’m doing with HTMLViewer now that seemed like a distant dream not too long ago. While customers and I are still stumbling across some issues with this new functionality, they’re fixed quickly thanks to the tireless work of William Yu and the rest of the team.
2020 in the community started with some harsh times. API 2.0, changes at Xojo the company, and announcements about future changes had created some massive waves. Working with Dana Brown, Jason Parsley, and Gavin Smith, we’ve built out workable guidelines for a more professional and inclusive community, plus migrated to a forums software that helps users find what they need more quickly and help ensure that the information they find is relevant.
Being appointed as Moderators, Gavin and I have worked closely with Dana and Jason to apply the new guidelines fairly and take the human element in to account as much as possible. As time has gone on, our work with this has proved to be worthwhile as it has reduced community-related incident reports significantly.
These are all things that help strengthen Xojo in the market, and make the Xojo folks’ jobs easier as well. Certainly worth striving for when we all, as customers, want Xojo to do more and more quickly.
In addition to the COVID fight we’ve all had to endure this year, losing loved ones and barricading ourselves in our homes or behind protective gear, we also lost Stéphane Pinel. Pretty much anyone who has opened Feedback Cases interacted with Stéphane on some level, and his passing was sudden, shocking, and deeply felt. He will continue to be missed.
I can honestly say that there’s not been a time in all of the years I’ve been a Xojo customer that Geoff didn’t respond to me when I needed it. This year has really highlighted for me his concern for his product, his company, his employees, and his users. The MVP program, the user-moderator program, and the phone calls I’ve gotten from him when I’ve expressed my discontent with a direction or decision have certainly served to reinforce my faith in Xojo.
I’ve been having a lot of fun as an MVP and more consistent fixture on the forums. I hear from people who I haven’t talked to in years, are new to the community, or are very persistent posters. They ask for help, express concerns, and more. It’s great to be able to help my fellow Xojo developers. I hope that I can continue to be a Xojo MVP and moderator far into the future.
In closing, I’d like to give a big shout-out to each and every Xojo employee, and wish them all a very happy and safe 2021:
- Alyssa Foley
- Dana Brown
- Geoff Perlman
- Greg O’Lone
- Jason Parsley
- Javier Menéndez
- Paul Lefebvre
- Robin Lauryssen-Mitchell
- Travis Hill
- and William Yu
Also to my fellow Xojo MVPs:
Thank you all for reading, and I wish you the best and happiest year in 2021!
Anthony G. Cyphers