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GavinS8292's Recent Posts


I don't do software development without Dash being installed!

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I have been using Xojo for many (many) years, as my main development environment, first as a hobby/second job and later as a full-time professsional. Now, I’m no fanboy - I am also experienced in Xcode (with Objective-C) and I have tried countless competing languages and IDEs over the years, not because Xojo was found wanting (except for iOS, but see later in my review) but because this is what I do for a living and I want to know I’m using the best tool. And I’ll continue to do this - every year, I spend a little time researching my options and every year I continue to use Xojo. Xojo provides a rich development environment - it has a simple, clean language and an easy-to-use IDE. To make an app, you drag and drop items that you need - TextFields, ListBoxes, PushButtons, Check Boxes, Labels, HTML Viewers and lots more. (These are the actual names of the controls!) Xojo is based around “events” - clicking a PushButton is an event, typing in a TextField is an event. If you want something to happen when an event occurs, you add a little code to that event. It’s extremely intuitive. So, to make something happen when a PushButton is pushed, you add it to PushButton’s own Action event. For example, I might add MyLabel.text = “Hello world!” and that’s it. Run the app, click the button, the label changes to “Hello world!”. Xojo allows hobbyists to make simple apps and professionals to make extremely powerful, feature-rich apps. If you find something that Xojo doesn’t have built-in, you can easily access the underlying OS API. (In fact, there are open-source libraries for Windows and OS X providing lots of this additional functionality, so you don’t even have to do the work for the most part). Luckily, most of the stuff you’ll ever need is built right in to Xojo and ready to use. I’ve got to mention one more thing (I promise I’m nearly done) because this is a really important point, one of Xojo’s main selling points over competing environments: Xojo makes native apps with native controls. What does this mean? When you run a Xojo-built app on, say, OS X, you get a real OS X app with real OS X controls. A lot of Xojo’s competitors don’t do this (they use faked drawn controls) and I promise you, as a Mac user, we can tell right away. What’s Xojo’s downside? No iOS apps - not yet, anyway. They’re working on it and they’ve announced it’s in Alpha testing. The same language will be used, so you can started making Mac, Windows, Linux and Web apps today and use a lot of the same code for your iOS apps. And yes, it will make real, native iOS apps with real native interface controls. Xojo is free until you want to deploy apps which means you can try it out, learn the language and see if it works for you. I highly recommend it, if you are at all interested in programming or, like me, do it for a living.

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