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Category: Cross-Platform

Big Transitions, Little Effort: One App’s Update to 64-bit

Our goal has always been to let you focus your energy on what makes your app unique. One of the ways we do that is by handling the nitty-gritty details of the various platforms Xojo supports. For example, you don’t have to worry about the differences in how files are accessed on Windows, Linux, macOS or iOS. We take care of that for you.

Saying all this is one thing, however, and delivering it is quite another. We’ve been through some significant technological hurdles over the years. Over the past 12 months we’ve had two big transitions. The first was support for HiDPI (called Retina on macOS and iOS) which made it possible for apps created with Xojo to support high definition screens. For Xojo users, adding HiDPI support was mostly a matter of recompiling their app. If they had pictures or icons, higher resolution versions needed to be supplied but aside from that, it was effortless.

The second big feature we’ve been working on is support for 64-bit. Integers are the issue here and are almost certainly the most common data type used in apps built with Xojo. If you have used the generic Integer type, in theory, building a 64-bit version of your app should be a simple matter of recompiling. That’s the theory. What’s the reality?

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Daring to Defy Software Extinction: A Limited History of Development Tools

In 1998 Steve Jobs was the interim CEO of Apple and trying to keep his unprofitable company from sinking into bankruptcy. Just the previous year, when asked what he would do if he were in charge of Apple, Dell CEO Michael Dell said, “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

The Mac had single digit marketshare. Creating a development tool, independently of Apple or any company that makes a platform such a tool would support, was considered a fool’s errand. There were plenty of tools available from large companies. Apple made MPW (the Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop). Symantec created THINK C. Metrowerks developed CodeWarrior.  IBM’s VisualAge. Macromedia Flash. If you needed to create a cross-platform desktop app, you’d be told to look no further than SUN Microsystems Java: THE cross-platform language. We were all promised that Java was going to run on everything from our computers to our cars to our can openers. Java was the safe and popular choice. Developers made up only about 5% of computer users anyway. Honestly, who would be crazy enough to launch a new development tool in a  market crowded by giants?

We were.

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Making a Web App: Comparing Xojo and Visual Studio for Mac

In previous articles, I’ve written about how Xojo is often much, much easier to use and more capable than Visual Studio for Mac for creating Mac and cross-platform desktop apps.

Visual Studio can also create web apps and as it would turn out, you may find that Xojo is a better option for web apps.

Technically, Visual Studio for Mac can create ASP.NET Core Web Apps. These type of web apps use the ASP.NET framework, but do not provide a form (layout editor) for your app’s user interface. Instead you’ll have to create everything in code, including mapping UI actions to corresponding code. ASP.NET Core also requires you to use the MVC (model-view-controller) design pattern, which can be a bit daunting for beginners.

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JSON Feed Desktop App

Recently, a new syndication format was introduced by Brent Simmons and Manton Reece called JSON Feed. It is an alternative to RSS/Atom to get feeds for blog posts and podcasts. RSS/Atom are XML-based making them complex to work with. As its name implies JSON Feed uses JSON and is much simpler. I’ve shown in previous posts how easy it is to make a web and iOS apps with Xojo to display the feed.

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a Xojo desktop app to display the JSON feed for Daring Fireball in less than 20 lines of code. This app works without changes on macOS, Windows and Linux.

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Making a Mac App: Comparing Xojo and Visual Studio for Mac

At the recent Build conference, Microsoft released the final version of Visual Studio for Mac. As a former Visual Studio developer who left that world for the fun, fast development that is Xojo, I had to check it out to see how it compares to Xojo.

First, if you’ve ever used Visual Studio on Windows before, be aware that Visual Studio for Mac is not the same thing. Essentially Visual Studio for Mac is new branding for Xamarin Studio (Microsoft bought Xamarin in 2016), so Visual Studio for Mac looks and works nothing like Visual Studio for Windows.

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Using a Property as a Constant

Wikipedia says:

In computer programming, a constant is a value that cannot be altered by the program during normal execution, i.e., the value is constant.

In Xojo we have constants that can be defined in code or added to modules, classes, etc. What you’ll notice about Wikipedia’s definition of “constant” is that it’s a behavior, not a specific type.

There is another way to define a “constant” or “a value that doesn’t change throughout the run of your application”.

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ContainerControl: Making a Multiplatform Search Field

The ContainerControl is one of the most versatile control classes included in the Xojo framework both for Desktop and Web apps. In fact, it paves the way to complex UI controls creation with the same simplicity you are used to while designing your window layouts. Even better, once you create your complex UI controls using the ContainerControl, you will be able to add them to your Window layouts as if they were regular controls. Plus, you will enjoy the fruits of better OOP encapsulation and the fact that you can create and use the controls dynamically at run time. Want to see this in action? Follow this tutorial and video to create the basis of a multiplatform search field based on the ContainerControl class.

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