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Category: Technology

5 Tips For Setting Up Your Home Office for Sanity and Productivity

These days it seems everyone is working from home at least a few days a week. That is great for us humans and our home planet too. Your commute across the hall is quick and traffic-free, which is amazing for your personal stress-level and the local air quality. And your home office is likely to make you more productive and happier in your job, if set up right.

As more of us are working from home more often, it’s important to set some basic guidelines for your job and your sanity.

Here are 5 tips to help you set up your home office right, along with a peek into the Xojo team’s own offices.

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Goodbye GTK+ 2, Hello GTK+ 3

With the release of Xojo 2017 Release 2 we have updated our Linux Desktop framework to use GTK+ 3 instead of GTK+ 2. For those not familiar with Linux, GTK+ is a User Interface (i.e. UI) toolkit, much like Cocoa is for macOS and Win32 controls (or WinForms.NET or WPF) is for Windows. GTK+ 2 has been supplying the user interface for Xojo Desktop apps for Linux since we first targeted Linux over a decade ago. It has since been deprecated in favor of GTK+ 3 for quite some time now and GTK+ 2 is typically not installed by default on most Linux distros these days, which makes deploying Xojo Desktop apps on Linux more painful. Unfortunately GTK+ 3 is not ABI compatible with GTK+ 2 so we could not migrate to using GTK+ 3 without completely ditching GTK+ 2.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means for your Linux apps:

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A Better Alternative to PHP

Are you tired of the hassles of creating web apps using PHP? Why not develop faster and smarter with Xojo?

Like PHP, Xojo is object-oriented. Unlike PHP, Xojo has a coherent framework design that is easy to work with; plus the Xojo language is simple and focused.

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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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Clear the iTunes Apple Music Cache on macOS and Windows

I love listening to music and have been a happy Apple Music subscriber since it was first released in 2015. Having access to 30 million songs is great even if I mostly just listen to the ones in the “Hard Rock” category (current favorite song: You Don’t Know by Kobra and the Lotus). Unlike some other streaming services, when you listen to a song with iTunes that has not been downloaded to your computer, it does not technically stream it while it’s playing. Instead iTunes downloads the full song to a cache folder and plays it locally from there. This has the advantage of there being fewer stutters as the song is playing, but does mean it takes a moment before the song starts playing the first time. Subsequent plays of the same song are instant, though, since it doesn’t have to download it again which may also save you some Internet data usage. A notable downside to this design is that it also means that these songs are using up space on your drive and with today’s smaller SSDs often every bit of space counts. It doesn’t appear that this space is ever cleared by iTunes, either.

These songs files are saved in a cache folder buried in hidden folders on macOS and Windows, which you can get to manually if you are comfortable with the command line.

Alternatively, you can easily make a quick Xojo app to do it for you.

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Free Marketing! 4 Practical Tips For Developers New To Twitter

So you developed this great app, now how does your marketing team of one get the word out? Social media can be an amazing tool for developers without a big marketing budget and Twitter is a great place to start.

You’ve opened your Twitter account using a Twitter handle that defines and promotes your brand and your app, check. You’ve added a close-up headshot of yourself or a clear, simple logo, check. Now, how do you get the followers and engagement you need to successfully promote your app?

For those of you, like me, who didn’t grow up with social media, it can seem like an arbitrary and daunting undertaking. But dip your toe in and you’ll find Twitter can be fun, informative and rewarding.

Here are 4 tested and simplified tips to get you started marketing your app on Twitter.

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Learn The Fundamentals of Programming With Xojo

The ability to code is an increasingly valuable skill. At Xojo we believe that anybody can learn to make their own apps. And Xojo is a great language for students looking to add programming to their skillset and for citizen developers.

Learn to code using Xojo and you can build apps for Mac, Windows and Linux, web apps, iOS apps and Raspberry Pi apps (and Android- it’s coming!). With the exception of iOS which requires a Mac, you can build for any platform we support from any platform we support. Want to build Windows apps for your friends from your Mac? That’s what Xojo is great at! Want to make your work day easier with a database app to track your inventory? Xojo’s great at that too!

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A Cure For iOS App Obesity

John Gruber of Daringfireball.net recently wrote about the problem of so many iOS apps being over 100MB in size, which means they cannot be updated over a cellular connection. It really stinks to be forced to wait until you can get on WiFi just to update an app. And it can be especially bad if you really depend on the app.

Yesterday he mentioned that a big part of the problem is that apps written in Swift (and some other tools) end up bundling in a lot of standard libraries and developers don’t take the time to consider the ways in which they can trim their overweight apps down to size before shipping updates.

But you don’t have to be knowledgable about the many techniques you will need to trim your iOS apps. There is simpler solution to this problem: write your iOS apps in Xojo.

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