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64-bit Work Continues

Memory (RAM) gets cheaper every year. As a result, new computing devices (mobile/server/desktop) come with more and more RAM, allowing applications to perform bigger and increasingly sophisticated tasks. My first desktop computer had 16K of RAM. The laptop on which I am writing this has 16GB of RAM. That’s 1 million times more RAM for less than half the price in today’s dollars. Wow.

Many computing devices now have 64-bit processors allowing them to access very large amounts of RAM. That means the apps must be 64-bit apps. If the device has 32-bit compatibility libraries installed, they can run 32-bit apps as well and most do. Some Linux servers, however, don’t have these libraries installed and thus require a 64 bit app. As time goes on, more devices will require apps to be 64 bit.

We continue to make progress towards making Xojo capable of producing 64 bit apps. We currently estimate that we will be ready in the first quarter of next year. We had a more aggressive goal in the past but we have made some bigger, more long term plans for Xojo that include 64 bit. That pushed our timeline out further but in the long run, Xojo will be a better tool. And we all know how difficult it is to estimate software projects. The closer you get to shipping, the more accurate the estimates become. Everyone’s shipping estimate is 100% accurate the day the software ships. 🙂

What do you need to do to make sure your apps will compile for 64 bit? Most of you will have to do little or nothing because Xojo abstracts you from these details. For example, if you use the Integer data type, that will automatically convert from 32 bit to 64 bit. If your application uses plugins, those plugins will need to be updated to support 64 bit. When we are ready with 64 bit, many plugins will have been updated. For most of you though, the conversion from 32 bit to 64 bit will require little, if any, effort.

Do you have an app that will benefit from 64 bit? Post a comment and tell me about it.

UPDATE: 64-bit Apps with Xojo, The 64-bit IDE