At each XDC (Xojo Developer Conference) I lay out, however roughly, what Xojo’s short-term development roadmap looks like for the next 12 months or so. Despite how well-conceived that roadmap may be, sometimes unexpected events occur that change or delay things.
64-bit support, for example, has been a major focus and continues to be. At one time, 64-bit was a nice-to-have. Then it became important and now it’s critical. There are Linux distributions that no longer provide 32-bit support. iOS now requires apps to be compiled to 64-bit in order to be in the App Store. You might have noticed that the 2017r2 cycle was longer than usual. This was due to the fact that we were doing some major refactoring of how strings are handled under 64-bit. Some of the string functions you depend on were not always behaving themselves and were much slower than they were in 32-bit applications. That refactoring took twice as long as we’d originally planned. That’s just the way things go sometimes. Even companies such as Microsoft and Apple have announced features that were later delayed. We’ve all been there.
We are also working to provide a 64-bit version of the Xojo IDE. This is important for those you of with large projects because the current 32-bit IDE can only address so much memory. Once your project gets big enough, the IDE can run out of memory even though your computer has plenty to spare. We need this ourselves because the Xojo IDE is written in Xojo and as you can probably imagine, is a very big project. 64-bit applications can address all of the memory your computer (or any future computer you own) will ever have. A 64-bit version of the IDE will permanently resolve this issue.
Sometimes the platform vendors make changes that require us to rearrange things a bit in the short term. For example, our first 64-bit platform was going to be Linux until Apple announced the 64-bit requirement for iOS apps to be in the iOS App Store far earlier than expected. Recently, Apple made it clear that under iOS 11 the Xcode 9 version of the iOS Simulator would not support 32-bit apps or debugging. We had originally planned to support 64-bit iOS Simulator debugging in 2018. Instead we are working hard and fast on that right now.
As a result of all this, some of our plans have been pushed out a bit. We had originally aimed to have Android, interops and plugins made with Xojo available for beta testing by the end of this calendar year. Now that’s not going to happen. We are still working quite hard on all these things (and more) but the 64-bit work has just waylaid us a bit. It is our intention, barring any additional unforeseen circumstances, to ship these features in the first half of 2018.
Fortunately, not all things have been delayed. We are working on a big update to the Windows framework that will dramatically reduce the flicker you sometimes see. This will not just improve the user experience of your apps but the Windows version of the Xojo IDE as well. Those of you that deploy to Windows or use Xojo itself on Windows will be quite pleased. I’m confident we will have these improvements available by year end.
If you want to help us with testing 64-bit Xojo or the updated Windows framework this year, please join our Pre-Release Testing Program.
For those of you that have been participating in pre-release testing, thank you so much. You are providing a valuable service to us and the Xojo community at large.