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Using Xojo to Make NetSuite Development More Efficient

We love hearing from Xojo users when they want to share what they’re working on – it really inspires us! One of the things we have done to spread awareness to Xojo-made apps is the Xojo Showcase where you can search by various categories to see what people have done with Xojo. It’s also one of the many reasons the whole Xojo team enjoys in person events, like the upcoming Xojo Developer Retreat in Nashville. Especially because Xojo is in use in so many different ways.

One project that was just shared with me was from Tim Dietrich, a Xojo user who has spoken at our user conferences (see 2018 presentation and 2019 panel). Late last year Tim shared that he was working on a project that could get Xojo in front of a new audience and he’s blogged with some updates along the way. Yesterday he released SuiteTransmit, which is an application for NetSuite developers to monitor files they are working on and when a file is changed, it is automatically uploaded to the File Cabinet.

About the project and development process, Tim commented:

I developed SuiteTransmit so that my NetSuite development work would be more efficient, and so that I could use my preferred development tool (BBEdit). When I started working on the app, I had a basic idea of what I wanted it to do and how I wanted it to work, but I wasn’t sure what it would take to build it. 

The first version of the app (which was essentially a proof-of-concept) was a Xojo console app. It monitored files in a specific directory, and when a change was detected, the updated file was uploaded to NetSuite via a custom API. It worked, and I immediately felt more efficient. That was encouraging, and the development process was very fast. That’s one of the things I like about Xojo: You can go from a concept to a working solution in no time at all.

Then I realized that the console app approach wasn’t ideal, especially when it came to launching the app, passing parameters via the command line, and so on. So I took some of the code I had developed in the console app, and repurposed it in a Xojo desktop app. That was extremely easy to do. I then improved the interface a little, and added support for configuration files (so that I could use the app when working on multiple projects). It quickly started to feel like a “real app.” And I have to admit, as geeky as it sounds, it was cool to see my app’s icon in the macOS toolbar.

That was all back in November of last year, and I’ve been using the app ever since then. It has absolutely been a game changer for me. My NetSuite development work is now much more like the Web development work that I’ve been doing for years. SuiteTransmit empowers me to use a development approach and workflow that I’m familiar with. And because I can now make changes to my apps more quickly and efficiently, I’m much more likely to experiment and try new development techniques.

At that point, I decided that I’d make SuiteTransmit available to other NetSuite developers. I figured that if the app was helping me that much, then it might help others, too. But before releasing it, I needed to test it on Windows, and ensure that it worked properly. That was important because, based on what I know about the NetSuite development community, most developers use Windows-based PCs. During testing, there were some weird differences that I found, and they seemed to be with Windows itself (and not anything that Xojo was doing). Regardless, I was impressed by how easy Xojo made it to get the app working on both platforms. 

A lot of people ask me why I give so many of my development tools away for free. I do it for a number of reasons, but the main one is that I figure that if someone else can benefit from them, and if they make another developer’s work even a little easier, then that’s great. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as the saying goes.

Also, I don’t feel the need to monetize these things. It’s not what I do, or what I want to do, or what I’m good at. I develop custom software. Period. That’s where I’ve found joy and success.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, we love to share what Xojo users are making! We always encourage you to add your projects to the Showcase or reach out to anytime to talk about writing a blog post about your app!