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Xojo Developer Retreat Recap

In September we hosted The Xojo Developer Retreat in Nashville and it was a huge success! From exciting educational sessions, to an exploration of the Xojo product roadmap, to informative presentations from Xojo Engineers about how Xojo is made and the Xojo framework, there was a lot to take in! If you missed any of the announcements that were shared, you can watch Founder and CEO Geoff Perlman’s Conference Keynote free on YouTube. The rest of the session videos are available for purchase here.

The conference kicked off Sunday night in the hotel bar and lobby where guests checked-in, got some Xojo swag and mingled. It was a reunion for many, as we — including the Xojo Team — hadn’t seen each other in quite some time. And we also got to meet many new Xojo fans and attendees for the first time!

I was really excited to finally meet James and Peter from Control Bionics – I have been communicating with them for years but never met them in person! It was also great to catch up with Jérémie Leroy, Christian Schmitz and Tim Dietrich.

Outside of Hyatt Centric Nashville Hotel
Sunday evening meet & greet
Alvaro, Tim and Paul chatting before a session.

Day one of the conference began with breakfast and Geoff’s keynote. He talked about many of the things that happened at Xojo since the last conference, such as 302 new features, 286 changes and 1400+ bug fixes. He also talked about Android and the Bug Bash, which are summarized below:

Geoff Perlman keynote, discussion product roadmap

Android – When we showed Android at the last XDC it was essentially just a proof of concept. We had three possible routes we were going to take in terms of code compilation and had not even tried the first one. We ultimately went with plan B, which worked as expected. We are now feature complete for the first Android release and are rapidly fixing bugs. More on Android was discussed by Xojo Engineer Travis Hill during his session, The ABC’s of Android.

Travis discussing Xojo’s Android support

Bug Bash – We spent the month of August doing a Bug Bash and focused on different bug criteria than we usually focus on. We typically focus on the overall impact surface and bugs that we know will impact nearly everyone in a way that can’t be worked around get the highest priority. We realize that there are some bugs that do not affect many people but are very painful for those they do affect. And that is specifically where we wanted to focus our efforts with the Bug Bash this year.

The Bug Bash gave our engineers an opportunity to work on parts of Xojo they usually don’t work on making them more comfortable working in those areas. This increases our coverage in terms of who can work on what. In fact, today more of the team is comfortable working in different parts of Xojo than ever before. Most of the engineers have worked on the compiler, for example. We felt like this Bug Bash went really well and going forward we will dedicate 2 weeks per cycle to focus on fixing those types of bugs (mentioned above) when we look at what to focus on.  

Many other topics were covered in the keynote, like the Xojo community, Xojo’s participation in the GitHub Student Developer Pack, Xojo users, our design strategy and the Xojo product roadmap.

The rest of the morning continued with a session from Paul Lefebvre about how Xojo is made, followed by William’s session about the Xojo framework.

Xojo Engineer William Yu talking about the Xojo framework

After lunch, we heard sessions from experts in the Xojo community. Always an interesting subject, Jim Meyer talked to us about using machine learning in Xojo apps. Kem Tekinay gave an interesting talk about using MemoryBlocks. Xojo Engineer Ricardo Cruz talked about the WebSDK.

Kem Tekinay talks MemoryBlocks

We ended the day with two non coding sessions – Amy Barnes talked about the legal side of programming and Yousaf Shah discussed things you can do to improve your business other than coding. You can review the full sessions list and descriptions of all of the sessions here.

Amy Barnes shares some of her expertise with the group during her session
Javier, William and Paul

After sessions, it was time to go out on the town! We had a nice dinner at The Stillery, right in the midst of the craziness that is the Nashville Broadway area. After dinner a group headed out to one of the local honkey tonks to enjoy some live music!

Conference dinner at The Stillery
Group photo at a honkey tonk on Broadway

Only morning sessions on day two when we heard from Christian all about MonkeyBread Plugins, his session gave some inspiration to Tim Dietrich, read about that here. Then Derrick Donnelly gave a very interesting talk about building digital forensic apps with Xojo (watch out for your fridge!) and the educational portion of the conference wrapped with Xojo Engineer Javier Menendez talking about integrating WooCommerce into Xojo apps.

Lunch at The Diner

We had lunch at a local diner, appropriately named The Diner. Then it was time for some fun – we visited an Escape Room (The Escape Game)! We split into three very competitive teams and entered the themed rooms where we had to “escape” by following clues and solving puzzles before the time ran out. Since we are all excellent problem-solvers, all of the groups amazingly made it out before the time ran out and none of the attendees or employees are still there. Everyone who particiapted really enjoyed it so we may do this type of activity at a future event.

Prison break theme at The Escape Game
Time travel theme at The Escape Game
Gold Rush theme at The Escape Game

It was really nice to get back to an in-person event and we look forward to doing more! Though we don’t have any plans to announce yet for the next conference, we are hosting a Xojo social meetup in London on November 9th, so if you happen to be there please come by and say hi!

William Yu grew up in Canada learning to program BASIC on a Vic-20. He is Xojo’s resident Windows and Linux engineer, among his many other skills. Some may say he has joined the dark side here in the USA, but he will always be a Canadian at heart.