As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of the cross-platform development tool called Xojo. I'm such a fan that I've all but abandoned Java and C# development and use the tool in every project I possibly can. It's easy, it's fast, and it allows me to become productive from the time I open the IDE without having to write tons of boilerplate code just to get the basic app structure together. Xojo has long been my go-to choice for developing cross-platform apps and it's gotten even better over the last few releases.
Long supporting creating Windows, MacOS, and Linux applications, Xojo recently added the ability to create iOS apps and, at this years Xojo Developers Conference (going on as I write this post) they announced what is perhaps the biggest and most exciting additions to the platform in recent times:
According to the company, sometimes around Q4 2017, developers will be able to use Xojo to develop new Android apps that support Android 4.1 and up. This will make Xojo one of the only developer tools that offers cross-platform development for all desktop platforms and the most popular mobile platforms (oh, they also support Raspberry Pi too!). Sure, you could use HTML5 to do that too but doing so requires you to learn multiple technologies and that requires a lot of time to learn - especially if you're not already a web developer.
Adding Android support to Xojo is a game changer. Just like the addition of iOS to the platform allowed new developers an easy route to develop iPhone applications, the addition of Android support is going to completely blow open Android development. Now, every developer with an idea will be able to easily create iOS and Android apps. You don't need a complex environment, you don't need over-complicated tools, you don't need to even learn Java.
Lastly, while all of this is exciting, it doesn't come without some concerns. Xojo Inc is a small company with limited resources. They create a huge product that requires deep understanding of multiple platforms. That's a strain on the people creating the product and Xojo is going to have to plan future movement very carefully in order to execute this well. Hopefully, they're not going to try to pull this off with their current staff. They need to bring more developers into the company to support the addition of the new platform and to ease the current strain their existing devs face. Xojo hasn't announced any plans on that front and they are a small company that has to balance new hires against incoming revenue. But they are a pretty forward thinking company and I'm sure they'll figure it out.
All-in-all, this is possibly one of the most exciting announcements to come out of this years development conference. I'll leave coverage of other announcements to others but Android development is a huge addition that I couldn't ignore.
Good job, Xojo Inc. You're showing your customers that our faith in you is not misplaced!
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