Xojo's Painless Development Environment Helps Former VB Developer Find Solace

Peter Stallo was extremely comfortable with Visual Basic 6 for the past 10 years. He knew the language well and could accomplish what he needed without difficulty. That is, until he realized he was losing sales...

Peter had dabbled in programming throughout his middle and high school tenure and had created a variety of applications, mostly games. He switched gears in college, studying anesthesia, temporarily distancing himself from his computer programming background.

It wasn't until Visual Basic 5 that he renewed his interest in programming and began developing commercial software. He wrote custom software for businesses in his spare time, but focused primarily on developing educational software for the healthcare industry.

The mainstay of his business for the past two years, a fusion between his programming interests and background in anesthesia, is a program called PACES, written in VB6. PACES is an exam simulator for anesthesia students preparing for their board exams. It is used by over 2,000 anesthesia students, which represents about 30% of all anesthesia students in the United States.

The Problem

Despite the success of PACES, Peter realized he was losing about 10% of his sales because he didn't support OS X, which has been becoming increasingly important as Mac sales permeated the student demographic. Peter recognized he had to find some sort of cross-platform solution to solve this problem.

Peter had made an attempt to learn C++ a few years back, but decided against it as he felt that tasks that were once easy to accomplish became impossible. He had been programming since he was 8 years old and didn't want to go back to being a novice, a stranger roaming around in a new language. When Microsoft released .NET and dropped support for VB6, Peter became determined to find something he could reasonably switch to. That's when he stumbled upon Xojo.

The Solution

Peter downloaded the Xojo demo and, after playing around with it, thought it was worth a try. He began churning through the examples included with Xojo. He decided to commit to the project, purchased Xojo, and gave himself a six month deadline to convert the PACES program.

"I quickly discovered that the program was much easier to use than Visual Basic, and this dramatically sped up the conversion process," commented Peter. "My application even looked better because the GUI controls in Xojo harnessed the look of the Windows interface."

"Xojo made a lot of things easier, more intuitive," Peter explained. "The most clever element I encountered was the ability to expand and collapse control loops to make them easier to organize."

Results

Peter completed the conversion to Xojo within two weeks and had his application working on three platforms, allowing him to offer his solution to a much broader market.

"My project simplified from 3300 lines of code to 1300 lines of code," Peter explained. "That's a decrease by over 70%!"

"You want to know what the most amazing part was," queried Peter. "I was able to completely switch a commercial, database-driven, VB6 program to Xojo in less than two weeks... I'm over 5 months ahead of schedule!," he said. "The increased sales I will have in the next few months will more than pay for the cost of switching to Xojo."

Peter's next conversion project will be much larger, more complicated and involves FTP, live chat, and a complex, interactive encyclopedia. He said, "the beta version works in VB6 and I am already thinking of ways that Xojo will make it better. I am now Xojo's biggest fan!"