I don’t really see a sustainably viable product that caters purely to noobs. One fundamental problem with that approach is that noobs don’t (usually) stay noobs. They have increasingly sophisticated needs. At a minimum, whatever artifacts a low code / no code product produces has to be able to be taken over by more seasoned hands at some point. It should be fundamentally viable, not barely functioning crap held together by baling wire and scotch tape, or something that calls into a proprietary black box.
This is not only so that the noob-produced software isn’t a dead end, but so that company IT departments will accept it as something to coexist with. IT folks understand that it will land in their laps eventually. They don’t want any new nightmares.
I think some of these companies think they are going to ride a hosting revenue gravy train and so they protect it like their crown jewels. Odd that they either don’t understand the bazillion options out there available to people, or think them so stupid that they won’t at least eventually figure that out.
Xojo’s hosting struck me as an example of that, if not quite so all-or-nothing – overpriced and built atop a system that is a resource pig to being with.
I think this is what came as a surprise to myself and others alike me, in that it felt like Xojo used to try cater to long-time customers, but something changed and now they don’t want those customer anymore.
My feeling is that the CEO became aware Xojo didn’t have the skills and he didn’t want to pay for those skills, so he decided to just cut 'em off and try to gain more customers without understanding that long-time customers help with new customer acquisitions.
The real sad thing is that I see a lot of companies now doing this, we can save money if we ignore our enthusiasts.
Someone has shared the above link on Discord in a thread.
But one thing that I have observed here is that there are many who advise developers to move out of Bubble but they in turn tend to suggest other low-code/no-code tools as replacement which in my view means ditching one to be locked in another!
The same can be said about Xojo and FileMaker. The hype could be kept alive until the technical dept became crushing - for customers. At this inflection point, the hype shrinks like a souflé in cold wind.
The risk that comes with these no code platforms is vendor lock-in. Many no-coders lack the knowledge necessary to port their apps to a different language.
Vendors take advantage by hiking prices and thus putting economic pressure on their smaller customers.
Well his main recommendation seems to be FlutterFlow and at least with that if you are one notch up from the free tier you can download the generated code and then go do your own thing with it presumably – assuming you’re okay with Dart.
Many years ago I had a conversation with a Real Software engineer (no longer with the company) at one of the developers conferences and after (more than) a few drinks he said newbies were great because they don’t know enough to ask for hard things. Pro developers, like me, ask for hard things that take time, forethought, and effort. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the gist.
It was meant as a half joke but I think that explains where we’re at now. Think about it, most of us on this forum have asked/demanded for things that will be very hard for Xojo to implement and deliver. Are they possible? Yes, but since their resources are spread so thin the chances of them being implemented are slim and the possibility that any of their solutions fits all of our needs is even thinner.
They are between a rock and a hard place. They don’t have the resources to make the product better so they rearrange the deck chairs to make it look like they’re doing things to improve the product and ignore the pro developers. Meanwhile, the newbies look at the ‘progress’ and see things are going great.
But, as others have said, newbies don’t stay newbies for long. And I can count a lot of developers that came into the ecosystem very excited and then started hitting the barriers in a few years, tried to get things changed (to no avail), and then left for other dev environments. Xojo’s not a ‘language for life’ sort of product.
In - new to the product Hey it’s great !
Up - learn about top, event based programming, design patterns. They up skill
Out - hey we need X. Wait. Wait. Wait. Hey we need Y. Wait Wait Wait. Jump out to something else
After my prior client (20 employees, 10 contractors) was acquired by Giant International MegaCorp (20,000 employees and contractors) I worked under similar constraints (different reasons but still involved rearranging deck chairs) for 2.5 years. At the time I did not realize how many Bad Things it did to me (in the Soul Crushing sense). Now out of that for 9 months I feel like a spring chicken again and have never been more productive or effective.
Knowing this I have to wonder what interior corrosion is happening to the devs at GreenCo. I feel badly for them but OTOH they can make it stop any old time. Unless they are also doing the In-Up-Out thang that Norm describes.
Some could leave - that would be one option
No idea what other skill sets they have that they might find employment with
Some, I suspect, will never leave as the security of having a guaranteed full time position is comfortable and leaving for other pastures would be fraught with danger & anxiety
And some wont leave for other reasons
Even if they all stay they DO have the collective means to influence HOW things are done - which is, IMHO, one of the biggest issues they had/have.
As a team we collectively had some success altering this - but it waned significantly over time & esp as people departed (@Stretch327 can probably vouch for this)
Making check ins have unit tests that illustrate the bug & show it is fixed would go a long way to fixing how reliable code is (esp VERY testable bits in the frameworks) - the IDE is tougher here)
Making “milestones” be a list of “we ship when these things are fixed” instead of a list of things they hope to fix would help with the scope of work done in any milestone AND with PR
And there are others - but MOST things are not related to WHO is doing the work
More to the process, or lack thereof, surrounding the work done
In 40 years in software development though I will say that I’ve never regretted quitting a bad job for good reasons (good reasons include “being made to preside over crap software or unaddressed technical debt”, or firing a bad client, or raising my going rates. Most of any “danger and anxiety” that I feared was manufactured in between my own ears.
But that’s easy for me to say this late in the game, and of course as with anyone, some element of my success has just been down to dumb luck.
And I DID put up with Giant International MegaCorp for 30 long and joyless months, only going to far as to hedge my bets by taking a side gig with another company that didn’t work out.
In the end they made the decision for me due to Policy around how long they are allowed to retain contractors plus a hiring freeze so they couldn’t convert me. And I had a new and far better job inside of a week, soon as the word got out that I was a free agent. I actually quit 2 weeks sooner than they wanted me to – showed them as much loyalty as they showed me.
The whole thing about it being for newbies is also bullshit.
Exhibit A: Developers arguing over the worst practices to storing preferences. If Xojo really was targeting newbies, they’d make this a non-issue, after all they’ve already had to do it for their IDE. It is astonishing to me that all it takes with some tools is one annotation to the variable declaration.
We looked really hard at bubble. Even hired a couple of consultants to get us there quicker. In the end, though, it’s really just a toy for rapid prototyping or getting a very simple minimum viable product out into the market. You can’t do complicated stuff without pulling your hair out.