In the past I avoided using Xcode and Objective-C any more than necessary because they were too complicated and cumbersome to use. In comparison, Xojo and LiveCode are two third-party development tools that are much easier to learn and use than Xcode.
Apple partly eliminated the problem of Objective-C by introducing a new programming language called Swift. Unlike Objective-C, Swift is much easier to learn and use while being easier to understand too.
The biggest drawback with Xcode is that it only lets you develop for Apple products. That’s what made Xojo and LiveCode so appealing. Besides being much easier to learn and use, both Xojo and LiveCode also let you create cross-platform programs that could run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. In addition, Xojo lets you create iOS apps while LiveCode lets you create Android and iOS apps.
I loved using Xojo and LiveCode, but with so much to learn and master, there just isn’t enough time to stay current with all of these tools. That’s why I’m saying good-bye to both Xojo and LiveCode.
Both tools are great at what they do. If you need a cross-platform program, Xojo and LiveCode are great. However, if you need to access all the features of OS X, iOS, watchOS, or tvOS, then Xojo and LiveCode can’t deliver.
Xojo is based on Microsoft’s Visual Basic 6 so if you’re a Visual Basic programming, you’ll have no trouble using Xojo. Even if you’re not a Visual Basic programmer, using Xojo is relatively easy.
LiveCode is based on Apple’s HyperCard. If you’re familiar with HyperCard programming, you’ll have no trouble using LiveCode. if you’re familiar with other programming languages like C or Java, LiveCode will look extremely wordy and verbose.
Chances are good traditional programmers will immediately dislike LiveCode while novices will love it because LiveCode works far more logically than traditional programming languages.
If you’re going to make a living as a software developer, you may still want to learn Xojo or LiveCode as a secondary programming tool, but not as your primary tool. That’s because neither tool is as well known or popular as Xcode for Apple programming or C# for Windows programming.
Learn C#, C++, Swift, or Java and you can find a job easily. Master Xojo or LiveCode and job opportunities are far fewer despite the fact that Xojo and LiveCode let you create programs faster.
Beyond the limitation of time, the biggest strike against Xojo and LiveCode is their inability to keep up with Apple’s latest frameworks. Xojo currently offers a subset of iOS programming that’s getting more robust and comprehensive everyday, but it will always lag far behind the capabilities of Xcode and Swift.
LiveCode also lets you access a subset of iOS programming, so despite being easier to use, you may run into limitations that neither Xojo nor LiveCode can handle on their own.
Xojo is $299 for the iOS compiler while LiveCode has raised their prices to $499 a year as a subscription. Unless you really can crank out programs for others to justify LiveCode’s steep annual subscription price, it’s a great tool that’s priced out of my range, let alone the price range of most other programmers as well.
Pricewise, LiveCode is the most expensive ($499 a year) but most flexible in creating cross-platform apps from Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, and iOS. Xoxo is next ($299) but can only create Windows, OS X, Linux, and iOS apps. Xcode is free but limited solely to Apple products (OS X, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS).
So if you have plenty of time on your hands, consider Xojo or LiveCode as great secondary tools for prototyping apps and creating quick and simple programs easily. If you’re like most people, you do’t have a lot of free time so you need to specialize. Windows programmers should focus on C# while Apple programmers should focus on Swift.
Don’t overlook Xojo and LiveCode, but don’t depend on them as your primary programming tool. If you do, chances are good you won’t have much company with fellow programmers or paying opportunities either. Xojo and LiveCode are great, but if you’re serious about developing for Apple products, Xcode and Swift is where you should be pouring all your attention.
For that reason, this blog will shift heavily towards Swift and Xcode with an occasional passing reference to Xojo and LiveCode. I love Xojo and LiveCode. It’s just that the best programming opportunities lay with Swift and Xcode instead.