Xojo Shines at Ohanaware
Sam Rowlands first started programming when he was 10 years old. Today, he is the lead developer for Ohanaware, a software company he started with his wife Joy. At Ohanaware he and Joy primarily use Xojo to develop their products. Before he started working for himself, he worked in the IT department at Europe’s largest Apple reseller before Apple started opening stores. He supported the sales staff and implemented automated solutions such as the automated credit card processing system.
Like so many others, Rowlands started out programming with BASIC and then explored C and Hypercard. While at college, he used Visual Basic on Windows, but wished the visual, object-oriented language was available on the Mac. He even contacted Microsoft with this request multiple times.
Xojo’s multi-platform support attracts developers from all over the world who want to offer support for Mac, Windows, Linux and the web. When Rowlands found Xojo he was excited by the endless possibilities of bringing all of his app ideas to life since he wouldn’t be limited to developing for Windows only.
“I first found Xojo while reading an issue of MacUser, where I read a review of the first release,” commented Rowlands. “Finally, my prayers had been answered, it was Visual Basic for the Mac... and it wasn’t written by Microsoft!”
“I don’t recall the first app I wrote with Xojo, but the app that set my career in motion was called ‘net_clipper,’ which allowed a user to send and receive clipboards across a network. It never made much money, but it did get me noticed by a software publisher and the Mac magazines. net_clipper II, in fact, won an award from Xojo!”
This year, Rowlands released his newest Xojo-made app, Shine, which was designed to allow users to quickly and easily enhance digital photos by adding light rays, lens flares, tinting and other effects. For example, one morning he took a photo of a sunflower with the sun behind him. He then used Shine to add a light source, light rays, a lens flare and tint the photo. The result was a photo that looked like it was taken as the sun was setting from a direction the sun would never set!
Shine was also designed to take advantage of Apple’s built-in technology, including their latest Retina displays and sandboxing security. Shine has been available since March 15, 2013 and has over 500 users, growing daily.
“We used Core Image and Core Graphics for the image processing, as this allows our app to take advantage of multi-processors and graphics cards without having to worry about it,” commented Rowlands. “This allows us to deliver an app, where updates happen almost instantly, while the controls are adjusted and still being able to offer a high quality (and almost) full-screen experience.”
Rowlands’ Xojo-app portfolio ranges from small utilities to large-scale commercial applications and everything in between! The photo editing and photo effect apps offered by Ohanaware include:
- Shine, for amazing lighting effects
- Fun Greetings Deluxe, to design your own greeting cards
- HDRtist Pro, an award-winning HDR app
- Funtastic photos, which implements unique photo effects
In addition to those great apps, Ohanaware also offers the following development tools:
- Document Icon Maker, an icon helper tool
- App Wrapper Mini, a Xojo wrapping tool
- Retina Kit, a multi-platform Retina toolkit
- App Wrapper, which prepares apps for distribution
Several applications are also available free of charge:
- Fun Photos Free, a cut down version of Funtastic Photos
- HDRtist, a really simplified version of the HDR app
External and Third Party Extensions
Xojo’s third party community offers a variety of add-ons to extend Xojo’s functionality, which Rowlands takes full advantage of.
“Shine uses the MBS plugin, the eSellerate plugin and my own collection of Xojo classes and custom Core Image plugins,” said Rowlands. “The MBS plugin contains so much useful stuff and really does save time when building apps, as it often already contains things I’m looking to do. The eSellerate plug-in allows us to sell the application directly from within the application, which is fantastic! A customer can download the free trial from our site, then when they want to purchase, it’s handled within the application and will even automatically unlock upon completion.”
“Over the years I have written bucket loads of code to add functionality to my apps, so it makes sense to utilize this already generated code,” continued Rowlands. “I do confess, however, that I often find myself re-writing the code, as I’ve since discovered better ways to accomplish the same task.”
The Mac App Store
Most of Ohanaware’s apps are available for purchase from the Mac App Store, but the process has not been as simple as Rowlands would have liked.
“The Mac App Store is both a blessing and a curse, but our overall experience has been worth the effort, as our business has increased because our apps are displayed to millions of potential new customers,” offered Rowlands. “If you want to sell a Mac application, you’re going to have the most chance of success in the Mac App Store. The Mac App Store easily generates four times the revenue than what we can do from our own site alone!”
Using Xojo, Ohanaware has made a name for themselves in the Mac community as the developers of polished and professional photo editing software. We’re looking forward to seeing their next project and continued success. To learn more about Ohanaware, visit http://www.ohanaware.com/.