Xojo to the Rescue: How a Xojo Application 'Saves the Day' for a Grammy© Award-Winning Artist

Mike Faulkner has been developing software since 1975, using every development environment on the market. His company, Sky Dancer Studios, develops commercial software applications with Xojo for a niche market in the entertainment world.

Sky Dancer Studios main product, ShadowScript, written in Xojo, is in use by multi-Grammy© award-winning artists, on NBC's Today© show, the Conan O'Brien Show©, The View©, and others, and will likely be used during the halftime show at the 2009 Superbowl game. ShadowScript is a multi-faceted software tele-prompting system for live entertainment events.

It all started when a representative for a Grammy award-winning artist approached Mike, wanting him to create a custom solution for their live performance management. They had reviewed more than 80 solutions, and were not able to find the right solution, so they decided to create something from scratch. Mike was provided with a long list of requirements and began mapping out the project.

Mike had been developing with Xojo for some time, and he knew that it would be up to the task.

"It takes a lot of code writing to create a modern GUI in the lower-level languages," commented Mike. "But Xojo handles most of those tasks with very little code authoring on the part of the programmer. Most of the "glue" required to handle today's modern operating systems is pretty much done for me, and I can concentrate on those really neat user features everyone wants!" Three months of intense coding in Xojo produced the beginnings of what has become one of Sky Dancer Studios' main products today.

ShadowScript runs on Mac OS X and uses the external video port, which is hooked up to monitors that are hidden in the performance stage floors. Small monitors are located on stands near the drummer, in the keyboard backboard of the pianos, and scattered around the performance stage, such as at the feet of the backup singers and dancers. Additionally, monitors are located in the video booth and sound board for syncing the video and audio events to the show. Another output is fed into the performance video and is available on the huge TV monitors the crowd sees for prompting sing-alongs and other events. The show production typically runs three copies of ShadowScript simultaneously during the performance -- one for the song lyrics on stage, one for the chords and drummer's notes, and one for the video that the audience sees.

Sky Dancer Studios uses Xojo to create their own tools and small applications that add to the ease of programming and daily business tasks. "Xojo just might be the fastest way to create sophisticated, feature-rich applications in the shortest possible amount of time for the Mac, Windows and Linux platforms out there," offered Mike. "It would have to be on anyone's "short list" of tools under consideration for ANY of those platforms individually."

Update:
ShadowScript will be used during the 2011 SuperBowl. It has also been used on Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with David Letterman in October 2010.

Technical Facts:

Size of application: Mac OS X 19.1MB, PC 10.2MB
Number of users: Approximately 60
Time Needed for Development: 18 months
Platform of Development: Mac, Windows
Platform of Deployment: Mac, Windows
Externals: "Blowfish" Class Module, from Sky Dancer Studios
Database Accessed: None
Connectivity: Internet