Issue: 13.1 (January/February 2015)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 5,171
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 13102
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How would you like to learn to program with Xojo by watching over the shoulder of one of the top Xojo developers as he explains what he's doing?
For several years Bob Keeney has been offering hundreds of video tutorials that do just that. But traditionally these videos have been streamed to your computer after you pay a subscription fee to log into the training website. If you're not the type to want to pay a subscription (you lose access once you stop paying), or if you have mediocre internet service, BKeeney Software now has a solution for you with their new Xojo Trainer product.
Basically, Xojo Trainer is a 32GB flash drive with all BKeeney training videos on it. There's a basic, but effective application for viewing the movies (both Mac and Windows versions of the app are included). The app shows a list of categories on the left and when you select a video, it displays on the right. There's a search field at the upper right where you can enter a search topic such as "textfield" and it will show a list of videos that touch on that topic.
For each video, there's a handy description panel on the far right which includes required Xojo version info for the tutorial and the duration of the video in minutes and seconds.
Most of the videos are very focused on a single topic and are a nice ten to twenty minutes in length, though a few are much longer. The videos are simple screencasts showing REAL Studio/Xojo in use, with Bob Keeney narrating what he's doing as he walks you through a project step-by-step. He even makes mistakes so you can watch him recover and fix them!
You can browse the tutorial topics on the BKeeney website (http://www.bkeeney.com/bkeeney-tag-and-video-list/), as well as watch a dozen or so free videos to get a feel for the teaching style. New videos are being added all the time.
Within the Xojo Trainer app, the movies have standard playback controls so you can pause, rewind, and fast-forward. A "Fullscreen" button will display the video fullscreen, if you prefer. With the offline nature of this product, playback is fast and fluid, with no lag time. Even running the videos off the flash drive (which is not recommended for performance reasons), I experienced only a brief (2-3 second) delay as each movie was decrypted for playback (though one hour-long movie froze the app for 30+ seconds).
That delay is a little annoying when you're just browsing through the videos as you can't cancel the process and you can't see the description of a video without clicking on it and forcing it to decrypt and load. It would be nice if there was a way to read the full descriptions without having to load the videos. (The application doesn't cache a decrypted video, so if you go back to a video you just played a moment earlier, it has to be decrypted again.) Copying the media to a fast hard drive or SSD is a much smoother experience, of course, but all those movies eat up about 18GB of disk space.
Overall, the app is excellent. However, because it works offline, you don't get immediate access to newer videos as BKeeney Software adds them like you do with a subscription. The company does have plans to offer newer videos via an upgrade for a nominal fee.
With the subscription product you lose access to the videos once you stop paying your subscription—with Xojo Trainer, you can watch the videos for as long as you'd like. Which is better for you depends on your needs, but both are valid ways to learn Xojo. If video training sounds like it would be useful to you, I encourage you to check out Xojo Trainer.
End of article.