Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

Home Services Blog About Contact

Virtual Xojo User Group: Aloe Demo Follow-Up

I demonstrated Aloe to the Virtual Xojo User Group this afternoon, and a number of questions have come in. I thought I'd try to answer them here.

But first, let me explain what Aloe is. It's a class that makes it easy to create an HTTP server using Xojo, while also providing a foundation upon which you can develop sites that are functional and dynamic. Think of it as combining the functionality of a Web server like Apache with the ppower of a programming language like PHP. Except that with Aloe, you get all of that functionality in a Xojo Web app.

Is a recording of the demo available?

Yes. It's been posted to the Virtual Xojo User Group Web site.

If I use Aloe, do I also need Apache?

No, and to me that's a huge benefit of using Aloe. Aloe-based sites are nothing more than compiled Xojo Web apps. You don't need a separate Web server (such as Apache or IIS). And because Aloe-based sites are compiled, they're naturally more secure. Based on my testing, they're usually a bit faster as well.

Can these apps run as CGIs?

I haven't tested Aloe running as a CGI, so I'm not sure. My hunch is that you could make it work, but I question whether it would be worth the trouble.

Can you run traditional Xojo Web apps and Aloe Web sites side-by-side?

Yes, you can, and I've done so. You can get the best of both worlds that way: Traditional Xojo-based Web apps, and Aloe-based Web sites, all running within the same Xojo compiled app. At some point I'll demonstrate how you can do this.

What was the app that you used to design the example site?

It's RapidWeaver by Realmac Software. I've been using RapidWeaver for years now, and it has come a very long way. When you combine it with Stacks and Foundation, you can create some really nice looking sites. You can also make responsive sites without a lot of trouble. The only catch with RapidWeaver is that it is a Mac-only app. (Sorry, Windows peeps!)

Of course, you could use other Web design apps. For example, there's Blocs, and Xojo-based EverWeb. All you need is a tool that can export the HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc that are needed for the site.

Can Aloe-based sites use PHP?

Yes, they can. Using the PHP functionality that the Xojo MBS plug-in provides, I've developed an add-on class for Aloe that looks at ".php" files, identifies any PHP code blocks in the file, executes the PHP, and returns any dynamically generated content. It's an interesting concept, in that it makes it possible to gradually convert PHP-based sites to Xojo / Aloe, or to run hybrid PHP-Xojo-Aloe sites.

What's the URL for the Star Wars API that you used in the demo?

Here it is: https://swapi.co

When will Aloe be available?

I'm not sure, exactly, but I'm hoping to release it in some form over the summer. If there's enough interest in it, I'll try to escalate the project and get it out sooner.

Do you need help testing Aloe?

Not yet. We actually have a couple of Aloe-based sites that we're working on for clients that will be going live over the next couple of weeks. So it'll get tested soon enough!

Thanks again for your interest in Aloe.