Panorama X on Apple silicon

Jim, it’s very early days, but have you been able to assess the work required to convert Panorama to run natively on the new processors instead of via Rosetta?

Would it mean you’d have to support two versions (or a complicated universal version) of the application into the distant future, and if so would that be likely prohibitive?

Would there be any major offsetting efficiency benefits for you as developer when using the very much faster computers? In new builds, for example? Do your development tools run natively on the new silicon?

(With the many comparisons with Panorama 6 in mind, it would be fascinating to see how much faster Panorama X running natively could process text.)

Obviously the plan is to deliver a universal application. One thing I’m not sure of is how that will impact the ability of Panorama to run on older versions of macOS. At the moment it supports back to 10.9, but almost no users are running such an old version. I’m not sure if there are any restrictions on the ability of a universal version to run on old versions of macOS. It seems quite possibly that support for some older versions might have to be dropped, but I don’t know the details yet. If there is a limitation, there’s really nothing I can do about it, there’s no way I can possibly maintain a separate version of Panorama for old versions of macOS.

Panorama is built using Apple tools, so yes, they do. However, Panorama is not currently built using the latest version of Apple tools. Before creating a universal app I would need to move to the latest tools, which may take some time to do. I’ve decided to hold off on that for now. I plan to make the current beta version more widely available before doing that, I think that will provide a larger benefit to more users in the short run. Also, if it does turn out that universal apps don’t support older versions of macOS, at least I will have an almost finished beta version that will run on the older versions.

I’ve actually had an Apple Silicon computer here for several months (not sure if I’m really supposed to reveal that, but oh well), but I haven’t done much with it for a couple of reasons. First, as I mentioned above, I’ve decided to prioritize getting an early version into more users hands sooner rather than later. There are many users that are itching to get Panorama 10.2 in their hands ASAP. Secondly, the early developer tools Apple has provided have been a bit rough. So rather than taking my time to work through those problems, it seems best to let that situation settle down. I know of other developers that have consumed a lot of extra time working thru issues with the beta software. I’d prefer to put that time into working into Panorama itself, and hopefully those issues will be all worked out soon so I won’t have to deal with them.

I’m not sure what Panorama 6 has to do with it, but it will be interesting to see what the performance of Panorama looks like running native on this new hardware.

Apparently for Swift build times can be faster on the new machines. I don’t think there will be much difference for me though. Panorama is written in ObjC, which already builds much faster than Swift. So build times on my 15" Macbook Pro are already plenty fast. Usually build times are only a second or two, so even if build times went to zero that wouldn’t really even be a noticeable difference.

One of the most enjoyable experiences of being a Panorama user is these occasional commentaries from the boss.

I’ve decided to prioritize getting an early version into more users hands sooner rather than later. There are many users that are itching to get Panorama 10.2 in their hands ASAP.

I am one of those itching users, so thank you for that!

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I have this theory that many people spend more time benchmarking how fast computers are than they will ever save actually using them for anything productive.

I read one review of the new M1 silicon machines that benchmarked some applications run on these new computes and they ran as fast or faster under Rosetta as they did on the Intel machines running natively. Sounds like there will not be a big problem running Panorama X on the M1 equipment even if it is not immediately optimized for them.

Although I would agree with Jim’s prioritizing the 10.2 update, I must say I’m anxious to see how much faster a native application will run on the new chips. I have been moving slowly to convert my complex Pan office management system to Pan X partly because it is so much slower than Pan 6 in use. My 2013 iMacs are virtually as fast in single core mode as the current chips, meaning there hasn’t been much speed improvement from Intel for applications like Panorama in almost 8 years. If I can wait for the M1 or even M2 chips in an iMac, I expect to see noticeable increase in speed. Here’s hoping