The Case For A RunRev Player (was "Stack and Substacks")

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Sat May 31 12:56:02 EDT 2003

Rob Cozens wrote:

> A generalized RunRev Player would make it unnecessary to design RR
> mainStack "apps" differently from HyperCard stacks, and an extensible
> Home stack would provide a framework for integrating multiple RR
> "applications".
> Why hasn't anyone built a generalized RunRev Player?

The answer may be in the paragraph above the question, in the difference
between applications and "stackware".

I've spent almost a decade thinking about players, and even built and
maintained one for SuperCard for three years before Allegiant decided to do
a sanctioned one.  But truth be told, neither my SCPlayer nor the official
SuperCard Player were ever broadly used.

The very small number of developers who would use a player for general
distribution (it may be zero for all I know; I've never actually seen anyone
promoting wares for distribution with general players, only as standalones)
tells us a lot about what happens to audience demographics when you move
from something pre-installed on every Mac (HyperCard) to something that has
to be downloaded (everything since), and says a bit about the role the Web
plays in all this.

Back in HyperCard's heyday, there was no Web.  Distributing HyperCard
stacks, and creating interconnections between them, was the closest thing at
the time.

But once the Web was born, HTML took over the role previously occupied by
HyperCard stacks for that sort of thing, leaving a subset of developers
whose interests lie more in application development.

Players can be useful for things that have a common focus, and a lot of
developers make them for their own collections of related wares.  But
attempting to deploy general application designs in a player introduces
other challenges, including menu management, name space considerations, and
general design issues (this topic came up recently on the SC list:

So what would make good candidates for distribution in a player?  What would
be an example of "things that share a common focus"?

One example is in heavy development here now, a useful thing that also
provides a seductive framework for introducing the masses to the power of
Rev.  It's too early to spill all the beans quite yet, but I can say that a
standalone variant of RevNet sits at its core....

 Richard Gaskin 
 Fourth World Media Corporation
 Developer of WebMerge 2.2: Publish any database on any site
 Ambassador at
 Tel: 323-225-3717                       AIM: FourthWorldInc

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