Versions of RR

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Fri Aug 13 14:21:50 EDT 2004

Troy Rollins wrote:
 > On Aug 13, 2004, at 9:27 AM, Kevin Miller wrote:
 >> It is not the MetaCard engine.  It ceased to be when we bought
 >> it some time ago.  We haven't updated all the strings or synced
 >> the version numbers as those changes have to be done carefully,
 >> but we will complete doing that over time.
 > My mistake.
 > It is NOT the MetaCard engine. Whatever it is, it isn't that.
 > It is the "currently in transition engine formerly known as
 > the MetaCard engine" engine.
 > So, there is no MetaCard? Or, MetaCard is now just an openSource IDE,
 > which also uses the "currently in transition engine formerly known as
 > the MetaCard engine" engine?
 > Or, is the engine the "Revolution engine"? Or, is there ultimately
 > no separate "engine" at all for end-users to be concerned with?

In the beginning (1992, to be precise) Scott Raney created the MetaCard 
engine, and it was good.

But the engine is by design completely faceless, so he made a simple IDE 
for it so it could be used.  The IDE was also good, but unless you think 
Motif is the bee's knees it was likely to be somewhat off-putting: 
while the engine works hard to make native appearances for each 
platform, there was little effort put into having the MetaCard IDE use 
those features to get a native feel on any platfom other than UNIX.

For many years a number of folks kept asking if there might be greater 
marketing potential if a new IDE was built on top of the proven powerful 
engine.  We all knew the engine was incredibly powerful, and certainly 
underutilized given its unquestionable value for professional development.

One company answered that question a few years ago: Crossworlds of 
Edinburgh licensed the engine from MetaCard Corp., built a new IDE for 
it, and changed the name of their company to Runtime Revolution Ltd. to 
reflect the brand of this new product.

In June of last year RunRev reached a major milestone: acquiring the 
source code for the engine from MetaCard Corp.  And so the 
engine-formerly-known-as-MetaCard is now known as the Revolution engine.

The engine remains faceless, and both IDEs remain as stack files 
separate from the engine.  The Revolution IDE ships with the product and 
is used by some 99% of Transcript programmers, with most former MetaCard 
customers having migrated to the Rev IDE.  The MC IDE was converted to 
an open source project at the time of the acquisition, and is maintained 
by a team of about a half-dozen ol' timers who are too stuck in their 
ways to make the switch. ;)  There are at least two other IDEs in 
development that I know of; there may be more.

An IDE is essentially just a collection of stacks that set properties, 
and the engine's flexibility allows a nearly infinite variety of IDEs to 
be built for it.

If I had nothing but time on my hands I've been itching to make an 
iShell-like IDE just to show off the engine's versatility.  But with so 
many folks already enjoying Rev, even if I somehow got the time I'd 
probably implement it as a plugin so folks could use it easily within 
their favorite IDE.

Although an IDE is just a collection of property-setting stacks, booting 
into anything other than Rev's requires some rather unintuitive steps. 
Plugins provide the ability to craft your own development tools with a 
much simpler way to install and use them -- just drop 'em into the 
Plugins folder.

As the number of plugins continues to grow every week, the role of an 
IDE is becomming more clearly a rack onto which you can hang any number 
of your own tools. In essence, each of us can have our own customized 
IDE, perfectly tailored for our own specific workflow and preferences.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Media Corporation
  Rev tools and more:

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