Andy's comments and positioning...
opus.species at wanadoo.fr
opus.species at wanadoo.fr
Sun Feb 8 05:11:41 CST 2004
> From: Dan Shafer <revdan at danshafer.com>
> So the education market is crucial, but it takes years to show an
> impact in the market.
My job is to produce educational CD-ROM, point of information and web
sites. But i was appointed to teach multimedia programming for technicians
(20-22 years old) and to post-graduate (23-25 years old) in the Sorbonne
university in Paris.
Just my findings :
- my students didnt want to learn Metacard, they wanted to learn Director
and Flash because they thought that they needed on their Curriculum the
"best known professional tool". If we want to promote Revolution in these
educational market, we need to say that Revolution is a very high level
professional tool. All the arguments "it is also hobbyist oriented", "it
is very easy to learn", "it is cheap" are counterproductive.
It is easy to explain to students that Director is an old fashioned
product (Macromedia knows that and that's why they are relooking
Director), but it is impossible not to teach Flash.
- Price was not a main concern.
The university had money to buy licences. From the university point of
view, a good deal is "the professional product cost 1000$, that's OK, for
the laboratory we need 10 copies with a 90% rebate". I guess that a
classroom licence at 1000$ is better than 10 educational licences at
100$ or 20 at 50$...
Anyway the students do not pay the license for their home computer ; they
use "cracked" software ; the more expensive was the cracked software, the
best for them ; they have better a 1000$ cracked software than a 50$ legal
one. All microsoft, macromedia and adobe know that ; from a marketing
point of view it is an investment to let students use cracked software
because... as soon as they go in the professional life, the former
students buy professional licences for the professional tools (in fact
they at least pay for the upgrade of their cracked software :-).
"flash" syntax = the "." syntax = the "ECMA" syntax = "the standard syntax
for programming" = is not more difficult than the xtalk syntax.
It is the same to teach and to learn "the property of myObjetc" than
"myObject.property". The argument xTalk is easy was true 10 years ago, no
I am sure of that even for 12-15 years french speaking kids ; i do not
know for english-speaking kids.
- when we did produce real product, some of my students could experience
and compare xTalk, Lingo and actionScript. For some projects they feel
that Metacard was much more powerfull and much more easy than Flash ; on
other projects they feel the contrary. Why ?
- as i said the problem is not the syntax. Today students have anyway to
learn the "." syntax. And most of us on this list have to work with both
- the problem is the "object model". In the card metaphor, it is very
simple to build cards and to put pre-existing objects on the cards. In
Flash you can create your own objetcs (very fine and powerfull for a
programmer !) but you are always confused between working with the object
itself or with its instanciation on the screen.
The metaphor of Flash is much more "object oriented" than the metaphor of
xCard. That's fine for the programmer, but designers or creators can
express themselfs much easely with the card metaphor.
In fact the only students who preferred work with Flash than with Metacard
where students who where more attracted by animation than by programming.
Some students where also happy with Flash because they downloaded sample
animations from the web and just had to customize to their needs.
- if i had to design "the best creative environment for students from 12
to 25", i would say :
* as a core engine MC or Revolution because they let express the
creativity through an intuitive metaphor
* the xTalk set of objects, properties and functions because it is very
powerfull, but the langage must evolve to allow both syntaxes, xTalk and
* Revolution must be able to embedd all medias = Quicktime (done), HTML
(done via altBrowser.dll), Flash (native !), VideoPlayer, 3D player ; that
could be done if Revolution can use all the plugin made for IExplorer and
* It is a hazardeous way to compare Flash and Revolution ; but it is easy
to explain "Revolution is superior to Flash beacuse Revolution can embedd
Revolution appears today as the tool for the Macintosh community.
The argument "The Mac community was in difficulty since Hypercard died and
because they need to deliver cross-platform : revolution is the solution"
is a good one for MacWorld or AppleExpo, but not a good one for Windows or
I would prefer an argument "Revolution, the professional tools what gives
to you the best of the Mac, the best of Windows and the best of Linux".
It is easy to explain that Revolution give the "best of the Mac" from the
*creativity* point of view.
It is easy to explain that Revolution give the "best of windows" from a
*business* point of view because it allows to deliver to the 95% of
windows users, faster and cheappier than with windows-only tools.
It is easy to explain that Revolution give the "best of linux" from a
*technical* point of view because it can work as a CGI engine of Linux Web
That was my 2 cents :-)
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