Ultra Beginner Question/Request
chipp at chipp.com
Fri Feb 4 22:02:05 CST 2005
Ultra-Beginner is of course an ambiguous term, especially when referring
to someone who already has a lot of experience programming.
Here are some thoughts regarding starting a Rev project:
1) This one's a bit controversial, but here's my best thinking on
Interface design and Revolution. If you're more of a C/VB/Basic
programmer, think of a stack as a window. Use only as many cards as you
want interfaces. IOW, I typically only use 1 card per stack, as typical
applications behave similarly. The notable exception to this rule is
when creating wizards, where multiple cards are a great asset. Actually,
I lied, many times I use two cards, but the second card is used to store
icons and graphics and other parts and is never seen.
2) Separate your interface and business logic from your content. This is
contrary to the Hypercard notion of storing data in the card and saving
the stack. Save your data either as invisible data stacks or text/binary
files. This does a couple of things. Foremost, it ensures application
integrity. Because your application doesn't need to be saved with the
embedded content, you never have to worry about your stack becoming
corrupted as it's never saved. In fact, the Rev prefs stack is an
example of a stack which frequently gets corrupted and requires a
complete reinstall of the Rev IDE. Bad design.
3) Try and stay away from frontscripts and backscripts unless you
absolutely need them. Frontscripts can be a pain to debug while IMO
library stacks are better than backscripts for a number of reasons
including: 1) easy to create/edit and install in multiple projects;
2)The number of libraries you can include is much greater than the
limited number of frontscripts/backscripts you can have.
4) Try and encapsulate business logic you'll use for many projects into
a few custom libraries you use/maintain.
5) Check out Richard Gaskin's excellent article: "Extending the Runtime
Revolution Message Path"
Must reading for new RR programmers.
6) Get comfortable with searching the use-archives. Again, Richard has a
quick link to it at:
7) Remember, a standalone cannot save itself. If you are going to use
stacks to store data in, be sure and have the standalone open the stacks
independantly (not subStacks!). Many of us use a 'splashscreen' approach
where we put a minimum splash screen in a standalone which launches the
stack(s) which are the main application.
8) BEFORE you get frustrated, try and communicate concisely and clearly
your problem on this list. Chances are someone can help within a few
9) Program TOP-DOWN. Again, controversial, but I prefer creating my
screen layouts first, and then hooking up the functionality from there.
It's served our company well and is more of an XP (Extreme Programming)
10) Use altArchive plugin. It's one I wrote many moons ago and has saved
me (and a few others) a lot of pain. It saves your current project, and
archives a sequential copy of it in a local folder. It's free and can be
11) Keep your handlers to yourself. IOW, keep handlers as far UP the
message path as you possibly can. If it can fit in the button script and
isn't needed elsewhere, leave it there. Learn to use locals and custom
properties (very powerful) instead of globals.
12) Another R Gaskin gem: Create a StripAndShip handler which you can
call before closing your stack which will reset all controls to native
13) Learn how to use "put URL" to read/write local files, access stacks
off of webservers, etc. The put/get URL command is one of the most
powerful commanda in Transcript. Also, learn about chunking.
get character 1 to 3 of word 5 of line 12 of field "myField"
is also extremely powerful! You may find you don't need to use as many
arrays as before. Just put things into lists and access them using chunk
14) Learn how to use "repeat for each" instead of "repeat with x=1 to
tNum" as the first is *significantly* faster!
15) Many of us store data invisibly in fields for access. For instance,
say you wanted a person to choose a name from a list and and then go to
the default website for that name. For instance choosing "Chipp" may
take you to:
and choosing "Richard" takes you to:
You could create a list field 70 pixels wide, and put:
Chipp & tab & "www.altuit.com/webs/altuit2/RunRev/default.htm"
into line 1 with
Richard & tab & "www.fourthworld.com"
into line 2
Set the tab spacing for the field to 70 so that the web address is NEVER
seen in the field. Then when someone clicks on the field you have a
put the hilitedlines of me into t
if t is "" then exit mouseUp
set the itemDel to tab
put item 2 of line t of me into tURL
revGoURL "http://" & tURL
Of course there's other ways to do this as well, but when you start
adding multiple tab items to the same line, this technique becomes very
Well, that's at least a start. Hope you stick with Rev. It's a very
powerful 4th generation programming environment, but with a steep
Len Morgan wrote:
> Hello All,
> I've been a programmer since the mid 70's. I've used and/or tinkered
> with all of the "normal" procedural languages (C, Tcl, BASIC) and even
> some "ab"normal ones like Forth. I consider myself a pretty good
> programmer and have been told I'm fairly bright in general. I've had
> Revolution for a couple of weeks now, and I just can't seem to get my
> head around the "methodology" of using Revolution.
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