Learning Revolution

Karen Karen at curlypaws.com
Tue Mar 8 04:33:11 EST 2005

Hi Mikey and Richard,

As someone starting out with Revolution, I've a lot of sympathy for Mikey's

I've started out trying to convert a few programs from REALbasic to
Revolution, and then started on a project that has gradually expanded to
stretch my knowledge.

The biggest problem that I find is knowing what to look for in the online
references.  For example, I tend to think of the commands in "REALbasic"
terms, so to split a string I would be thinking of "Left", "Right", "Mid"
and "InStr" commands.  Revolution is quite different - very powerful, but it
takes some searching around to find out the syntax and just what you can do.
The documentation doesn't make it that easy to find the command given the
kind of functionality you need.  The top level items of the "Topics"
documentation (for example) give little guide as to how you'd find out
anything on text handling.

Using the IDE is another area where the documentation seems weak.  I find it
difficult knowing what handlers are available for particular objects.
Setting up popup menus is a bit confusing initially - for a built-in object,
the documentation is fairly scanty.  It took me ages to figure out how to
use the auto-complete shortcuts that appear at the bottom of the script
editing window.

I'm still trying to figure out things such as alternate coloured lines in a
list and the use of externals (not helped by the bug in the Mac OS X version
of Revolution that makes using altBrowser tricky) - unfortunately the
references to these topics often point to a "solution", but assume a good
level of knowledge of Revolution's more advanced features.  For someone
learning Revolution that can be a bit frustrating.

This list is a wonderful resource - and the Google search of it has helped
me a number of times.  I'm planning to put a couple of my projects up on my
website at some point in the hope that they might help others - not that the
code will be particularly elegant, but looking at code has been the main way
I've learned the little I know so far.  I'd like to try to build one of them
into a detailed tutorial if I have the time.

I'm using the pearls of wisdom that I find on the list to build up my own
little database of useful things to know - it has been a great help so far.

I've ordered Dan's book, but it appears to take a long time to arrive - I'm
only about 15 miles from the Runtime Revolution offices in Edinburgh, but I
ordered it just over 3 weeks ago.  It would be nice to have an eBook version
of it that allowed faster access for someone looking at the trial version.
I ordered it almost as soon as I started the trial, but if I hadn't bought
Revolution now, I'd be looking at the trial expiring before I even got the
chance to see the book...

The best advert for Revolution at the moment is the user list - I've never
met such a helpful and friendly group of people so willing to answer
questions.  But, to me, Revolution badly needs a good tutorial (something
along the lines of the one offered for REALbasic would be a good start) that
goes a little further into the details than the video tutorials - helpful as
they are.  It could also do with help on using the development environment
(I've probably missed this and will be embarrassed when it is pointed out!).

Finally, a more example driven approach to the basics of using the various
built-in objects would be good.  I'm guessing that this is what Dan's book
covers, but RunRev really need to get its distribution arranged a little
better to let people make the most of the trial period.

I very much agree with your description of the Revolution learning process
Richard.  I just feel that currently a lot of people could potentially be
put off by the dearth of basic help material and the overwhelming amount of
more expert reference material without appreciating just how good Revolution
actually is.

Just my thoughts!


On 8/3/05 9:08 am, "use-revolution-request at lists.runrev.com"
<use-revolution-request at lists.runrev.com> wrote:

> Message: 7
> Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 17:23:57 -0800
> From: Richard Gaskin <ambassador at fourthworld.com>
> Subject: Re: [noob again]static text
> To: How to use Revolution <use-revolution at lists.runrev.com>
> Message-ID: <422CFEAD.1070103 at fourthworld.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Mikey wrote:
>> In the case of a tool like RR, the docs need to be better because the
>> paradigm is very different and often it's difficult to match the
>> vocabulary, even for people familiar with cousins of it.
> I agree.  While I feel Rev offers an unusually strong ROI over the long
> term, that ROI is the result of an unusual paradigm, requiring special
> care in guiding the new user beyond what would be needed for a
> non-proprietary language/object model such as C++ or Python.

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