Fri Nov 19 14:00:03 CST 2010
these students would buy a product for 75 US$ (assuming this will be the
educational price for the Express version) at the beginning of a
workshop, a product they do not yet know at this point. Given our budget
restrictions it would be likewise impossible that our institution could
buy a number of new licenses each semester for the students.
Quite a number of students have written research papers connected to or
supported by a Metacard/Revolution project. Since the pressure to
produce research papers is great - in most courses of studies leading to
M.A. level about 60 research papers have to be handed in before
admission to the M.A. examination process - students that have
participated in classes using the Starter Kit like to take advantage of
this creative situation and combine their projects with a research
Others have chosen topics related to educational programming and
xtalk-languages for the oral parts of their final examinations or even
produced M.A. theses with included Metacard/Revolution projects.-
So what are our options for the future?
Naturally we are also licensed users of a number of other authoring
systems, among them Hyperstudio, Hypergasp (what a name), Supercard,
Mediator, Neobook (www.neosoftware.com), MulitmediaBuilder
(www.mediachance.com), Macromedia's Director, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks
(on the basis of a special agreement we get the Macromedia products
here for a tenth (!) of the regular prices - under the provision not to
turn out commercially used programs).
We abandoned Toolbook long ago - we still keep and occasionally use our
older licensed versions - because the price went up into stratospheric
We preferred to focus on Metacard/Revolution instead for our work with
students, i.e. until now we offered to choose between both Starter Kit
We have used "MultimediaBuilder" a few times alongside
Metacard/Revolution as an example of a lower-end authoring system in our
workshops. MultimediaBuilder is an interesting program with many
appealing features on this "low end", but does not (yet) include an
xtalk-scripting language. There are impressing graphics features, an
embedded web object, and a number of accompanying programs, among them
"RealDraw Pro" (50 US$), which has many features of Photoshop and is
used by us to create most of the transparent images we import into
Mediachance, the owner of MultimediaBuilder, granted us a free license
for classroom use and for a fully functional version.
Up to now, the regular price of MultimediaBuilder was 49.50 US$,
recently they raised it to 60 US$ (because of a MP3 license). The
Canada-based firm has made enough profit on such a low price to open a
European division lately - staffed with 3 programmers to care for the
European market. Have a look at their website and their lively mailing
Another perspective is very popular here in the world of "academia"
(where many people sit and lean back in their secure positions and
basically need not make extra bucks for their living); that is "open
source". There are several open source programs developed and in
general use at our university.
One of my former doctoral students co-authored a web-managing and
-authoring program ("Sesame"), which is in use here and at other
universities. In his dissertation about "authoring systems" he very much
embraced the philosophy of "open source" and especially "reusable design
patterns". There is an internationally active movement supporting and
discussing the idea of "design patterns", triggered initially by Erich
Gamma from Switzerland with his book "Design Patterns: Elements of
Reusable Object-Oriented Software" (make a search for both the book and
the international movement).
He - this former doctoral student (at present assistant professor in
Hongkong and one of the sharpest programmers I have met) - did very much
in our discussions to persuade me of the values of "open source". I had
may reservations about such a perspective and - among other points - had
argued that in my main field of work there was "Metacard" (Revolution
was not yet in existence), which was at least in specific parts "open
source" - as it could be customized - and which above all was
cross-platform and even available in a free edition. So - at that time -
there was no reason for me put in any efforts into "open source",
although I saw it with a sympathetic eye.
Now, looking for open-source alternatives in the area of xtalk languages
leads to "FreeCard" and "FreeGUI", an open-source and cross-platform
project unfortunately still in an initial stage of development.
So "open source" at present is not the solution for our immediate needs,
but it may be in the future.
To sum the long story up, here is what I propose from my biased angle of
1. Keep the Free Edition. Keep it cross-platform.
If at all, put the nag screen here: "This stack/program was produced
with an unlicensed and limited version of Revolution."
2. Offer a "Slim" Edition, also fully cross-platform.
The lean and clean Metacard IDE could be used here (isn't it a beauty
that you can have an authoring system which you can even use on servers
and that (Windows version) still fits on a 3.5 diskette in compressed
form (without the demo stack and the readme file))?
There would be no special database support, no geometry manager, no
additional "rev"-commands or functions etc. etc, but the option to buy
these and others as separate modules.
Charge 200 US$ for this version. Charge 50% of this for educational
3. A "Full" or "Top" edition - labels do not matter - the full present
and future Revolution with all bells and whistles.
Charge 1000 US$ for this version, 500 US$ for the educational version.-
Update policy (the lenient way of Scott Raney would be very much
appreciated): All updates at least within a year.
Renewal prices: 30% of the respective amounts paid for the first
Geoff Canyon has been criticised by some of us for his "many and
quick-witted replies" to the arguments brought up by the list. I also
think that comments and arguments from list members should be taken
seriously, even if - and especially when - they are not compatible with
the current frame of thought within the Revolution team. Surely 99% of
the list members are active supporters and want to contribute to the
development and improvement of Revolution. Of course there are also
diverging views among the list members, which reflect our individual
situations; you have to sort them out and find acceptable solutions.
For the benefit of Geoff Canyon one might point out that he had to bear
the full brunt of arguments alone - while the others were away in New
York, happily dancing in their kilts at the MacWorld - (nice photos).
I like bagpipes (and for that matter, "didgeridoos"; are you there,
Monte?) - though not every tune played on them.
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