Wondering about LC and HTML5

Michael Kann mikekann at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 21 12:58:28 EDT 2011

Richard and Friends,

Thank you for the stimulating discussion on this thread. I'll throw in some ideas from the cheap seats.

First, I love you guys and gals to death but it is reality that Livecoders will never be able to compete with the people writing and maintaining the popular javascript libraries. That puck moves too fast even for The Great One. Trying to pump out cutting edge HTML5/CSS/Javascript using Livecode is a treadmill you don't want to be on.

I would like to be able to download a webpage or an entire website, with the css and javascript libraries that go with it. On your desktop you isolate all the parts that are "personal" to the webpage; basically everything you want to replace with your own material. Out goes the bad, in goes the good. Gaskin Consulting becomes Kann Consulting. 

Just a thought,


--- On Tue, 6/21/11, Richard Gaskin <ambassador at fourthworld.com> wrote:

From: Richard Gaskin <ambassador at fourthworld.com>
Subject: Re: Wondering about LC and HTML5
To: use-livecode at lists.runrev.com
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 10:14 AM

Chipp Walters wrote:

> So, if we focus on where the puck WILL be-- is it fair to say it's headed in
> the direction of HTML5 web apps? I dunno, but it is interesting to
> consider....

One of the aspects of the current RunRev product line that may be easy to forget is that they're all essentially the same engine, if-def'd for each platform.  One code base, many platforms, so enhancements made for one platform often wind up benefiting others, sometimes all of them.

In contrast, HTML (4, 5, or any other version) is based around a very different object model and to use it for anything but the most trivial pages depends heavily on CSS and JavaScript as well.

Providing robust support for for a DOM-based system like HTML/CSS/JS would be a radical departure from everything the company has done to date.  Unlike other new product initiatives, HTML/CSS/JS support would require the development of a whole new engine to do as well as the things the current RunRev lineup offers using the engine they have.

It's very easy to work with the DOM from JavaScript, and very difficult to do with LiveCode.

That said, one of the most useful things about CSS, JS, and HTML is that they're all just plain text, and LiveCode is unusually adept and manipulating text.

I've ported some LiveCode apps to the web, and with new versions of my WebMerge product I'm expanding on those systems quite a bit.

But I don't attempt to translate code.  Too much work.  There are so many great resources for learning JavaScript, and the language itself is reasonably sensible and kinda fun to use, that translation carries a very low ROI (usually negative).

In the 21st century, not learning JavaScript is IMNSHO the biggest mistake any software consultant can make.  Given the ubiquity of the web, the fact that JavaScript is the only native language browsers provide, and the many millions being poured into enhancing its performance and capabilities by Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others, there's no reason not to become competent with it.

Besides, as numerous studies show, learning new things keeps the mind nimble and helps prevent some of the cognitive effects of aging. :)

So my own approach is very much like Andre's, using LiveCode for its GUI strengths but avoiding the tilting-at-windmills of language/object model translation.

I've been advocating this model here for many years:

There's a lot that can be done with LiveCode to build toolkits to assist with production of web apps, but the client-side business logic and interactivity in those apps is best served by writing native JavaScript.

It's not hard to learn, and it can be a lot of fun.  The tools and resources for learning it are completely free and widely available.

Sure, it's a bit of a mind-bender when you first get started, esp. coming from an xTalk background.  But what isn't?  Riding a bicycle was very difficult for me to get past my training wheels when I was five, but it's given me a lifetime of liberation and enjoyment.  Everything in life worth doing has a learning curve, and flexing the learning muscle is healthy exercise.

Dive in - the water's fine. :)

If anyone here wants a "JavaScript as a second language for xTalkers" tutorial I've been keeping notes on my own learning curve and would be willing to take a stab at providing an article at LiveCode Journal.

But really, you don't need it.  There's a LOT of good JS stuff out there.  This is one of the best, with excellent reference materials complimented by interactive exercises for nearly every topic:

To help put the parts into perspective the Head First series from O'Reilly is a good start, and their JavaScript book is as good as their Statistics and others in the series:

 Richard Gaskin
 Fourth World
 LiveCode training and consulting: http://www.fourthworld.com
 Webzine for LiveCode developers: http://www.LiveCodeJournal.com
 LiveCode Journal blog: http://LiveCodejournal.com/blog.irv

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