ABC of arrays

Graham Samuel livfoss at
Wed Apr 1 16:33:31 EDT 2015

Hi Richard

As it’s evident I’m interested in this, I had a quick look through the User’s Guide sections on arrays as you suggested to Thierry. FWIW I think it is pretty helpful, and it gives a very good idea of the power of LC arrays and the corresponding built-in operations.

I think the vocabulary needs tightening up a bit, especially with the term ‘sub-array’. This needs to be explained at the beginning, I think. Also the examples could be expanded: for instance, when it explains that the arithmetic operations applying to arrays work on

> all the elements in an array where the element is a number

there are no examples of arrays which mix numbers with elements that aren't numbers (is the text 'one' a number or not, for example? Is an element which is an array containing only numbers a number? I think this kind of thing should not be left as an 'exercise for the reader' as my old maths books used to say.)

Another point is to be a bit more explicit about the fact that these are associative arrays, since some readers will have come from a background where arrays always have numeric keys and are thus inherently ordered (I am one of these people). Another thing that might occur to someone who's used a different environment is to wonder whether if I put say a number in an array element, can I then replace it with an array or some other kind of item? The answer has to be 'yes', which in a way is a consequence of LiveCode not using strong data types.

There is also a certain amount of jumping around required of the reader - for example, the User Guide makes you look up 'combine' in the Dictionary if you want to find out if it's possible to preserve the keys of an array during a 'combine' (it is). It would be better, I think, to have a bit of redundancy and put this info in the Guide along with an example.

I could go on, but perhaps it wouldn't be productive.



> On 1 Apr 2015, at 18:59, Richard Gaskin <ambassador at> wrote:
> Thierry Douez wrote:
>>> As we explore options for unifying and expanding various help resources in
>>> the community it would be helpful to know, what is it about the lessons that
>>> seems "scary"?
>> replace "scary" by "intimidating" in your post
>> Sounds better?   :)
>> the subject is ABC...
> Thanks.  If you have any thoughts on how the lessons might adopt a friendlier writing style, I'd be happy to pass that along to the docs team.  The goal of the Lessons is to provide topic-specific entry points for learning LiveCode basics, so if they're missing the mark we need to refine them.
> For general info, have you found the User Guide's discussion of arrays helpful?  Arrays are introduced in Section 5.5.7 beginning on page 147 as part of the  "Variables" section, with further details in Section 6.5, "Using Arrays", beginning on page 183.
> The docs are being dramatically revised, so your feedback is very helpful.
> -- 
> Richard Gaskin
> LiveCode Community Manager
> richard at
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