Describing LiveCode

William Prothero prothero at
Tue Aug 11 21:12:41 CEST 2015

I have had pretty much the same history as you,  but started with punch cards on a mainframe less powerful than my thermostat. But, perhaps if you break it down like the kinds of knowledge that a programmer needs:

1. the flow and logic of a program (which applies to all platforms)
2. object oriented programming.
3. strategy and organization of code
4. a need to get kids interested with immediate rewards.
5. the evolving nature of authoring platforms

Once you make these items clear, you might ask whether it is the language syntax that is important, or the organization of that syntax to create an outcome. The syntax is much more straightforward to learn than the organization.

Will livecode help students learn to code in other languages? Of course it will. Only the syntax is different. Piece of cake!

Good luck!

William A. Prothero, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara Dept. of Earth Sciences (Emeritus)
Santa Barbara, CA. 93105
my new project link <>

> On Aug 11, 2015, at 10:48 AM, Richmond <richmondmathewson at> wrote:
> I am having a problem with a load of belligerent parents who seem quite unable to understand
> what LiveCode is. These parents work at the local Non-Ferrous Metals factory and are highly skilled
> engineers, but learnt their programming when I did (i.e. when the dinosaurs were alive), and
> need to be slapped with a description of the sort they can understand.
> The truth of the matter is that almost all of them are probably about a gazillion times better at FORTAN and Pascal than I ever was . . .
> Saying things like "Hypercard on steroids" brings only blank looks as these poor people, while
> I was enjoying getting bogged down in HC in Carbondale, Illinois, were fighting for survival during the mid-90s economic
> disaster that affected post-Communist countries.
> Now I came across this:
> "Third generation includes most compiled languages, including older ones such as Pascal, Fortran, C, BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), and COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), but also includes newer derivatives like C++ and Java
> "Fourth generation languages are the proprietary languages used to develop database applications
> "Scripting languages, like MetaTalk, Perl, ksh, Tcl, and Python, are most similar to 4GLs,
> but generally are even higher level and were designed to be general purpose tools rather than specifically for dealing with databases "
> which is the sort of 'guff' they will understand [Hey, as far as I am concerned, who gives a "monkey's" -
> does the job, normally marvellously] but only goes half way.
> So . . . ?
> Am I to describe LiveCode as:
> 1. A fifth generation language? and if so, how will I explain the difference between that and 3rd and 4th G languages?
> Directly scriptable objects?
> No compiling nonsense?
> 2. Plastic bath toys?  This will turn these people (with their kids!!!!) off instanter.
> 3. Something else?
> Being a retro sort of chap I just bought (!!!!!) /How to program C++/, second edition, 1998 for the princely sum of 1 Euro . . . well, as far
> as I'm concerned it IS worth having!
> Now, on page 10 it has this to say:
> "C++ . . . provides a number of features that "spruce up" the C language, but more importantly, it provides capabilities for
> /object-oriented programming/."
> Which, from the point of view of a long-term LiveCode monomaniac (me) looks fine until you start looking for buttons, fields
> and so forth . . .
> Anyway, the C++ is going to be my "bathroom book of the month" and we'll see how far it gets me . . .
> HOWEVER, I am still left with these stroppy parents who cannot quite understand what the advantages of LiveCode over Pascal,
> FORTRAN and C++ might possibly be for their pre-adolescent children, because, while those kids might learn to program
> Mickey Mouse guff with LC they will still have to learn a "Real Programming" language when they are older [ this is when I have to
> sit on my hands and count to ten].
> Richmond.
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