Describing LiveCode

Richmond richmondmathewson at
Tue Aug 11 15:20:30 EDT 2015

On 11/08/15 21:18, JB wrote:
> Hi Richmond,
> You covered a lot of information in your post.
> I know this message does not answer your
> question but when they mention C++ and
> object-oriented programming they are not
> talking about objects like fields & buttons.

I am aware that object-oriented programming does not talk about CONTROLS,
but I am trying to express the conceptual problems that the parents I 
might have when trying to take a jump from FORTRAN to LiveCode, possibly
via object-oriented programming.

Unfortunately, in Bulgaria, everybody thinks that C++ is the bee's 
knees; mainly because this is what they teach in the
Mathematical specialist High Schools (they "teach" Pascal in the other 
High Schools - which is a farce as the teachers don't know Pascal and 
the teenagers are sufficiently switched on to realise that it is old hat).

Now, I am not going to deny that C++ is a powerful programming language; 
but what I do know (even if, for the sake of argument, LiveCode
is less powerful and less capable than C++), is that LiveCode beats the 
kilt off C++ in terms of getting young kids programming and understanding
the underlying concepts of programming.

However, the parents I have to explain things to, who are computer 
programmers, learnt their stuff in the 1980s and work in places
where they have no need to learn more contemporary languages (note that 
I am avoiding the stink-word: 'modern'), and have never really
given a moment's thought to what might happen if they suddenly find 
themselves at the road's end with a severance envelope.

Just to really bang my message home: in Bulgaria's tax offices 
everything runs on DOS, using tax packages that were adopted when
DOS was the latest 'thang'.

Now, I don't actually see anything wrong (unlike a lot of other people) 
about using DOS and DOS-based software packages if they do the
job that is required (why spend money and buckets of time retraining 
staff when your system works 100% the way you need it to?).

What I do see as wrong is that very many adults, having done their 
training when they were at University (say in their early 20s) have never
felt any need to update their knowledge about anything whatsoever since 
they graduated. This applies to teachers, doctors, lawyers and
so on, as well as computer programmers. But, this is very much the 
majority view here in Bulgaria [this *may* be one of the reasons that
Bulgaria is very much at the bottom of the "treacle well" when compared 
with other post-Communist bloc countries].

> If you are interested in object-oriented
> programming you might want to skip the
> C++ and go straight to objective-C.

I'm not that interested, as, at the moment, at least, LiveCode does 
almost all that I require (let's leave communicating
back-and-forth between USB devices out of this discussion).

What I am interested in is how to communicate adequately to people who 
have grown up with 3G languages the
very great advantages (particularly from a pedagogical point of view) of 

While the C++ book I bought makes interesting reading, in parts, I 
cannot see myself bothering to learn to code
anything beyond the most pedestrian stuff in it: even if for the simple 
reason that all that bother about
"/edit, preprocess, compile, link, load/ and /execute/" gives me the 

In fact, thinking about "/edit, preprocess, compile, link, load/ and 
/execute/" I really wonder what RunRev think they are doing,
as the lack of all the fiddly stuff is half of what makes LiveCode so 
much better. RunRev's propaganda machine hasn't got off the ground!


> John Balgenorth
> 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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