Describing LiveCode

Mark Schonewille m.schonewille at
Tue Aug 11 16:46:19 EDT 2015

Hi Richmond,

I wrote this some time ago:

Also, LiveCode really is a 4GL. Every 4GL has a specialisation. Some are 
for managing databases, others for instructing cutting machines, and 
again others for giving easy access to the API's of a GUI-based 
general-purpose operating system. Sometimes, I think I might have found 
a 5GL, but then I realise that essentially it still is 4GL.

I was going to write a definition for a 5GL, but now I'm thinking this 
would be OT.

Best regards,

Mark Schonewille

Economy-x-Talk Consulting and Software Engineering
KvK: 50277553

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On 8/11/2015 19:48, Richmond 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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