Script Editor future (was Re: Open Source Kickstarter Report Card)

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Fri Aug 21 21:11:21 CEST 2015

Ali Lloyd wrote:

 > On Thu, 20 Aug 2015 at 16:49, Richard Gaskin wrote:
 >> With the IDE things are even better:  it's already written in a
 >> high-level scripting language.  Why not use LiveCode Script?
 >> If we can't build a good text editor in LiveCode, what are any of us
 >> doing here?
 > That is a false dichotomy

It may appear to be false without the line I wrote immediately following 
the portion you quoted:

    Fortunately we can.  Indeed LiveCode is an excellent tool to
    build such things with, as it is right now.

And it seems you and I share that opinion:

 > - we certainly can build a good text editor in LiveCode Script

...differing only here, and only in terms of priorities:

 > but we can probably build a better one using LiveCode
 > Builder and LiveCode Script .

I realize it's possible to consider a wide range of options, if the goal 
were merely pursuing a technical "best".  Heck, we could even write it 
in C++, as SuperCard's and HyperCard's editors were.

But the challenge here is more nuanced, balancing desires for "best" 
with immediate needs to raise conversion rates through an improved 
experience in the product being sold today.

In brief, the challenge at hand is about ROI.

Most of the current Script Editor is fine.  It's become slow in some 
areas given layers of patches it's accrued and how those play into some 
of the slowest parts of the current engine.

Rewriting it from scratch in a  different language may eventually 
provide something more performant, but will certainly cost many times 
more than just using the language it's already written in to tidy up 
some loose ends.

Given the cost-benefit ratios involved, ROI favors improving the user 
experience with what we have in hand today.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for LC Builder, and when it's as robust and 
performant as LiveCode Script we'll all be equally excited about putting 
it to work.

But in the here-and-now, faced with the inevitable tradeoffs of running 
a business, I found Kevin's reply to my note about the value of LiveCode 
Script very promising:

 > I think this is a really important principal. Always use the highest
 > level language you can for any given project. Offering that very high
 > level language option is a big part of LiveCode's reason for being.
 > Previously our primary choices were between LiveCode Script and a
 > lower level language such as C. Now we have a third choice, an
 > intermediate LiveCode Builder. Its much faster than C but slower than
 > Script. It is going to excel at certain tasks. However we should
 > always choose to use it only when it offers clear advantages above
 > LiveCode Script for the project that outweigh the extra level of
 > effort needed to use it. I know its very tempting having added a
 > whole new language to build everything in that, but we must carefully
 > resist that temptation and use it judiciously, only for what it is
 > best at.

LiveCode Script is a great language.  Everything everyone has delivered 
with LiveCode thus far has been written in it, so while we all look 
forward to Builder's completion to compliment LC Script for certain 
tasks, most of everyone's work in LiveCode will be done in LiveCode 
Script for years to come, and for good reason:  it truly is a fine 
language, well designed, generally performant, and thoroughly field-tested.

If it's decided to add some modest but necessary modernization to the 
script editor using LiveCode Script, as much as I also admire all the 
team members I've worked with I hope you're the one to do it.  Very few 
people identify themselves as being "passionate about chunk 
expressions", and your enthusiasm and talent would lend themselves well 
to delivering a script editor we can all be proud of, raising conversion 
rates to help pay for the road ahead toward LC Builder.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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