Control? Object?

Richmond richmondmathewson at
Sun Jun 19 14:16:09 EDT 2016

On 19.06.2016 19:56, wrote:
> To me the terms "control" and "object" are synonymous.


They may be synonymous to you; but all they do is cause confusion in the
"tiny minds" of 9 - 14 year old children who haven't heard about Piaget's
Formal Operational Stage, nor reached it.

You are, after all, an extremely experienced programmer who, probably, 
doesn't even murmur
'object' or 'control' under one's breath while choosing a button any 
more (if you ever did), as you have
internalised all that to such an extent that those terms are neither 
here nor there. I know
that I have.

The other problem has nothing, as such, to do with naming conventions 
by Livecode developers or other computer people, but to do with people's
perceptions of what they see on their WIMP GUI on a computer VDU.

A quick, impromptu survey involving 3 children (9 - 11 years old, my father
(83 years old) and myself [don't quote this one in your next academic paper]
tells me that folk will see a difference between 2 classes of 'things':

1. Stacks & Cards (I mean, let's face facts, stacks are essentially 
invisible (or, maybe, as files
in one's directory) and only visualised through their cards).

2. Things that sit on cards (buttons, images, fields, et al).

AND, to that 'stack of cards' metaphor. How many teachers are bothering 
to pull out
a pack of playing cards to illustrate this to kids who are in the 
Concrete Operational Stage
and can't 'see' a Livecode as a pile of cards to save their lives?

A child, on Friday, said this, when I made him a second card: "Oh, a 
second page."

The 'stack of cards' metaphor has become so entrenched in our brains 
after years of bashing away at
Hypercard, SERF, HyperNext, HyperStudio (ooh, look [ ] they have just released 
the ability to export to HTML5), Supercard, Metacard,
Runtime Revolution - Livecode, blah,  blah, that we assume it is 
automatic in new users, when, in fact,
it may not necessarily be useful or relevant anymore. Especially, if, 
unlike people like Bill Atkinson,
we don't come from a culture where we stack our pancakes up into one big 
pile and "stuff our mushes", nor play cards on a regular basis.

My Granny, from Carnoustie via Dundee, used to impose a horribly boring 
card game on my sister
and I every time she came to visit, called "Sevens", and whenever she 
was in danger of losing
announce, "Ach, I've got a hand like a sweaty foot." Which put me off 
cards almost completely.

Now; it does seem sensible to call things that sit on cards (buttons, 
images, fields, et al) 'objects',
because, frankly, not all of them CONTROL things: surely, only things 
that contain scripts CONTROL things?

To illustrate how daft calling things on cards 'controls' is, imagine 
calling the black (or white) blotches
on a Frisian cow "organs", when they are so obviously different from 
things such as mouths, eyes, ears
and udders.

Now, undoubtedly, SOME objects may become controls (by being gifted 
scripts), but that's beside
the point when one shows a bunch of learners (whether they are either 9 
or 83 years old,
or anywhere in between) a collections of things (buttons, images, 
fields, et al) on a card, as they have
not yet become controls as they have not had scripts written into their 
scriptEditor windows.

I wonder if it might not be a good idea to get a load of 9 year old 
native speakers to sit down in front
of a VDU displaying a Livecode 'page' containing a load of 'objects' and 
ask those children what they
would call them as a group of things.

Certainly, what ever "those things" are called, the apparent conflict in 
the Dictionary between the "Obj"
  words and the "Controls" mentioned in the Menus does cause confusion 
in young minds (and it may in
  others for all I know).

So, for learning purposes at least, I would say "B*gger the official 
terms", what is needed is a coherent
set of terms for end-users.


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