[OT] Atkinson Interview, Pt 2
ambassador at fourthworld.com
Mon May 2 16:43:52 CEST 2016
Jerry Jensen wrote:
>> On May 1, 2016, at 7:48 PM, DunbarX at aol.com wrote:
>> Is it possible Bill A. is unaware of LiveCode? He intimated that
>> the current "Hypercard" is a program called "iBooks Author".
> He attended and spoke at the LC conference in San Jose. He had
> written most of PhotoCard in ObjectiveC and was looking at the
> cross-platform possibilities of LC. Since then, I don’t know
> his plan or interest. I was surprised as well that he didn’t
> mention LC in the interview.
When I met him at RevCon/San Jose, we had a very good talk about his
work and his legacy. Although he was not originally a scheduled
speaker, during our chat I proposed the idea and he was quite receptive
to it, and he gave a great talk.
But as far as LiveCode goes, I think he finds it interesting but my
sense is that it's solving as different problem than HyperCard was. The
languages are similar, but the product focus is very different.
I should clarify that this is more my own interpretation than anything
he said directly. All I have to base my hunch on is less his words than
his actions: AFAIK he hasn't mentioned LC since, and my two attempts to
follow up with him after the conference via email met with no reply.
That LiveCode isn't particularly important to someone well versed in
low-level programming and heavily invested in a single platform isn't
surprising. He has the tools he needs, and of course he knows how to
use them well.
It may be helpful to consider the evolution of HyperCard, and Atkinson's
description of his goals in inventing it from the interview.
When HC was still in its early "WildCard" phase internally, it had no
There are a few stories about how the notion of a scripting language
became introduced to the projects, some more interesting than others,
but by all accounts it was a relatively late-state addition.
Remember that the term used during much of those early days was
"authoring", not programming. Atkinson, like Appleton (SuperCard) and
other xTalk makers, have expressed many times a certain delightful
surprise over the scope of things made with the tools they created.
I believe Atkinson's characterization of Apple's iBooks Author is
fitting for what his original goals for HyperCard were. Although all of
us here changed HC's User Level to 5 early on, it was only one of five
user levels built into the program, and none of the others allowed open
scripting at all, and it wasn't the default.
Very different focus, more about "authoring" than "programming".
LiveCode is a very capable programming system, and while many of us have
used to to build authoring systems it's not much of an authoring system
out of the box. Like Bill Appleton once said about SuperCard, which
applies equally well to LC:
HyperCard is a multimedia authoring environment. SuperCard is
a tool you can use to build multimedia authoring environments.
Since the advent of the Web, while programming remains a critical role
for native apps, most of what we used to think of as authoring has
become the domain of vertical web tools.
LC how has HTML output, but formats != workflow. For all its deployment
options, LC is a programming environment, not an authoring system.
I believe Bill Atkinson's vision was about authoring, so no matter how
capable LC is, it's really quite a very different product than the one
he made. The flavor of the language remains the same, but it seems the
language wasn't really the center of Atkinson's original vision.
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