[OT] Want to help build a new HyperCard
ambassador at fourthworld.com
Thu May 19 09:41:35 EDT 2016
> Over on the Yahoo group "Discussion Group for Hypercard" there is
> this topic.
> This seems to be a seasonal phenomenon, which never comes to much,
> and I cannot help wondering why it keeps coming up.
In those discussions and similar ones I've had with many HyperCard fans
over the years, many of the views expressed tend to fall into two camps:
a) The interest boils down to a dynamic that I don't believe can be
satisfied in the terms as given, for the reasons described here:
b) The interest can be very well satisfied, perhaps quite usefully,
if we keep in mind the difference between a software development
tool and an authoring environment.
I'm fond of this quote from Bill Appleton, SuperCard's inventor, because
I believe it applies to LiveCode at least as well:
HyperCard is a multimedia authoring environment. SuperCard is
a tool you can use to build multimedia authoring environments.
For example, the concept of User Levels can be very useful in an
authoring environment, providing constraining guidance in a very broad
form of progressive disclosure, introducing scopes of capabilities in
measured stages rather than having everything available all at once.
But in a development tool the only truly useful User Level is 5,
"Scripting", because scripters script.
The interesting thing about both camps listed above is what they have in
With very few exceptions (and none in the recent thread on the HC list),
what's asked for is nothing LiveCode doesn't already provide, but
instead just a carefully curated subset of LiveCode's capabilities, one
which employs some form of progressive disclosure to keep the immediate
environment as simple and inviting as possible.
Given the breadth of projects LiveCode is used on, I think it's fully
appropriate for the core dev team to continue focusing on an IDE aimed
at professional-level software development.
But I do believe there may be value in exploring alternative IDEs,
perhaps for specialized workflows more akin to authoring.
One of these that stands out as perhaps especially useful might be an
IDE tailored specifically for the K-12 audience. Given the very
specialized needs of that audience I don't believe the core dev team has
either the time or pedagogical expertise to craft something like that.
But with so many members of our community successfully using LiveCode in
K-12, the community seems ideally suited for making it.
1. Make a stack with this script:
close stack "revTools"
hide stack "revMenubar"
2. Put it in your Plugins folder, and set it to run when LC launches.
3. Re-launch LC.
RESULT: Tabula rasa, a blank slate in which your stack is the only
visible UI element. You have the full capabilities of the LC engine
available, and any IDE tools you might need are also available. But you
now have complete control over the user experience, and how those tools
are accessed. And perhaps they needn't be accessed at all: as the
plugin grows it can replace IDE components with more kid-friendly
versions, and over time it becomes an ever-simpler K-12-focused
And it's no more difficult to get started than those three steps above.
True, what happens beyond those three steps is indeed a lot of work.
It's not easy writing an IDE, and arguably more difficult to make a
simpler one tailored for kids than one aimed at pro devs.
But it's certainly much easier than doing all that plus making an
entirely new engine from scratch, which seems to be why the various
seasonal threads in the HC start off with much enthusiasm but ultimately
never ship as finished works.
LiveCode makes a great foundation on which one can build a nearly
limitless range of authoring environments. All the features needed are
available in the engine today, for seven platforms.
And LiveCode Community Edition makes an excellent choice for building
one aimed at K-12, to promote free and open use and sharing for all
schools everywhere in the world.
Fourth World Systems
Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
Ambassador at FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
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