Web vs Native (was Re: HTML5 limitations?)

Mark Waddingham mark at livecode.com
Fri Jul 28 17:57:37 CEST 2017

On 2017-07-28 16:47, Sannyasin Brahmanathaswami via use-livecode wrote:
> Hence oft-repeated prayer that we get the browser "widget" to become a
> true member of the LC message hierarchy, they we can leverage the web
> apps eye candy layer (easy to build, responsive, CSS is already done
> for us…) with LC powerful framework, so that we don't have to waste
> time using JS to get work done, but use it just for "clicking here and
> there" while LC does the heavy lifting in the background.

I can assure you your 'prayer' has been heard - however, there is a 
slight chasm between hearing a prayer and being able to act on it 
(especially for mere mortals, like ourselves ;)).

There is a whole (reasonably sized) 'new market' for LiveCode in the 
space of providing the shell into which HTML5/JS webapps can be placed. 
i.e. The creation of a native app which wraps a HTML5/JS web-app which 
then has direct access to all the platform features LiveCode gives you 
access to (a bit like PhoneGap or Cordova or ... - the fact there are so 
many of these things suggests that it is a very useful thing that people 
actually want to do). Now, this works quite well right now - although I 
do appreciate that the asynchronous nature of return values from the 
host (LiveCode) does make some things more difficult to do (*although*, 
it should be pointed out that async something I think *all* other host 
environments that provide this kind of wrapping have to put up with!).

However, as you have may have noticed (from various comments - sometimes 
positive, sometimes not, mostly not - about CEF) there is a fair bit of 
technical challenge involved in having a browser widget and keeping it 
working on all platforms. Now, this is not to say we do not like 
technical challenges - we clearly do. However, in general, the greater 
the technical challenge, the greater the resources required to solve it.

Such an endeavour *has* to be self supporting - i.e. it needs to 
generate enough revenue in order to justify its existence. The browser 
widget as it stands is already taxing us on that front (it is really 
important, so whilst I sometimes get concerned about the 'money-pit' it 
sometimes seems to be, one has to remind oneself that some things are a 
long-term investment).

Of course, the above is entirely related to technical issues - there is 
also the problem of selling LiveCode and this feature into such a 

That old adage of 'build it and they will come' is quite possibly one of 
the biggest load of bovine-backend-excretion that has ever been uttered. 
Build it and, well, most people will walk by it, some might look at it 
and go 'oh that's nice' and walk on, very few will actually take the 
time to visit it without some sort of cajoling. Unfortunately, this kind 
of activity (I'm of course talking about marketing) tends to be a great 
deal more expensive than development (I could make the rather cynical 
observation that there is a reason why marketing consultant's offices 
tend to be a great deal 'nicer' than those of computing consultants - 
but I should probably keep that to myself ;)) and it is only through 
marketing such things that you can make them generate enough revenue to 
pay for their seat at the table.

So TL;DR version. Yes - Kevin and I would both like to do more with the 
browser widget as it is actually a really really cool thing (so we hear 
your prayers - every one). However, right now, we simply don't feel we 
have the bandwidth (to use a Kevinism) to do it properly in a way where 
the endeavour can be fully self-supporting. Also, we are already seated 
at a rather large dinner at the moment (Infinite LiveCode, LiveCode 
Connect, LiveCodeForFM, Version 9, Maintenance of 8, ...) so perhaps 
need to finish *at least* one of those courses before we embark on the 
next (no-one likes indigestion, after all).

Warmest Regards,


P.S. By the way, I'm mainly saying all of this to make it clear that we 
have been listening, we are just not able to act on it at the moment. 
Please *do* keep poking us about it - as it keeps the idea in our minds, 
and each time it comes up it causes a re-evaluation. It also helps to 
remind people that they CAN use LiveCode for this kind of stuff and so 
should - which is a precursor to being able to convince people who are 
not 'LiveCoders' that LiveCode might be something they should check 
out... If only to give them an easier way to ship a 'native' HTML5/JS 

P.P.S. We are also fully away that this 'HTML5/JS' wrapper idea is also 
very much a gorilla activity - they might come for the wrapper, but stay 
because of LiveCode. However, one still needs to capture and tame the 
gorilla first ;)

P.P.P.S. Yes - I know it should have been 'guerilla', it is just that 
using 'gorilla' seemed more fun.

Mark Waddingham ~ mark at livecode.com ~ http://www.livecode.com/
LiveCode: Everyone can create apps

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