mark at livecode.com
Wed May 24 17:03:33 CEST 2017
On 2017-05-24 15:45, dunbarx via use-livecode wrote:
> There is a far more important issue here. New learners are far more
> likely to
> be coaxed into continuing to spend the time and effort, and to put away
> their fears, if they see and use "put x into y". It is why we have
> and cards, and in the olden days, rolodexes. The original HC team did
> that on purpose.
Which 'new learners'? I can absolutely assure you there is no homogenous
At one point after years of collecting surveys and analysing data we
managed to divide up users and non-users into 7 (or thereabouts)
distinct groups. Recently, taking a slightly different approach we have
reduced this to 3 (7 was too fine-grained to actually be able to do much
with, 3 is more manageable and seems to work much better in terms of
Why have we done this - because we need to actually *sell* LiveCode -
nothing sells itself. Market segmentation and understanding your users
and potential users is perhaps the most significant piece of selling.
( Okay, that's my marketing brain cell exhausted for a while ;) ).
It is quite possibly true that as many people get put off by LiveCode
because of its 'English-like' language, who get sucked in because of it.
We have to concede that point - if it weren't (at least in some part)
true we wouldn't hear such phrases as 'babyish' and 'insult to
intelligence' that are often heard about xTalks (and LiveCode in
(Btw, @WilliamProthero: Please don't think I'm singling your comments
out or taking offense by them - you echo words I have heard many times -
as have all of us I suspect when we get asked by some - 'so what's
> Remember "for the rest of us"?
> Experienced users are being academic and pedantic to raise this issue
> as if
> it were something important. We need new users, not old ones.
> No offence, please.
No offence taken - it is a discussion :)
However, it is important to realize that whilst it is not important to
you (I get you are quite invested in LCS - as am I, much more than is
ever apparent at times), it *is* important to others (otherwise we
wouldn't get some comments about the language that we do).
Syntax is an emotive issue (I could beat Python to death with some of
the decisions they have made about syntax - but yet I still use it and
slightly enjoy doing so for the purposes I use it for) - but it is not
I mentioned in my last post about the 'high priest' mentality - let us
not risk falling into the same mentality but in reverse. The time for
being an island in our own right passed with the passing of HyperCard. I
think it is fair to say that, these days the world of computing is
inordinately larger and much more diverse (look at the rise in the
being 'maverick', but it perhaps makes things much harder than they
would be otherwise.
In reality the scripting language LiveCode has, whilst one of its
greatest strengths IMHO (otherwise I can quite honestly say I wouldn't
be here), is only one part of the ecosystem:
- we have an interactive IDE which allows to edit and run code 'live'
(for some definition of live)
- we have a large GUI framework
- we have large collections of libraries (script, externals, LCB) all
giving high-level access to new
- in order to build and maintain LiveCode we have a large
infrastructure which allows us to build
on 7 different platforms.
Furthermore, we all want more features - we all want LiveCode to do
everything in a way commensurate with how LiveCode 'is'. However, the
breadth of knowledge that requires is immense - we do quite well as a
team, sitting here (mostly in Scotland), we also do well as a (small, in
the grand scheme of things) global community. Our current solution to
help achieve this 'doing everything goal' is LCB and expanding its FFI
capabilities - but that is a tool - it still needs knowledge and a great
deal of effort to use.
We need to attract people from other worlds, and as many as possible -
in there heads lies so much knowledge about how to use the concrete
things which do exist in other language ecosystems (whether it be
list goes on and on) it seems quite sensible to ensure that we can fold
that knowledge into our own so we can benefit from all that currently
exists, and not just what a team of a few can generate, or a small
community can generate.
Pre-7 what I suggested in my previous email was just not possible (in
terms of a different syntax style) - or, should I say, the cost of
attempting to do it would be far in excess of its potential benefit at
the time. However, the main part of the refactor is done, we are in a
very different situation technically - perhaps it really is something to
seriously consider *if* the cost of doing so pales in comparison to the
growth it could engender in terms of the reach of LiveCode.
I think a lot of us get hung up on the syntax (even me - who will always
be quick to point out that 'syntax is just sugar' in many situations -
I'm a polyglot when it comes to programming languages but many people
are not and never will be). I can certainly say that whilst I am in the
position I am in, I will not see LiveCode Script become some sort of
syntactic mongrel (indeed the places where it is slightly 'mongrelic', I
would quite like to have alternative non-mongrel forms much more in
keeping with the language as a whole). However, again, there is more to
LiveCode than just the syntax of the language.
Anyway, I shall now get off my (small?) soap-box. Again this is a
discussion, there are lots of reasons why people don't choose LiveCode
and we try our very best to determine them, and deal with them. There
are certainly easier ones to tackle than adding a new 'syntax style' and
of course we intend to address those first...
However, let us imagine that we were able to demonstrate that a
significant proportion of people who might use LiveCode end up not doing
so because of the language itself, and *if* the language had a different
syntactic style then we would have significantly more users... Then
surely it is worthy of some discussion and consideration?
Mark Waddingham ~ mark at livecode.com ~ http://www.livecode.com/
LiveCode: Everyone can create apps
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