Maximum field height?

J. Landman Gay jacque at
Mon Apr 6 00:20:29 EDT 2020

On April 5, 2020 8:39:15 PM Alex Tweedly via use-livecode 
<use-livecode at> wrote:

> 1. xTalk features just don't work, or work totally inadequately (e.g.
> scrolling fields).

Somewhat true. LC made a start by adding widgets you can drop onto the 
stack to create native mobile buttons and fields, but I'd like to see 
regular LC controls magically change to native mobile controls much as the 
Mac, Windows, and (sort of) Linux appearances do. That would make a world 
of difference.

But there are features on mobile that don't exist on desktop. LC has 
provided for things like Android toasts and iOS popups. These things are 
one reason the language can't be entirely universal; mobile requires a 
different feature set. But it would be great if a scrolling field would 
just be a scrolling field everywhere. On the other hand, mobile lets you 
scroll all sorts of things (images, carousels, etc.) so we'd still need our 
mobile scroller anyway.

I agree it could be easier, but it isn't impossible. But parity wherever 
possible would be my first choice in what I'd like to see improved.

> 2. Failure in cross-platform equivalence.

If you mean mobile equivalence, Android is catching up quickly, in part 
because of the FM initiative. I appreciate that. iOS is pretty well covered 
for the most part. Some folks mentioned the issue of branching for 
different mobile platforms but that doesn't bother me much. We have to do 
that sometimes for the three desktop platforms already. The features that 
both iOS and Android do have in common use the same code and syntax.

> The other two are, I suspect, not truly solvable.
> 3. It's not "Live"Code. Developing for Mobile gets you back into the
> horrible edit - compile (i.e. build a standalone) - test cycle.

Yeah, this is a pain. I'm not sure there's any way around it but the 
addition of remote debugging has made it far easier. For a long time I felt 
like I was back in 1998 where I had to sprinkle "answer" dialogs all over 
the place just to know what my variable values were. There are some tricks 
though that help. I created a generic launcher app that loads my working 
stack so there's no actual compile required. I can't do this for complex 
apps, but I can do it for testing pieces and bits that will eventually go 
into the main app later. For simpler apps, the entire stack can be tested 
pretty easily this way.

> 4. You still need to deal with the ugly issues of the SDKs and the
> app-store  requirements.

For me this is the hardest part, way worse than developing the app itself. 
It's also why I'd much rather deal with Android than Apple. Google is 
pretty easy to deal with. Apple is a constantly moving target with a 
rollercoaster of requirements, not to mention the profiles and certificates 
and what seems to me to be an unnecessarily complex review process.

However, if you are just developing for yourself or a few other people, you 
don't have to mess with either app store. Android apps can be freely 
distributed to anyone by any method and you don't even need a Google 
account. iOS apps can be distributed to a few people as "testers" without 
going through their byzantine submission process, though you do still need 
to mess with their account, certificates and profiles.

I'm thankful that the LC team keeps up with Apple's constantly changing 
requirements. Apple doesn't seem to value their developers much.

> So, for me personally, even if LC Ltd. could fix (1) and (2), I would
> still not even bother trying to build a mobile app; it's just not worth
> the hassle or the learning curve.

It isn't such a steep learning curve as you'd think. One test app will 
probably get you going. If I were starting over, I'd start with Android 
because it's so much more flexible. The hardest part there is just making 
sure you download the right SDK and Java version.

> OK - that's an easy decision for me - I don't do this for a living, I do
> it for fun. And right now Mobile development is no fun.

It could be improved, but it isn't not-fun. It's just software development 
like anything else.

As you say, I don't have much choice. I haven't really done a desktop app 
for a couple of years now, clients want mobile and mobile only. Desktop 
apps are going away. My main client deals in university software and half 
the students don't even own a computer any more, they do everything on 
their tablets or phones. I found that LC Android apps also run pretty well 
on Chromebooks, even though LC doesn't officially support those, and if 
students own a laptop at all, it's likely to be a Chromebook these days. 
They're cheap and fast and essentially immune to malware.

When we only distributed desktop apps, students complained that they had to 
go to the school's computer lab because they didn't have a laptop.

> The downside is, I've all but run out of reasons to develop in LC.

That would be a shame. You already have the skills, and aside from a few, 
but not all, mobile controls, the rest of it is pretty much what you 
already know. The bulk of your scripts won't be any different from a 
desktop app.

Jacqueline Landman Gay | jacque at
HyperActive Software |

More information about the use-livecode mailing list