LC Roadmap

Andre Garzia andre at
Mon Feb 15 07:55:46 EST 2021

Hi Folks, 

> On 15 Feb 2021, at 01:46, William Prothero via use-livecode <use-livecode at> wrote:
> Andre Garza’s post about his planning to write a book on some aspect of Livecode programming got me thinking about this. First, I think writing books is useful, but the way many busy folks access information on the internet is in more as smaller more targeted bites. I play jazz keyboard. A couple of years ago, I subscribed to a site that gave me access to jazz song sheet music included in video lessons lasting 30-60 minutes each. At the same time, from a couple other  authors, I got regular (about once a week) emails with short free improv techniques that took me 5-10 minutes to read, but with offers (at a cost) that include more in-depth lessons. I find that I use the short lessons a lot and the longer lessons, that I have already paid for with my one year subscription, very little if at all. Perhaps I’m unusual with a very short attention span, but I suspect I'm more typical. I’m suggesting that there are unused marketing and support strategies that could be beneficial to the Livecode enterprise. Check out the macmost site to see what I’m talking about.

I had a great conversation with Richard about this couple weeks ago. We definitely feel that there is a need for more content in our community. In my own personal and subjective opinion, a real problem with have in LiveCode community is that the UX of the website is really bad. The site is quite pretty, but things that are useful for LC developers are hard to find. Let me illustrate that with an example:

Suppose you want to check some API related thing. You go to the website, click “Docs” on the top menu and you’re dropped in a firehose of introductory information. That is all great, but where is the online dictionary? How you can go from there to finding out about a specific command or function? It is not there. The easiest way to get to the dictionary is to go back to the main home page, scroll all the way to the bottom and get the dictionary link in the footer.

The content is there, but the navigation around that content is bad. The new HTML-based dictionary in the IDE is dead slow and has other UX issues such as what happens when you press the ENTER/RETURN key in the search field (go ahead, try it).

LC is a small company regardless of how much we love them. They can’t provide solution to all our needs. It is not because they don’t want to, they have limited resources. We can’t treat LC as we treat Apple or Microsoft. I won’t dive into the sheer scale of the difference between those entities. We can’t compare it with some hugely popular FOSS programming language project such as Python. We tend to think that because it is FOSS that it is all done for free by a small group of people, it is very easy to fall into the fallacy of saying: “look at what those people can achieve for free!”. It is not free and their institutional and enterprise backers provide funding and full-time employees that are beyond what LC can sum up.

Does that mean that LC has no place? Of course not, even with all those large entities competing in a similar space, LiveCode still a fantastic tool and in my own opinion, provides unrivalled productivity. 

What I’m saying is that we spend too much time focused into comparing LC with other stuff, or complaining about the lack of something. I understand that as paying customers we do have expectations and rights. What I want people here to understand is that there is no successful programming language community in which all resources are provided by a single entity. You need an ecosystem of multiple vendors of stuff to make a community. In the case of LiveCode, we need people creating and distributing (for a profit or not) libraries, extensions, tools, and content.

There is a void to be filled in our community to make it more vibrant and useful for ourselves. I know most people here are busy developing their products for their clients, but if we don’t at least surface what we’re building to one another, then everything becomes too opaque. The practices of being a LiveCode developer become a guarded secret, something that you only grasp if you stay here long enough and talk to the correct people.

It is with this in mind, that I decided to create content for our community. Books are an easy value proposition. Most of our community is beyond their thirties and have a fondness (and experience) for the written word and documentation. It is easy to sell books here, way easier than in other communities which are younger and prefer videos. That doesn’t mean that I can’t provide videos as well, damn I’ve graduated with a BA in filmmaking, I’m geared to start filming too. Books were the first step. I see myself more as a storyteller than a developer, that is why I want to focus on content for my own career moving forward. But that is only my own personal journey, other people here have a different path. I just wish that more people here decide to share their knowledge (and code) so that we can become a more vibrant community.

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