Transcript, HyperTalk, etc.

Barry Levine themacguy at
Mon Jun 3 11:55:02 EDT 2002

Many years ago, I had the privilege to hear Jean-Louis Gassee deliver 
the keynote at MacWorld SF. I think it was 1987; it was right after John 
Sculley informed him that he was being fired but, as J-L was already 
scheduled for MWSF, he showed up and spoke to the assembled multitude.

His keynote was entitled "Three Steps in a Love Affair". (Those French - 
so romantic!) Step one was "Ubiquitous Internet Access" which, of 
course, we have almost achieved with the embracing of broadband. Step 
two was something else which, God help me, I don't remember! However, 
Step three was "Programming for the Rest of Us"; the ability for the 
"common user" to generate whatever application he required. At that 
time, HyperCard had been out for less than a year but I had already 
developed my first eMail program using HyperCard (it took two weeks from 
the time I removed the shrink-wrap from the box). Of course, my take on 
"Step three" was that HypeCard was the answer. I have never wavered in 
that belief. In fact, HyperCard in "Classic" under OSX runs like a 
champ. All of my older stacks run so fast that, in some cases, I've had 
to insert some "wait loops" to give the user a chance to interact with 
some games I wrote in 1988.

My point here is that high-level programming languages (and C++ is not 
one of them) are, by definition, "natural language" development 
environments. Most human languages have synonyms for nouns, verbs, 
adjectives, and adverbs; so, too, does Transcript (as does HyperTalk). 
If that freedom bothers you, get over it. If the fact that we don't have 
to declare our variables bothers you, get over it.

If the fact that Transcript is an "English" language rather than 
(-insert language here-), well, I'm get over it.

Does that mean that Revolution and Transcript are perfect? Of course 
not! Reports continue to be a big issue (and seem to be getting the 
attention of the Edinburgh crew). Documentation omissions crop up every 
now and again. But I'll be patient because I know we've got an 
incredible development environment that can take my dream and help make 
it real.

Barry Jay Levine
"The Mac Guy"
Macintosh Troubleshooting, System Engineering, Training,
AppleShare/OSX Server Setup, System Upgrades and Enhancements
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