LiveCode for the rest of us

R.H. roland.huettmann at
Fri Sep 18 12:59:56 EDT 2015

Following the really interesting discussions on this list for two years,
enjoying the verve with which those developers in Edinburgh are trying to
stitch the pieces together – and I know how much dedication this requires
supporting so many different platforms and aspects of the LiveCode engine –
and I want to thank them and support them  - I think, not being a hard-core
programmer, just maybe an advanced user, just someone with ideas about
possible applications, I sometimes feel a bit lost.

I enjoy the smart contributions seen here on the list, maybe it from Monte,
or Peter, or Rick or whoever.

So, I am not sure my contribution here would lead to another thread about
LiveCode and how the "rest of us" – the non programmers – might see it. It
is just my very subjective contribution as a non-programmer.

Even I am thinking often, how such group of dedicated LiveCode mothership
developers could receive more support, or how the business model for them
would work out. Because without money nothing can be done. For example, I
am paying for a Microsoft membership, for Adobe creative tools, for Google
Cloud space, for a dedicated VPN to allow myself to not being detected as a
Swiss user only (10 dollars per month), I am paying 5 bucks for my daily
coffee in the coffee shop.

Assuming 100,000 paying LiveCode customers, every one paying 10 dollars
each month, it would be sufficient to get things really going and inviting
many more supporters and developers to be on board. If it does not reach
big numbers, what would be the future of LiveCode? It has to grow BIG.

To me and my clients, the front end usability is what we see and what we

I love LiveCode for its language and doing what I tell it to do (more or
less) with simple English expressions. I question it for not providing me
the necessary building blocks of an integrated framework allowing to do
simple things without having to worry about the details. I do not really
like its current standard visual interface, and it requires quite some work
to make this interface shine and be really usable to end users.

I love Filemaker as one of the tools I am using for in-house-development,
but I hate its scripting language and its slow upgrade cycle, its many
limitations, and for a small company it is already much too costly to
distribute solutions to other users. It is not a language. It is just a
nice database application development engine.

What I am up to in my contribution would be the vision that LiveCode would
introduce aspects of something like Filemaker.

I am convinced that the majority of paying users (monthly 10 dollars) would
be business people, smallest companies for 1-10 people - but they have
business needs – and business almost always needs database applications.
So, we are talking about database driven applications.

Such apps are not made just for fun or done as a hobby, or to develop a lot
of games. There is a definite business reason, abiding to platform specific
usability guidelines, looking sexy, and doing what they have to do for lots
of end users, non programmers, just users like you and me. And a business
is ready to pay for that. Business is not paying for games. The game market
is a different market, even though game-like presentations are sometimes
also very useful. ( I am not against using LiveCode for game-development or
anything to not be misunderstood ))).

The Filemaker market is already big enough. I am sure many Filemaker users
and developers would switch to LiveCode if it would provide a similar ease
of development and deployment. And that means possibly using the new-born
widgets technology.

But today, I am still much faster in developing a small solution for a
company using Filemaker compared to LiveCode. Much faster!

Why not there is a field that can easily be set to display international
date and time formats and automatically would default to local standards
without having to script a lot and redoing the same work over and over
again? Why not a field can be defined to represent whatever data it should
provide and automatically check user input? Why not there are classes of
fields that can be defined behaving the same using a domain-like concept?

Why not there is a data grid working like a portal in Filemaker, just
allowing to insert whatever we want, buttons and pictures, fields and
menus? I do not have the time to work with the details of the current data
grid – except for simple text input. Why should I have to script myself all
the small bits and pieces? It needs too much time. And if fields are
connected with an underlying database, I want to see the updates
immediately. And why not there is a data input mechanism - add data, edit
data, remove data, show data including filtering and sorting? That is the
pattern everybody is used to.

Why not there is an easy way to define a database with tables and then link
database fields to tables? It could allow defining everything in the
database while defining the fields including validation rules, indexes,
etc.? And then allow to create links between tables combining data so that
SQL would only be needed on a more deeper level?

Why not there could be an automatic synchronization mechanism between a
local database such as SQLite and a server database such as MySQL or MS-SQL
or whatever? Do I have to all program that myself?

Why not there would be a simple in-built filter and search mechanism to
display data and to export/import or create output using an inbuilt Report

Why not there is a security framework easy to include protecting data,
whether on a local machine, or distributed in a network, or kept on some

Take the complexity away from the standard user as much as possible. Let
the user focus on the application in business or private work. Above that,
there is still all the space to go deeper and deeper for those who have the
time and enjoy it, or must do it. And that possibility greatly ads to the
user enjoyment.

I would love to see such framework integrated into the engine, or very
closely related to it, that does all such work and leaves me focusing on
WHAT I want to achieve, and not on HOW to achieve it.

And I agree, there is a difference in deployment for small screens, or big
desktop monitors with various sizes and resolutions. Not everything will
ever be possible using just one layout. But at least the data sources
should be available everywhere, the basic logic should be there, the
expected functionality should work the same everywhere. And then there is a
difference in layout and what a user can do depending on the hardware he is

I hope very much that all this will become possible with LiveCode 8 and
higher. Or maybe, I am too ambitious? I would love to see the better
Filemaker worked out using LiveCode. And it will find hundreds of thousands
of users, and therefore developers.

Because such LiveCode will be more fun, that is interesting, sexy, that is
unique to each company. Changes to a data model should be easy, deployment
to many users should just be a push-button operation.

LiveCode applications must also visually look like a very modern
state-of-the-art piece of solid work, really supporting standard usability
and user interface guidelines, or allow to break standards only in case
there is a definite advantage. Follow the rules unless you master the
rules. Only then you can break out.

I have seen so many ugly LiveCode applications – and I am even producing
such ugly apps myself – that there is no wonder that nobody out there gets
overly exited since there are thousands of nice looking web pages and web
applications, and desktop and mobile apps...

Again, I vote for paying 10 dollars a month, and supporting a very speedy
growth of LiveCode to have hundreds of thousands of such paying users and
customers. I am not willing to spend 100 dollars a month as I am comparing
with other tools, and I am already paying lots of money which creating
holes in my purse. 10 bucks everyone will easily afford for something he or
she likes.The profit is in the numbers.

And at least then I could also expect that documentation is reflecting the
actual engine and I am not spending hours and days searching around just to
find out that something is not working, or not working as expected.
documentation is a field that needs a huge effort to improve.

And why not there are ready-made solutions as in Filemaker that just can be
tailored to individual needs providing the basis for a professional looking
and behaving application? All the basic coding should be there providing a
template about how to script in LiveCode. It is not enough to have a small
scale app displaying something. It should serve a business purpose, a
private purpose, an educational purpose. because business will pay for
LiveCode development. And if the big business guys are not sold out to it
yet, the small business guys will do it.

There need to be hundreds and even thousands of well-looking and
well-performing apps out there stamped with "Made with LiveCode". How to
make developers do that? They must see the advantage. They must see the
business for themselves. They do it to earn money as well!

I would employ developers paying 10 bucks to LiveCode for each of them each
month, and have them develop what I want to receive, and my clients want to
enjoy. I would even have them contribute to the engine.

And I just believe that LiveCode needs many more professional developers
and people focused coding, on professional documentation and on marketing
this "mothership". Why not outsource part of the work to save costs? I
myself have built and managed teams of over 100 people in software
development over 15 years, and it was really a joy working with intelligent
people for reasonable costs. At least there could be testing team
outsourced somewhere. Why not many more autistic people - often good in
programming - are taking the rid? Or educated young people coming from
Syria as refugees? Or lots of smart people growing up every day in Africa?
Or India? Maybe it is too difficult to convince already established
programmers? And a lot could be sponsored. I am not talking of small
numbers of intelligent people.

If LiveCode is not growing faster, fed from a naturally increasing interest
and driven by the joy of doing it, shared by developers around the world
who are just happily supporting it, then there is a danger that it would
eventually sink down to the bottom of the sea.

Embrace the world. Become attractive. There must be a "wow" effect to move

I want to see LiveCode lifting up like the flying Dutch- (sorry) Scotsman,
soon, sooner, today.


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