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Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 7:12 pm
by richmond62
Thanks Peregrine.

I remember playing around with a Demo of labVIEW in 1994:

and thinking:

1. That's very clever if you are not particularly interested in programming-qua-programming, but want to connect lab instrumentation to work together.

2. While that is very clever, the nature of it might at a certain point prove limiting.

I should, perhaps bung in a bit of autobiography here (because everybody's path influences their opinions later on).

Having a history of "traditional" programming languages: FORTRAN, BASIC, PASCAL

Suddenly, in 1993, I was faced with a Macintosh LC475 and Hypercard.

This was a conceptual shock!

Then somebody at SIUC (where I was studying) lobbed me a Demo disk of labVIEW and asked for a 500 word squib on the thing [ Dr Thomas Thibeault: Mormon Bishop and boss of the
Applied Linguistics Department computer lab ]. Why did he do that? Because, as of 1994, in Carbondale, Illinois, in the Linguistics department, I, at least superficially, appeared to know
more about computers than anybody apart from Dr Thibeault; and, having already developed several CALL titles with Hypercard (sadly, later lost in the "backup" system of SIUC), I knew
quite a lot about how students responded to graphical presentations on a computer screen,

labVIEW is limited and limiting; as are almost all drag-n-drop systems. Unlike labVIEW and its ilk, however, a drag-n-drop system bolted on . . .

OK :) pause here while I explain why I have chosen to use the phrase "bolted on" . . .

Because I believe that building a whole new GUI on-top the Livecode engine would be both a huge mistake and too much trouble for any possible gain.

Therefore I would rather that, as well as our current "revMenubar" and "revTools" stacks that, like Asterix's village, we "know and love" we should have
a visual drag-n-drop interface stack (if, indeed we really need one at all ?????) that can be flipped into and out of: so at any one time an end-user can choose
whether they want to use the 'standard' interface or the 'LEGO kit' interface.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 12:08 pm
by richmond62
ROTANTI.png (11.58 KiB) Viewed 7275 times
Well, well, well!

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 12:32 pm
by richmond62
Feedback !!!!!!!

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 4:02 pm
by richmond62

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 4:04 pm
by richmond62

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 4:07 pm
by richmond62
HOWEVER: this is all jolly good fun and so on, but pedagogically it seems pretty dubious as it is just
reinventing the wheel.

If you look at the scripts in the groups "MDOWN" and so forth, you will see why (apart from the short bits that start "do ACTION")
this will not lead anyone towards working with Livecode, as the code is comparatively complex.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 5:49 pm
by Peregrine
OK, but what about something more like DropTools on steroids? I think you are kind of getting at that anyway, with the idea that one might start with the "visual" programming of blocks, Legos, etc. And then when needed or desired, slip behind the scenes and tinker with the scripts.
That way you avoid creating a whole new front end, but you make it easier. I know you are thinking about education, but I'm thinking about graphic designers and such, as collaborators with coders.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 6:22 pm
by richmond62
"what about something more like DropTools on steroids?"

Well, I did put this in the "Teaching with Livecode" section :)

My reply to you would be: well, why don't you make some sort of proof of concept thing?

The more prototype interfaces are produced the more serious and informed the discussion can become.

What I find totally amazing is that I made an agent-led prototype in whenever it was (2004 ? possibly), and quite apart from the fact
that it got me an MA from a University which isn't worth mentioning (my supervisor went so far as to remark "I'm sure it's
brilliant but I've never understood programming."), it was meant to stimulate debate, and didn't.

So, here I am in 2014 digging up the same old chestnut.

Now what I did just now was, basically, a rip-off of a subset of Scratch: and I spent 4 hours on it [you're not really much cop
if you cannot run up something vaguely functional in Livecode is that time - especially after at least 12 years messing around with it].

It was intended to show that the "Scratch thang" can be done, should there be a call for it.

Similarly my "KALA"; an agent-led heavily modded revTools stack showed that an agent + decision tree system is possible
[that took me one hell of a lot longer than 4 hours].

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 6:26 pm
by richmond62

I have a feeling those presuppose quite a lot of familiarity with how Livecode works "under the hood".

They are far from bad; but I don't think they will serve either:

Children at school, or

Experts who want to do something computerwise with their specialist knowledge but have neither the time,
the interest, or the right sort of brain to learn fullblown computer programming.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 7:10 pm
by richmond62
Possibly this discussion should split into 2 threads (which may cross-fertilise each other from time to time).


This obviously NOT the Droptools approach.

The British Government, among others, is trying to have its cake and eat it (as it has tried many times before), by trying to
get school-children to learn how to program computers without doing any of the donkey work.

The Scratch model is neither a programming-free interface, nor is it a programming language.

To my mind it looks like a jazzy version of Turtle graphics (and the gRABBIT stack I pumped out this afternoon is "dear, old Turtle graphics" straight and simple).

Of course the British Government have mucked things up by sponsoring long-term propaganda that absolutely
everything must be EASY, INSTANT and POWERFUL: so they have to find computer tools that will allow
children with short attention spans who have never been expected to do any piece of concentrated work at all, or
been taught to expect results to take quite a long time, to do wonders that would take "normal programmers"
months of hard work.

The other problem is the over emphasis on games.

Good computer games employ a lot of Mathematics: how the powers that be expect children to make
anything but the most moronic games without learning quite a lot of Mathematics first, and then learning how to
express that in a way a computer will understand, I just don't know.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 8:25 pm
by Peregrine
richmond62 wrote:Possibly this discussion should split into 2 threads (which may cross-fertilise each other from time to time).


This obviously NOT the Droptools approach...
OK, so what about the Droptools approach? Doesn't that lower some barriers to entry, by providing UI elements that are easy and quick to handle? I mean, I don't want to do it to "dumb down" some introduction to LC. I want it to speed up design and development.

It kind of seems like we are talking about a second class of UI elements... ones like the datagrid that are agglomerations of other LC UI pieces. That is, not "native" like say, a label field. In fact, I wish the datagrid was "more native" and just behaved the way I expect a native element to behave, with a check boxes and settings in the property inspector to control all of its parameters.

What if a Droptools-like approach included some kind of extension to the property inspector? So say I come up with a new control... something like a tag cloud, let's say. I'd like to see an extended property inspector, or an ad hoc property inspector, or a standard defined, so that this new tag cloud object could be configured with such a property inspector. Is this making any sense?

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 8:36 am
by richmond62
Well, yesterday I asked on the Use-List if the RunRev people would tell us a way to add extra properties to an object.

That would be quite a good thing.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:46 pm
by FourthWorld
Any custom property can be added to any object using standard property syntax:

Code: Select all

set the MyCustomProperty of button 1 to "SomeValue"
in addition to storing values, custom properties can be used to trigger specific behaviors defined in getProp and setProp handlers, e.g.:

Code: Select all

setProp MyCustomProperty pValue
   set the text of me to pValue
end MyCustomProperty
Used in a behavior script, custom properties can be handled in this manner for entire classes of objects.

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:57 pm
by richmond62
And, FourthWorld, to return to the original theme of this thread: what can you tell us re any
ideas about alternative front-ends to Livecode (apart from Metacard).

Re: LEGO kit

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:54 pm
by richmond62
One or two things were worrying me about the silly rabbit; here's a new version: