Report from the workshop:
There were six of us there (I would of course have liked more but was very happy with six) - all guys, ranging from 14 to 56...
We kicked off with introductions, expectations etc and decided the day would be about 'jumping straight in' rather than presentations about theory, context, history etc.
They then chose the clipboard exercise followed by the data import and creation of PDFs from the following list of options I gave them:
Monitor a Directory for Changes
Import data and Create a PDF
Scrub Text (clipboard)
Execute a Shell Command
I emailed them all the scripts (for backup) and had a projector going as well - and bit by bit they all got it working and by the end were able to copy something from a different app, transmogrify it within LiveCode and then update the clipboarddata ready for pasting elsewhere, we also had a go at filtering the data and some other stuff.
Doing this exercise fairly quickly made it apparent that those who had little or no experience of coding found LiveCode really easy to learn - whilst those already used to how a different coding language worked found it harder (this echoes my own experience when I was first learning LiveCode). As a result we started off the day with some people being quite frustrated that LiveCode wasn't behaving in any way at all like their favourite language - but by they end had to admit how useful LiveCode was even though it was so DIFFERENT!
We then moved on to the second exercise, nobody wanted to stop for a break. This exercise involved importing a csv (which I had created and emailed to them) made up of pseudo invoice items (description and hours), once loaded into memory they set up a repeat loop to add up total hours and applied an hourly rate to calculate total amount due. Everyone got to this stage - and once again the new-to-code guys took to it like ducks to water compared to the others who had to unlearn stuff in order to do it the LiveCode way!
The second stage was creating a PDF (and saving it to the hard disk), this meant creating a sub-stack with a datagrid and couple of other controls. I also got them to tweak the data slightly in the data they imported by setting up another repeat loop and adding another item to each line (the cost of each item), as a final embellishment I got them to add a link in the pdf which when clicked took you to Paypal's website. With this second stage not everyone managed the syntax and preferred to watch others - but most people did fine (especially the newbies!).
In fact, one of the guys who hadn't coded much was not only able to complete the PDF exercise but to tweak it to read in data from a Google Analytics report and output a PDF - he was most pleased with this - had lots of ideas how to improve in the coming days - and had a great big smile on his face thinking about what he had done and how many hours each month he was going to save himself.
By now we had been coding/learning for almost four hours and still nobody wanted to take a break - so I decided to let them relax a bit and, using my laptop connected to the projector took them through:
The processes involved in coding and building an iOS app and installing it on my iPad
Building an Android app an installing it on my Nexus4 (actually I got one of them to do this one)
The last thing I showed them was LiveCode Server script and attempted to get an app and my web service to get data from a remote server and populate a database - unfortunately the 'demo gods' had lost their patience by this stage and I didn't get it to work
So, by the end I was exhausted and I think the others were pretty knackered as well - some of those attending were really pleased and keen to do more - others were (I think impressed with LiveCode) but found the day harder work.
In the end we decided to hold another day, perhaps with a theme around web services and LiveCode Server
Both Rob and I were very pleased with how the day went and will start to make arrangements for another LiveCode day...
EDIT: should have said, the list of exercises I offered them were all taken from various LiveCode lessons or RevUp articles and tweaked...