A small PR rant

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MadDogDean
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A small PR rant

Post by MadDogDean » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:58 pm

First, let me preface all of the following by saying that the people at LivecCode have done an excellent job in developing LC.
Secondly, the community of supporters (the long time supporters that have been on these boards forever) do an awesome job pushing things forward and helping the noobs.

But... (and there are always three dots after the but...) I truly think that LC needs to bring someone on that can pull in the reigns and focus on the PR side of things.

Over the last few weeks (nee, months) I've been struggling, unsuccessfully due to some Win7 glitch, to install the x64 version of LC. I have paid for the Indy and then the Business subscription for several years, but haven't actually produced *anything*. So, this continual x64 issue has led me to look at other cross-platform IDE's (currently my partners & I are looking at developing a few apps and are ready to actually start into it).

A few other IDE's look interesting, some are promising, others have fantastic game-quality physics and controls, and most are also open-source, but LC has a much stronger cross-platform coverage than the others! As such, I started looking at LC in a more critical eye (as a "shopping" customer) and see a few issues that may prevent me, if I was a new user, from walking the LC path.

As LiveCode has taken the open-source path, we all knew there was a large number of both paying customers as well as new users that will opt for the Community version instead, but, the Community version doesn't pay the light or electric bills at LC head office.

In order to ensure that LC remains a viable product and company, worthy of all the efforts to develop and use it's relatively proprietary language (even though it is English-like, it is a one-of-a-kind), the paying base needs to grow.

Walking through the LC resources tonight, I see that in many ways the presentation has fallen several years into history.

For example:
Open LC and create a new stack - we are presented with a few OLD iPhone screen sizes pre-dating 2016! The most recent LC iPhone template is the iPhone 6 (circa 2015, being 414 x 736), since then Apple has released:

iPhone SE - 03/2016
iPhone 7 & 7Plus - 09/2016
iPhone 8 & 8Plus - 09/2017
iPhone X - 11/2017
iPhone XS & XS Max - 09/2018
iPhone 11, 11Pro & 11Pro Max - 09/2019
iPhone SE - 04/2020

Even my old, old Android Motorola Moto G, from 2013 had a 720 x 1280 display. And speaking of Android, there is not even a single Android template even mentioned in the list.

And then we move to the website and blog:
Since April 2019, there have been 5 blog entries. One announced the release of LC 9.5.0 in June 2019, the next three were COVID related and the last entry was announcing the release of LC 9.6.0, June 1, 2020. Surely there must be more news in the world of LC. Stale Blogs do not instill the image of an active and progressive company. If there is nothing to say, don't even do a blog, otherwise, make it current.

As for the website, there are many references & logos from the old RunRev days (such as revOnline), the even the online LiveCode Lessons refer to LC 6.5, 6.7 & 8 and there is very little espousing the incredible attributes and capabilities of the LC 9.x.x family.

By writing this, I am not looking to diminish the efforts that everyone is making, I am not bashing what is there, I am not taking away from the incredible effort involved to bring LC to where it is today, but rather I hope that, as a community, we do not alienate the future bread & butter that will sustain LC.

LiveCode needs to find someone that can step up and actively promote what LC stands for - simple coding for everyone. Much like an app - without an exciting UI, even the best app falls by the wayside.

I hope this will open thoughts and discussions how we can move forward, build and grow LiveCode to it's full user-base potential, through positive & exciting representation.

Thanks to all that take the time to read this and hoping for some lively discussions...

Cheers.
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FourthWorld
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by FourthWorld » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:42 pm

I don't disagree with what you wrote (indeed, the IDE's File menu has been among my pet sore points since it was first made into a submenu). But in this user-to-user support forum, the odds that anyone coming across your post who would be in a position to take action on your suggestions is low.

You can write to the company directly at support AT livecode.com.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:29 pm

I'd be a poor candidate for a lively discussion, at my age it would probably kill me :twisted:

All joking aside, though, I don't disagree with what you said. Of course, it wouldn't matter if I did, since I don't use it often enough I wouldn't be a good indicator on how to improve any of the points you made.
Image

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by MadDogDean » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:27 am

I agree that contacting LiveCode directly is the primary way to make the changes that I commented on, but... (again, with the three dots)

Are these issues that are actually seen as detrimental, or is it just the rantings of an aging person? Maybe these things are not a concern to most, maybe they don't make a difference.

If I reach out to LiveCode is it something they see needs to be changed? These things haven't been changed, renewed or updated yet, so maybe there is no need to change just for the sake of change.

Maybe others have a different view point or... maybe not ;)

Cheers

mrcoollion
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by mrcoollion » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:42 am

I agree that the LC outings and demos urgently need a revamp and simplification. But I also appreciate the speed of development and bug fixes.
Although there are many things I would like and have ideas about that LC can improve on, I would vote to first:
- Make the examples/demo's up to date
- Include better how to upload apps to the market places of apple and android.
- Make app monetization with affiliate programs (appAnnie, AppMonet, Soomla,AdMob, InMobi, PubMatic, RhythmOne .......) work and easy to use (widgets?!) for at least three choices that fit with the LC concepts and that support multiple (android,iPhone, Windows and Apple) marketplaces. Making this one of the highlites will attract people to LC for app development.

That's the way I look at it.

Regards,

Paul
Last edited by mrcoollion on Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by FourthWorld » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:02 am

MadDogDean wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:27 am
Are these issues that are actually seen as detrimental, or is it just the rantings of an aging person?
Maybe you and I are both aging in similar ways, because I thought much of what you wrote was spot-on.

It can't hurt to write and see what they say. And if I'm the only one writing the customer experience things like this than I just sound like a broken record. But as more voices draw attention to specific, actionable areas of improvement it'll stand a better chance of having the value of such suggestions recognized.
Richard Gaskin
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by MadDogDean » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:27 am

FourthWorld wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:02 am
Maybe you and I are both aging in similar ways, because I thought much of what you wrote was spot-on.
If them whipper-snippers don't get with it, I'll whack them all with my walking frame.. AND throw my empty prescription bottles at them!!!

I'll forward my comments & concerns to the powers' that be. I've been toying with programming on-and-off for a few years. I don't need the money from making apps, but I sure could have fun with it :)

My biggest concern is that, as I do want to get serious about programming, I want to make sure to get online and on-track with the horse that's going the full distance. As the LC language is so different from EVERY other programming language (and that's it's biggest benefit), there is nothing that is portable from this to another language. If I develop a few games/apps and these don't become viral and make me rich, are my LC skills going to be applicable freelancing in the real world??? Mmmmm, not sure about that.

And @mrcoollion is also spot-on about the monetization. There is another *unmentioned* Lua based game engine that is free & open-sourced, does a lot, has a lot of game physics and monetization options (as plugins/widgets), but... it doesn't have the desktop support (windows & mac) that LC does.

I'll get on with the people behind the scenes and voice my opinions.
Cheers

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bangkok » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:48 am

I concur with "examples/demos".

Much better than any "lessons" even with screenshots.

Stacks that focus on a theme (datagrid, SQLlite DB, sending email, resizing, scrolling, interface tricks with drag and drop, etc.) and stuff inside. Several cards.

I did that with datagrid for instance :
download/file.php?id=5272

People do need to "see" things in order to grasp ideas, and to discover the potential of LC. And to learn.

For instance, a demo stack for tsNet would be... great.

tsNet is great, has a tons of commands/parameters but few people use it (because licence Indy and Business) and the doc is not enough.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by Klaus » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:44 am

Yes, something like our old "Livecode Scripting Conference" stacks:
http://www.hyperactivesw.com/revscriptc ... ences.html

BTW, there is no mention of it on the Livecode website nor a link to the url. :(

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by AndyP » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:53 pm

A couple of points hit home. Sorry this is a bit long, but I need to give it context.

A friend of mine works for The European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt about half an hour by tram from where I live and he does a lot of programming mainly in C++ and Java, we got to talking about the merits and pitfalls of different languages and why some are perceived to be more popular than others. During our conversation I suggested he try LiveCode and let me know what he thought of it, this was 6/7 months ago.

First thing that happened was he nearly didn't download LiveCode. He said that when he looked at the website, he went straight to the Blog page and saw how long ago the last post was and how infrequent the posts had been, he felt that LiveCode was stagnant and being forgotten because of this. Luckily he then went to the forums and was impressed on how active they were, always a good sign.

So he downloaded LiveCode community and played around with it. He was surprised at how easily quickly he could build apps without have to import classes , not having to define environments etc. This was for desktop apps, so far so good.

Then he said that most new programmers will be looking at mobile, not desktop, he started looking at LiveCode for mobile dev and stopped.

That was it LiveCode was dismissed....why?

Just two reasons.

1. Drag and Drop of mobile components was not on par with the desktop experience. E.g. He could not understand why if you drag say an Android native button to your card it didn't work a or look like a button in the IDE, he said what was the point, you might as well just hard code it! He said that a button should look and act as a button and there should be just one, not one for desktop, one for Android, one for IOS.

2. No simple way to access and include Android or IOS sdks or third party sdks for that matter. When he then realized that you could not even add the Ad-mob SDK he stopped and removed LiveCode from his system.

So his final comments were, how can LiveCode expect to be taken seriously if they cant be bothered to keep their blog current and not include acces to vendor sdks which practically all other languages targeting mobile have a path for.

I look at LiveCode as a long time user and am used to the way and the reasons why some things do not work as one might expect. He was looking as a new user so I thought you might find his views interesting.
Andy Piddock

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by ollie » Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:16 pm

Cannot agree anymore by AndyP.

I am following LiveCode for years and still struggling. How can I find a right path to start.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by TorstenHolmer » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:53 pm

Hi Andy,

I agree with the website and the blog, this should be improved.

But I also think your friend is not the target audience of Livecode. Professional programmers with long time experience have a totally different view on programming. They demand very advanced things which are not relevant for the typical Livecode developer. So they only see missing things and do not see that Livecode enables normal users to develop software and how programming can be really fun and creative.

E.g. the button problem: you can use the normal Livecode button on all platforms! If you change the design a little bit and make it more like "Material" then nobody will see the difference. But the fields have to be different because they ARE different (scroll behavior).

These problems are problems of developing software for different platform requirements and one cannot blame Livecode for not solving them easily.

As I said this is also not the primary goal of Livecode as it was not the primary goal of Hypercard/Metacard. The main goal, and this is achived as its best, is to make programming possible for non-programmers.

Livecode should invest more in promoting itself as a tool for everyone who wants to have control over their computer and mobile, who wants to command his digital devices and create interactive information, who wants to use the power of his digital devices without having to become a nerd and spent years reading how the bits and bytes work together.

My story for e.g. is that I am a researcher who writes all his applications in Livecode for data gathering, data analysis and visualization. Developing in Livecode is so fats that I skip writing the requirements and start scripting. In the process more ideas come up I implement them too.
I code for desktop. mobile and server, all the same language, the same tools, a dream :-)

Cheers,
Torsten

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:06 pm

Open LC and create a new stack - we are presented with a few OLD iPhone screen sizes pre-dating 2016!
Yes, you are right: LiveCode should stop pandering to the latest fashion and
ONLY offer a standard stack that programmers can resize to whatever they need.

Mind you, I cannot see that that is anything of any significance whatsoever.

Nothing seems to fit my phone:
-
phone.jpg
phone.jpg (4.9 KiB) Viewed 816 times
-
and I don't care because I am not a superficial type who is always fussed about being constantly up to date.
Stale Blogs do not instill the image of an active and progressive company.
I dunno about that, but what I can tell you is that as I continue on my personal trajectory to master at least 50% of Livecode
[it would be arrogant and ludicrous to think I can learn more than 50% of such a rich offering.]
I find stuff that was written as long as 18 years ago is still informative.

LiveCode is very much "an active and progressive company", sometimes, to be honest, a bit too progressive for my tastes.

You, the original OP, have a problem, and that is that you are hypnotised by the passing show, and
will, inevitably suffer the consequences.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by JackieBlue1970 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:45 am

I have to agree with the OP and AndyP. Generally speaking, LiveCode doesn’t feel very professional, either on their website or even the product itself. Now, don’t go slamming, I chose LiveCode for a project this year and paid for it even though these are tools only for internal use in my business. These could easily be handled by the open source version.

First, LiveCode appears to be a for profit business. But, they seem to rely on donations to enhance their product (HTML 5) and the current COVID situation. In their case, I’m not even sure how Covid would impact most of their business since it is a software product that is downloadable. They don’t rely on people walking into their store!

Second, their website is not very good. It is slow, poorly organized, and not very responsive to mobile. The product is pretty good, but it has little quirks. I find the mobile development to be a bit strange and not as straightforward as advertised. The HTML5 feels very amateurish and made the decision not to use it because it is not worth the additional fee.

One if the things that did sway me to LC was this forum being active. There are other options that will do most of what LC does for the same price or cheaper. Xojo especially seems more professional but the user base, at least on the forums, is better here.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:57 am

JackieBlue1970

I think that your posting deserves neither a 'slamming', not being totally ignored, so I am going to
"pull it apart" in what I hope is a constructive fashion. 8)

Before that I shall write the usual disclaimer:

I have used LiveCode since 2001/2 for both professional and in-house development.
I have "attacked" LiveCode quite a lot in the past and reserve the right to do that again as many times
in the future as I want should I see fit.

The only stake I have in LiveCode is that I develop EFL software for my school (usually using version 6.1) and
I teach LiveCode programming classes to small children.

1. "LiveCode doesn’t feel very professional" . . .

I always wonder exactly HOW one defines professional,
and I feel a claim like this should backed up with some points of comparison.

1.1. "either on their website" . . .

Always has been a bit of a mess.

1.2. "or even the product itself"

I don't know what that means.

The IDE is accessible and usable.

I recently had a "Python patch" which required me to search out all sorts of modules to
strap onto the language just to get a button and a field.

2. " LiveCode appears to be a for profit business."

Well, let's examine what constitutes a "for profit business" . . .

2.1. I understand a "for profit business" to mean that the owners are trying to make as much money as possible to
shove in their personal bank accounts and become Jeff Bezos number 2.

2.2. I also understand a different market model where all the employees of a company, its owner and any ancillary
workers have fixed salaries, and any monies accruing above that are ploughed back into the company for consumables.

3. "they seem to rely on donations to enhance their product (HTML 5)" . . .

I would call their company a "mixed system".

[Admittedly I think the HTML 'thing' at the moment is very substandard
and needs an awful lot of work if it is ever going to take off.]

Recently I visited some gardens in Bruton (England) where they had a shop and a restaurant, AND a donation box.
Now, obviously, if you wanted to buy one of their (ridiculously over-priced) books, tea towels or what-have-you
the company were making some sort of 'profit', but looking at the gardens and the level of maintenance
required I don't think Herr Hauser was raking in the shekels.

https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/hau ... set_garden

Now there was ALSO a donation box.

I don't honestly see anything unduly wrong with that: nobody makes anyone stuff their pound notes into it.

Recently a bank manager wandered into my school and remarked that he didn't think much of the computer
monitors, and a week later a van turned up with 10 second-hand monitors (the bank renews its IT stuff
every 2 years) that are far far better than what I had previously. That was a donation; nothing wrong there.

I want to keep my business running, and I will do anything to ensure that: if it gets really "sticky" I may end up with
a table down the high street asking for donations. I, for one, am not going to get all 'hoity-toity" and take some
supposed moral high ground with LiveCode.

4. "and the current COVID situation."

Indeed: and I do think they are in trouble business-wise. This may be due to:

4.1. The website (see above).

4.2. Their continuing failure to push like blazes for the education market
(I've been banging on about that for about 16 years).

I donated a modest sum as they have been extremely generous and helpful to me in the past for the simple reason
that their company has a human face.

5. "I’m not even sure how Covid would impact most of their business since it is a software product that is downloadable."

That strikes me as a slightly silly remark.

Let me tell you about my own situation during the "merry plague":

I depend for my income on an EFL school in Bulgaria.

During the plague I have been teaching online and my income has dropped to about 50%
of its normal level for all sorts of reasons.

Now I can quite easily see why LiveCode might have got themselves in a "sticky position" as well":

5.1. Despite the much talked about "advantages" of communicating and collaborating online
that is largely not true: certainly my pupils and myself have experienced the feeling that the
whole thing is not "authentic" and a sort of ennui that comes creeping up after about 3-4 weeks of
online only communication.

5.2 Supply chain problems; supply chains are also screwed up by the virus.

5.3. Continuing development.

The software world is not a static thing.

Just for one, Apple are about to transition to ARM processors: for LiveCode to continue to offer what it does on those processors
an awful lot of work will have to be done.

6. " The product is pretty good" . . . seems to contradict "LiveCode doesn’t feel very professional" . . .

When I see people contradicting themselves I normally defocus and start fantasizing about a cup of coffee.

6.1. "but it has little quirks" . . . so do I, You and the rest of the world.

Personally I read "has little quirks" as meaning "things I haven't worked out yet, or got used to yet." 8)

My wife has "little quirks" (and. come to think of things, she'll tell you I have several big quirks), but that is
not enough to break a 29 year marriage.

7. " I find the mobile development to be a bit strange and not as straightforward as advertised."

I agree with you completely.

One might hope that in due course an Android and an iOS engine could be "bound in" to the IDE
rather as the Linux, Windows and Macintosh ones are at present: however, knowing the way Apple are
'funny' and a bunch of control freaks I cannot see that happening.

8. "Xojo especially seems more professional" . . .

In what way?

That's a major unsupported statement to make. One of the few things I have learnt in life
is that statements like that need substantiation, otherwise they just look like some sort of
rank subjectivism.

Admittedly I have a problem with the word 'professional' when it is applied to software.

If you mean by 'professional' "it does not adhere to what I think a software product should look like"
then that has little or no value.

9. "the user base, at least on the forums" . . . absolutely rocks! :D

LiveCode is not perfect, nor will it ever be. But perfection is an illusion.

What LiveCode offers is unusual, and it is backed up by people who, while being computer experts,
do come across as caring, human individuals.

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