How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Want to move your code and projects to LiveCode but don't know where to start?

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Jeff Walters
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How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Jeff Walters » Tue Sep 07, 2021 5:59 pm

Hi

I participated in the Kickstarter support of Livecode many years ago (Indy), but haven't used it for years.

I need to quickly create an app, and loaded the latest version. I was able to quickly test a concept on a single stack, but as soon as I wanted to create a multi-card app navigating between windows, well ... that's when I stalled.

I confess to being totally lost - despite having coded in a Windows environment for 30 years. I cannot 'see' the structure of the application. I am used to being able to navigated through the hierarchy of an application from the main windows through to the other windows, and the Application browser used to provide that view.

The tutorial videos show the app browser, but the latest version doesn't The Project Browser provides me with a non-hierarchical meaningless list of objects.

Is there any way where I can see the main stack, cards, substacks, and then objects on cards - so that I can get a sense of the components I am creating in the project + link them together via menus & buttons. Is there any way that I can get the Project Browser to be useful - in the form of a hierarchical breakdown?

Currently this is unusable for me.

Klaus
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Klaus » Tue Sep 07, 2021 6:09 pm

Hi Jeff,

welcome to the forum!

The application broswer is still available, however well hidden! :-)
Find it here: LC -> Menu -> Development -> Plugins -> revApplicationOverview


Best

Klaus

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by jmburnod » Tue Sep 07, 2021 6:14 pm

Hi Jeff,
What Klaus said and you may also use menuitem "project browser" of menu Tools on IDE
Best regards
Jean-Marc
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Jeff Walters
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Jeff Walters » Wed Sep 08, 2021 5:56 am

Hi

Thanks - but both are still very messy for me. I opened up the Project Browser several times, and each time could make no sense of the dozens of stacks presented to me - all related to the livecode library, data grid, and then if I scroll right to the bottom, I find the stack I want to work with. This makes no sense - I shouldn't have to name all my apps starting with A so that they are listed at the top! I tried changing some Settins options, but nothing useful. And the icons along the bottom of the Project Browser?? Various alignment / resizing options - instead of easy filtering / tabbing of this messy list?

All I want is a simple hierarchical breakdown of the app as it evolves. I am an enterprise architect, but have also done multiple RAD -> Agile projects using various tools (Clarion, WinDev, Power Platform, Mendix + some web IDEs) + promote Self Service IT within our organisation - so the use low-code / no-code platforms. Just to emphasise how I like visual outlines - I mindmap everything I work with - so a quick view of project structure is essential for me to be able to work with a dev environment.

When I first supported LiveCode, I tolerated some its quirks - hoping it would evolve into something that supported rapid development, but now, after years of evolution, it still seems difficult to go from inspiration to creation - as the interface / disappearing toolboxes & extensive micro tutorials / Academies that are now outdated make it difficult to 'pick up and go'. I love the iterative development idea, but I need some visible structure to see how the pieces work together, and the project browser and application browser are poor in that regard.

So - for inspiration, I go over to the Sample Stacks. I am not sure who looks at this with fresh eyes, and thinks anything but .... what a mess! It's an unordered mess of stacks - where you have to hunt and peck your way through. This is a totally inefficient way of promoting LiveCode, and of my time. Looks like this is going back onto the unused digital shelf.

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by jmburnod » Wed Sep 08, 2021 6:40 am

You probably have menuitem "show IDE stack in list" of menu view to true, set it to false to show only yours stacks
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stam
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by stam » Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:22 am

Indeed, @jmburnod is correct; you can hide the IDE stacks. I too found the project manager unusable when i first started out and it's such as simple thing to fix.

I have to wonder why this setting is not the default; it confused me when i picked up LC last year and i suspect pretty much every new starter.

Many things like this, which seem trivial to seasoned users, can seem almost insurmountable to new users and it's beyond me why these things haven't been addressed as a priority (especially given the many discussions going one at present).

While asking on the forums will get you an answer (and occasionally a sarcastic response or patronising response), i suspect most new users just don't bother and give up...

Jeff Walters
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Jeff Walters » Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:40 pm

Thank you!

Why there is not a button at the top of the Project Browser to turn the IDE Stacks visibility on & off is nuts. I went through the various settings options on the top right of the Project Browser window, but none of them were useful.

A project browser is fundamental to quickly navigate around a project - and the default setting is to make it cluttered & confusing?

Appreciate the prompt and useful response.

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Klaus » Wed Sep 08, 2021 4:09 pm

Hide the IDE stacks via menu: View -> Show IDE Stacks in Lists

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by jacque » Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:13 pm

Like you, I prefer the Application Browser due to the type of view it provides and easy navigation when there are a lot of stacks. As Klaus said, you can open it from the Plugins menu. If you leave it open when you quit LC, it will reappear automatically on next launch. I almost never open the Project Browser, I find its layout isn't useful when there are many stacks, even when the IDE stacks are hidden. I have projects that involve many stacks all by themselves.
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stam
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by stam » Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:35 pm

Is Application Browser the plugin called revApplicationOverview? (I recently deleted all plugins in hope of getting LC to work a bit faster/better, so only have the plugins that actually ship with LC) Or is it a separate plugin?

If it is revApplicationOverview it's in some need of serious TLC.
The interface is beyond aged; all stacks have section for audioclips/videoclips, even script-only stacks. It does not show behaviour information like the project browser does, there is no group nesting etc. Things are misaligned and there is that dreaded black-text-on-dark-blue-background:
applicatonOverview.jpg
This plugin needs to be updated to at least look like it came from the last decade!

Bernard
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by Bernard » Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:52 pm

Project Browser replaced Application Overview at least 5 years ago. So it's no surprise the latter hasn't been updated. It is included in the Menus as a courtesy to people who prefer it.

Personally my favourite project navigation tool is Geoff Canyon's "Navigator". Of all the plugins I've ever loaded, it's the one that I find most useful. His Navigator is powerful and about as minimal as a tool can get. I imagine Geoff's living room to have nothing but one (comfortable) chair and a powerful entertainment unit controlled by his phone.

https://youtu.be/RkW1QJvgEa0
viewtopic.php?t=32076

Apart from plugins I wrote myself, it's the only plugin I have load automatically on each restart.

At some point I located a lot of documentation by Geoff about using Navigator. If anyone's interested I'll try and hunt it down again (I have my copy in OneNote).

stam
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by stam » Thu Sep 09, 2021 3:07 pm

Bernard wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:52 pm
Personally my favourite project navigation tool is Geoff Canyon's "Navigator". Of all the plugins I've ever loaded, it's the one that I find most useful. His Navigator is powerful and about as minimal as a tool can get.
Yep i've tried Navigator at some point previously. Ultimately it didn't suit me because it's almost the entire IDE in a tiny window - too much info for my needs.
It's very clever and well implemented, but too busy in too small a space for me (i'm sure it fits others's needs like a glove).
I wouldn't call it minimal - it's functionality is really quite extensive - but i suppose it's minimal in the sense that regex is minimal.

I personally prefer something simpler as an overview or to check a few things quickly - the Project Browser does that just fine, but it's not perfect.

My wishlist for the current Project Browser:
1. The default needs to hide all the IDE stacks - this causes untold confusion for newcomers, and i suspect many just don't use it because of the perceived complexity.
2. The option to show/hide the IDE stacks should be a button in the PB itself, not a setting hidden away.
3. The PB should be more easily accessible - a button on the toolbar, much like Richard's Devolution plugin
4. Unlike the current default (which Devolution also follows) the PB needs to remember state.
Currently, if you close the PB everything resets to a top-level view. When you have many stacks and many cards with many groups, it can be really quite inconvenient to get back to the previous position. Maybe add a button to reset to top level view if needed.

I kinda think of the PB as something of an underused gem especially amongst newcomers. Changes like these would go a long way to making it more accessible to new users (i still count myself as such, having really only picked up LC in the last year, so i say this with that experience in mind). Even though I now use the Project Browser every day, these changes really would make it a lot smoother...

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by jacque » Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:36 pm

stam wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:35 pm
If it is revApplicationOverview it's in some need of serious TLC.
The interface is beyond aged; all stacks have section for audioclips/videoclips, even script-only stacks. It does not show behaviour information like the project browser does, there is no group nesting etc. Things are misaligned and there is that dreaded black-text-on-dark-blue-background:applicatonOverview.jpg
This plugin needs to be updated to at least look like it came from the last decade!
I don't recall seeing entries for A/V objects if the stack doesn't contain them. I see only the controls that are in the stack itself.

You can set up shortcuts in preferences, the default is to show the property inspector when double-clicking a control. From there it's a short trip to the behavior script. I agree a direct link would be nice. Other metakeys do different things depending on how you define them.

You can sort the list of controls in several ways by clicking on the header item. If you sort by layer you will get group nesting. I leave it this way almost always. It remembers your choice across launches. I'm not sure what you mean by misaligned though.

It inherits its highlight color but I'm not sure from where. Mine is a pale light blue. That's my OS hilite color so maybe that's where it comes from. At any rate, it's just a stack so you could set its hilite color to whatever you want.

You can also drag the vertical separators in the header to show more info. If you resize the columns you will see the IDs of each control, which I find useful when assigning icons or referencing controls. Hovering the mouse over any line will display the long name of the target.
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stam
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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by stam » Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:08 am

Thanks Jacque,
never did get round to responding to this, but to clarify with some screenshots:
jacque wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:36 pm
I don't recall seeing entries for A/V objects if the stack doesn't contain them. I see only the controls that are in the stack itself.
Maybe we mean something different... the stack shown below as script only stack that can't possibly have A/V objects. Yes, there are no attached resources on the right panel, but why even show the AudioClips and VideoClips headers?
revApplicationOverview.jpg
jacque wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:36 pm
You can set up shortcuts in preferences, the default is to show the property inspector when double-clicking a control. From there it's a short trip to the behavior script. I agree a direct link would be nice. Other metakeys do different things depending on how you define them.
Well even easier, just right-click the control in the IDE (instead of double clicking it to launch the property inspector) and edit behaviour directly. But the problem arises when you have tens or hundreds of controls, nested in groups and not necessarily visible. With the Project browser it's a single click on the desired control. Not to mention that the PB shows groups as nested collections of controls, whereas the applicationOverview just spews out all controls in one long list...

jacque wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:36 pm
It remembers your choice across launches. I'm not sure what you mean by misaligned though.
Remembering choices is great and i'd like to see that in the Project Browser.

Regarding alignment: Other than the obvious vertical misalignment left sided panel, i suppose i mean the icons are bigger than the line hilite (and not to mention that supremely annoying black text on dark blue background...)
alignment.jpg
Anyway it's all academic - i do use the PB a lot, just wished it would remember state...

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Re: How To Navigate / See the Project Structure

Post by richmond62 » Wed Oct 20, 2021 9:21 am

SShot 2021-10-20 at 11.19.44.png
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SShot 2021-10-20 at 11.20.13.png
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Obviously missing something. :?

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