A small PR rant

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bogs
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:20 pm

@Richmond -
richmond62 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:57 am
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.
There are many ways to define 'professional', in almost all of them it comes down really to details and polish. Having something 'work' is certainly a benefit, but just having it work doesn't make it professional.

As an extreme example, I think nearly anyone can mow a lawn, however, even though the same exact tools are available to anyone who would undertake such a task, there is a difference between the look produced by someone who just cuts the grass, and someone that cuts the grass, cleans up the extraneous clippings, edges the lot, etc.

Joe Shmoe got the lawn cut, certainly, but the 'Super Spiffy Lawncare Company' left the lawn cut with a professional look.

While I have no idea what JackieBlue1970 was referring to specifically (or even generally), there are plenty of improvements just in the visual department that would make the IDE (past and current) far more professional looking. Just look at how it matured from it's own time span. Mc was certainly usable, but looks almost like a child constructed it, compared to Rev. 1.1.
aPic_proVsHobby.png
If I move this....
There are a LOT of details like that, that ruin first impressions, or even long standing impressions. Menu items being cut off (or worse, misspelled), rounded button borders that aren't rounded in places, palettes that override other palettes, dictionary that works (or not) depending on OS, sound, video, the list goes on and on.

You *can* look at any one of those things, and say "Huh, well, everything has quirks!", but when they pile up so far, it is no longer just 'quirky', it begins to feel like it is not representing a professional product.

I hope that the above does not hurt anyone's feelings, it is not intended as a slam against anyone, just an observation and an attempt at what I am sure was an unnecessary explanation.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:56 pm

there are plenty of improvements just in the visual department that would make the IDE (past and current) far more professional looking.
I would prefer to state this:

"There are plenty of improvements that could make the IDE (current) even easier to use."

And these interest me a lot:
Menu items being cut off (or worse, misspelled)
rounded button borders that aren't rounded in places
palettes that override other palettes
Would be most grateful if you could give examples of these in version 9.6.0.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:18 pm

richmond62 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:56 pm
there are plenty of improvements just in the visual department that would make the IDE (past and current) far more professional looking.
I would prefer to state this:

"There are plenty of improvements that could make the IDE (current) even easier to use."
You would prefer to state that somehow making a round corner on a button look like a round corner on a button would make it easier to use? Well, to each his own I suppose, but you were asking how it looks unprofessional, not about how it would be easier to use :P
richmond62 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:56 pm
And these interest me a lot:
Menu items being cut off (or worse, misspelled)
rounded button borders that aren't rounded in places
palettes that override other palettes
Would be most grateful if you could give examples of these in version 9.6.0.
Obviously you skipped right over this part -
there are plenty of improvements just in the visual department that would make the IDE (past and current) far more professional looking.
I haven't gone through the entire 9.6 release as of yet, but certainly through at least the 9.x series many of the issues with menu items being cut off were still there, rounded button issues are still there in 9.6, and as for palettes issues, they are certainly still there.

On Linux, XFCE desktop for instance:
. The tool palette overrides the message box (as in you have to close the tool palette to make the MB usable).
. The properties palette overrides the stack your working on (as in once open, you have to close it to select and move controls).
. You can't actually open the dictionary in 9.6, but as of 8.1.x it shows up behind the tool palette which is certainly inconvenient to say the least. If I am looking for help, I want to see the help, not have to shift it around all over the place so that other parts of the IDE are not over the top of it.

Don't even get me started on the project browser.

Perhaps you'd see these things more clearly with a less jaundiced eye :D
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:27 pm

Perhaps you'd see these things more clearly with a less jaundiced eye
LOL. 8)

I thought "a jaundiced eye" was meant to be negative, and at present (oddly enough) I seem to be
more positive about the IDE than you are.

OR . . .

As I have NOT used the LC IDE on Linux for about 18 months (stuck on Macintosh) . . .

AND, frankly, the fact that LiveCode seem (pre-Virus shutdown) to have been testing their IDE on a single
machine running an outdated version of Linux "somewhere smelly round the back" one can work out that
their attitude towards Linux needs "some adjustment" as I have said, sometimes more trenchantly, quite a
few times in the past.

AND, Yup: the situation with sound on Linux stinks.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:33 pm

While answering your other post, I decided to include a picture of a palette overriding something else in the IDE, even when the something else has focus -
aPic_paletteOverride.png
It really is 'over the top'!
I thought "a jaundiced eye" was meant to be negative, and at present (oddly enough) I seem to be
more positive about the IDE than you are.
My reply had nothing to do with positivity OR negativity. You asked a question about what 'professional' means in regards to something like an IDE, I gave you an objective answer to it, with things that are easily looked at to confirm.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:35 pm

I do feel you are being a bit fussy about "over the top": you can just move whatever windoids you want
to wherever you want.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:56 pm

I sure wish if your going to go back and edit your posts that were answered, you'd either -
a. start a new post or
b. put "edit" or something similar, leaving the content you posted previously :P

since it tends to make our conversations a tad disjointed.
richmond62 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:35 pm
I do feel you are being a bit fussy about "over the top": you can just move whatever windoids you want
to wherever you want.
Again, as with the example of the lawn, fussy as you put it literally refers to the details. I already said in an earlier reply that windows *can* be moved, but especially in the case of a help window, probably shouldn't have to be. I can think of NO software design theory that says a help window sits behind another window, can you?

In fact, in earlier versions of the IDE, this behavior was not the standard, so in the case of this question, earlier versions were more professional in how they worked, and this is a 'regression' towards a lack of polish.

Likewise, I know of no other software where a properties window over rides the object your working on, or where a tool palette overrides anything else.

Can these things all be worked around? Certainly they can, however they give the impression of a less than professional product in use, look, and feel. You asked, remember, I'm just answering.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:26 pm

a 'regression'
I have been shouted down several times when I have suggested that LiveCode (the team) have been so busy going "Hell for leather"
for 'upgrades' that they have left lots and lots of bugs and so forth unsorted out.

Why do I have a "dirty feeling" that other companies that produce programming environments are not having
what are basically 'begging sessions' during the Virus thing?

The question about 'professional' may not only be about the things you mention.

Somewhere 'somebody' has lost a lot of chances, not least to position themselves as the premier learning platform.

I have contributed a modest bit towards the Virus "Campaign", but, to be frank, more out of pity than anything else
as extant versions of LiveCode well exceed any of my current or future requirements. So a "PR rant" should be more
a plea for a complete review and reorganisation about how "things are done".

On the LiveCode site there is a video of a young chap pretending to be a pubescent Kevin Miller having a vision . . .
and it may be reasonably true as far as myths of origins go, but it also sends a message that suggests that LiveCode
is still some sort of amateur thing popped together in someone's spare bedroom.

If LiveCode is still a "sort of amateur thing popped together in someone's spare bedroom" then it's bloody good.

HOWEVER, LIveCode is not that, yet, somehow doesn't seem quite to have made the leap from "clever clogs
in the basement" to a fully mature operation.

If one expects Livecode to be a fully mature product (which, after 20 years it should be) then there is quite a
lot wrong with it.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:00 pm

Why do I have a "dirty feeling" that other companies that produce programming environments are not having
what are basically 'begging sessions' during the Virus thing?
Depends, all opensource projects that I have ever seen could be construed to be 'begging', depending on the use of the term. I have seen proprietary companies engage in fund raisers as well, for a lot less reason than the current issues with the pandemic.
The question about 'professional' may not only be about the things you mention.
Of course it is not, the examples I gave are a very small and limited subset of what would go into a 'professional' anything. I was just attempting to illustrate how someone might look at, in this case the IDE, and deem it to be 'unprofessional' compared to other environments.

The specific IDE it was compared to has it's own warts, I certainly would not have used it as an example to aspire too myself.

When I think of IDEs that really impressed me, they usually fall along the lines of the ones produced by companies such as Borland (around '97 or so), MS (the older 6.x or so Visual Studio series), NetBeans, and the like. I am purposely talking about visual environments, in this instance, since Lc is a visual environment.

Of course, those are or were all very large companies, with the resources to really go after every little detail, however, there are other IDEs that do not have such large resources available, many of which are also opensource, and still turn out a very professional product. Lazarus comes to mind, but they also had a very convenient model to copy, Borland's Delphi 7 environment, and they didn't have to also create or maintain the underlying engine, FP (Free Pascal).

In the end, despite how professional (or not) Lc's IDE is, it is quite capable of being used to turn out very professional programs, at least as much as any other environment I've worked in for the decades since I used a text editor, but I can certainly understand people looking at it in askance.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by jacque » Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:45 pm

Running a funding campaign at this time makes sense to me. The last I heard, about half the LC users are inr the US, which today is leading the world in its very poor handling of the virus. Lockdowns have relieved huge numbers of people of their jobs (and remember that our government provides almost no protections for extended unemployment) and jobless rates are now at its highest since the Great Depression. People are needing to decide between spending for food or rent. Extraneous expenses are necessarily cut, and that would certainly include software purchases. Things are very bad here right now.

The effects ripple out to the rest of the world, and small companies like LC do not have the resources to weather a significant drop in subscriptions. If we'd seen a more responsible leadership here in the US we might be back on track for a staged reopening like the rest of the world but as it is now, the virus is out of control, and there is no end in sight.
Jacqueline Landman Gay | jacque at hyperactivesw dot com
HyperActive Software | http://www.hyperactivesw.com

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:16 pm

If we'd seen a more responsible leadership here in the US
I do so hope you get one in the fall; although, to be honest, I do wonder if Joe Biden might not be past his
sell-by date, and as to Kanye West . . . well, let us say that in my mind a President ought to have some sort
of political-legal training and experience.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:20 pm

small companies like LC do not have the resources to weather a significant drop in subscriptions
Fair comment.

One of the things that worries me is that LiveCode has been offering what is, on balance, a very good offering for about
20 years and it never seems to have gained the sort of traction it should have.

For the sake of argument: if it had as many users (whether paying or free) as Hypercard did in its heigh-day
it would be far far better off.

I bought an Indy licence as it was on offer & have not touched it once, and I know why. I donated a modest sum,
and I know why.

What worries me most of all is how LiveCode will emerge into a post-Virus world.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by bogs » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:26 pm

jacque wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:45 pm
Running a funding campaign at this time makes sense to me.
Considering how incredibly generous the offer on Indy was, I have no problems with their stance on a funding campaign either.

Blender runs that way full time, as many other OSS projects do, I hope that someday Lc will reach that level of success in their efforts. Certainly, there are a lot of people with time on their hands at the moment to take on learning something(s) new.
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Re: A small PR rant

Post by richmond62 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:39 pm

all opensource projects
Yes, but LiveCode, as we are all well aware, is "schizo" insofar as it has an OpenSource half and a Commercial half,
and I was a bit surprised to find that the happy British government was milking my 'donation' for Value Added Tax
because it was not being treated as a donation at all, but as a straight payment for goods-and-services to
LiveCode.

Maybe that is why JackieBlue1970 "went all funny" and a bit moralistic about LiveCode's appeal for money.

I do think their Covid Campaign should have been done via Indiegogo or somesuch so that it was not taxed: when
I want to pay money into the coffers of the "UK" (something I do not recognise as a legal entity) I'll send them a
signed cheque.

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Re: A small PR rant

Post by JackieBlue1970 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:53 pm

Thanks for your response Richmond.

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."

Perhaps a better way to describe it would be a lack of "polish". There are a lot of interesting things about LC. As I said, I am using it for projects for my business. But many features fell like they took it to a certain point and stopped. You can get around them (like aligning objects) or they are not relevant (like cursors at the wrong, focus delay), but it gives it a different feel than most commercial software. It is not any different than most of the projects I code, but I am not selling my projects.


"1.1. "either on their website" . . .

Always has been a bit of a mess."


Honestly, if you are marketing a commercial product. Again, this is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black since my business' website could be better but most of our business is on eBay, Amazon, etc. so it hasn't taken priority.


1.2. "or even the product itself"
"I don't know what that means."
See not polished above.

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.


Python is open source and maintained by mostly volunteers. You do not pay $500 a year for Python. I don't disagree that Python is a mess, especially trying to do a website or any kind of UI. I have a couple of projects in Python myself but they are services that run in the background. One of the things that attracted me to LC was the ease of creating a user interface without spending a lot of time installing frameworks and such. I get tired of the frameworks and update and like the "all in one solution". I could have continued to use Visual Studio C#/VB, which is totally free for our level of work but got tired of dealing with BS.

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."


Generally, yes. I run a for profit business. Only 2 employees, and any profit above operating expense is ploughed back into the company for growth. This is how most "for profit" businesses operate. We pay taxes and such too, just like I'm sure LC does.

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.]

Mixed system? Yes, strange. Exactly my point. I do not ask my customers to donate money for enhancements or growth of our business. That's my job - to figure out how to make it happen. If I fail, that's it.

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.


I do not know it works in Europe but in the US all of these gift shops at museums and parks are non-profit. All of the profits above operating expenses are in turn used to acquire land, goods, etc. that enhance the museum. Most of these here in the US are foundations or non-profit organizations. I can donate money to them and it is a tax deduction (qualifies, but its a long story whether you can take it or not). For example, I donate money to the American Chestnut Tree Foundation. I also buy books and such from them. All of the money goes to the restoration of the American Chestnut Tree in its native range. They are not asking for donations to enhance a product that they will then sell to the public.

4. "and the current COVID situation."

"Indeed: and I do think they are in trouble business-wise. "


They should be killing it right now. Pushing coding as a hobby, skills enhancement, and side hustle. If you have an internet connection, you can do all of this with LC without leaving your home. A lot of people are looking at new hobbies right now. Why are they not growing? At the very least it should have been little change. The only reasonable explanation would be if they are overly reliant on the education market and with schools closed and tightening budget, it may have an adverse effect. But, this doesn't seem to be the case based on your comments later in this thread.

"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."


I didn't donate but did buy the lessons and dictionaries ($88 of stuff) because it is easier for me to review than googling all day. But, I saw that as receiving a product, not a donation.

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. "


I don't think your situation is analogous to Live Code's. You had to adapt to a totally new situation. I assume EFL is some type of foreign language school. You had in person students I assume. I would think adapting a group in-person setting to a Teams or Zoom call would be very difficult. LC was in a different situation. Their distribution model had ZERO changes. It has been internet for a long time now.

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

Not sure how supply chain problems would effect LC. It did effect my business as I sell physical products. If I was selling services or non-physical products, then there would have been no impact from supply chain.

"5.3. Continuing development.

The software world is not a static thing."


No, it is not static at all. Not sure what the point of this comment.


"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."


Yes, it will. And LC will either do the development needed and continue to sell their product, charge appropriately. If they don't, a competitor will make the change and we will all end up coding on something else. This doesn't effect much, especially outside of a few specialty applications, Mac is not much of a market leader here in the US. Besides, iPhones are already ARM processors and LC already works there.

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."


It is not a bad product and "not professional" are very different statements. I don't think Python, Code::Blocks/C/C++ etc. are bad product either. But they all have their quirks and non-professional aspects. It is a relative measure. But, they are not charging for their product.

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." "

Yes, as a teacher saying you "haven't got used to" versus, "it could have been done better. or clearer". I have not got used to many things but have coded for long enough (20+ years) to know that some things are intuitive and some thing are not.

8. "Xojo especially seems more professional" . . .
"In what way? "


Take a look at their website. Take a look at their web demo vs LC HTML5. Take a look at who uses their product. See if there is a donate page for the product. Xojo and LC are very similar in terms of product (Xojo doesn't do android yet). Try the product if you want. Xojo is much more polished.


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

Perfection is not something that can be obtained or expected.


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

I agree 95%. I would not say it that unusual in this day and age as there are options (Xojo is only one). I agree that the users and team of LC are very passionate. Part of what attracted me in the first place. I chose LC because of this and I wanted the option for Android if I ever wrote mobile apps. I'm fortunate in that I could pay for the software (not really sure that I had to since it mostly internal) and was willing to risk using it. But, I'm not so naive as to be an ultimate fan boy for using it. I give what I think is an honest opinion after using it off and on for several years, but much more seriously in the last few months.

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