Interesting read/review of LiveCode

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rinzwind
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Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by rinzwind » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:06 pm

http://www.bkeeneybriefs.com/2015/03/livecode-vs-xojo/
I think the LiveCode team really should read this mostly unbiased and honest impression. The guy knows what he is talking about and has mostly the same 'problems' I have with LiveCode. Of course Xojo is not perfect too...

I think some features are relatively easy to implement.
More 'tight' IDE.. MDI please. Almost every programming IDE uses MDI. I always find my panels all over the place and see other applications through it. It hinders focus. Some auto arrange or save/restore layout button would help too. The current one almost looks as it is designed for big 2 monitor setups where you have enough space to move every panel to one side of the screen.

Better code editor that helps the programmer: intellisense... tight notation

Better interactive help: f1, syntax help popup

Dot notation... it is the only way intellisense can work, because you first have to specify the greater part, and than the IDE can lookup the smaller parts... stack.control.property

Native look on iOS an Android...that one is really obvious but somehow not implemented?

Either way.. still likes how LiveCode is different and still use it.

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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by jacque » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:02 pm

Interesting reivew, mostly accurate, but the author's unfamiliarity with LC caused a few misconceptions. I wish the comments weren't closed so that corrections could be posted.

While LC doesn't have MDI, it is simple to turn on the backdrop from the View menu. Since the author's complaint was mostly about seeing other app windows, using a backdrop would solve that.

He is concerned about the lack of variable declaration. He stresses that this is a critical issue for him because it prevents errors before compilation even happens. He has missed the fact that this can be enabled by turning on Strict Compilation Mode in either preferences or from the script editor's Edit menu.

Syntax help is available by opening the Document pane in the debugger and clicking anywhere in the word you want to examine. Right-clicking any term in the script will allow you to open the dictionary entry directly, or you can just click the checkbox in the debugger that shows the full entry within the editor.

Native appearance on mobile devices is coming in LC 8 with widgets. Of course, he didn't know that at the time.

The other issues seem to me to be more a reflection of what the developer is used to rather than actual criticisms. Since the IDE is open source, an enterprising contributor could add features like auto-complete (which does seem useful) if they had the skill and motivation. The entire script editor is just a scripted stack.

Dot notation comes up frequently and isn't going to happen. It isn't necessary for auto-complete and the request for it is mostly a reflection of what people are used to in other languages rather than a requirement for working in LC.

EDIT: I forgot to mention behaviors as a semi-substitute for OOP objects. He missed that too.
Last edited by jacque on Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SparkOut
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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by SparkOut » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:50 pm

^

jacque's response is pretty much the thoughts I had when reading that.

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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by richmond62 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:17 pm

"I have been a Xojo developer for many years and I make a decent living at it. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t look around at other development environments every now and then. I do this because it makes good business sense to keep my options open. This week I looked at LiveCode after a reader asked me to."

The chap's reaction is almost exactly the same as mine when I cracked open a series of tutorials in C++ last week (intending ????? to teach myself something of it before the winter) after about 15 years of LiveCode: all my preconceptions due to "saturation bombing" by LiveCode made me go 'Yuk'. Which is probably completely unfair.

Now, I remember how happy I was when I saw LIveCode for the first time in 2000/1 after 3 years of ToolBook!

I remember getting my knickers in a twist with PASCAL after BASIC and FORTRAN, for no good reason beyond the fact that it didn't have line numbers so I couldn't
write GOTO LINE 10!

A far more useful exercise would be to take somebody who has NEVER used a programming language in their life and giving them 2 self-study guides: one for XOJO and one for LiveCode, and see what they say after a couple of weeks.

rinzwind
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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by rinzwind » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:23 am

Well... I certainly always end up fighting with IDE panels all over the place... the GUI could certainly use some better ordering or tabbed panels or whatever.

Also why isn't there a shortcut for something like context sensitive help (F1), also for the property panel. Right clicking is tedious. The doc tab maybe could go into it's own panel next to the source code (more vertical space).

Full intellisense/auto complete is only possible with dot notation. That is... list function or properties of something. But yeah.. it helps if it at least lists variables. Also it's weird that you have to lookup the handlers in the manual. Should be an IDE task.

The IDE stuff largely seems to be stuck in hows its now. Doesn't get any attention or new features (oke, the project browser). It's largely the same as v5 or earlier.

Maybe add two modes to IDE... edit and design mode. Edit for source code editing and easy navigating around the code, design mode for all GUI stuff.

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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by MaxV » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:48 am

The key point is a good documentation. Autocompletation could help, but it's not enough.
After 2 years with livecode a continue to discover new keywords!
It's absurd! Moreover some of them are not in the dictionary.
However the most undocumeted feature is datagrid.
Morevoer Livecode lost the native look and fell with after winXp, why?
On WinXp thet seems a native program, on other like Windows server 2008 they seems OLD... :(
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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by Dixie » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:54 pm

Jacque wrote...
Dot notation comes up frequently and isn't going to happen. It isn't necessary for auto-complete and the request for it is mostly a reflection of what people are used to in other languages rather than a requirement for working in LC
There is a god then ... :-)

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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:58 pm

MaxV wrote:After 2 years with livecode a continue to discover new keywords!
It's absurd! Moreover some of them are not in the dictionary.
Please file a bug report for any Dictionary omissions you come across.

A couple years ago the completion checklist was enhanced to include Dictionary updates as part of progress monitoriing, and since then such omissions have been very rare. Still, it can happen from time to time with the scope of improvements being added, so if you spot one please let them know. In my experience they tend to fix Dictionary updates by the next release.
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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:38 pm

Dixie wrote:
Jacque wrote...
Dot notation comes up frequently and isn't going to happen. It isn't necessary for auto-complete and the request for it is mostly a reflection of what people are used to in other languages rather than a requirement for working in LC
There is a god then ... :-)
"The kingdom of heaven is within"
- Funkadelic

Bob Keeney's a respected RealBASIC developer, and given his years of well-studied experience with that sort of traditional code -> wait for the compiler -> test -> quit -> return to the IDE -> repeat workflow, his assessment of LiveCode from that perspective is reasonably fair.

This is the weakness of LiveCode, and it's greatest strength: LiveCode isn't like every other dev tool.

I led with a quote from Funkadelic because it's somewhat fitting here. After all, Funkadelic isn't anything like Earth Wind and Fire. Both come from the same roots, but Funkadelic is off on its own axis, appealing to a smaller audience but breaking more fresh ground along the way with a bolder, more adventurous method.

Offering truly live code, LiveCode's uncommon workflow can be very off-putting to those looking for a more gentrified experience. It won't appeal to everyone, but those who open their minds to this unusual way of working will often find it unusually satisfying for a wide range of tasks.

Many things from other tools can be useful in LiveCode, code completion among them. But the language, and the object model integrated into it more intimately than in most other languages, is a very special thing. If we were to try to make it into something else it might gain a few more followers at first but ultimately would lose its essential flavor which is the reason to consider it at all.

The areas we need to focus on are quality and completeness. But the flavor of the language? It requires no apology; it's fine. More than fine. It's why we use it.

Fly your freak flag. Think really different. Enjoy LiveCode.
Richard Gaskin
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SparkOut
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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by SparkOut » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:44 am

Thanks for the users who "get" that LiveCode is not the same as "insertotherlanguagehere". Where people have not become used to other languages conventions and requirements, there is one step of unlearning that is avoided. The challenge for LiveCode adoption is convincing users who are experienced with (for example) dot notation to look beyond the difference and stop with the mentality of thinking " LiveCode can't be any good because it doesn't have/do what everything else does".
I sometimes think it is a drawback for LiveCode's English-like paradigm that people think it is too easy to get into, therefore it must only be for beginners. That and "I spent ages getting this familiar with my language that uses dot syntax, so I am resentful at the idea of unlearning, regardless of how short the refamiliarisation period may be".

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Re: Interesting read/review of LiveCode

Post by jacque » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:42 pm

SparkOut wrote:I sometimes think it is a drawback for LiveCode's English-like paradigm that people think it is too easy to get into, therefore it must only be for beginners.
Yes. LC marketing has been trying to overcome that misconception for years. There have been different approaches but the problem remains. It's odd because that's exactly how HyperCard advertised itself -- programming for non-programmers -- and it took off like wildfire. I think part of the problem, at least at first, is that so many non-programmers did actually use HC and consequently produced such awful stuff that the language acquired a negative perception.

It's been long enough now that many people have never even heard of HC so marketing focus may be a little easier than before.
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