Basic functionality

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dalkin
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:32 am
Location: Blackheath, Australia
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Basic functionality

Post by dalkin » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:03 am

I'm fast coming to the conclusion that I'm missing something pretty simple in terms of using Rev as a development base. And that is that simple is as simple does.

Using Revolution to create a simple standalone app seems to be missing some basic functionality that's imperative in an idiot's world. Idiot in this sense means someone who has something they'd like to share with the world but who doesn't want to spend too much time coding.

Rev, in that environment, continues to be a classic example of the tail wagging the dog and the tail in this sense is born of code and will die of code.

Compared with Flash and ActionScript, Director and Lingo and even Hyperstudio and HyperLogo, Revolution is light-years behind in terms of ease of use. It took me 2 full days to learn how to print the contents of a text field in Rev. The solution wasn't forthcoming from the documents - it was forthcoming from the forum (and I thank again the person who contributed this).

After a lot of searching, I finally came up with the understanding that standalone apps can't save changes to themselves. Fair enough ... if you own Photoshop, you don't want to change, or give users the ability to change, the interface. But creating a standalone where users can 'do things' surely has to have, as its basic function, the ability to 'save' anything that's been done. In most of the apps I own, I use the app to do something, save the changes, then come back to work on the file at a later date. Revolution can't do that and in 2007 and $350 further down the line, I wonder why. There are various workarounds to saving, for example, but try searching the Rev dictionary for "save" and see what comes up and then process that from the perspective of someone who's new to code.

Image result from the dictionary @ http://www.stoplaughing.com.au/images/Picture2.png

What Revolution lacks is a sound thrashing from an end-user POV. I can do any one of the 100s of things that the demo stacks and the user community touts as functionality (by copying the examples) but at the end of the day, if I build a stand-alone, saving changes becomes something akin to frogs in a blender ie, it's all over the place.

All the coders out there will throw their hands up in horror but from the POV of someone who doesn't code, and who doesn't necessarily want to learn too much code, Revolution is a nightmare. If Rev wants to join the ranks of apps like Director, Flash, iShell, Media Blender and Hyperstudio, I suggest the people in Rev's home town lobotomise themselves, then try Revolution from scratch without a coding base. It simply can't be done people!!

Over the last 10 days, I've seen newbies, including myself, at the forum struggle to understand basic concepts, only to be presented with sophisticated solutions not covered by the documentation.

I'm tired, I'm grumpy, I set aside the last 8 days to convert a Hyperstudio project to Revolution and I'm disillusioned and confused. I can't save user changes to file, I've encountered the bug where stack IDs change, my screens flash during transition, I can't install a Sql database because I don't understand whether it can be part of a cross-platform stand-alone app, the printing example doesn't/didn't work because of the absence of the 'close Printing' command (subsequently obtained through the forum), draggable objects aren't draggable, they're "grabbable" ... and the list goes on, and on and on.

Many thanks for the forums and the committed development community but goodnight from me, and goodnight from him. I believe that I've got a good project to share with the world but I don't believe that Revolution is geared to people with good ideas. Dumbing it down a bit doesn't mean that the people who use it are dummies.

malte
Posts: 1098
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:34 pm
Location: Ostenfeld germany
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Post by malte » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:44 am

Hi,

yes, the learning curve is steep at the beginning and yes, the docs could/should be improved. And yes, Rev as it stands now is not made for people who do not want to write code. That said I am not sure if Rev is the right environment for you. however, of course you can save changes to a file. You can not save the changes to the mainstack that is the standalone, but to any stack you open from that stack. If the file you are opening has a physical presence on a writeable device (Harddisk, Memorystick etc.) it is as simple as

save stack "myOtherStack"

I agree that it is not super easy to get the grips of writing code and if you do not want to write code Rev is not a good environment for you as it is now. There are many resources out there that ease the pain of a new Revolution user though:

http://downloads.runrev.com/section/scr ... rences.php
http://www.sosmartsoftware.com/?r=revolution_index&l=en
http://www.revjournal.com/tutorials/sav ... ution.html
http://derbrill.de/developers.php?lang=en

to mention just a tiny fraction.

All the best,

malte

Mark Smith
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:08 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Basic functionality

Post by Mark Smith » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:03 pm

dalkin wrote: In most of the apps I own, I use the app to do something, save the changes, then come back to work on the file at a later date. Revolution can't do that and in 2007 and $350 further down the line, I wonder why.
But in most of the apps you own, they allow you to change and save the documents you create with them. When you work in the Revolution IDE, the stack(s) you work on are effectively 'documents', and changes to them can be saved, so you can work just as we used to in Hypercard, and simply keep your stacks as IDE 'documents'.

However, when you build your projects as standalone apps, you need to take account of the inherent 'not saving itself' nature of an app. So you need to save your data, either as a separate stack-file, or as a text or binary file ie. a document. Then you load that data from the document when you run your app - just like all the other apps you have.

If your app is only going to have one 'document', you can save your data in places like OS preferences folders, but if you want users of your app to be able to have many documents, then you're going to have to write that functionality into your app. This is not any different to any programming language/system that I've ever heard of.

You should maybe have a look at the "move sub-stacks into individual stack-files" option, under the "stacks" pane in the standalone builder. This makes it possible to save changes to sub-stacks (but not the main stack) in a standalone app.

Best,

Mark

xApple
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:21 pm
Location: Geneva

Post by xApple » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:54 pm

Yes I agree, the Revolution environment could be much more user friendly. First of all a lot of work needs to be done on the documentation. I think every command or propriety page should just be a wiki entry somewhere, so we could all add our examples and knowledge to it. The RunRev team should learn how to leverage the power of the community.
Second, the IDE interfaces (like the inspector, the menus) are far more respecting the human interface guidelines... The team should get a good and long look at http://developer.apple.com/documentatio ... uidelines/ before making version 3. For instance, a simple change would be to have the various domains the inspector can inspect, controlled by buttons and not by a pop-up menu which is just stupid. I loose 400ms every-time I have to fiddle with the inspector. I am proposing to change it to resemble the inspector of applications like Pages or Keynote.

About the print command... I don't know much about it, but you must just have had bad luck to need one of the least-well working commands of Rev as starting ^^
About the save command, the easiest way to circumvent the problem is simply to use your mainstack as a splash screen and make your whole project in a substack of your mainstack. It can then be saved at any moment by the user.

In conclusion I agree with you, Revolution is far from being up to my standards when it comes to ease of use and interface intuitivity... but for those who were in love with Hypercard it's still the closest as you get.

Cheers.

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