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kirkrr

RunRev's LiveCode - anyone with experience in this alternative dev environment?

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kirkrr

I have been investigating RunRev's LiveCode product, a suite of development tools that provides cross-platform deployment of applications on Mac, Windows, Linux, IOS, WinMobile, Android, Web, and server versions (they even have a deprecated Mac Classic deployment option!). The language is high level stuff - quite easy coding, and they have the App Store stuff all worked out.

 

There is an FM Migrator tool in the suite of products, and it appears that there is a robust and active developer community.

 

http://www.runrev.com/

 

Insights and experiences greatly appreciated. They have some really aggressive pricing but only available until Sunday, so rapid response time would be appreciated.

 

http://www.runrev.com/store/product/megabundle-2011-desktop?a=mega

http://www.runrev.com/store/product/megabundle-2011-ios?a=mega

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ghettocottage

I have also been avidly watching LiveCode as an alternative platform. I am particularly interested in the ability to develop in Linux. The deal they are offering is just about too good to pass up. I have contacted them a couple of times to make sure there is no small print I am missing such as "no future upgrades on bundle deals" or such, but it all seems to be above board from what I have gathered.

With all of the packages being offered in the deal, I see a lot of potential for many projects.

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Jack Rodgers

Hmm, language looks somewhat reminiscent of Hypercard of decades ago. Why did apple drop that? I won second place in an Apple contest, really should have been given first place, for a keyboard type application that the handicapped could manipulate with a finger or straw, etc.

 

I think I'll give this a serious look see especially if it works with the ipad.

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kirkrr

It is indeed Hypercard - on steroids! This is what Hypercard would have been with another 10 years of development maturity. The widgets are highly functional and the properties methods of modifying object capabilities is a superset of FMs Inspector.

 

I have not gotten into the code editing thoroughly as yet, still reading the manual, but I should get to actually writing some stuff today or tomorrow.

 

The ability to use an FM (or Access, or MySQL, or Postgress, or, or, or) as a database backend is awesome and SQL Yoga looks like a great way to tackle the SQL language issues.

 

The only disconcerting thing may turn out to be the wide variety of packages that makes up the solution, and if these provide a consistent user interface for development.

 

Having access to developer contributions in both example files, as well as pre-built advanced widgets, is great stuff!!

 

What I am most excited about (outside of the write once, run anyplace, and do it with simpler code) is they have the build and submission process for the IOS and Mac App Store down pat! In fact, that was where I re-discovered the product, in searching for how to get a submission to work. RunRev had the process well defined, and had even built GUI tools to assist for some of the more cryptic command line actions.

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ursus.kirk

The developer program has a $ 199 per year price tab. Which makes me scratch my head.

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kirkrr

You don't have to sign up for the developer program - it is meant to provide ongoing education and access to regular seminars, as well as their own developer conference.

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Jack Rodgers

Half the price of Filemakers and a quarter the price of 4D's (unless prices have changed).

 

They are in business to make money just as we are.

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kirkrr

Been playing with the LiveCode product - it appears to be a very robust environment, albeit it complicated by the extreme richness of the language. The number of commands is overwhelming, and, at least from what I can currently discern, knowing which things run in what environment, particularly the web, is not very clear. The type checking is weak - although LiveCode compiles each segment of code before running, and does type checking at that time, the human entry errors are not always caught. Unlike the pick lists and forced syntax of a Filemaker, you can make not only the logic errors like in FM, but with command syntax not coming from a pick list, the traps are many. Many of the things that one takes for granted in FM, are things that you need to write code for in LiveCode, but these does not appear to be much that it is incapable of doing. Compared to a JAVA or even JavaScript, it is a great improvement.

 

Still, it appears to be a very competent and capable environment. The single user SQLite, included, is fine, but things get really pretty heavy connecting to back end databases.

 

More to come as I experiment more.

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mikey123

The LiveCode language really looks at lot like HyperTalk. Some syntax is identical. I just threw away all my old HyperCard & HyperTalk reference books when I cleaned out the garage. Maybe I should have kept them?

 

There were a couple of really talented developers who wrote some excellent extensions (or plugins, or widgets in todayspeak) which were starting to make HyperCard a very versatile environment before Apple shamelessly canned it. If LiveCode went that way, the possibilities could be considerable.

 

The downside with HyperTalk was the compiling engine which was a bit of a nightmare (at least for me, who battled with it endlessly). Maybe LiveCode have sorted out the compiling.

 

They tout it as an application that "beginners" can handle almost right out of the box. That's what I used to believe about Filemaker... until I started using it.

 

One to watch, for sure. RunRev is in Scotland. Pure malt whisky is a great brain cell lubricant. ;)

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ghettocottage

I also purchased the Mega Bundle, and am interested in hearing more about your experience using it. Once I delve into it some more I will have something to contribute.

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kirkrr

Impressions after a few days of playing with LiveCode:

 

The mega bundle is a collection of disparate tools from a bunch of vendors, that, collectively, provide similar functionality to Filemaker.

The LiveCode environment itself, is a very rich (read: LOTS of commands to understand/learn), but the syntax is simple.

Syntax highlighting is great for readability, but the highlighting logic may not be as selective as it should be, marking syntax errors as valid constructs.

Some of the way things work are, lets say, less than intuitive. The relationship of stacks and cards is easy, but the editing of object groups is painful - edit in pieces than group, but fixing after grouping remains a mystery.

The various products that make up the product - each is unique and has its own learning curve. However, some of these are truly best of breed (SQL Yoga, as an example), and are well worth the learning curve.

Wish they had pointed to MySQLWorkbench - an AWESOME MySQL tool that is open source and free. It makes that piece of the equation easier.

 

I like the deployment options. Development seems to be relatively easy, although, the devil is in the details, and it remains TBD whether this investment is going to be worth the effort, particularly in light of on-going FM development work (so LiveCode gets to be a part time project :)

 

FMMigratorPro is a complex beast in the number of discrete and specifically ordered steps to make it work.

 

And I have been able to, with no apparent rhyme or reason, freeze up Livecode more than once - it has some maturity issues remaining.

The developer community is robust and active, and there is a lot of excellent help stuff out there.

 

There are also a LOT of unanswered questions, not so much in the technical details, but in concepts. For instance, how do you set up account level security for a multi-user solution? Not covered in any documentation or searches I can find, although there are snippets of code that, collectively, might accomplish this.

 

FUN! Something to consume the spare time I never have :(

 

The big test is going to be getting an FM database running in livecode, and figuring out how to implement things like portals in SQL. Welcome to the dark ages of RDBMS.

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kirkrr

Livecode is now open source (with a closed source commercial option as well), so the cost of playing with this programming - and programming education - environment, is now $0. It is maturing rapidly as well, with a strong global following.

 

Nice part is that it will talk to a FM backend, so you can build deployable Livecode applications on Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS, Android and Windows mobile, all talking to a FM database.

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