Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Learning LiveCode: Blog Launch

I've been learning and using LiveCode for about 18 months and have found it be a wonderful programming environment. LiveCode is used to create desktop, Internet, database, network, and mobile applications. Applications built with LiveCode are completely cross-platform. That means you can run any application you create on all major modern operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac OS. Applications can also run on mobile platforms, including Apple iOS and Android. LiveCode uses a natural programming language based on HyperTalk. (This was the language of Apple's HyperCard from many years ago. In fact, old HyperCard stacks can be opened and run in LiveCode with little or no revision to the original code.)

I was a longtime Authorware user and had used it primarily to develop simulations and games. After Authorware was "decommissioned," I never found an adequate replacement. I had learned Flash ActionScripting, ASP and PHP, and even some JavaScript, but none of these proved satisfactory for the kinds of interactive learning environments I was interested in creating. With the move to mobile computing, I looked into learning Xcode (i.e. Objective C), but found that mere mortals like me weren't well suited to it. So, I began exploring LiveCode and have found it matches my programming needs very well. I also find the programming experience to be enjoyable and satisfying.

Over the past 6 months, I've made a big commitment to LiveCode for both my own development work and in my teaching. During the fall (August-December) 2012 semester, I introduced LiveCode to my students in EDIT 6190 (Design and Development Tools) at the University of Georgia. This course is part of our studio curriculum. I also designed and delivered my first LiveCode workshop at the annual conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) in Louisville.

Given my commitment to learning LiveCode, I thought this would make a fine topic for a blog. I have no other ambition here other than to learn LiveCode and to share what I've learned. But if others learn something too, then all the better. I also hope those with more skill than I will share their expertise with me.

My design focus is on creating interactive software for education. To me, this means designing educational games, simulations, and microworlds. However, discussion of other software designs will not be not off limits here.



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