Far From Perfect
My Q Sort prototype is an excellent candidate for HTML5 export. I tried exporting it, but a key feature does not work - the saving of data into a local text file. It would be fantastic if I could get this working as an online tool. I suspect that many programming techniques I've learned and now use for many of my projects will not work in HTML5 without substantial reprogramming. But, learning new techniques is all in the spirit of this blog. And, perhaps I'll uncover and report some important bugs or needed features that will help in the overall effort by the LiveCode team.
How Does This Change Anything?
The inability to deploy LiveCode projects over the Internet has been LiveCode's main distribution gap. But, it has been a huge gap - a bona fide gaping hole. I began using LiveCode when I had an interest in creating native mobile apps about six years ago. It's easy to develop iOS apps for iPhone and iPad, and even easier to develop for Android devices. It also does a great job if you want to distribute to desktop or laptop computers running MacOS, Windows, or Linux. But the inability to distribute over the Internet has been a serious limitation. Frankly, most of my students have had little interest in learning LiveCode precisely because they could not distribute their projects over the Internet. Similarly, their interest in Articulate Storyline has primarily been due to the fact that exporting projects to HTML5 is Storyline's strong suit.
I have written here before about my fundamental criticism of authoring systems such as Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate. A short recap is simply that although these software applications do some things extremely well, their underlying structure seriously narrows or constrains the range of software designs possible. Perhaps I should say that this comment is really not meant to be a criticism, but an observation. What they do, they do very, very well. But, if you have a creative or innovative idea for software design that doesn't fit the tight boundaries of these authoring packages, you are out of luck. Again, one of the things these systems do very well, especially Storyline, is deliver HTML5 compatible tutorials. Consequently, almost all of the projects that my students design are of this ilk. The important point to be made here is that their design ideas are all shepherded down a very predictable, narrow path.
Fortunately, it's easy to embed the HTML code needed to run a HTML5 LiveCode project into an existing web page, including one created by Storyline or Captivate. Here is an example of the minimum code needed for an HTML page to make it all work:
I want my students - and all instructional designers - to be able to live up to my motto for why to learn computer programming: "If you can imagine it, you can build it." If LiveCode can perfect the export to HTML5 option, I think it will become a serious competitor to Storyline and Captivate. More importantly, it could lead to much higher quality - and diverse - software for learning in online environments.
The title of this post is obviously meant to convey tentativeness. The direction LiveCode is going could be a game changer in the world of creative online software design, particularly in educational or instructional contexts. However, we are not there yet, so it's still too early to pour the champagne. But I'm optimistically keeping a bottle chilled.