LiveCode 5.5 full review

Way back in the 80s, Mac OS came bundled with a simple programming package called HyperCard. It was, for a generation of fledgling multimedia producers, the reason for buying a Mac. LiveCode 5.5 is what we imagine that old Apple freebie would be like today. It has a similar drag and drop interface, the same card metaphor for application screens and object based programming tools. It can even import old HyperCard stacks.

But LiveCode has two significant advantages over its inspiration. The first is that there have been two decades of development in hypermedia. LiveCode is packed with a library of ready to use features and functions that HyperCard users could not have imagined - including RSS and video, database and web connectivity. The second is that LiveCode apps can be deployed almost anywhere with the right license.

Apps are created in “stacks” of cards (a metaphor direct from HyperCard). You can then choose which UI elements to add to each card, including forms, buttons, menus, textboxes and media. There’s support for mobile device features too - accelerometer, multi-touch and motion detection, for example.

Scripting objects is achieved through a menu driven window, where actions can be added to events; a button click, for example or a multi-touch event. You don’t have to know how to code to begin, but it would be misleading to suggest that it wouldn’t help. LiveCode can - and is - used to teach the basics of programming.

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