|Initial release||July 11, 2001|
8.0.2 / August 9, 2016
8.1.0 DP 3 / July 29, 2016
|Operating system||OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS|
|OS||Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi|
LiveCode (formerly Revolution and MetaCard) is both an open-source and proprietary cross-platform rapid application development runtime environment inspired by HyperCard. It features the Transcript (formerly MetaTalk) programming language which belongs to the family of xTalk scripting languages like HyperCard's HyperTalk.
The environment was introduced in 2001. The "Revolution" development system was based on the MetaCard engine technology which Runtime Revolution later acquired from MetaCard Corporation in 2003. The platform won the Macworld Annual Editor's Choice Award for "Best Development Software" in 2004. "Revolution" was renamed "LiveCode" in the fall of 2010. "LiveCode" is developed and sold by Runtime Revolution Ltd., based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In March, 2015, the company was renamed "LiveCode Ltd.", to unify the company name with the product. In April 2013 a free/open source version 'LiveCode Community Edition 6.0' was published after a successful crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter. The code base was re-licensed and made available as free and open source software with a version in April 2013.
LiveCode runs on iOS, Android, OS X, Windows 95 through Windows 10, Raspberry Pi and several variations of Unix, including Linux, Solaris, and BSD. It can be used for mobile, desktop and server/CGI applications. The iOS (iPhone and iPad) version was released in December 2010. The first version to deploy to the Web was released in 2009. It is the most widely used HyperCard/HyperTalk clone, and the only one that runs on all major operating systems.
A developer release of v.8 was announced in New York on March 12, 2015. This major enhancement to the product includes a new, separate development language, known as "LiveCode Builder", which is capable of creating new object classes called "widgets". In earlier versions, the set of object classes was fixed, and could only be enhanced via the use of ordinary procedural languages like C. The new language, which runs in its own IDE, is a departure from the transitional x-talk paradigm in that it permits typing of variables. But the two environments are fully integrated, and apart from the ability to create new objects, development in LiveCode proceeds in the normal way, within the established IDE.
A second crowdfunding campaign to Bring HTML5 to LiveCode reached funding goals of nearly $400,000 USD on July 31, 2014. LiveCode developer release 8.0 DP4 (August 31, 2015) was the first to include a standalone deployment option to HTML5.
The LiveCode software creates applications that run in many supported environments, using a compile-free workflow. The same computer code in LiveCode can play across multiple devices and platforms. LiveCode uses a high level, English-like programming language called Transcript that is dynamically typed. Transcript and compile-free workflow generates code that is self-documenting and easy for casual programmers to comprehend. For example, if the following script was executed when the system clock was at 9:00:00 AM:
1 repeat ten times 2 put "Hello world at" && the long time & return after field 1 3 wait 1 second 4 end repeat
Ten lines will be loaded into the first text field. (denoted as "field 1"), and seen as:
Hello world at 9:00:00 AM Hello world at 9:00:01 AM Hello world at 9:00:02 AM ...
repeat(and the associated
end repeat) is a control structure, illustrated here in just one of its various forms.
putis a command
"Hello World at"is a literal
the long timeis a function that calls the system time
returnis a constant equal to ASCII character 10 (linefeed)
afteris a keyword that is involved with an extremely powerful and intuitive system known as "chunking", a hallmark of xTalk languages.
field 1is an object reference, here denoted by the layer number of a text field. Almost all standard object classes are supported, and may be referred to in several, highly-intuitive ways.
LiveCode's natural English-like syntax is easy for beginners to learn. Variables are typeless, and are typed at compile time based purely on context. This makes the language simple to read and maintain, with relatively minimal loss of speed. The language contains advanced features including associative arrays, regular expressions, multimedia, support for a variety of SQL databases, and TCP/IP libraries. The LiveCode engine supports several common image formats (including BMP, PNG, GIF, and JPEG,), anti-aliased vector graphics, HTML-style text hyperlinks, chained behaviors and embedded web browsers. Accessing these higher-level functions is designed to be straightforward.
- To load the source code of a web page into a variable takes one line of code:
put url "http://www.wikipedia.com" into MyVariable
- Uploading a file to an FTP server uses similar syntax:
put url "binfile:picture.jpg" into url "ftp://john:email@example.com:2121/picture.jpg"
LiveCode project files are binary-compatible across platforms. They inherit each platform's look-and-feel and behaviors. Buttons, scroll bars, progress bars and menus behave as expected on the target platform without any intervention on the part of the one authoring a LiveCode application.
Compiling a LiveCode "standalone" produces a single, executable file (minimum size ~1.5MB) for each platform targeted. There is no separate runtime necessary.
The Wikipedia article on HyperCard contains a more detailed discussion about the basics of a similar development environment and scripting language. Modern LiveCode is a vast superset of the former HyperCard yet retains its simplicity. LiveCode includes a number of features missing from the original HyperCard program, including multiple platform deployment, communication with external devices and many fundamental language extensions. The LiveCode toolkit, as compared to HyperCard, has the ability to access internet-based text and media resources, which allows the creation of internet-enabled desktop applications.
iOS and Android targets are available in some versions.
Note: Complete Linux requirements for 4.5.x-6.x are the following:
- 32-bit installation, or a 64-bit linux distribution that has a 32-bit compatibility layer
- 2.4.x or later kernel
- X11R5 capable Xserver running locally on a 24-bit display
- glibc 2.3.2 or later
- gtk/gdk/glib (optional – required for native theme support)
- pango/xft (optional – required for pdf printing, anti-aliased text and unicode font support)
- lcms (optional – required for color profile support in JPEGs and PNGs)
- gksu (optional – required for elevate process support)
- MetaCard, Runtime Revolution acquired the MetaCard technology, on which its development system is based, in 2003.
- HyperCard, Progenitor of all xTalk languages.
- MacNN: RunRev replaces Revolution with "LiveCode"
- PCWorld: Development Tool for Mac OS X and Vista
- Shafer, Dan (2004). "Review: Runtime Revolution, Programming for Mere Mortals". MacTech. 20 (5).
Revolution ... grows out of HyperCard, a much-beloved and widely used Apple Computer product that the company abandoned a few years ago....
- Manchester, Phil (27 December 2007). "HyperCard on steroids: One code to bind them all". The Register.
- Macworld: Runtime releases Revolution 1.1 for OS X
- Macworld: Runtime Revolution acquires MetaCard technology
- "Runtime Revolution Acquires MetaCard Technology". July 8, 2003. Archived from the original on 2004-02-03.
- "The 19th Annual Editor's Choice Awards". Macworld. 2004.
HyperCard, with its stacks metaphor, has a new heir in Runtime Revolution's Revolution Studio 2.1
- Software Development Times: Runtime Revolution Releases iOS Deployment Pack
- Ranscombe, Peter (7 December 2010). "RunRev sets sights on £1m sales boost with release of LiveCode". The Scotsman.
- Miller, Kevin (22 April 2009). "Will an easy to use language attract content experts?". WWW2009 Conference Paper.
- Tutorial: Using Arrays in LiveCode
- Monroe, Tim (2003). "Children of the Revolution: Editing QuickTime Movies in Revolution". MacTech. 19 (10).
Happily, Runtime Revolution provides a software development kit (SDK) for writing Revolution plug-ins, and this makes writing our plug-in a snap.
- Waddingham, Mark (October 4, 2007). "Writing Externals for Linux with 2.9". Runtime Revolution Newsletter. Runtime Revolution, Ltd.
- Gaskin, Richard (Sep 20, 2001). "Beyond the Browser, Rediscovering the Role of the Desktop in a Net-centric World". Fourth World Embassy Articles. See Section 5. Tools for Creating Net Apps.
- Lavieri, Edward. LiveCode Mobile Development HOTSHOT
- Holgate, Colin. LiveCode Mobile Development Beginner's Guide
- Schonewille, Mark. Programming LiveCode for the Real Beginner
- Shafer, Dan. Revolution: Software At The Speed Of Thought, Volume 1 (Runtime Revolution Ltd, 2003)
- Wang, Wallace. Beginning Programming For Dummies, 4th Edition
- Official website
- livecode on GitHub
- LiveCode, Ltd. (formerly Runtime Revolution) Developer of LiveCode runtime environment. Site includes links to documentation, tutorials, and user forums.
- lists.runrev.com Mailing Lists
- LiveCode Journal
- Hyperactive Software Articles on LiveCode including converting HyperCard stacks and the Scripting Conferences stacks
- Network World Review of LiveCode
- End User Programming Packages: Revolution Review by Peter Alcibiades on osnews.com
- Review of Runtime Revolution November 2005 Macworld UK Article by John Dixon