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Summary:

A company in the United Kingdom is using Kickstarter to fund an open-source version of its software for simply developing apps. It’s one way to help more people learn to code.

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 2.14.34 PM
photo: Kickstarter screen shot

Remember HyperCard, the Mac development program Apple released in the eighties to let people make screens and buttons for new programs? RunRev, a company based in the United Kingdom, developed LiveCode, HyperCard’s spiritual successor. The company took the unusual route of putting the idea on Kickstarter, hoping to get enough backers for a free, open-source version of the platform.

Enterprises must pay to make Android and iOS apps with LiveCode. But that could change if the Kickstarter campaign succeeds in raised at least 350,000 British pounds, roughly equivalent to around $530,000. So far, with a little more than two days to go, backers, including Steve Wozniak, have offered to put up about 83 percent of the cash RunRev seeks for the open-source LiveCode. The open-source iteration in the works will support natural language, so as to be useful for people with little if any coding skills.

There are a few ways to help people learn how to code. Universities could put computer-science courses on an open-source site such as Coursera. (Other sites have made introductory materials available for free, too.) Developers can teach computer science to high school students. Apple could open-source HyperCard (it discontinued the software in 2004). Or RunRev or another company could make a free version of a HyperCard-inspired program such as LiveCode. These efforts have their upsides and downsides, but their shared objective certainly makes more sense now than it did in the eighties.

  1. Really? No link to the actual Kickstarter project? Shame.

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  2. Todd Cranston-Cuebas Monday, February 25, 2013

    Just a quick correction. HyperCard did far more than provide people with a way to make screens and buttons for programs. HyperCard allowed non-programmers to create usable apps (or stacks). The screens and buttons were integral to HyperCard in that it was an event-driven environment with the app logic written in the English-like HyperTalk.

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  3. Has it broken some records? looks like it!

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