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Re: hyperstudio: Linux and its HyperStudiolessness

On Wed, 11 Aug 1999, Bryan Potter wrote:

> >Squeak would require a lot of work to make it suitable for the K12
> >students, perhaps too much to make this a practical goal (Smalltalk is
> >not an ideal language for first-time programmers, for example).  And
> >you should also consider that unlike Squeak, MetaCard is a
> >commercial-quality, commercially-supported product, which is ready for
> >the K12 market now rather than at some theoretical point in the
> >future.
> I checked out MetaCard to see if it offers anything for our K-7 school and
> found that the programme is completely unusable on 95% of the Macs in
> our school. MetaCard requires a higher screen resolution than many of our
> machines have. We have mostly Performa 5200's with a screen resolution
> of 640 x 480. In the real world of education, these are the kinds of 
> constraints that HyperStudio meets very well!

MetaCard doesn't "require" 800x600, or any other resolution.  It's
just that the standard development environment strongly recommends
this.  This is because it's a product designed for professionals, all
of whom have systems more well endowed than the average system in K12

But this is exactly the kind of problem that could easily be solved by
a group of interested individuals.  MetaCard's development environment
is also rather sparse on the kinds of "wizards" for preprogrammed
interactions that HyperStudio relies on so heavily.  While I don't
think that exposure to the scripting language is such a bad thing, a
development environment designed for K12 students would introduce it
more gradually than the current, designed-for-professionals,
development environment does.

To reiterate the point of my previous post, MetaCard's current
development environment is built completely in MetaCard, and the whole
product is designed around the idea that you can (and even should)
replace or augment the standard development environment to make it
better suited to the task at hand.  An analogy is replacing the
"skins" on MP3 players, a common practice among people who listen to a
lot of MP3-format music.  Except that you have a lot more flexibility
with MetaCard than with any MP3 player.

We're not talking a huge amount of work here (person-months at the
outside).  And we stand ready to assist in the project in any way that
we can.

And just a word about licensing: MetaCard *is* a commercial product,
but because professionals are our target market, we are very flexible
about pricing and licensing terms for the K12 market.  Current pricing
and licensing policies are comparable to HyperStudio's, but this is
always subject to review (e.g., we're currently considering licensing
only on a per-school basis rather than the current per-seat basis).
It is also my belief that it would be possible to build a product with
all of the features the average middle-schooler uses in HyperStudio
and distribute it free of charge using the MetaCard Starter Kit.  The
Starter Kit is freely redistributable but has a limit on the length of
scripts you can create with it.  If you build a product that relies
substantially or entirely on pre-canned behaviors (think HyperStudio
without HyperLogo), it could be distributed under the Starter Kit
license at no cost.

> Bryan
> ________________________________________________
> Bryan Potter,      Lakewood Elem. School, 2363 Setchfield Ave.   
> bpotter@cln.etc.bc.ca               Victoria, B.C. Canada.  V9B 5W1
> Phone: (250) 474-3449             FAX:    (250) 474-1618
>        Lakewood School's website:

Scott Raney  raney@metacard.com  http://www.metacard.com
MetaCard: You know, there's an easier way to do that...