A conundrum presents itself at Flame Red Towers this week and it feels like we’re all being (programming) teenagers again.

It’s not spots, hormones or (heaven forbid) girls that’s the problem, it’s an issue of whether we go with the Cool Kids or choose to exert a degree of autonomy and go it alone, like some kind of Emo-Goth-Nerd…

The issue is this; we’re in the early stages of planning ¬†a new desktop app and given the make-up of the target audience we need to make sure it’s compatible with OSX and various flavours of Windows plus POSSIBLY Linux. So what’s the best approach? Given our lack of time, creating two or three distinct code bases is out – there just aren’t enough hours in the day – so I’ve been looking at development suites that allow for multi-platform output – and herein lies the problem.

A while ago I’d set my sights on using Real Studio’s package – it’s easy to pick up and quick to produce presentable results and when they finally release their new pricing structure it means that for a reasonable annual subscription I can output apps to multiple platforms.

But recently, I discovered LiveCode, a rather nifty little app with a feature set that’s equivalent to – and possibly better than – that of Real Studio. It’s based on the old Apple HyperCard standard and looks very tidy indeed.

And this situation leaves me with a couple of issues.

  1. Do I really want to commit to producing apps with what are essentially ‘old’ technologies (nerdy-emo etc etc) but which will be quick to build?
  2. Should I find something new and whizzy that’s based on modern, groovy languages and might be a pain in the rear end initially but which will mature over the next couple of years and maintain a steady level of support?
  3. If I go down the Real Studio/LiveCode path, do I stick with the more…’acceptable’ face of BASIC or go down the Hippy-esque route of HyperCard with it’s faux English command structure?

At the moment, I’m leaning towards LiveCode, it’s an interesting looking project and seems fairly well supported, it also has a Community version that means you can release Open Source projects for free and you only need pay when you want to close source your apps or build them out for paid distribution.

I’ll add random thoughts here as I go, documenting the ¬†experience of taking on a new dev platform might throw up a few tidbits and questions that hadn’t occured to me before.

Besides, I was never very cool…