Decker... Second Foundation?

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OpenXTalkPaul
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Decker... Second Foundation?

Post by OpenXTalkPaul »

I just realized I haven't posted here about Decker:

Decker is a retro-centric homage to HyperCard (including emulated Mac System 6 dialogs), with it's own xTalk implementation called 'Lil'. I like it, a LOT!

It has some nice features like built-in audio recording, editing and exporting, generate wave samples from a sound function, non-blocking sound sample playback. It comes in Mac app or Win exe so we could perhaps make a 'Standalone Builder' from those, and it can also run on every platform with a modern HTML5 browser and can export Deck to HTML, I'll have to take a closer look at that.

I just wish its xTalk implementation had a little less 'dot().syntax' (looks a bit like some others I've seen, Toolbook? Post 'Lingo' ActionScript?) and some more syntactic sugar. Take a look closer at its script lang, at a glance there is a 'ME' (the target), but not so much 'THE', nor IT or THE RESULT. It has a 'Listener' box (its message box). It needs a way to add foreign libraries as modules, it has 'modules' user add-ons called 'contraptions', basically Deckers take on Objec-Oriented objects / custom user controls/widgets.

Check out some of the demo stacks ...er Decks included with it.

If it would lose the self imposed retro-centric 'limitations', like use color images at least, and add support for tapping into external libraries / OS apis and it could be a really great start of a more general cross-platform xTalk app engine...

I am currently binging Apple's Asimov's Foundation series (not bad), and I would love for there to be an open-source xTalk Second (and third, fourth, etc.) Foundation. Perhaps Decker could be that?

https://beyondloom.com/decker/lil.html# ... nglanguage
https://internet-janitor.itch.io/decker
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OpenXTalkPaul
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Re: Decker... Second Foundation?

Post by OpenXTalkPaul »

OpenXTalkPaul wrote: Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:30 pm it can also run on every platform with a modern HTML5 browser and can export Deck to HTML, I'll have to take a closer look at that.
Actually, after checking out Decker some more, it should run on even older platforms / browsers, it (currently) has very minimal dependencies and requirements, and can compile to Mac,Win,Linux,FreeBSD,etc. can even compile using the cross-platform libc 'cosmo' executable format that I mentioned elsewhere.

It's goals are geared toward that. It auto converts to 'retro' formats. For example it converts images imported images to 1-bit dithered or can use 16 color lookup palette (based on early Mac color table) for color images, but nothing higher quality than that. Same with sound, it's 8bit sounds limited to 10 seconds each. It uses are pixel based Fonts like in those early days.

To me this seemed rather harshly restrictive, maybe even by mid-1990s+ standards. This leads to a forced retro style. however... I do remember getting into Web Dev a bit around the early-mid 1990s (running a WebStar server with HyperCard based CGIs for a shop I worked at the time), HTML 2 to 4 era, and optimizing GIFs and such to get the tiniest file size possible while still looking good was absolutely an imperative task because most people were using crappy 56K modem dial-up for internet (if they had internet access at all) and your target kbyte size for a web page was like 50kbyte or less. Forcing things back to that era has the effect of making Decker's decks (stacks) and its engine load very quickly in a modern browser. You can export your decks to a standalone .html with all resources your deck needs encapsulated along with a copy of its runtime and it totals maybe a few hundred megabyte in size, and that's without any 'Minification'. Did I mention it loads fast?

Although the author John Earnest, claims 'Lil' script is not an XTalk (it looks like one, walks like one...), I might just start doing a xTalk / Natural Language coding related Zine with it for kicks. Like the OXT version of the old TWILC o github or RevUp Newsletter, but more interactivity. Sure, that could be done with the Emscripten engine in OXT, but that's kind of large / overkill for a simple newsletter that's mostly text, Decker seems really nice as an encapsulated format, even if it does force a retro aesthetic.
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