Note: This page has fallen into abeyance; work on FaceSpan 5 has ceased. However, I’ve left this information here, as it might be useful to those interested. Just be aware that the facts may be out of date and that I have no intention of updating them.
What is FaceSpan 5?
First of all, what is FaceSpan? Similar to HyperCard, FaceSpan is a software construction kit; it emerged at the same time as AppleScript, about 1991, and AppleScript is its programming language. As originally conceived, it was elegant and easy to use, a great way for AppleScript programmers to create a user interface for their scripts. It was bought by DTI in 1996. When Mac OS X came out, DTI first let FaceSpan languish, then rewrote it on top of Apple’s own AppleScript Studio, so that it lost most of its virtues and acquired a lot of AppleScript Studio’s faults.
Then in 2005, Mark Alldritt / Late Night Software, for whom I have done some documentation and programming work, bought FaceSpan and started to rewrite it from the ground up again as FaceSpan 5. The idea is to bring back the elegance and simplicity of the HyperCard-type model, where every interface object has its own script, messages are passed automatically up the containership chain, and every object can see every other object and its script. Plus, since Mark also writes Script Debugger, FaceSpan 5 will have debugging built in. This has turned out to be a massive task, but it’s coming along and the results are pretty astounding so far. I’ve been helping out with documentation and other forms of alpha tester support.
Mark keeps a blog about FaceSpan 5 developments.
I helped write this description of what FaceSpan 5 is all about.
I knew were really getting somewhere when I was able to write a useful application using FaceSpan 5.
Sorry, work on this project has been abandoned. This is a real pity because what Mark had created was a truly great programming environment. In a single integrated development environment, you could design your application’s interface, give code to various application objects, and run and debug the application; it’s like REALbasic or HyperCard. The resulting application is a Cocoa application, but much easier than Xcode, a portion of Cocoa pared down and simplified and given a much better programming and design interface. The trouble was, though, that AppleScript had been chosen as the user programming language, and these days Apple just doesn’t understand AppleScript any more, so that Mark couldn’t accomplish what he wanted to because Cocoa Scripting wouldn’t let him catch and parse the various Apple events the way he needed to.
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August 25, 2012
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