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This article is about the programming language LiveCode. For the use of interactive programming in the arts, see Live coding.
Paradigm Object-oriented
Developer Runtime Revolution, Ltd
First appeared 1993 (1993)
OS iOS, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris
License Proprietary, GPL
Influenced by

The LiveCode programming language (formerly the "Revolution" programming language)[1] is both an open-source and proprietary cross-platform[2] rapid application development language inspired by HyperCard's programming language HyperTalk.[3][4]

The language was introduced in 2001.[5] The "Revolution" development system was based on the MetaCard engine technology which Runtime Revolution later acquired from MetaCard Corporation in 2003.[6] The platform won the Macworld Annual Editor's Choice Award for "Best Development Software" in 2004.[7] "Revolution" was renamed "LiveCode" in the fall of 2010. "LiveCode" is developed and sold by Runtime Revolution Ltd., based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In March, 2015, the company was renamed "LiveCode", to unify the company name with the product. In April 2013 a free/open source version 'LiveCode Community Edition 6.0' was published after a successful kickstarter campaign to make it available as Free and open source software.

LiveCode runs on iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Windows 95 through Windows 7, and several variations of Unix, including Linux, Solaris, and BSD. It can be used for mobile, desktop and server/CGI applications. The iOS (iPhone and iPad) version was released in December 2010.[8][9] The first version to deploy to the Web was released in 2009.[10] It is the most widely used HyperCard/HyperTalk clone,[citation needed] and the only one that runs on all major operating systems. LiveCode is currently in v. 7.0, which includes many enhancements for deployment in every OS platform, including iOS and Android. LiveCode released an open source version in April 2013.

A developer release of v.8 was announced in New York on March 12, 2015. This major enhancement to the product includes a new, separate development language, known as "LiveCode Builder", which is capable of creating new object classes called "widgets". In earlier versions, the set of object classes was fixed, and could only be enhanced via the use of ordinary procedural languages like C. The new language, which runs in its own IDE, is a departure from the transitional x-talk paradigm in that it permits typing of variables. But the two environments are fully integrated, and apart from the ability to create new objects, development in LiveCode proceeds in the normal way, within the established IDE.


The LiveCode software creates applications that run in many supported environments, using a compile-free workflow. The same computer code in LiveCode can play across multiple devices and platforms. LiveCode uses a high level, English-like programming language that is dynamically typed. The high-level programming language and compile-free workflow generates code that is self-documenting and easy for casual programmers to comprehend. For example, if the following script was executed when the system clock was at 9:00 AM:

  repeat ten times
    put "Hello world at" && the time & return after field 1
  end repeat

Ten lines of "Hello world at 9:00 AM" will be loaded into the first text field. (numbered as such and denoted as "field 1")

  • "repeat" (and the associated "end repeat") is a control structure, illustrated here in just one of its various forms.
  • "put" is a command
  • "Hello World at" is a literal
  • "the time" is a function that calls the system time
  • "return" is a constant equal to ASCII character 10 (linefeed)
  • "after" is a keyword that is involved with an extremely powerful and intuitive system known as "chunking", a hallmark of xTalk languages.
  • "field 1" is an object reference, here denoted by the layer number of a text field. Almost all standard object classes are supported, and may be referred to in several, highly-intuitive ways.

LiveCode's natural English-like syntax is easy for beginners to learn. Variables are typeless, and are typed at compile time based purely on context. This makes the language simple to read and maintain, with relatively minimal loss of speed. The language contains advanced features including associative arrays,[11] regular expressions, QuickTime multimedia, support for a variety of SQL databases, and TCP/IP libraries. The LiveCode engine supports several common image formats (including BMP, PNG, GIF, and JPEG,), anti-aliased vector graphics, HTML-style text hyperlinks, chained behaviors and embedded web browsers. Accessing these higher-level functions is designed to be straightforward.


  • To load the source code of a web page into a variable takes one line of code:
put url "" into MyVariable
  • Uploading a file to an FTP server uses similar syntax:
put url "binfile:picture.jpg" into url ""


LiveCode has around 1,900 built-in language terms and keywords, which may be extended by external libraries written in C and other lower level languages.[12][13]


LiveCode project files are binary-compatible across platforms. They inherit each platform's look-and-feel and behaviors. Buttons, scroll bars, progress bars and menus behave as expected on the target platform without any intervention on the part of the one authoring a LiveCode application.

Compiling a LiveCode "standalone" produces a single, executable file (minimum size ~1.5MB) for each platform targeted. There is no separate runtime necessary.

The Wikipedia article on HyperCard contains a more detailed discussion about the basics of a similar development environment and scripting language. Modern LiveCode is a vast superset of the former HyperCard yet retains its simplicity. LiveCode includes a number of features missing from the original HyperCard program, including multiple platform deployment, communication with external devices and many fundamental language extensions. The LiveCode toolkit, as compared to HyperCard, has the ability to access internet-based text and media resources, which allows the creation of internet-enabled desktop applications.[14]


Version Macintosh Windows Linux
6.x[15] 10.4.11 - 10.8.x Intel/PPC 2000 SP4, XP SP2+, 2003, Vista SP1+, 7, 2008 2.4.x+ 32 bit X11R5 glibc 2.3.2 gtk lcms
5.x[16] 10.4.11 - 10.8.x Intel/PPC 2000 SP4, XP SP2+, 2003, Vista SP1+, 7, 2008 2.4.x+ 32 bit X11R5 glibc 2.3.2 gtk lcms
4.6.x[17] 10.4.11 - 10.8.x Intel/PPC 2000 SP4, XP SP2+, 2003, Vista SP1+, 7, 2008 2.4.x+ 32 bit X11R5 glibc 2.3.2 gtk lcms
4.5.x[18] 10.3.9 - 10.8.x Intel/PPC 2000 SP4, XP SP2+, 2003, Vista SP1+, 7, 2008 2.4.x+ 32 bit X11R5 glibc 2.3.2 gtk lcms
4.0.x  ?  ?  ?
3.x  ?  ?  ?
2.6.x[19] 10.2.7 - 10.6.x Intel/PPC, 9.2.2 PPC 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Vista 2.4+ 32 bit X11R5 glibc 2.2.4 gtk lcms

iOS and Android targets are available in some versions.

Note: Complete Linux requirements for 4.5.x-6.x are the following

  • 32-bit installation, or a 64-bit linux distribution that has a 32-bit compatibility layer
  • 2.4.x or later kernel
  • X11R5 capable Xserver running locally on a 24-bit display
  • glibc 2.3.2 or later
  • gtk/gdk/glib (optional – required for native theme support)
  • pango/xft (optional – required for pdf printing, anti-aliased text and unicode font support)
  • lcms (optional – required for color profile support in JPEGs and PNGs)
  • gksu (optional – required for elevate process support)


See also[edit]

  • Runtime Revolution, the company that makes LiveCode
  • MetaCard, Runtime Revolution acquired the MetaCard technology on which its development system is based in 2003.
  • HyperCard, Progenitor of all xTalk languages.


  1. ^ MacNN: RunRev replaces Revolution with "LiveCode"
  2. ^ PCWorld: Development Tool for Mac OS X and Vista
  3. ^ Shafer, Dan (2004). "Review: Runtime Revolution, Programming for Mere Mortals". MacTech 20 (5). Revolution ... grows out of HyperCard, a much-beloved and widely used Apple Computer product that the company abandoned a few years ago.... 
  4. ^ Manchester, Phil (27 December 2007). "HyperCard on steroids: One code to bind them all". The Register. 
  5. ^ Macworld: Runtime releases Revolution 1.1 for OS X
  6. ^ Macworld: Runtime Revolution acquires MetaCard technology
  7. ^ "The 19th Annual Editor's Choice Awards". Macworld. 2004. HyperCard, with its stacks metaphor, has a new heir in Runtime Revolution's Revolution Studio 2.1 
  8. ^ Software Development Times: Runtime Revolution Releases iOS Deployment Pack
  9. ^ Ranscombe, Peter (7 December 2010). "RunRev sets sights on £1m sales boost with release of LiveCode". The Scotsman. 
  10. ^ Miller, Kevin (22 April 2009). "Will an easy to use language attract content experts?". WWW2009 Conference Paper. 
  11. ^ Tutorial: Using Arrays in LiveCode
  12. ^ Monroe, Tim (2003). "Children of the Revolution: Editing QuickTime Movies in Revolution". MacTech 19 (10). Happily, Runtime Revolution provides a software development kit (SDK) for writing Revolution plug-ins, and this makes writing our plug-in a snap. 
  13. ^ Waddingham, Mark (October 4, 2007). "Writing Externals for Linux with 2.9". Runtime Revolution Newsletter. Runtime Revolution, Ltd. 
  14. ^ Gaskin, Richard (Sep 20, 2001). "Beyond the Browser, Rediscovering the Role of the Desktop in a Net-centric World". Fourth World Embassy Articles.  See Section 5. Tools for Creating Net Apps.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

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