Another in a series:

The State of the Workshop

Douglas Crockford

Lucasfilm Ltd.



Monday was a holiday at Skywalker Ranch, so instead of the regular lunch service, we dined on salmon which Dave provided. We saw a HyperCard demonstration of simple list editing operations. The two windows with lists and rocker buttons approach seems to be working, and so we go right on.

The database hierarchy seems to be stable now. The structure is


The hierarchy is adjustable on a product basis.

I've been thinking about the temporal allocation of Programs, and I think I have finally figured out how channels work. (This is real obvious, but it took me a while to get here, so please work with me.)

A Program is the thing we used to call a Playlist. A Unit contains one or more of them. They are ordered and named. And numbered. Because they are numbered, they can easily be extracted in random order by remote control. We get flexibility:

For veg applications, a Program works just the Playlist. You press Play, and then sneak outside for a Perrier while the kids watch the show.

For the teacher who wants the show to stop at convenient points, the end of a Program represents a stopping point. Pressing Play again proceeds to the beginning of the next Program.

For the teacher who wants to load the system with a set of possibilities, each is put into a Program. She then punches them up remotely, randomly, as needed.

We have to work out some of the semantics of channel changing, such as what happens if you change channels mid-program. What do you see when you switch back, the beginning of the show, or has the show continued, or does it pick up where it left off? Does it really matter, can we get away with the one that is easiest to implement? Does this kind of life look interesting to you? What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you, but I know its mine.

Dave has been mocking up non-list activities for plugging into the window spaces. Preliminary results are encouraging.

The B5 edition of HyperCard is not buggy, and so is much more rewarding to work with. I imagine that it would be even better on a Macintosh II. (We're at the top of the list.) Kristina: If you could get us a HyperCard-compatible videodisc player, we could make the demo even more stupefying.

Next week is National Geographic week. I hope that well have time to squeeze in another design meeting. Let me know if you are available.

Until then, remember what Bozo says: Always keep laughing!