Lightwright 5 Tip Of The Month

By John McKernon

Lightwright Tip: Lightwright & Operating Systems' End-of-Life

As you may already know, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP on April 8th, and Apple's release of Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks this past fall effectively ended their support for OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard. That means Microsoft and Apple won't be releasing any more security updates for these systems, and if you’re still using those versions, that's a big deal in today's interconnected world where malware and phishing attacks seem to come at us every day.

What does this mean for Lightwright users?

Lightwright 5 will continue to run on both WinXP and Snow Leopard, but without security updates you're running a real risk if you stick with them. Windows 7 is very good, and I've had great results running OSX Mavericks, so I recommend both. If you have an old computer, this could be great motivation to upgrade your hardware.

Lightwright 5's minimum version for Windows is XP Service Pack 3 and it will stay that way. The minimum release for Lightwright Mac is officially OSX 10.4 Tiger. However, Apple hasn't made Macs with Power PC chips since 2005, so I've quietly raised the minimum system requirement to OSX 10.5 Leopard. So far, nobody seems to have noticed, to my great relief!

More problematic though, is what discontinuing XP and Snow Leopard means for future versions of Lightwright. Lightwright 5 is written in RealBasic, a great object-oriented computer language. However, as Apple and Microsoft update their operating systems, some of the internal API's that RealBasic calls have been “deprecated” (that's Windows and Apple geek-speak for “we're getting rid of them”). At the moment I'm using a 2011 version of RealBasic, but at some point I will need to switch entirely to it's successor (now called Xojo), because RealBasic won't run on the newer versions of Windows and Mac OSX. That in turn means I'll only be able to write apps for OSX 10.7 Lion or newer, and Windows Vista or newer.

When the time comes for Lightwright to drop support for older systems, you'll be among the first to know, but start thinking about it now so that you can avoid scrambling at the last minute.

In the meantime, let's talk about BACKUP.

Every week I get at least one email from a distraught Lightwright user who's had their laptop stolen or their hard drive has crashed. If they don't have a full backup of everything on their computer, they're twice as upset. I am a fanatic about backups, having lost too much data many years ago.

On my Macs, I use both CrashPlan and Time Machine to keep them continuously backed up. My Windows computers are also backed up with CrashPlan (as are my virtual Windows computers on the Mac). I also keep an encrypted volume in Dropbox that holds an additional backup of just my most critical stuff.

Don't forget Lightwright's File/Save, a Backup command, too. It saves a time-stamped copy of your Lightwright show files (with Data Exchange turned off in them), making it easy to have a whole series of backups on hand in case of trouble.

So think smart: Plan for tomorrow and keep the past secure!

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