The GuidedTrack Manual: an introduction to GuidedTrack🔗

Welcome to the GuidedTrack manual! This manual is suitable for beginners and experts alike, and it will help you to get acquainted with the basics of using GuidedTrack.

What is GuidedTrack?🔗

GuidedTrack (abbreviated "GT") is a programming language for writing dynamic, interactive applications that can be run on the web (and eventually also on Mac, PC, iPhones, and Android phones, with or without an internet connection.) GT allows you to write apps that consist of text, multimedia (such as images, video and audio) and questions presented to the user. GT also allows you to vary what happens in the app based on the user's response to questions. GT makes it easy for both seasoned programmers and complete beginners to create:

  • interactive training and educational materials
  • polls and surveys
  • quizzes
  • choose-your-own-adventure stories
  • self-help and mood monitoring applications

There are some types of programs that cannot be built using GT, such as:

  • address books
  • word processors
  • image editors
  • web browsers
  • chess programs

What's the difference between these two lists of applications? The first list can usually be created with just a series of text, images, video, audio and questions, with the answers to questions determining what happens next. The second list of applications doesn't fit this paradigm. For instance, in an image editor program, you need to be able to click to choose the paintbrush you want to use, and then click and drag to indicate where to put digital paint. Merely asking the user questions (as GT programs do) is not enough to determine what the user wants (e.g. where exactly they wish to put paint on an image).

Why use GuidedTrack?🔗

If the type of application you are building can be written in the GT language then you're in luck! That's because it is much easier to make GT programs than to build programs from scratch using programming languages like C++, Java, Python or Javascript. Learning GT is quick and easy, even for people who have never programmed before. Total novices can make simple programs with GT in a few minutes, and can learn to make more complex programs in a few hours. Therefore, GT allows for very rapid development of dynamic, interactive programs. Furthermore, GT programs just need to be written once, and then will (in time) be deployable on many platforms independently of one another (web, phones, Mac and PC). Very few programming languages have this ability. To summarize, GT allows non-programmers to quickly create dynamic applications and to easily deploy them on a wide variety of platforms. And making GT apps is fun!

What Does a GuidedTrack Program File Look Like?🔗

GT programs are text files. You can edit these files in any standard text editor (like TextEdit for Mac, or Notepad for Windows). However, some text editors are nicer for writing GT programs than others. We recommend using Sublime Text which can be downloaded for free, and is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. You can also create, edit, and save your GT programs on the website.

A GT program (which as we've said, is just a text file) contains text and commands that represent the interactive experience the user will have when running the program. When a GT program is run, the first line of the file is run first, followed by the second line, and so on (though there are some commands that can cause the lines to be run out of order). Sometimes GT programs consist of multiple text files rather than just one, however one file will still be the "main" file and will be run first when a user goes to that app. See Using Multiple GuidedTrack Programs for more on this.

How are GuidedTrack Programs Deployed?🔗

GuidedTrack programs are either created in a separate text editor and added to the GuidedTrack website, or they are created directly in GuidedTrack.

Once your program is on the GuidedTrack website, you'll have access to a unique link that you can give to other people. This link will allow others to run your program from the GuidedTrack website.

You can also give out a special link to those you'd like to preview your program, and you can give special access to other people with a GuidedTrack account who can edit your program or view your program (including the GuidedTrack language).

In the future, you'll also be given the option to automatically convert your program into iPhone and Android apps.

Sections of the Manual🔗

Follow the links below to start learning how to use GuidedTrack!