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Trying To Save HyperCard For Mac OS X 157

Posted by timothy
from the or-is-it-time-to-just-move-on? dept.
jse75 writes: "This story from the O'Reilly site comments on the state of HyperCard - Apple's much-loved, long-lived, multimedia software tool. Lots of HyperCard stacks are in use today, in all sorts of places - businesses, doctor's offices, museums, and more. Currently there seem to be no plans on Apple's part to update HyperCard to run natively under Mac OS X. The story from O'Reilly contains more info about the International HyperCard Users Group and their quest to get Apple to Carbonize HyperCard. They even had a booth at MacWorld Expo! Join in, maybe together we can convince Apple that continued support for HyperCard is a Good Thing!"
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Trying To Save HyperCard For Mac OS X

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember enjoying a piece of software on my Atari 520, and then my 1040, called Zoomracks . Apparently Hypercard was based on Zoomracks , but it was developed by 'some guy' and not a corporation. The story I have, and I can't remember where from, was that Zoomracks sued Hypercard and won. After that development on Zoomracks stopped, and 'the guy' fell off the planet. I was pissed because I'd bought it, and had a business depending on it. Zoomracks wasn't large, was written in Pascal, was very well behaved, had a recordable, editable programming language, AND had an intuitive ANSI GUI. I wonder if the source is around and available. That would be an easy port to Linux. Think about it... Take this guy's front end code, port it to Ncurses, convert the back end to MySQL, or a generic Linux DB API, and wheeeeeeeeooooo!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    FreeCard [freecard.org] is an open-source HyperCard clone in development. You can convert a HyperCard stack into a FreeCard stack (the converter relies on HyperCard to get at the stack data). And they're working on reverse-engineering the STAK file format.

    Apple specifically said at MacHack 2000 that "We will not use open-source as a dumping ground for dead products." That makes sense, but a product whose users beg for support is anything but dead, IMO. I think Apple is squandering an opportunity to earn goodwill with its users and the open source community at minimal cost.

    Now that I think about it, a Carbon application can't use 68K code, so even if HC were Carbonized it couldn't support externals (XCMDs and XFCNs).

    I find all of Apple's scripting products (MPW Shell, HC, AppleScript) somewhat anemic -- they lack the power and richness of unix-derived tools (bash, perl, etc.) Anything really complex becomes a pain in the tush. Then again, they're commercial products, rather than just tools, and I guess that comes with the territory. So I'm porting bash to Mac OS. :-)

    The more Apple declares things obsolete, the more its users will switch to cloned or competing technologies (or just stop upgrading) and the more Apple itself becomes obsolete. Eventually someone will implement Carbon for free Unix systems.

    Josh
    http://www.metamage.com/ [metamage.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You certianly do have a choice to use Java or C on the 68HC11. The fact that once all the overhead is loaded you only have enough codespace left to blink an LED with your program code imposes a limit, of course.

    Most of my profesional code is written for a four bit processor, one of the NEC 75000 series parts (uPD75328 to be exact). Guess what? There aren't any good C or Java compilers for it.

    Write some code that has to fit into a single chip sometime. Pick one of the Microchip parts, or maybe one of the 6805 parts that fit in an 18 pin package. Tell me how much fun you have working with your high level language in a part with 512 bytes of ROM program memory and 64 bytes of RAM. And don't try to claim such coding environments are dead. There's a huge install base of that sort of stuff and it isn't going away. Your mouse has such a chip inside it, for instance.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Apple has said before that theyre not going to use open source as a grave yard for projects they no longer have an intrest in. And i commend them for that.

    Why the heck do you commend them for that?

    "We'd rather throw a product in the trash bin and laugh at the users who care about it, than let the source out into the world where people can keep the product alive for those who care about it." That's Apple all right, but why do you commend them for it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can't believe I got fp with such a stupid comment. Anyway, I say in the end forget reverse engineering it, why not use the power of Cocoa to make a similar OS X app that's modern and useful, which Hypercard at this point is not.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh man.. HyperCard.> The program that got me into programming.. What an increadible piece of software..

    Hypercard is the gizmo that gave use the word hyperlink. It's responsible for Myst and inspired TCL/TK as well as half a dozen other such scrpting languages. Ever used Delphi or any other visual programming tools? Hypercard's in there somewhere...

    Hypercard is one of these old gems that are out there. It basically changed the world and then was neglected by Apple... the bastards.. For a while they said they would put Hypercard into quicktime. I liked that idea since quicktime with hypercard scripting would give macromedia a run for their money. :-).. + you'd have cross platform stacks sort of like Java but even slower ;-)..

    pitty that didn't come to pass...

    HyperCard is the Mac ideal in programming form. Easy, freindly, practical and totaly disrespected by all those that built on its lead or use its derivatives.

    Now.. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play Cosmic Osmo :-)...

    Pinky
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:09AM (#327985)
    I mean, Mac OS X has been out since March 24th, but if Slashdot was your only source of 'geek news' (god help you if you're like that) then you'd have no idea it was out.

    HOWEVER, Slashdot is happy to post articles about lack of DVD players or CD Burning, and now a story about some antique piece of hardware that i've never even heard of. Seems Slashdot likes listing OS X flaws, but won't even tell you that the thing has been released.

    This might come across as flamebait, but it's the truth. You can't just report the bad stuff.
  • I would imagine that Apple is scared of torquing-off any developers that have competing projects, but there is really no one left in Home Page's price catagory on the Mac. I think that is sad. How (in 2001) can you ship a product that does not give the user the ability to create web pages out of the box? (Okay, I know there's SimpleText -but you know what I mean!)

    iMacs and iBooks come bundled with AppleWorks 6, which does let you create Web pages. AppleWorks is $99, and I'm sure the educational price isn't much above $59.

    --

  • There is nothing Hypercard can do that PDF and web technologies can't do better.

    You don't use HyperCard, obviously. There isn't much it can't do, even today, although it's gotten rather clunky about some things.

    --

  • Not quite:

    All your Hypercard are belong to us.

    Singular noun, plural verb.

    --

  • by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Friday March 30, 2001 @02:36AM (#327989) Homepage
    Good to hear that so many people are concerned about the future of HyperCard, and nice to see this sort of thing on Slashdot. HyperCard is amazingly powerful. Most people don't understand what it is or what it can do - and unfortunately Steve Jobs can be counted among that group.

    If anyone's interested, Cannons and Castles [phroggy.com] is a HyperCard port I did of an old Apple II game. Well, sort of a port and sort of a rewrite. Anyway, if you've got a Mac, or Basilisk II or something, check it out.

    --

  • Yes, for less than US$1,000 you too can program like you used to with the free Hypercard interpreter that came with your Mac. It's practiclly a steal!

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday March 30, 2001 @05:27AM (#327991) Homepage Journal
    I know I'm being redundant, but I loved Hypercard on my old LC and I just want to get my 2 bits in.

    Hypercard is by far the easiest and fastest gui development environment (RAD at its finest) I have ever used. I learned everything I know about programming Hypercard from reading other peoples scripts (it was fairly hard to prevent people from reading your source code, so almost all Hypercard stacks were essentally open source). The entire package was so well designed an integrated that even a 7 year old can design a frightfully complex application. The best part is, every Mac came with a full development environment (until that blasted "HyperCard Player" appeared at least) that was only a "Command-M set userlevel to 5" away. Hypercard was Apples version of "GW Basic" when Apple did everything 100x better than Gates and Co.

    Nur ar det slut

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • Yes, Apple will semi-"open-source" stuff that they're still dependent on or making money off of, in order to get free programming help for stuff they're selling (Darwin is just a component of OS X, which as a whole isn't open source and you have to pay for).

    OTOH, there's a lot of stuff they're very agressive about not open-sourcing. OpenDoc, for instance. Or the Newton OS. When Apple wants to kill stuff, they kill it, and make damn sure noone else can buy it commercially, nor that it will be used as the basis for an open-source project.

    I could also mention the fact that they'll open-source parts of the quicktime server, but won't even make the Sorenson codec available to anyone to use for linux, even for money. And as near as anyone can tell, Apple is the party with the right/power to port it to other platforms. It's available for Windows, thanks to Apple. Something to think about the next time you're Thinking Different.

    Apple is one of those dangerous companies that care more about power than money; they'd rather lose the investment in Newton than see it successful.

    And when you think about it, that's the sort of thing open source is really supposed to be for: to keep you from getting screwed when a company decides to discontinue a project, not so you can help them make money with the non-open-source project running on top of the semi-open-source project.

  • by jafac (1449)
    just let it die, please.

    There is nothing Hypercard can do that PDF and web technologies can't do better.

    Why do we need another proprietary one-platform standard?
  • When I first got into macs in 1994, I tried out this wierd little hypercard thingie. I downloaded a few stacks.

    It crashed, it hung, it did wierd things to my screen, none of the stacks did anything really useful.

    It didn't look like it had the potential to do anything that waasn't being done much better by any one of a dozen other technologies. I was glad when Apple announced it was end of lifed.
  • yeah! let's start our own HyperCard Open Source project! Fuck Apple! Then in 10 years, we can have the functionality of software that was obsolete 10 years ago. That's progress!
  • If you dedicate yourself to a proprietary, single-vendor development tool, you have this coming to you! And it serves you right.

    The thing to do is to create an free clone of HyperCard instead of whining to Apple Computer Inc to support it on this platform or that.
  • Odd that, my experience is exactly the opposite. At university we were given a few projects that specified HyperCard (writing stacks to demonstrate 2D graphics primitives). I don't know where I was supposed to get documentation, because asking for HyperCard's online help caused the whole machine to crash.

    I don't believe it's big or clever to allow English-looking code, the way Hypercard does. In the absence of documentation, I had no way of knowing whether one English phrase (let's say "put input into x") would work or another would not (get the input and put it into x).

    In the end I believe I just gave up on the project and sacrificed the grade. I mean, what's more important, a degree or your sanity? (I got a decent degree in the end -- Hypercard was not needed in the final year)...

    I appreciate there are a lot of Hypercard stacks out there that may be valuable. Perhaps someone needs to find a way to allow those scripts to be maintained, while preventing anyone from ever having to embark on a project using it again....
    --
  • Actually, VB was created because of HyperCard, not vice versa. And, like everything else out of Microsot, it was only a pale imitation.

    I used to use HyperCard too, though I got into it later than you did. It was some great stuff. But its time has come. It's been superseded by how many different technologies now? Let's see; QuickTIme, AppleScript, Cocoa, [i]and [/i]Flash all have either HyperCard's power (QuickTime), ease of learning (AppleScript), or both (QuickTime, Flash). Put a good GUI builder on top of AppleScript, perhaps integrating it into ProjectBuilder/InterfaceBuilder, and you basically have HyperCard; the language AppleScript was, despite what the HC bigots out there loudly deny, based off of the language, and in fact they take it a step further.

    HyperCard is a nice tool. It's what got me into programming. But its time has come; better things are out there. Things more powerful and faster, and even easier to learn. I think it's sad that HyperCard is dying, but I'm satisfied in that there are plenty of capable replacements on the Mac, and even on OSX.
    ----------
  • by MouseR (3264) on Friday March 30, 2001 @05:05AM (#327999) Homepage
    Quite frankly, I don't think it's anything worth saving. If you think Mac zealots (which I am) are anal retentive about keeping their OS and their Macs, remember just one thing: HyperCard users are twice that, to the power of 2.

    HyperCard is a black and white product. The color support was added as a sort of plug-in (XCMDs and XFNCs) and merely complicates colorizing. Multimedia support (QuickTime) is another suck hacky addition that doesn't really well mesh with the original intent of HyperCard.

    History lesson: HyperCard, imagined and brought to life on spare time because of lack of interest of the then managment, is the child of O Grand Master Bill Atkinson, father of the Mac's original (B&W) QuickDraw code, whom to which we owe much of Apple's graphical prowesses. HyperCard is a meta card system which you can script using a near-english dialect called HyperTalk. This hypertalk is the ancestor of AppleScript. both share alot of the same architechture design, and even dialect. In fact, HyperCard evolved (around version 2 or 2.2) in a way that you could script using either or both HyperTalk and AppleScript in the same or across "stacks" (aka, HyperCard "applications").

    A number of clones started appearing around that time (more than 10 years ago) in order to solve the lack of color and multimedia support. SuperCard, the most notable one, is still around today and is still maintained.

    Note to HyperCard zealots: use SuperCard if you can't think of migrate to anything else. SuperCard DOES import HyperCard, and is compatible with the same XFNCs and XCMDs you (still) use today.

    The are other alternatives for this today. Although you can't import a HyperCard stak or convert it easilly, some AppleScript-based similar products exist today, and are, quite frankly, much better than HyperCard ever was. One of them, for being a user of it (we use it as a build machine controler software) is called FaceSpawn. Think of it as Visual Basic, but AppleScript based and therefore able to communicate and exchange data with ANY AppleScript-ready application, including most of the mac OS system software--both 9 and X.

    There's one comment (very personal) which I'd make about this issue. Mac OS has evolved a LOT since HyperCard (and Bill Atkinson original involvement). It's time HyperCard users evolve too.

    Lastly, and since I haven't had a chance to do it before and that I'm publicly speaking about him, I'd like to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to Bill Atkinson for both QuickDraw (and it's regions!) and HyperCard. Thanks for the memories.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • some antique piece of hardware
    This might come across as flamebait, but it's the truth

    I say somebody has been reading the Slashdot Troll HowTo.
    __
  • Supercard was painful when I used it in 1994..

    I wonder if there's an OSS project out there to interpret HC stacks? Could be fun..

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • You can ask, please, pretty please, Apple, will you please Open Source HyperCard? They will say no.

    Or you can start a project that clones it and produces software that anyone can run. Reverse-engineer the format. Do the reverse engineering part in an EU country where such things are clearly legal. Do the thing in layers, so that you have a GUI-independent layer at the bottom that people can build on top of. Innovate. Could you come up with a scheme for mapping HyperCard links to URLs? Maybe you could come up with a way to navigate HyperCard stacks with ordinary web browsers.

    But don't beg. Don't do petition drives. Just Do It.

  • Gosh,

    When I first saw and started playing with Director, it totally reminded me of an updated
    version of hypercard. I am probably missing something here, but I can't think of anything that
    Director or Authorware doesn't do that HyperCard did? Now are either of those going to be ported to
    MacOS X?
  • Yeah, well I was more refering to the feature set, not performance or any other metric.
  • I agree. I spent a semester in Advanced C doing my other homework in class. reason: The professor spent more than half of the semester talking about programming VGA cards in C. What a waste. 2/3rds of the class flunked the final, I say because the prof focused on implementation details for a specific system, not on writing quality C code.
  • I don't know much about Quicktime and Flash, but I don't think either is the complete package that Hypercard was.
    Hypercard had three basic features: graphics, database, and programming. None of them were very advanced. Oh, I suppose the graphics in Hypercard were state-of-the-art when it was introduced into a monochrome bitmapped world. But its database capabilities were merely very basic, and its programming was only a bit more than basic (don't get me wrong - it wasn't intended to be anything fancy; it was supposed to be easy to use).

    Today there are many products that beat the pants off Hypercard in one or two of these three areas. Flash clearly beats it graphically, and I'll take your word for it that Quicktime does too. I don't know much about Flash's scripting language, but let's say that it's as good as Hypertalk. However, I don't think Quicktime has programming capability, and I don't think either of these products has database capability like Hypercard did. I know even less about Visual Basic, but I doubt it has a built-in database either.

    Perhaps you can hook up a database to these products. I know you can to Visual Basic. Maybe it's even easy to do. So maybe with some modern products you can come up with the same three feature sets as were in Hypercard, and they would be much more powerful.

    That would still be missing the point.

    In Hypercard, the three features were designed and built together. There was nothing external to hook up - no database, no ODBC drivers, no graphics package to add. You got it all right out of the box.

    The best part was that they were exceptionally well integrated. Everything fit nicely into everything else. The object hierarchy that glued them all together is still one of the best and most likeable designs I've ever seen. For example, I still very much admire the way that Hypercard handled events -- passing them from specific to general: button to card to background to stack and finally to Hypercard itself. The design of Hypercard showed that Apple hadn't just stuck together a bunch of features -- they thought about what they wanted to do and came up with a holistic, comprehensive design.

    The "card" paradigm was just a metaphor to let people work with databases without having to think in database terms. Build a background card and you're building a database schema. Add a card and you're adding a database record. Except, of course, that Hypercard never mention databases nor records. The closest they got to database terminology, if I remember correctly, was the "field".

    My only complaint about Hypercard was that sometimes things were too simple. In trying to design a system that was "easy" for the average user to work with and even program, they built in some limitations that became obvious when pushed to their limits. Its database capabilities were crude, at best. And I seem to remember that string manipulation was often a problem. What I wouldn't have given just for some perl-like regular expressions! Probably, though, there's an XTND resource out there somewhere to do just that -- at least they made Hypercard extensible.

    So, while I agree with you that there are many, many products that beat Hypercard in one or two if its feature areas, I don't know of any product that beats it at all three. And even if there is such a product, I doubt if the three features are as well-integrated as they were in Hypercard.

    There's not a whole lot that I really miss about my old Macs, but Hypercard is definitely one of them. For simple databases like my card catalog, it not only did the job well, but it was a joy to use.

    --Jim
  • They haven't officially said they're abandoning it but their resources are stretched with OS X install problems and NOBODY has any friggin experience with it.

    Maybe they don't want to commit to anything one way or another because they can't. For the moment, boot into 9.1 and grumble and keep writing that you want it.
  • leet, dude, leet!
  • by mr_burns (13129) on Friday March 30, 2001 @07:38AM (#328009)
    Yes! Hypercard is powerful, and can be used to write apps.

    However, as a 16 year mac veteran, trained in multimedia art in college, and above all else a geek...

    Euthanize it already.

    I'm not saying that anybody who's using it should stop. Tools are tools. I'm saying that we can do evrything that hypercard did and more sans cruft if we move on.

    And I don't mean use flash either. To a designer who doesn't know a for from 4, flash is cool. For a programmer, it's the ultimate hell-spawn.

    And Director has a good IDE, but let's face it folks, english is NOT the best language to do logic in, and Lingo is based on it.

    I'll just list the following technologies included in MacOS X, and let your minds wander. I'm sure you can come up with very nifty stuff.

    System Level XML parsing
    Java access to native object frameworks
    Java/Quicktime Integration
    Apache

    Plus the following Open Source technologies which can be brought on:

    Mozilla's Java based JavaScript 1.5 VM (try/catch :) )
    Vorbis
    Coccoon
    Xang

    Need I go on? Hell, I'll bet some enterprizing hacker could write an XML formatting Object to fart out hypercared stacks from modern apps written using the above.

    Us mac artists and coders have far much more at our disposal now than we have ever had. I think Apple should if anything work on giving us stuff that isn't out there yet, as opposed to porting over tech that in their default install is outclassed by mostly open source tech, especially when the old version works in classic.

    I know it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks...I'm sayiong that we should let old dogs do their thing, and teach New tricks to new dogs.

  • I think it's like a rock band or something.

    C-X C-S
  • Slashdot is not an advertising resource for large companies

    Unless those companies happen to be Linux companies...

    C-X C-S
  • I owned an Atari ST. I owned a copy of Zoomracks. I used and liked Zoomracks. I thought it was great. I snorted with derision at Hypercard, and cheered when I read that Apple settled out of court and paid royalties to the author of Zoomracks (incidentally, they were the only defendant out of several that ever did, IIRC).


    Then I bought a Mac and started using Hypercard. And let me tell you... Zoomracks is no Hypercard! That lawsuit had no merit whatsoever. As someone who used and liked both products at around the same time, I can claim with some authority that they were about as similar as a wagon wheel and a block of cheddar.


    Yes, both products were based upon a card metaphor. The similarity ends there. In the world of index card-based database-like applications, Zoomracks took the technology from the hay wagon stage and advanced it to the level of the first horseless carriage. Hypercard, by comparison, was a 1999 Mercedes-Benz factory. The things Hypercard could do that Zoomracks never even aspired to... I'd go crazy even trying to enumerate them all.


    Zoomracks was an ASCII-based interface for an ASCII-based database app. Pure and simple. The rack concept was a cute gimmick. Hypercard was a multimedia authoring application that happened to have some ability to deal with ASCII. Think of Visual Basic as it exists today. Hypercard was all of that, and more. Zoomracks is a text database. Hypercard is an earth-shakingly excellent integrated programming/execution environment with full multimedia, scripting, and hyperlinking down to its very core. Umm, how many ways can I say that? To compare Zoomracks with Hypercard is an insult to Hypercard.


    And I say this with all (and I do mean all) due respect to Zoomracks, of which I probably still own a copy.

  • Think it's outdated now? It was outdated 4 years ago when I noodled with it some. The color support is a cheap hack, and the animation is a third-party add-on that was bundled by Apple.

  • HyperCard always was, and always will be, a nifty piece of software. The thing is, it's severely outdated. It was state-of-the art nifty software in its time, but now it's a relic. I'd compare HyperCard on Mac OS 6 (er...System 6) to Logo on the Apple ][. They were nifty pieces of software that enabled beginners to learn the basics of software design and programming.

    In this day and age, I think we need a new tool to do the same thing. For example, REALbasic [realbasic.com] is a fully modern tool that lets you write apps for both Windows and MacOS. An OS X version has been in beta for a while now, and should be released shortly.

    On the other hand, if you really have to run that old stack, SuperCard [incwell.com] can import your old stacks. I have not personally used the product, but it should do the task quite nicely. I am unaware of plans to port SuperCard to OS X, but at least it is actively maintained.

    I want to know why all this fuss about HyperCard is finally coming to the forefront, while it has virtually been abandonware for two or three years already.
  • Apple is the company that has always put their support behind getting their computers to be used in schools (elementary, middle, and high schools), and they've done a great job of that. Almost all schools have (or at least had) macs, and usually exclusively macs. So much so, in fact, that many college education programs (for students majoring in education to become teachers), teach hyperstudio and encourage its use for certain types of lessons. It has become a rather standard teaching tool. So are they going to leave teachers to start over and use something other than hypercards? If so, they'll probably have less and less support from teachers for schools buying those [ugl]iMacs.
  • Ha! OK, i was *afraid* that story would turn out to be incorrect. That only makes hypercard all the cooler, though, now doesn't it; it WAS visual basic, earlier, and in a more elegant fashion, with a more elegant backing "language" to boot. And i'll assume your agreement covers the fact that had apple continued to update Hypercard, it could now be everything visual basic is now and more.. :shrugs;

    Please excuse me if my memories on this subject are not too clear, i was two years old at the time and i am working off things i heard later :) There *was* some kind of thing going on involving hypercard and microsoft, i *think*, but i have just violated my right to speak on this subject i suppose ^_^

    Please forgive me. I honestly really hate people who post vaguely remembered information on slashdot without checking their facts for correctness first, i am chagrined to find myself one of them =_=.

    hypercard@everything2.com [everything2.com]

  • > Speaking of Flash, it's only a matter of time before it starts getting used as a DB front-end itself.

    There is already a project which has created a Jabber connection library and Jabber client written in Flash. [flabber.org] If you can create an instant messaging client, i'm sure there's no reason you couldn't create a backend to connect to a MySQL server... :shrugs:

  • Let me start by saying i was a huge-ass hypercard addict in the fifth grade, and that the damn thing probably had a huge formative impact on me.


    Let me continue by saying that i think it was a great, great loss that apple chose to drop hypercard the way they did. Had it continued to *grow*, it could have been a disturbingly influential piece of software. Hypercard could have been what Virtual Basic is now, only better. Short bit of obligatory history for the slashbots here: Hypercard was created BECAUSE of visual basic. Remember, Apple historically thought Basic was a nifty language. When Microsoft was first working on VB, apple asked them to create a BASIC R.A.D. tool, and MS agreed.. time passed, VB came out for windows, VB did not come out for mac. Even more time passed. Apple realizes VB is not going to come out for mac, and so an engineer there named Bill Atkinson (AKA "the dhali lama") decided screw microsoft, he was going to create his OWN visual basic.. and it came out beautifully. Hypercard was just SUCH an elegant tool for what it did, ESPECIALLY for the time, in every way, from the way it made the Fields and Buttons feel like the graphical elements they were to the strength and simplicity of the scripting language. Unfortunately with time apple just started neglecting it, in a horrible way. They blatantly refused to add color, they wouldn't take the obvious step of expanding their concept of button icons into real, useful SPRITES, and they let it get SLOW .. what could have been a fantastic low-end development tool was left to rot. And yet somehow it survived, mostly at this point living on the strength of the Quicktime integration. If you could write XTNDs (extentions to hypercard living inside a stack, written in "real" programming languages like c or pascal), hypercard was still useful.
    hell, Cyan was a hypercard company. Myst was a hypercard app, and i think Riven was too.. or had they switched to Director by that point? Blah.


    However, at this point.. dude, it's too late. Let the thing die. It had it's day. It's fun as a relic, but.. just.. no. If hypercard still holds some niftiness for you, just drop the damn thing and get Shockwave Flash. It is well worth the $300 or whatever it is (i don't have it). Flash IS what hypercard COULD HAVE BEEN: vector-based, visually rich, POWERFUL, flexible, cross-platform.. hell, just look at Flash and give me one good reason for Hypercard to still exist. And as far as hypercard serving a PURPOSE.. well, at this point the tools apple is serving instead have such power, such potential. I don't know if any of you have ever USED the combination of neXTStep interfacebuilder and objective C, but i honestly doubt it would be any more difficult to get a fifth grader like i was-- if you presented it right, and threw in kinda object library for sprite animation, and integrated that library with I_B-- to deeply grok writing cocoa software to the point where they could do everything they could in hypercard and more without much more difficulty. But oh, i mean, HELL. At this point *QUICKTIME* is as powerful or more so than hypercard. That's right, Quicktime now has sprites and interactivity and filters and everything hypercard had! I was actually for a short time considering writing a program that would convert hypercard stacks into quicktime movies! (I still think this would be an awesome project.)


    If we're going to carbonize/update ANYTHING, it should be World Builder. Anyone remember World Builder games? "Mr. Roger's Revenge" and that whole bunch.. i mean like just think like what if they like added support for like color and quicktime movies and hypercard and shit DUDE HOW FUCKING L337 WOULD THAT BE??

    (note: i honestly do not think i am being sarcastic about this last bit.)

  • I'd like to see the product reborn as a server product which serves out HTML representations of cards over HTTP. This would be like Wiki on steriods.

    Royal Software released just such a thing, back in 1996 or 1997. It was pretty darn cool at the time, but I can't remember its name.

    -jon

  • These days I write mostly C/C++ on Solaris, and some Java.

    I started with BASIC on an Apple ][ e, but I really got going with Hypercard. It allowed you to create results quickly, and learn to program at the same time. Heck, I got started with C by writing Hypercard XCMDs.

    There might be bad programmers who code in Visual Basic, probably even a higher per-capita than other languages becuase of the lower barrier to entry. But don't be a language bigot - things like VB and Hypercard have their place, and I sure owe a lot to Apple and Hypercard for gettme me going 12 years ago.

  • I heard it was a DeCSS key.

    What do I do, when it seems I relate to Judas more than You?
  • First, what about the Cocoa / Interface Builder tool on OS X? Talk about powerful GUI building & rapid app development.
    I agree. When I first saw the Interface Builder on NeXT, I thought, ``Wow, souped-up HyperCard!''

    Since it's right there in the Mac OS X, who needs HyperCard any more? I thought when Apple discontinued Compact Macs, the days of HyperCard were over. Stacks only look good on those monochrmoe 9 inch monitors. Anything larger than that did not look good. I wish my SE/30 is still in my parents' house so that some day I can play around with HyperCard on it.

  • Having worked a number of years for an Apple VAR and developer, I can honestly state that I have never once seen Apple do anything that indicates it gives a shit about its advocates, much less it users. They're willing enough to flatter them in marketing campaigns and pats on the back at MacWorld, but when the chips are down anybody who relies on Apple to act with anything but indifference to the fate of its friends is a sitting duck.

    This is why they blew it in the corporate market. Early on, there were opportunities for Apple to earn several niches other than graphics in the corporate arena. However, IT managers who went out on a limb to advocate for Macs not only received no real support from Apple (other than copious brainwashing sessions at the local sales office), but time and time again Apple demonstrated its ruthless willingness to pull the rug out from its diminishing supply of friends if there were short term gain to be made.

    The shell-shocked ex mac manager rushing into the embrace of Microsoft has become a sad cliche.

    I'm not saying Apple products are bad, most are good and many have been revolutionary. I'm just saying that time and time again they have proven to be driven by a endogenous, technological vision rather than any sensitivity to the needs of their users except as abstract system components. If anything Apple has even less of a communitarian instinct than Microsoft. I'm not saying that companies should be run as charities, but there should be at least some sense of enlightened self interest. Microsoft at least offers a faustian bargain -- Apple's more take it or leave it.

    If Apple open sourced ANY product they expected to be of value to anyone, it would signal the birth of a new Apple. Yes I know about Darwin, but I'd be surprised if Apple didn't go through OS X and carefully remove anything that might be of value over what is already available in existing BSD systems.

  • I also admire Applescript, but that's an Apples-and-Oranges comparison. The key to understanding HyperCard is that there isn't really anything to compare it to.

    The abandonment of the product is one thing -- the abandonment of the model is another. You wouldn't throw out the idea of a spreadsheet because your favorite spreadsheet product of yesteryear wasn't updated.

    The Hypercard model is sufficiently flexible to act sort of like a database, but a little like paper records too. It was an uniquely flexible structure that allowed individual records to inherit the attributes of their templates yet have custom attributes and behavior. If you are a database designer, this is anethema, but the result is that naively designed applications could display forms adapability that would be very difficult using sophisticated techniques.

    Again, I like Applescript -- it is far superior to VB and Apple Events are easier to program with and debug than COM. I think Applescript can justifiably be compared to Python. The problem with getting Python or Applescript to play in the VB space is that they don't have a kind of native home for somebody to get their feet wet in doing simple kinds of useful things.

    I'd like to see the product reborn as a server product which serves out HTML representations of cards over HTTP. This would be like Wiki on steriods.

  • by hey! (33014) on Friday March 30, 2001 @01:05PM (#328025) Homepage Journal
    I had to reply to this as a former worker for an Apple VAR and development company (Siemens IT). Apple did wonderful things for us working in an enterprise environment.

    I know I got modded down as flamebait, but I'm pretty bitter about my personal experience with Apple and those of my friends who were fellow early Mac advocates.

    Some examples: Just about anything to do with the 68K->PPC conversion. Many applications were seriously delayed because of Apple's inexplicable decision not to port their Pascal to PPC, and then destroyed by Apples sudden about face on OpenDoc (Cyberdog rocked).

    How about how they left the Appleshare Pro users high and dry with no upgrade path when they eliminated A/UX?

    As an IT manager I waited years and years for Apple to come up with some means of connecting Mac clients to relational databases, until Visigenic's port of ODBC. How can you play any kind of role the corporate environment without database access architecture?

    What about all those horribly unstable releases of MacOS 7 that Apple took it sweet time acknowledging were a problem?

    What about the Newton spin-off cancellation? That burned my company big time.

    Of course then there was the licensing then the killing off of the clones. And the things that were out and then in again, like Open Transport.

    Now, some of these things were probably good decisions, like the clone decision. Some of them were profoundly bad decisions, like axeing OpenDoc. Others were simply incomprehensible thrashing. But through it all, the one thing that was a constant was that Apple was utterly shameless about selling you on a strategy that they were going to turn to utter swill tommorow. There was no remorse, no gee we recognize this is going to hurt some people who believed what we told them. It was strictly caveat emptor, suckas.

    Of course, Siemans is a lot bigger than we were so you may have got more TLC than most.

    Maybe the post-Amelio era is better, allowing for a few transitional pains. I don't know, I didn't stick around to find out. There are greener pastures these days.

    Maybe part of the reason I was so bitter was the way Apple marketed itself to people like me -- peple who believed we were going to use computers to make a difference. It seems absurdly naive now. The scales fell from my eyes when OpenDoc was pulled just as it was ready for prime time. It wasn't about changing the world -- it was about pushing boxes.

    OS X almost has me ready to take another look at Apple -- it looks interesting, but having used recent KDE and Gnome it's got a long way to go to make up for the trust you can put in a major open source effort not to be killed by internal politics.

  • Shouldn't that be:

    All your hypercards are belong to us?



    --Michael

  • "But HyperCard might be in danger of going the way of the dinosaur. With the launch of Mac OS X, unless HyperCard is 'carbonized,' it could be the beginning of the end."

    Hm, funny that. For the dinosaurs it was the opposite way around: they were carbonized after their demise or so they say. Cars and buses run on exploding dinosaurs, right?

  • Lots of HyperCard stacks are in use today, in all sorts of places - businesses, doctor's offices, museums, and more. Currently there seem to be no plans on Apple's part to update HyperCard to run natively under Mac OS X.

    Everyone seems to read this as "Apple is dropping support for HyperCard." Let's take a few seconds to analyse the situation.

    There are thousands upon thousands of HyperCard stacks out there, developed for the last fifteen years. A safe estimate would indicate that the vast majority were developed more than three years ago.

    OS X is support on boxes shipped with G3s and G4s. These are all boxes developed in the past three years or so. By one of the few appropriate applications of Moore's Law, these machines are from 1 to 1000 times faster than the boxes used to develop and deploy the HyperCard stacks, which are mostly UI-bound anyway.

    There's not a significant enough performance hit for Classic apps for these HyperCard stacks to be slower than they were originally. It's still pretty doggish, but it is in Apple's best interests to improve Classic.app and MacOS.app to lure customers away from their old boxes. As it is, even though it's slower than it should be, remember the environment for which they were developed, and remember that almost all of them are not computationally demanding.


  • Seeing people bash hypercard is fairly painful for me. You obviously have no idea what impact it had, and how ahead of it's time it was!

    Hypercard stacks were a bit like web pages, only many years prior.

    We're talking 1985.

    You could *easily* make a simple program with a full-fledged GUI. A child could! (And they did!) Buttons, scroll bars, text fields, etc. etc. were all very easy. HC was used *extensively* in education.

    Hypercard enabled kids like me to delve into programming at a very early age. When I was about 10, I was working on a 1st-person cartoon-style game, with animation, non-linear gameplay, and cheesy music. Of course, later on I learned Pascal and C, but Hypercard is where I began.

    There is much to be said for such a simple, easy-to-use technology that predated the WWW, Visual-Blah++, Java, etc. by years and years. I think it would be great if Apple open-sourced it...that way it isn't up to them to keep it running on their new OSes, the Hypercard community can handle it.

  • Hypercard was great... I was writing decent-quality programs in it when I was 4 years old. Why haven't other languages progressed to the natural level of Hypertalk yet?
  • HyperStudio has a browser plugin. I know a lot of K-12 schools that use it so that parents can see student projects from home. The only downside is that people are not wise to image compression so there a lot of enormous stacks with scanned drawings and the like pasted in as bitmaps.
  • I worked in an education research lab and Hypercard proved quite valuable. None of us were really programmers, but HC was simple enough that we could rapidly develop program interfaces and full blown prototype applications without the time or expanse of bringing in a real programmer to develop something custom. I am still not a programmer, and while I am frinedly with PHP/mySQL I still think that something like HC is a great way to open development to a lot of people who just need to try out ideas and quickly implement changes. I feel the same way about BASIC, though, so I expect to be flailed by a gang of real coders.

    I have a drawer full of floppies containing Great Ideas, all implemented in HyeprCard. I'm dreaming for a day that I can bring them out and let them see the light of day. :)

  • If they don't want to port it, why wouldn't they leave its source to some generous Geek ...instead of just abandoning it [?]

    The fact that it isn't being ported to MacOS X doesn't mean it's being abandoned. It still runs on MacOS 9, which (for a year or two) is planned to be continued in parallel with MacOS X. So HyperCard still works (and works well) as a product under one of Apple's current OS lines.

    I agree that Open Source is preferable to abandonment (except where the original product is being used as a foundation for the in-development next phase) but that doesn't apply here. Please wait until Apple abandons OS9 (and HyperCard along with it) before complaining.

  • by jcr (53032)
    There was a hypercard clone for NeXTSTEP called "HyperSense" several years ago. The last I heard about it (ran into the principal developer at WWDC about two years back) a Mac OS X port was planned, so there should be a way to run your existing stacks, at least.

    -jcr
  • by kriegsman (55737) on Friday March 30, 2001 @11:24AM (#328035) Homepage
    From the MetaCard FAQ [metacard.com]:

    There are several products use the same language and object architecture as MetaCard. [See above link for list]

    The product WinPlus, formerly Spinnaker Plus, has been discontinued by ObjectPlus Corporation. Oracle Media Objects (OMO), which was also based on the Plus technology, has also been discontinued. An early HyperCard workalike for Windows, Echelon's WindowCraft, was discontinued long ago largely because of the superiority of the Plus technology. Plus has in turn been surpassed by MetaCard.

    MetaCard is also often compared with products like ToolBook, Director, Tcl/Tk, Perl, and Visual Basic because it can be used to develop the same kinds of products these other tools are used to develop.

    For about ten years now I've been hearing different permutations of the rumor that AppleScript, HyperCard, and QuickTime will eventually all become the same thing. In the meantime, those looking for a Mac OS X solution might want to keep their eye on HyperSense. HyperSense [thoughtful.com] is a Hypercard work-alike for NeXTStep (aka "OpenStep"), soon to be available for Mac OS X (aka "OpenStep" :)

    Ya gotta love a programming language where
    get the message
    put it in the box
    is actually valid code...

    -Mark
  • One word, my friend, webobjects.

    Yes, I too grieve for hypercard, it was sooo much easier, albiet less powerful than webobjects.

    And, what is apple smoking? their webobjects development is less focused on mac, and more cross-platform.

  • by Cheesewhiz (61745) <ianp.mac@com> on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:08AM (#328037) Homepage
    That's just what we need! An API that hasn't been updated since 1985!

    Oh! Lovely idea! Let's keep alive ANOTHER defunct, archaic standard in an operating system that's even sacrificing performance in backwards compatibility to get RID of the ridiculously outdated infrustructure of the classic Mac OS in favor of modernizing and UNIX-izing! Apparently some people aren't too clear on the concept of OS X.

    Frankly, HyperCard stacks are not the prettiest thing to behold. Let's just let it die and be done with it. It will always run in Classic under OS X, to boot.

  • Steve Jobs has never been famous for paying attention to the desires of even a substantial minority of his users. Anyone remember the Newton; killed off by Jobs just about the time PDAs started to take off?

    My suggestion is to start an open-source project on sourceforge. The best part is that if it works on OSX it will almost certainly work on Linux.

    Hmm... do ya suppose that OSX may migrate frustrated Mac people to Linux?
  • I learned to program in HyperTalk. In high school every 9th grade history student had to make a HyperCard stack for one project that was basically an interactive history report. This got me into playing with HyperCard, and specifically into playing in HyperTalk, which is HyperCard's built in scripting language.

    The whole language was kind of "Object Oriented" though I don't know if OO was much of a concept back then (at least I knew nothing about programming).
    I would say I wouldn't be the person or programmer I am now without HyperCard. There was a whole (sub)culture of HyperCard users/scripters/geeks. I remember using Gopher to find cool stacks.

    I eventually learned C later in hich scool but before that I was creating stacks that drew fractals, graphed arbitrary equations, and made generational graphics. One teacher encouraged me to start learning MacroMedia Director, but HyperCard so much more fun, for me.

    My friend and I were Lab Assistants in the Computre Lab at my school and would spend every minute of our time there playing around in HyperCard.

    Some notable hacks that my friend and I wrote in HyperCard:
    A stack that looked exactly like the existing (1993) MacOS interface, completely with desktop, trash and HD icons, and menubar! And when some unsuspecting student ran it it would look like nothing had happened, and every menu command they did resulted in a System Bomb window. Yeah we were kids, but it was hella fun.

    Also, since the macs were networked and most of them had Program Sharing on by default (a long forgotten way of communicating between mac apps), you could send ANY ARBITRARY SCRIPTING commands to ANY OTHER HYPERCARD RUNNING MAC! This was the coolest thing I had ever seen at 13. We wrote a script that would cause somebody's screen to pop up a text entry dialog with the message "You have been logged off. Please enter your password below." Damn that was cool.
  • Even worse than not being Open Source. Data file format it NOT publicly documented.

    Please Apple, if you don't bother about HyperCard, bother about your users and release HyperCard source code under an Open Source license so that users aren't left out.

  • by hub (78021) on Friday March 30, 2001 @03:17AM (#328041) Homepage
    What HyperCard has to save ?

    1. the huge amount of stacks (an HyperCard program) that has been developed using HyperCard. Lot of them have real value in term of content, and since stacks are made using an undisclosed file format, you have no way to re-read them.
    2. the concept. HyperCard is hypertext since its inception, circa 1985 (by Bill Atkinson, one the Macintosh father. It was called Wildstack then), even before WWW birth in Switzerland. This is not exclusive to HyperCard, but it pioneered in this area.
    3. the easyness. I have yet to see a tools that is so easy to use with so much possibilities. HyperCard does not pretend to provide a full featured development environment, but its goal is to offer basic computer users a way to present data simply and interactively. The concept is that you have a stack of card. Each card use a background (sort of a template) and you go from one card to another. Any card can have text data, associated either to a local text field or to a background text field, drawing data, buttons, etc. Each object (card, background, button, etc.) receive messages that are handled by script written in HyperTalk (on which is based AppleScript). It was so easy to use that pre high school kids could do nice work with HyperCard.

    The problem is that Apple killed it before version 2.0 (still desperately in black & white) as they started to no longer give it away with each Macintosh sold, starting at Mac Classic. (in fact version 2.0 was limited to a runtime unless you paid for it, but you could still "hack" the home stack to tell HyperCard to move to the development level). Then later, starting with System 7.0 they only provided a runtime, not unlockable.

    At that time, Apple thought of replacing HyperCard with AppleScript. Not only they didn't achieve this, HyperCard and AppleScript did not cooperate well as it should have. In the mean time, Apple failed to provide color support in HyperCard making it worthless as a separate product.

    Hey Apple, if you listen ? You provide iMovie free, you provide iTune free, why not writting iHyperCard and provide it free of charge for everybody with every Macintosh, with every MacOS X? You already provide complete professional development tools... That would be a great asset for you.

    (and opening the file format would be the cherry on the top, for sure)

  • Either you don't understand the meaning of uptime, or that's a real waste of a laptop letting it just sit there for 2 years..

    I could envision it. Everyday between home and work a laptop could continue running on its batteries, then it could run off the first or second power adapter, and charge in the process. If you had something like the pismo apple powerbook, this is perfectly feasable with even a 5 hour commute, additionally the pismo has a working sleepmode which will give one the range of something like 24hours for moving the laptop with-out bringing the system technically down.

    I think its you have have confused uptime with being tethered. I'm sure you know that unlike win##, you don't have to reboot to recofigure your network connection for your new subnet if you're using ... well just about anything else (any unix, MacOS 7.6 (and up), BeOS la la la).

    -Daniel

  • I have to third this opinion. HyperTalk was how I really got into the programming business (ok... Turtle Basic was my first). I remember in grade school a teacher gave us the magic square problem, and not being able to think it out on my own I spent a half hour creating a simple stack that let me brute force the solution (I moved the numbers around, and it did all the calculations). At that time there was no comparable language, and for getting a simple GUI, there still is no solution that is simpler to learn (for that it sacrifices complexity later on...).
  • Everytime I hear something about HyperCard these days I'm always astonished that it's still around. I haven't used it since 1987 or so, and then fairly quickly switched to FileMaker for similar tasks. What I remember however was a very wordy (AppleScript-like) language and a very limited window format. I admit it introduced me to the concept of events and event handling though...

    Could somebody tell me why it still is in use? No, really, this is a serious question: Why? What makes it better than for example FileMaker, RealBasic or AppleScript/Frontier?

  • by beerits (87148) on Friday March 30, 2001 @04:26AM (#328045)
    WTF? Apple will never open-source anything?
    How about Darwin or Quicktime Streaming Server? Or MkLinux. No apple never will open source anything.
  • I'm one of the ones who missed Hypercard, because when I got my first computer, my Mac IIvx (bless it's departed soul!) Hypercard wasn't bundled and I had to save for Code Warrior a few years later.

    I'd thought about writing my own hypercard replacement and GPL it, but I realized that hypercard is dead and should be dead, because it's the web that took it's place. The web makes it so easy to author many of the basic apps that hypercard did, that why should we make a replacement? Granted, it can't do everything, but you pay with features and you get portability and internet support. No, let hypercard rest, just bundle the fucking dev tools and an iTool that will kick the shit out of Frontpage express :-)

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by frankie (91710) on Friday March 30, 2001 @06:34AM (#328047) Journal
    Apple can't handle it. They need 100% control

    Silly troll. You're living way Way WAY in the past, and even then you were still wrong.

  • The mac veterns will miss it but don't bring obsolete software or an emulator to run HYPERCARD to OS X. In its current form, yes. It really needs a total rewrite, otherwise Apple will be wasting their time carbonizing it. The last version of HC is now hopelessly outdated.
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Friday March 30, 2001 @06:40AM (#328049)
    It's hard to quantify the amount of value that HyperCard added to the Mac. Most people who use computers are not so übergeek that they want to dive into C++, Perl, Java, etc.; just the opposite.

    HyperCard offered (for the first time and, perhaps, the last) a development environment that the average person could understand and work with, giving immeasurable power to the user community. That sounds like a pretty heady statement, but it's true. A somewhat small case-in-point was a Greek class that I was struggling through in my undergrad work; I was having a rough time keeping up with the vocabulary. Incredibly, I found an HC stack for Greek vocabulary drills that followed the same book we were using, written by a grad student at some other university. The author was not a programmer, and I think that it was safe to say that he never would have attempted something like that in BASIC. This was purely a work of the community that would not have existed otherwise.

    In fact, I ended up authoring my own stack for Hebrew that gave a basic introduction to the language, did vocabulary drills, and even spoke the vocabulary aloud using MacinTalk. Not being a programmer, I wouln't have known where to begin to author something like that without HC.

    Sure, there are better tools out there today for doing snazzier stuff; there were a lot of more advanced tools during HC's days, too. But what made HC a killer app for the masses was both its accesibility and its flexibility. And of course the fact that it came free on every Mac.

    Not coincidentally, HC came onto the market just as Microsoft was starting to put some distance between PC's and Mac's. The biggest argument for buying a PC (then and now) was, "The PC has thousands more apps available!" I think Bill Atkinson realized that putting a tool like HC in the hands of the average Mac user just completely deflated that argument. For almost any category you could imagine, if you couldn't find a commercial app to suit your needs, the chances were good that someone had already written an HC stack to fill the void. Or, it wasn't such an outrageous proposition to think that you could write one yourself.

    And therein lies another missed opportunity for Apple; creating a community of coders for the Mac. The Apple ][ had a very long life, I believe, because there was always a strong emphasis on programming it, and that emphasis gave rise to commercial authors who grew the software base. The Mac floundered in the mid 80's because Steve Jobs made it difficult to become a Mac developer; in 1984, you had to fill out an application and be approved before Apple would sell you their development kit (and don't even dare to suggest that you wanted to write games). Not surprisingly, Mac software development got off to a slow start.

    HC could have done for the Mac what AppleSoft BASIC did for the Apple ][. Created a community of "amateur" developers that would go on to become loyal, professional Mac developers. But unfortunately, CEO's Gil Ameilo and Jobs got all hung up on the fact that Apple giving HC away, rather than viewing it as an investment in the platform's future.

    HyperCard, as it now exists, is dead. I stopped using it years ago because its development path was just pathetic (e.g., the way color was handled was just totally bizarre). The app is dead, but the market it addressed still exists, perhaps now more than ever. If Apple would rewrite HC from the ground up, rebrand it, and GIVE IT AWAY (while still selling add-on packs, books, support, classes, etc.), they would have a tremendous investment in the Mac's future.

    Apparently, Jobs now understands the value of giving away apps, because he's giving away frivilous stuff like iTunes and iMovie (I say "frivilous" because, cool as they may be, they won't have the lasting impact that a consumer-level development tool would have). Now if only he could be convinced to see the long-term impact a new version of HC could have...
  • Did you miss this part?:
    It has been plugged in on my desk since about a month after I moved into the apartment

  • um... WebObjects is incredibly powerful, but comparing it to HyperCard is like comparing Visual Basic to BEA WebLogic - they're operating in completely different worlds.

    HyperCard is a development environment based on a card metaphor - it's designed for use on a Mac in a non-networked environment.

    WebObjects is an application server that is used to build database-driven Web applications that are, by definition, served to multiple client machines.

    BTW, WO 5 is due in May, the developer release is already out - it's a pure Java rewrite that will be deployable on any server OS that has a Java VM. Also, a totally revamped OS X Server is due at around the same time, and it should serve as an excellent development and deployment environment for WO.

    HyperCard was great - it's what got me into multimedia and web development, but Apple has limited resources, and they need to think about the future. Life goes on, RealBASIC is here, Cocoa is here.

  • If Apple fails to support HyperCard, how long do you think it will be before emulators or other software pop up that make it possible to run them? I'm guessing that it'll happen butt-quick. As is often the case, it only takes one nostalgic programmer to get the job done.
  • in 10 years, we can have the functionality of software that was obsolete 10 years ago.

    It's not obsolete if people still want to use it. If people have useful Hypercard stacks and don't want to give them up, who are you to say they are wrong?

    "If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid."

    steveha

  • Thy (the users, not Apple) should start work on an open source version. Expandable, modifiable and portable to all platforms. Of course, the latter of these probably scares those irrationally loyal Apple users a little too much

    Rich

  • the fact that its still in use speaks wonders about how far ahead of it's time it was

    I don't think so. It wasn't impossible to write useful software then and people are still writing useless software today. I think it's time that we lose the assumption that just because something's old, it's likely to be crap.

    Rich

  • Visual Basic may share a nomative similarity to the original basic but it is by no means the same thing. The original basic required very little understanding of how computers work. Visual Basic requires at least a cursory knowledge of advance modern architectures (event cues, OLE etc)

    Rich

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Friday March 30, 2001 @06:22AM (#328065) Homepage
    The dinosaurs were fossilized. You are thinking of Han Solo.

    Rich

  • And when you delete something from an MS-DOS window? Undelete could recover. Not the recycle bin.

    <attach name="rm.bat">
    @move %1 \trash\
    </attach>

    I used this batch file on MS-DOS back in the day. It still works.
    Syntax: rm foo.txt
    And foo.txt will be moved to your trash folder.

    If you don't believe, go rent a paltry month old game CD from Blockbuster and observe its condition.

    I assume you're limiting your topic to software for game consoles. It's against 17 USC 117(b)(1) to rent software for computers without an explicit license from the copyright holder unless the target platform is one marketed primarily as a video game system.

    So when I buy a game, I make a congressionally authorized (which preempts the game makers license) copy for $0.25. If the kids scratch that up after a while, no big loss. Burn another.

    Most game consoles do not use standards-conforming compact discs. For example, PlayStation stores some Mode-2 (2,336 bytes per sector) boot code on an otherwise Mode-1 (2,048 bytes per sector) partition; ISOs do not handle this. PlayStation 2 and VaporBox use DVD media; affordable DVD burners are not readily available. Dreamcast and VAPORCUBE use completely proprietary media; good luck even finding a burner.

  • The best part is that if it works on OSX it will almost certainly work on Linux.

    Not if the app is written to the proprietary Carbon API instead of to the POSIX+X11 API. Porting a Mac app to *N?X is not trivial.

  • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Friday March 30, 2001 @01:00AM (#328074) Homepage
    Slashdot is not an advertising resource for large companies - they didn't report on the launch of Windows 2000 either because, just like the launch of OS X, it wasn't necessary.
  • This is not necessarily good or bad, just expeditious...

    Think about it. OS X comes with a full suite of developer tools and they're said to be pretty damn good; they essentially serve the same purpose as Hypercard in a much less idiosyncratic manner.

    Also, why would Apple want to devote resources to a program maintained in hand-hacked 680x0 assembler, translated to PPC by a mechanical cross-assembler called PortAsm, and maintained and extended solely by extension modules (especially when they have an OS that already fits part of that particularly gnarly description :-) )? The best they could possibly do is rewrite the whole bloody mess from scratch, and they most likely have better things to do with their time.

    The best solution IMHO would be an open-source Hypercard sandbox. Start with someone willing to write a HyperTalk interpreter and go from there?

    /Brian
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:28AM (#328079)
    There have always been HyperCard lookalikes, such as SuperCard [incwell.com] , and MetaCard [metacard.com]. Maybe one of those companies could breathe some life into it.
    Maybe, also, it would generate more interest if it were a browser plugin.
  • Claris (Filemaker) Home Page 3.0 was a pretty darn good entry level visual editor for HTML and it too was abandoned by Apple/Claris/Filemaker. They stopped distributing it on Feb. 1st. I'd like to see it made available as Open Source instead of simply dying away.

    I'm not suggesting that it can hold a candle to Dreamweaver, but for teaching the basics to beginners, I have found that Home Page has next-to-no learning curve. Home Page 3.0 was also really big in the education sector, as it didn't cost an arm and a let ($59 academic) Yet it has some features lacking in the barebones editors like Netscape Composer (like the ability to create form widgets).

    I would imagine that Apple is scared of torquing-off any developers that have competing projects, but there is really no one left in Home Page's price catagory on the Mac. I think that is sad. How (in 2001) can you ship a product that does not give the user the ability to create web pages out of the box? (Okay, I know there's SimpleText -but you know what I mean!)

    Curious George

  • The problem with that is that Hypercard is mainly a development environment for people that don't want to program.

    Open Source projects are made up almost entirely of people who enjoy programming.

    So anybody capable of creating an Open Source Hypercard program would have little or no interest in ever using it.

  • Please send me an email about the Hebrew Hypercard stack you wrote... I'm interested.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • But why exactly is hypercard worth saving? Not a troll, I really want to know. Yes, I understand that it has a large installed base, but so did DOS at one point. Is hypercard really that groovy, that the technology just has to be migrated over. Again, I'm not trying to start an argument, but I'm MAC illiterate for the most part, with my interest in Apple mostly coming from my following the development of OSX. Help me out, O wise ones.
  • by mirko (198274) on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:08AM (#328090) Journal
    If they don't want to port it, why wouldn't they leave its source to some generous Geek?
    Hypercard has one elegant aspect, it is its simplicity.
    If many people have been using it for years, it is not because of something else.
    The problem is that we might have to wait for a very long time to see companies Open-Sourcing software instead of just abandoning it.
    --
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:17AM (#328092) Journal
    Your Windows 98 box has a security mode. I believe they named it "Power saving" or something.
    Your Linux box has a Commodore 64 emulator and Speccy emulator available. What more do you need?
    BeOS has many dozens of applications, and a version of Wine that has been known to run for several cycles before crashing.

    This is clearly the rambling of a troll who has no idea what the current state of the art is on any of these platforms.
  • I agree with your logic.

    The fact that I was modded down for having an opinion once again demonstrates how broken the moderation system is. Moderation is done based on the moderator's agree/disaggrement with the post -- and nothing else.

    One of my issues with Hypercard is that it is not that great of a development tool. I learned it over a decade ago. The code is easy to read. The syntax is difficult to learn. Documentation giving precise description of syntax is hard to find. Once you write it, it is extremely easy to read. If you maange to obtain an exhaustive explanation of what properties apply to what objects, you can become fairly productive. AppleScript, IMHO, shares similar problems.

    Essentially, developers can learn to program HyperCard. People who fundamentally can't program can read and somewhat understand HyperCard, but can't write it. They become a neverending nuisance to people who can write it. They never learn the precise syntax and semantics. This is, IMO, because people think that Hypercard just magically understands a computer-dialect of natural language English. They try to write free form English, as correct HyperTalk appears to be, and they can't get it to work. It's not as if it is a good learning language -- despite it's fantastic readability.

    My other issue with Hypercard is this; as soon as Hypercard was releasd, the BBS's were stuffed to overflowing with horribly engineered crapware containing the most gawd-awful code I've ever seen.

    Finally, Hypercard never realized it's full potential. It should have been updated to really support color, QuickTime, more widget types, a non-paint-only graphics orientation, etc. It was not possible to use Hypercard to develop a "real" mac program that was indistinguishable from a program written in C.

    So, I'm not sad to see Hypercard die. It was revolutionary. But like so many pioneering things, it provides insight in how to do something as well as insight into how NOT to do things.
  • If this makes some people realise that trusting your data to closed source applications is a bad idea, it'll be worth it.

    Hopefully someone will write an open source clone of Hypercard. And do it in a portable way, so it runs on Unix and MS boxes as well as Macs. Or Jobs will allow it to be open sourced.

  • "LOS ALTOS, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1989 OCT 27 (NB) -- The author of Zoomracks, a popular shareware program for the PC and Atari ST, has filed suit against Apple Computer, charging that its HyperCard software violates a patent he obtained on screen displays.

    "Paul Heckel of Quickview Systems in Los Altos, California, created Zoomracks in 1985. Available as shareware from such firms as PC-SIG, Zoomracks allows portions of information from various fields to be combined and displayed in an electronic version of file cards. Heckel won a patent for the design -- patent number 4,486,857. Two years later, the suit contends, the design showed up in HyperCard from Apple."

    [...]

    The rest is at http://ftp.unicamp.br/pub/lpf/patent.events [unicamp.br]

    I am the Raxis.

  • as I see it is the awareness that most Mac users, especially educators have of the product and the fanatical loyalty of HyperCard developers. That fanatical loyalty stems from what Hypercard originally provided, which was an entry level development environment that allowed absolute novices to feel like they could write an application.

    I don't understand why Apple doesn't come out with a new product, that they call Hypercard, that fills the same niche as Hypercard. Legacy Hypercard can run under 9.1, new Hypercard under OS X. The two sides don't have to have a thing to do with one another, besides namespace.

    I think it is incredibly fantastic that Apple is distributing developer tools with the OS, but my soon-to-be-five-year-old son has a long way to go before he is ready for C++ or Java. His nine year old brother is going great with Hypercard, though.

    Dave

  • Even if apple chooses not to support hypercard in macos X, i'd still like to thank apple especially the core group of programers that wrote the first version of hypercard. Hypertalk was the first language I learned and I feel that it taught me the core concepts of programming. Hypertalk featured an event driven instruction scheme that is similar to several programming api's in use today (gtk and qt come to mind.) It was one of the early languages to have "english like" syntax, and it used the idea of objects extensively. Later as I moved to C I still continued using hypercard through the of xcmd's. I still have my books somewhere, all dog-eared, riped and wrinkled. Thanks.
  • by vkt-tje (259058) on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:00AM (#328113)
    So I'll have to transfer all that to filemaker?
    Ow, how the users are going to looooove that...
  • "But HyperCard might be in danger of going the way of the dinosaur. With the launch of Mac OS X, unless HyperCard is 'carbonized,' it could be the beginning of the end."

    Simple answer. Open source it! Anything with enough support to form a user group has enough support to form a programming group about as well, and if the Apple folks don't want to bother to carbonize it I'm sure others will.
  • Hypercard is the reason I became a programmer. If not for hypercard I would have never found my love for programming, without it I would be a shapeless drifter bouncing from job to job. If hypercard dies I think I will just cry. Over the years I has ment so much to me. In college many of my peers could have benefited from the fundementals that hypercard taught me when I was a child, loops, variable types, control statements. Hypercard will be missed.
  • by aol (413245) on Friday March 30, 2001 @12:04AM (#328134) Homepage
    I can't understand why Apple would ignore user requests like this.
    No other maker of Operating Systems ever ignores user pleas. For example.
    My windows 98 box is bug free and secure just as I requested.
    My Linux box has the latest in gaming capabilities without any duplicate, incomplete, or beta software of any kind. Of course I run the standardized window manager. (As I requested)
    My BeOS box has a plethora of software available and runs Windows applications too! Just like I wanted!
  • by TheMonkeyDepartment (413269) on Friday March 30, 2001 @01:18AM (#328135)
    Hypercard was a great, easy-to-use, groundbreaking program. I once wrote a series of web server CGI's with it! (I passed info back and forth between Webstar and Hypercard by using Applescript.)

    But I sure couldn't recommend to Apple that they spend development dollars on renovating this program.

    First, what about the Cocoa / Interface Builder tool on OS X? Talk about powerful GUI building & rapid app development.

    Second, as others have mentioned, there are already plenty of third-party options that come close to (or surpass) Hypercard in function, power, and ease. Apple should instead spend a little money on convincing them to port their software to OS X, as opposed to spending money on porting Hypercard -- a very nice, but aged and now superfluous -- media authoring tool.

    -the monkey department

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