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Wherefore Art Thou, HyperCard? 64

Posted by pudge
from the hiding-under-the-newton-in-the-corner-har-har-har dept.
gwernol writes "Macintouch is running an interesting section on the end of HyperCard at Apple. The original discussion was on alternatives to HyperCard but several ex-HyperCard engineers have come forward to describe the 'Steve-ing' of the project. It's an interesting insight into the workings of this company and the fate of Bill Atkinson's revolutionary piece of software." And lamz writes, "Thousands of people still use HyperCard but it has stagnated under Apple's stewardship. Is it time for an Open Source HyperCard? Great article at Wired." My first Mac programming was in HyperCard. Those were the days ...
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Wherefore Art Thou, HyperCard?

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  • That was definitely my first "programming" exoerience, on an old SE I think it was, with a 5MB internal drive and a 20 MB external.

    I guess it's the end of an era...
    • Re:such nostalgia (Score:2, Interesting)

      by catwh0re (540371)
      you're so right about nostalgia, I remember many hours lost to playing MYST. ( A true reflection on how powerful a markup language it was.)
  • I didn't know it even ran on today's computers, let alone still used. What is so attractive about HyperCard that prevents people from using things like PowerPoint, or Director, or web-based solutions, or any other number of things?

    • by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatter@@@gmail...com> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:33PM (#4090836) Homepage
      "What is so attractive about HyperCard that prevents people from using things like PowerPoint, or Director, or web-based solutions, or any other number of things?"

      The simplicity of the whole thing.

      Back even as few as 5 years ago, I was using Hypercard as a front end to some of my C(++) projects. Myst is a good example of this, it is a hypercard frontend with extensive C++ programming in the form of XTNS (extensions). I used this to create a good deal of student testing applications for betas of computer adaptive testing (lots of intensive code that was VERY slow in scripting...probably run in perl or something else these days with ease though).

      Hypercard was one of the greatest programs I ever had the opportunity to use. Its far more than PowerPoint or Director. Its Powerpoint mixed with Director and then filtered through Access / MySQL / Whatever and then given an object oriented language that was very easy to use and understand even if you didn't have the manuals in front of ya.

      To be honest, until I started doing everything on the web, I used Hypercard as the frontend to all my softwares. Even after the web became useful, I STILL used it for CGI programming with Webstar on the Mac until I taught myself Perl and a half dozen other 'web' languages I use currently. With a few tweaks to the software, this COULD have been a contender with CGI programming on the Mac, but it was just confusing enough that the paradigm that HC users were use to was broken.

      clif
      • by lingorob (563531) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:56PM (#4090927)
        yeah, i think it must be simplicity. before i get into that, please don't ever use powerpoint and Director in the same sentence again.

        Director is incredibly powerful and versatile, but it is not simple. indeed, there have been many tools built into its interface in an attempt to make it immediately useable. however, there still exist countless anomolies in the interface logic, in Lingo (Director's scripting language), and in general workflow that cripple Director significantly.



        i am a Director developer, but more importantly, i teach an intro level Director class at the Art Institute of California. trying to communicate to undergrad art students what Director is and how it is used has shed much light on these problems for me.



        from what i understand (in terms of capabilities), Hypercard falls somewhere inbetween Director and powerpoint. i've heard accounts from other Director developers praising how intuitive they found Hypercard to be. i suspect that its gentle learning curve would make it an attractive alternative to someone unskilled in the field of multimedia.



        but i wonder how many folks who don't possess multimedia development skills would be required to develop something more complex than a powerpoint presentation.



        for those of us who develop complex multimedia apps, rapid dev software (prototype, etc.), and games, there is no viable option to Director. the steep learning curve is just a fact of life.

        • ...the beauty of Hypercard, which Director utterly, completely lacks, was the ability to just riff on simple applications. The Hypercard interface was set up so that you could be tweaking interface gadgets (in Fatbits!) and sending commands CLI-style through the message box, and dropping complex scripts in behind the scenes with such ease and intuition that it was sheer joy to work on Hypercard.

          Yes, if you invest the time and energy to map your brain to Macromedia's fussy interface, and are able to bridge the conceptual gap between the timeline and lingo control, and if you can wrestle away the demon of the "movie" metaphor, and if you can master the ESL-style gibberish of lingo, then you might be able to riff.

          I guess I would summarize as follows: Director is like a saxophone -- it makes lovely music, but has a steep learning curve and is a serious instrument. Hypercard was like a little casio keyboard -- anyone could pick it up and be riffing on the presets and the funny little keys in no time.

          ....(and I'm not even going to mention the fact that you used "powerpoint" and "director" in the same sentence) :P
      • The simplicity of the metaphor was inded the source of its power.

        I myself never used HyperCard. But I *did* use a clone called "ToolBook", from Asymmetrix, which was launched pretty much in parallel with Windows V3.1. The differences between the two were: HyperCard's metaphor was a stack of cards, while Toolbook was a book of pages. Toolbook also dealt with graphics in a different way, using color and beeing slightly deeper in terms of GUI object structure.

        Toolbook was wounded mortally by the introduction of Visual Basic...but before that happened I wrote some kick-ass medical writing assistant code in Toolbook that parsed a National Library of Medicine MedLine search into a set of cards...I mean...pages, let you tag, sort and search them in various ways, and pull the data on a page into a properly formatted bibliographic reference in a Word document, with the option of pasting the abstract in.

        So it wasn't just the Macinfolks that were having fun with this kind of stuff Way Back When.

        Toolbook tried to recast itself as a "multimedia tool"...I'm sure there's still folks using it somewhere too. But Gawdalmighty I'd rather be writing ToolScript on a web page than JavaScript. :-)
        • i used toolbook for a while myself.

          it was fairly intuitive, but not overly so.

          and it was not anywhere near as powerful as Director. like i said, for multimedia developers, there is no other viable alternative to Director. and even though i am a hardcore Director fan, that sucks. we need another alternative. but seeing macromedia's current business/financial disaster, i imagine not too many other companies are interested in getting into the market.

          other products have been introduced, but i haven't seen one get past vaporware. the most interesting one was called something like revolution or some shit. there are some quicktime based alternatives for which one could make a convincing argument. but quicktime? fuck off... it's got great features but its just not stable.

          if anyone reads this and knows of another product, PLEASE let me know about it. lingorob@cox.net. thanks

          • i used toolbook for a while myself.it was fairly intuitive, but not overly so.and it was not anywhere near as powerful as Director.

            Well, not to tread on anybody's Macromedia advocacy, but if I'm not mistaken, Director wasn't even a gleam in the milkman's eye on Intel platforms at the time I was using Toolbook to develop applications. The Toolbook runtime was bundled with Windows 3.0 in 1990. There wasn't even a Director implementation for Windows until 1994, although there was a player for Director movies (which had to be built on a Mac) before then.

            Originally Director and Toolbook were targeted at rather different application domains. When VB blew Toolbook out of the ad-hoc applications language box on Windows, "multimedia" was one niche Toolbook fled to. So was "courseware".

            But this just shows you how tenuous life as a "business partner" to MSFT can be. Even if you're Asymmetrix (which was founded on the proceeds of a MSFT stock sale by Paul Allen, as I recall)

        • I remember doing Novell CNE course material on Toolbox. I'm not sure if this was Novell sanctioned or just some 3rd party company. Probably the later.

      • Simplicity in itself...

        The hypercard scripting langugae (Hypertalk if memory serves) remains the only language I've used, where without a manual you could make a guess at what sounded logical and have valid syntax 90% of the time...

        Orthanc
  • A usefull link (Score:2, Informative)

    by muon1183 (587316)
    Here is a link to the apple site on hypercard [apple.com].
    Hypercard is basically a way to make slideshow like presentations and animations.

    I remember using this back in elementary school to make some quite impressive presentations. Those 10 year old presentations are still more impressive than the stuff powerpoint does.
  • ... is a way of creating hypertext docs with embedded logic. Like a scripted web site, only less accessible.
    • by King Babar (19862) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @11:55PM (#4091270) Homepage
      ... is a way of creating hypertext docs with embedded logic. Like a scripted web site, only less accessible.

      Well, it could be used like that, for sure. Every great programming idea out there seems to have at least one controlling metaphor that is so striking that you have to pay attention to it. Now, most people *think* the controlling metaphor of Hypercard is simply "life is a stack of cards!", but that is actually more of an implementational detail. In one of the Wired articles referred to in this thread, Bill Atkinson mentions explicitly what I always thought was true and obvious in retrospect: Hypercard "stacks" could have been spread over the network, and something eerily like the World Wide Web could have come on the scene at least 5 years earlier.

      Now what I think was the most important advance made by Hypercard was the idea that "Everything is an object or a message, and the way to handle messages in a GUI is via delegation, and you really don't need inheritance at all." Seriously, I think it is still hard to see how forward thinking Hypercard really was in this respect, until you browse some W3C documentation struggling to define how to handle user events in and around the DOM. In Hypercard, any object could handle any appropriate message itself and/or pass it up the chain to it's "enclosing" object, or pass it to any object of its choosing. (You couldn't always choose the first target of an event like "mouseup", but you could always delegate to the right object in the long run, which is key.) When given this much power, you could do almost any fool thing and that's what people actually did. So I remember when I first implemented EMACS-style editing commands for the message box in Hypercard (including a rudimentary kill-ring!); nobody had ever dreamed of doing anything so nutso, but there it was! I also remember starting on a chess tutor-like interface that would allow a novice to see all of the possible next moves for a piece; that never went anywhere under my power, but the proof of concept did impress a few people who had no idea you could do anything like this with software that came for free with your Mac.

      On the other hand, I can't write a complete love letter to Hypercard in this post since the memory of the thing immediately brings to mind the most hideous misfeatures of Hyper*Talk*, the language. Like the no real variables part, or the fact that you could not escape to a less verbose syntax, or the fact that since it lacked explicit "anchors" like HTML that some kinds of links were truly painful to construct... But HyperCard was there, and it was great, and now it's gone. And the real shame is that nobody in the Apple chain of command really knows why it was great: it was an astonishingly powerful programming environment that made some people absurdly happy and led to at least as many Apple hardware purchases in the late 80s as anything else. (Once somebody had a stack that did X, you were better off buying more Macs than trying to re-do X some other way...) That is just my opinion, of course, but any geek who delights in the fact that Mac OS X is basically just BSD under the Aqua seas might understand the glee of users who suddenly found out that they could do powerful object-oriented programming with a piece of "address book" software added to the system almost as an afterthought.

  • ASS (AppleScript Studio) is Apple's replacement for HyperCard. It uses Cocoa to do must of its job.
  • by gmhowell (26755)
    'Wherefore' means 'why'. "Why art thou, Hypercard?" Perhaps the worst grammatical mistake in slashdot history. Perhaps you meant "Where art thou, Hypercard."

    Shakespeare. Nifty new author. Worth a read. Heck, even the Mel Gibson movie of Hamlet might have given you a clue on this one.

    (OT, Flame, Troll, bleh)
    • Yes, I was going to say that too. It's amazing how common this mistake is - I teach college Freshmen and I don't think more than one in ten realize that Juliet is asking why Romeo has to be from the rival family - they all think she's trying to find him.

      I really would have hoped slashdot editors would know what "wherefore" means...
      • I had good English teachers in high school. Every time we did Romeo and Juliet (twice in English, once in drama, I believe), the first thing out of the teachers' mouths was "Wherefore means why."

        And this wasn't some fancy prep school. Just a plain, public high school in rural America.

    • by Naerbnic (123002)

      Actually, wherefore is a more specific word than our modern "why". My source for this is the book "Brush up your Shakespeare". Why can be used in two situations: to ask "For what purpose" or to "From what cause". The term "Wherefore" only means the former.

      I'm not sure about the entymology, but I belive it comes from Where = "At what location/time" and Fore = "In the future". So it would literally be asking for what time in the future was it necessary to name him Romeo. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

      • No. Even "for what purpose art though Romeo" sounds better.

        I guess that's why he's "The Bard" and I'm just a schlub.

        What else is in the book? Sounds interesting. (I picked up Asimov's book on Shakespeare when a local bookstore had a going out of business sale. I hope my son can use it at some point in the future.)

      • I'm not sure about the entymology . . .

        entymology is an almost homonym, almost spoonerism of what you meant to say: etymology.

        Etymology: An account of the formation of or development of a word and its meaning.

        Entomology: The branch of zoology relating to insects, I believe. Ants are very social and intelligent (in a hive/nest sort of way), but I'm pretty sure that ants do not have the word "wherefore" in their vocabulary. Check with E.O. Wilson just to make sure.

      • You can't split up "where" and "fore" like that for the etymology. I mean, you can for fun if you want, but it isn't accurate.

        "Where" in this case is being used like "whereby" or "whereas", and the "where" isn't necessarily referring to a location.

        And the "fore" probably was really "for" in usage. There is the alternative spelling of "wherefor".

        Modern German still constructs many compounds with "where" + preposition. They have a word for wherefore, and it is "wofür", with "wo" meaning "where" and "für" meaning "for".

        In this situation it makes more sense to think of "wherefore" as the questioning counterpart to "therefore". The word "therefore" is used to mean "for this reason or purpose" or "that is why".
      • Totally off-topic response:

        For the etymology of the word wherefore, see a good dictionary. The etymology given at MW10 [m-w.com] suggests that the second half of the word does not come from the meaning of fore that has to do with future events. Also, etymology is not the same as literal meaning. The meaning of wherefore is indeed "for what purpose"; it has nothing to do with times in the future.

        Desperate attempt to add a vaguely topic-relevant note to the above: some of my earliest experiences with getting cool stuff from the Net involved downloading copies of HyperCard stacks like "Monks With Macs" and Shakespeare plays.
    • 'Wherefore' means 'why'. "Why art thou, Hypercard?"

      I suggested the title of this article, and know full well what "wherefore" means. (I have a dusty old English degree.) Furthermore, I think that paraphrasing Juliet is entirely appropriate. I suspect that the relationship between Mac OS X and HyperCard is doomed, as was Romeo and Juliet's love.

      Perhaps the worst grammatical mistake in slashdot history.

      That's perhaps the most misdirected outrage in slashdot history!

      • I suggested the title of this article, and know full well what "wherefore" means. (I have a dusty old English degree.) Furthermore, I think that paraphrasing Juliet is entirely appropriate. I suspect that the relationship between Mac OS X and HyperCard is doomed, as was Romeo and Juliet's love.

        Okay, so the relationship is doomed. But I was always taught (and came to agree) that Juliet's question is why must my love be a Montague (or was it Capulet? It's been a few years.) Why not a Corleone or Smith? Then things would have been okay.

        As I see it, an understanding of your title in this context would be something like Apple saying "why does this great program come from us?!" (which is a rather incestuous version of Romeo and Juliet:) There's also the fact that while Juliet knew there was a great love that was doomed to fail, Apple's love seems to be long gone, and not something they much care about. Unfortunately, I'm not conversant enough in the bard to be able to offer up what I think is a more appropriate quote for my view of the situation.

        Perhaps the worst grammatical mistake in slashdot history.

        That's perhaps the most misdirected outrage in slashdot history!

        If tongue weren't planted firmly in cheek, I'd certainly be inclined to agree with you:)

  • by BoBG (9969) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:45PM (#4090876) Homepage
    I remember using HyperCard, what a joy. It was, at the time, the most rewarding time I had spend with a computer. It was as close to 'Do what I mean mode' as I believe to be possible with computers.

    It was even able to correct much of the damage to my would be programming career that years of BASIC had inflicted.
  • by Snafoo (38566) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:48PM (#4090894) Homepage
    (Although it remains to be seen if for the better.)

    My first computer was a Macintosh LC, and it wasn't actually mine. It was, of course, my father's (purchased at a steep discount, as he is a teacher, and the post-Boxing-Day sales crush was on) and was the first modern computing device our family could afford. We even bought the deluxe version of the '_L_ow _C_ost' Macintosh, whose extra ram bay had been stuffed and whose second floppy drive was now, at 40 mb, a veritable ocean of space. With the extra RAM and hard drive, it was capable of running -- if only just -- the shiny-new System 7.0, which came with a 'HyperCard Player'.

    I quickly mastered the ins and outs of every aspect of the UI. I knew how to set the colours of the window borders, the desktop background; I knew what to do when the sad Mac appeared; I was even friends with the mysterious and labyrinthine ResEdit, by whose agency one might transfigure the very type of a file.

    But I did not know code.

    Then, one autumn night, at around ten thirty --- I remember this clearly --- I was thumbing my way through an early edition of famously lighthearted tome called the 'Macintosh Bible',
    which casually (or in this case, perhaps 'causally') mentioned, somewhere in the back pages, that although System 7 ostensibly differed from earlier versions of the OS, which had come with 'complete' copies of HyperCard, Apple engineers had in fact been too lazy to write a 'read-only' Hypercard interpreter. The 'Hypercard Player' of System Seven was simply their most recent Hypercard development environment, saddled with an initialisation routine (a 'stack', in HC parlance) that perversely greyed out most of the interesting menu items. But even this paltry scaffolding of occlusion could be removed by clicking on the appropriate panel in the appropriate corner, and typing the following words in the resultant dialog box:

    'go magic'.

    System 7.1 came out a few months later, with a fully lobotomized 'Hypercard Player'. Had my parents held off just a few more weeks to buy that computer, I doubt that I would ever have taken up programming, and would neither know nor care about Slashdot or its comment forums. :)

    • Minor nitpick: LC stood for Lowcost Color.
    • And yet another circumvention device is posted on slashdot!

      the magic word that unlocked hypercard into the full version was widely publicized in its day - even in 'respectable' publications - the stuff that is now covered by the DMCA in all of its evil was once stuff that the first amendment protected. For shame, US Congress!

      And for hypercard of all things - the software that would one day inspire the world wide web.
  • Could someone with knowledge of Hypercard and HyperStudio comment on how these two projects relate to each other? I've been out of the Apple loop for a few years, and the school where I work has HyperStudio.

    I assumed that someother company bought the rights to HyperCard and changed the name. But I guess that's not the case. What's the difference between them?
    • As far as I remember HyperStudio is nothing to do with hypercard and superficially looks a lot like hypercard.

      But deep down, it doesn't have the flexibility. but it does have lots of candy coating.

      SuperCard is a much better heir to hypercard's throne
    • HyperStudio was (is?) a colorized imitation of hypercard. For the most part, it was much harder to use than hyper card, had a rather cryptic scripting language and wasn't quite as versitile. I prefer Hypercard with teh color toolkit.
  • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public@mac . c om> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @10:08PM (#4090967)
    "Wherefore" isn't a "ye olde English" way of saying "where". It means, what is the purpose or reason why? Thus, Juliet wasn't asking where Romeo was, but why did he have to exist, because their love was complicating her life.

    Therefore, this article title is inadvertently asking "Why Hypercard? What is the purpose of Hypercard?" Clearly Steve Jobs asked the same thing (likely with more expletives and in an upraised voice).

    Thus today, some people are left asking the question, "Where is Hypercard?"
    • Thus, Juliet wasn't asking where Romeo was, but why did he have to exist

      "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" is not really asking why he exists but rather "Why are you Romeo?". The problem with their relationship was that the love of her life belonged to the family of her father's enemy. Specifically, that he was Romeo.

      So that I'm not totally off topic, I will suggest that a more appropriate title for this article might have been "Whither Hypercard?"

      Devon

      • > "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" is not really asking
        > why he exists but rather "Why are you Romeo?".

        It could be either, but we're in danger of being attacked by rabid moderators if we elaborate at all.

        However, since "whither" is an adverb, a better question is, "Whither is Hypercard?"
  • I'm surprised . . . (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrRudeDude (450053)
    That no one has mentioned the infamous Dead Sea Scroll Decoding [sincity.com] which used hypercard. I think that was a great example of computers actually living up to the promise of the computer revolution -- if the Defense Department had used a super computer to do a complecated reverse mapping on an index of fragments, no one would be surprised. But the computer revolution put the tools of giant institutions in the hands of individuals, and with some simple tools to use them in powerful ways (i.e., hypercard) the results leveled the playing field.

    Too much of the rest of the computer revolution has not followed that promise.

  • Wherefore Art Thou (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Evro (18923) <evandhoffman@gma ... m minus language> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @11:00PM (#4091104) Homepage Journal
    Ok, this is offtopic, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

    People frequently use the word "wherefore" in an attempt to be poetic, inquiring where something is. Wherefore, however, does not mean "where", it means "why". When Juliet was lamenting "Wherefore art thou Romeo", she wasn't asking "Where are you, romeo?", she was asking "Why are you Romeo?", as in, "Why did you have to be a Montague, my family's sworn enemy?"
    O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

    Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
    Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
    And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

    -- Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2 [mit.edu]

    This is an error I see all the time, and it's understandable. I'm no Shakespearean scholar by any means, but it still irks me.
    • Do you realise you just justified the title? It's asking "Why did you have to be such a cool product that met such an ignoble fate?"
    • It's interesting that I, who have English as a second language, never ever thought that "wherefore" could mean "where". This is because the English word "why" in Swedish is "varför", pronounced almost like "wherefore". ... Hmmm what this has to do with HyperCard I don't know. But then that could be the "Hyper" in this. =)
  • Tie the HyperCard engine -with as FEW modifications or "improvements"- to regular HTML 4.0/DHTML compliant browsers as the UI.

    All of the advantages of good 'ol hypercard, and a universal model for I/O.

    the bastards will manage to screw this idea to hell, using XML and XSLT and all the latest word-salad acronyms that serve to distance ordinary people from approching these technologies.

  • by Lev13than (581686) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:35PM (#4093046) Homepage
    My first major project in Hypercard was in high school computer class (back in 1992). After learning Basic, Pascal and C++, in our final year we were allowed to choose any platform for our group work. We took a TV, a laserdisc player hooked up to an SE/30, a disc of the San Francisco earthquake and developed an interactive tool for teaching geography to Grade 9 students (our client was the geography dep't).

    Programming couldn't have been easier. I used ResEdit to pull the laserdisc commands from a HC stack which came with the player. To drive the disc we just called up the routine with timecodes in the argument to play the appropriate sessions on the TV. Plate tectonic theory diagrams were created in SuperPaint and pasted in. Adding a quiz was very simple, with the addition of a few randomised cards and a scoring routine.

    Considering that the school lab was otherwise full of 386s, it's hard to imagine how any of this would have been achievable given our timeframe and programming experience. It was a perfect example of how a quick&dirty interface tool can produce impressive, economical results.

    In another project, I used HyperCard to create a limited-access computer interface (a la Minifinder). I created a standalone HC stack, called it Finder and threw the real Finder out. This forced the stack to launch at startup. It then loaded a Mac/GUI tutorial and a card with buttons that launched the various applications on the computer. Quitting apps returned you to the stack. Quitting the stack restarted the computer. You could, of course, override it with a boot floppy but the tool was actually used by the school to help lock down the computer.

    These two uses show just how versatile the deceptively simple application was (is). Unfortunately that's also its big weakness, since Apple has always had such a hard time explaining just what the program does.
  • Seems to me that both Macromedia Director [macromedia.com] and Revolution [runrev.com] are offspring of the original Hypercard.

    As a matter of fact, I believe that Revolution can import Hyper/Super stacks with pretty decent accuracy -- plus dig the development and deployment platforms: [snip]

    Revolution supports these platforms for both development and deployment:

    * Mac OS 7.1 and later
    * Mac OS X
    * Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000
    * Unix flavors including:
    * Linux (x86 and PPC)
    * Digital UNIX
    * BSD
    * HP-UX
    * SGI IRIX
    * SCO Open DeskTop/UnixWare
    * Solaris (x86 and SPARC)
    * SunOS
    [/snip]

    Compare that to the Win32/MacOS Classic support in Director. Yeah, yeah... there was an OS/2 runtime environment for Director 4. But it never worked as well as running Dir 4 executables in Win compatibility mode.

    Having used Director as my primary development platform during my "budding" years as a programmer, I'd be willing to bet that most people have absolutely no idea how powerful it is. I never came across a project that required more than it could deliver -- with the exception of the odd Xtra/Xobject.

    In recent years, Director has started getting WAAAY too bloated, and the performance is down to a crawl -- on the Mac platform at least. Does anyone really use the 3D extensions that 8.5 provided?

    I'm not even going to talk about how slow MM has been to carbonize Director, either.

    Nope. Not gonna talk about that.

    I've played with Revolution a bit recently -- specifically because it doesn't require the purchase of the authoring environment for multiple platforms if you wish to deliver on multiple platforms. I've been pretty impressed by it, and the company.

    There's something to be said for supporting small Scottish companies with a sense of humour.

    I have to say -- if I'm writing data-parsing utilities for my own/internal use -- I can get the job done in a fraction of the time (minutes vs. hours/days) using one of these tools vs perl/php or full-blown C projects.

    This class of tools (and now Flash with Actionscript, and RealBasic I'd assume) is responsible for being the "training wheels" for oodles of budding programmers and shareware authors -- and the community support for this type of tool is awesome. Comparable with the PHP community.

    Definitely worth a look if you're wanting to learn the basics of programming without having to deal with OS-level display toolboxes and the like.

    • Seems to me that both Macromedia Director [macromedia.com] and Revolution [runrev.com] are offspring of the original Hypercard.
      Actually, Director predates HyperCard by some time - it was introduced at roughly the same time as the original color Mac (the Mac II), in early 1987. It was descended from MacroMind Videoworks, which may well have been the very first real multimedia application anywhere.

      HyperCard was unveiled at the Boston MacWorld Expo (I was there), I believe it was in '87. That's still the only environment in which I've ever successfully written a releasable application. I wrote a lotto picker that could be customized for various state games, and I wrote a guitar trainer. They were crude, but nifty.

      I also used it to do a multimedia resume which I used to send to prospective employers on a floppy disc - there were a lot more Mac-based offices back then.
  • I have to say, I probably wouldn't have my $50/hour programming job if I hadn't discovered HyperCard in 6th grade. My friends and I would spend hours and hours making whole interactive games on it. It got me interesting in programming. It was fun, and as it turned out, profitable.
  • Many, many years ago, when I was wandering through Xerox PARC for the first time, this one guy insisted on showing me this hack he'd put together in LISP (probably Interlisp) for filling out his Travel Expense Reports. He hated TERs because they're fussy and boring, so he'd created a system that let him create blank reports with rules, sort of like a generalized spreadsheet.

    He called them Hypercards. Apparently this grew into quite something later, at Apple. Not bad for a hack for Travel Expense Reports.
  • I'm all for it. I loved hypercard and still occasionaly dabble with my old copy of it. I would love to see it opensourced (though it was fairly open in terms of people being able to develop ad-ons) and given back the mac community beefed up and ready to go.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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