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HyperCard Gone for Good 187

Second to Last HyperCard Goddess writes "HyperCard has finally been removed from the Apple website. Read some comments about the passing. I read about HyperCard's demise on the RunRevolution list. It's pretty sad; the unexpected part was that it remained for sale at the Apple Store for six years without an update. Although we've all moved on, we'll certainly miss it." I won't.
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HyperCard Gone for Good

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  • I remember hyperstudio, which seemed to be hypercard lite with multimedia stuff added.

    Maybe there's a Free project underway?
    • by attonitus ( 533238 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:41PM (#8726762)
      Maybe this: FreeCard []?

      Don't know anything about it - just followed the links.

    • by ksdd ( 634242 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:45PM (#8726812)
      Maybe none of these could be called "replacements." Perhaps "spawn of HyperCard" would be more appropriate:
      1. Runtime Revolution []
      2. SuperCard []
      3. PythonCard []

      There may be others...

      • The one we used for one of our classes was MetaCard [] which is a cross-platform Hypercard with more features like color.
        • The one we used for one of our classes was MetaCard which is a cross-platform Hypercard with more features like color.

          After coexisting for a few months eventually Runtime Revolution brought the rights and code for the Metacard engine and from Scott Raney of Metacard. So Metacard became Runtime Revolution.

          RunRev is not 'buggy' it has bugs but it also as a very active development team working on removing them. Not quite as good as when Scott was The Man when support was second to none but far far better th

      • 1. RunRev is bugge (last I heard anyway)
        2. Supercard is payware
        3. Pythoncard is Uuuuugly

        Hypercard was unique in a way that it was free, super-stable and totaly intuitive.
        But most of all, it never ever pretended to be a GUI builder for any app and the kitchen sink. It was a fun tool. An application to just play around with and by miracle pump out insanely great applications. The screenshots of pythoncard & supercard for instance make it look like it is yet another tool to make adressbooks & mor
        • HyperCard wasn't ever free. HyperCard Player was free, but you couldn't go past level 3 (i.e., no Scripting/Authoring).
          • HyperCard was free in terms that it was bundled with every Mac for quite a while. I still have two copies - one that I bought as a retail version and one that came with the Mac SE I bought afterwords, because HyperCard was not too useful without a hard disk.

            Gorgeous tool, btw. I mean, show me another database application that you can build a breakout clone with just by moving text fields and buttons. :))

    • Take a look at SQUEAK [].

      From their site:

      What is Squeak? Squeak is an open, highly-portable Smalltalk-80 implementation whose virtual machine is written entirely in Smalltalk, making it easy to debug, analyze, and change. To achieve practical performance, a translator produces an equivalent C program whose performance is comparable to commercial Smalltalks. Other noteworthy aspects of Squeak include real-time sound and music synthesis written entirely in Smalltalk extensions of BitBlt to handle color of a

  • by SewersOfRivendell ( 646620 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:34PM (#8726671)
    What killed HyperCard? Shunting it off to Claris, where it languished. Lots of good applications with plenty of future potential were killed at Claris, not least of them being MacWrite, MacPaint, MacDraw. Damn shame.
    • by skwirlmaster ( 555307 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:50PM (#8726873)

      Its funny, I just presented an article on UI prototyping tools yesterday. I included Hypercard, although even my sources from 1996 said it was dying then. I made note of it of course, but I didn't think it would be dead the next day.

      I originally found this on ACM, but most of you probably don't have access so here it is:

      User Interface Prototyping: Concepts, Tools, and Experience []
    • Not to mention Claris/AppleWorks itself, which hasn't had a real update in more than three years...

      Thank goodness FileMaker got spun off into its own company before it was nixed, too!
      • Hey hey, AppleWorks isn't dead *yet*, a copy of it came with my flat-panel iMac, along with a ton of other useful software. Appleworks now includes a "Paint" document type which looks suspiciously like "what ever became of MacPaint" so I'm not sure it's right to say MacPaint is dead, either.

        My 2-year-old loves to use the Paint part of AppleWorks. He does so with one of those "hard-to-use" one-button mice.

        • AppleWorks's various modules are decendants of the individual applications: MacWrite, MacDraw, MacPaint, and FileMaker. Though FileMaker has now far surpassed anything AppleWorks Database offers. When ClarisWorks first came out, the word processor wasn't quite as full featured as MacWrite Pro, and I imagine the modules were the same way.
        • The only reason AppleWorks isn't dead is because there isn't anything better in the same price bracket. TextEdit still doesn't have all of the style features to make it a full-fledged word processor (and shouldn't, IMO); Keynote, FileMaker, and MS Office are all full-scale applications that cost a crapload of money.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:32PM (#8728802)
      In my opinion, the first and fatal blow to hypercard was when the full version was removed from the system software releases. When it was included with every single macintosh shipped, it promoted the idea that anyone could be a programmer. Anyone could build a tool useful at least to themselves and make their work on the computer more productive. It didn't matter if it was adding a field to the address book, copying a button with a canned script into a new stack, or adding new handlers to the home stack.

      Everyone had the tools available to them, everyone could share their work. (It was also fertile ground for viruses, but lets ignore that for the moment. I don't want to speak ill of the dead.) Everyone could peak into the source of a stack and see what was going on.

      When Apple started shipping "Hypercard Reader" with the systems for the "users" to have and requiring people to choose to be "developers" and buy the development environment from Claris, Hypercard lost its purpose.

      Everything since then has just been a slow decline.
      • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:50PM (#8729048) Journal
        It may have been fertile for viruses, but as I recall there was only one hypercard virus.

        The fun thing about the reader was that it was actualy the full application, it just had a crippled home stack. If you got the regular stack and the ad-ons you could make it the full version.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          There was more than one. See HyperCard Virus Compendium []

          Early versions of the reader were the same code but with a stack that had a white image covering buttons to switch to the Authoring and Scripting levels. For those, you could enable the extra levels by typing "magic" at the message window. I don't think that worked for the Hypercard 2.2 reader. It really couldn't switch to the upper levels.

      • When it was included with every single macintosh shipped, it promoted the idea that anyone could be a programmer. Anyone could build a tool useful at least to themselves and make their work on the computer more productive.

        I may be way off here (I bought my first Mac last year, and I've never used HyperCard), but do you not think the AppleScript studio included with OS X does the same thing?

      • Absolutely agreed. I work in publishing, I'm not a programmer, but I cobbled together some Hypercard stuff to parse exported data from Quark Xpress pages and prepare them for online use. Everyone was impressed and it saved us a LOT of time. Would I have bought a dev environment? Never because, of course... I'm not a programmer.
    • I loved Emailer! That's got to be the best MUA I've ever used, at the time. Of course now it's missing features like Bayes classification but still... Emailer was great. I bought a copy of Powermail just because it reminded me so much of Emailer.
      • Claris Emailer / Claris Organizer was a strong combination, made all the more powerful when Palm conduits were made for them. Too bad they stopped when they did.

        I had one person tell me that the Outlook Express client for the Mac was written by the Emailer development team, but was never able to confirm...
        • I can't confirm-confirm that, but I have heard the same thing. OE 4.5 did bear a striking similarity to Emailer.

          We got a 250-seat license for Emailer with Appleshare IP 5.0. Then my evil moron of a boss (bad combination) bought a 50-seat license for QuickMail Pro literally on a fucking golf course. Naturally I had to deploy THAT piece of crap instead of Emailer, or the boss would have wasted money. Moron.

          I hate three pieces of software: QuickMail, PowerPoint and Quark Xpress. Where I am now, my first task
        • Re:Emailer!! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MsGeek ( 162936 )
          Claris Organizer lives on...for the Classic MacOS version of Palm Desktop.

          I don't know about the MacOS X might have some Claris Organizer code, it might not. I'll soon find blue-and-white G3 will be Pantherized soon.

          A lot of Claris developers (developers! developers! developers!) wound up at Microsoft Mac Business Unit. No fooling. I wouldn't be surprised if there were Emailer developers involved in Outlook Express for Mac.
  • by schmoli ( 105622 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:35PM (#8726691) Homepage
    While I used it all the time in middle school, I had managed to completely forget that this application ever existed. All of a sudden I wish I could look at all the games and stuff I used to make with this. I think after learning basic this was the next 'programming' language/tool I ever used.
    • Back in high school, I used Hypercard to shut down At Ease and gain access to the regular OS and play Crystal Quest of a floppy, or fool around with our video capture card. The one hack I figured out for myself.
    • I miss it too. I used to stay up all night making things with HyperCard. When I was just learning it I made my first stack -- it had a line drawing of a naked girl and when you pushed invisible buttons on her body it made noises and played screen effects. Really dumb. But it got me into it, and I made stacks that were really useful, including a database application that helped me manage information about students in my classes (I was a grad instructor at the tim) including grade information, which would
    • Don't forget. The original Myst was completely written in HyperCard (with lots and lots of XCMDs!)

      I don't know if that's still the case -- probably not.

  • Well, I'm clueless, what is/was it?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Essentally a gimmick. Early versions of the Mac were shipped with playing cards (the Ace of Spades with the original 128k Mac IIRC, Queen of Clubs with the 512k, Prince of Hearts with the Mac Plus, etc, etc.)

      After the Mac II, they quit with this, and there was a bit of a backlash. Some joker (no pun intended) then came out with "Hypercards", Mac-style cards soaked (supposedly) in caffeine (to reflect the improved performance over the older Macs.) These took off like wild fire. Eventually the idea was boug

    • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:58PM (#8726963) Journal
      Basicaly it was something like powerpoint with scripting and full user interaction. You could write games, animations,and whatever else you wanted tutorials, presentations, interactive demos. Very powerful, very small, very cool. It was also a decent intro to basic programing with seperate functions and such.
      • by SewersOfRivendell ( 646620 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:51PM (#8727497)
        Other points:

        It was actually a nice introduction to object-oriented programming. Everything was addressed as an object, and events were passed as messages sent to objects.

        HyperTalk, the HyperCard programming language, was the predecessor to AppleScript. Lessons learned from HyperTalk were factored into the design of AppleScript, in particular the langauge extensibility features. As a result, AppleScript suffered somewhat from second-system effect.

        A lot of people also used HyperCard as a database. Many tasks that people use FileMaker Pro for today could be done with HyperCard.

        • by Radiola ( 86603 )
          I learned programming on HyperCard. Everything essential was there: loops, conditionals, variables (local by default, global if you declared it such), subroutines, and a pretty powerful object orientation.

          I wrote a stack for the newspaper I once worked for, that took the daily nationwide temperature reports and massaged them into something suitable for printing. I was rather proud of that at the time.

          The object orientation even included inheritance, of a sort. There was a handler (HC's term for method) ca
      • Ugh. too many people think of it as a game or presentation tool.

        HyperCard had REALLY powerful features that made it ideal for building ledgers, contacts databases, tools to run Scout Troops, take computerized tests in schools, etc.

        My dad still runs his business on HyperCard, he designed the stacks he uses back in the late eighties, and the format is so amazingly extensible.

        You culd write front-ends for very complex things easily and without knowing much more than natural language. Today the tools that le
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:48PM (#8727463) Homepage Journal
      In some ways, HyperCard is (er was) analagous to Logo, only oriented towards persistent data rather than graphics oriented. By that I mean it is an entry level, interactive programming system that encouraged setting small incremental goals and giving immediate feedback (and satsifaction). Since it was data oriented, it was very useful on a day to day basis.

      Data was oriented into "stacks" of "cards". Each card was of a certain design (I forget the HyperCard terminology), which basically consisted of a number of layers on which objects were placed. Widgets, layers, cards and stacks had scripts associated with them and could interact by message passing (or somethign like that - it's been ten years now). Layers could be turned off and on providing a rough and ready way to reorganize the interface based on user interaction. Data was kept in "fields" which are UI widgets and represent, roughly speaking something like a table schema. However things were pretty loosy-goosy -- a card in abstract a card is kind of like a hash which has data slots created by the card design's field UI elements. The reason I bring this up is that you could add new fields and widgets to an individual card if need be.

      You could put these elements together in various ways. For example you could treat a stack sort of as a database tightly bound to UI (like Filemaker - very good for non-experts although obviously not scalable). In this kind of design each card design was kind of like a table and each card was kind of like a row, and each field is kind of like a column.

      Or, you could use the elements in various ways; maybe creating a single card stack whose job was to control a laserdisc, or be a calculator, or some such thing.

      My wife used a one card HyperCard stack at work to manage her to do list. Each item was kept on a line of a text control. Being the kind of person she is, she had several hundred lines of things on her to do list, each prepended with a numerical priority. When it came time to sort (on these 16MHz 68000 machines) it took over a minute to sort. I remember replacing the bubble sort with a shell sort to get the sort time down to something like 15 seconds.
      • I remember replacing the bubble sort with a shell sort to get the sort time down to something like 15 seconds

        ehm.. ever heard of quicksort [] ?
        • Yep. One of my favorite soft algorithms.

          Note that quicksort has a pretty significant worst case: when the data is already sorted. Pretty common case unfortunately.

          Really there's no such thing as a sort algorithm for every purpose.
  • Open Source (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrBlackthorne ( 722062 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:45PM (#8726808) Homepage
    Apple should really think about releasing the source code and letting the OS community take it over. HyperCard was a great development environment, and I really think it influenced the way current environments work. HyperTalk was the first language that I learned on the Mac, and it was my second overall language, first being AppleSoft BASIC. Rick
    • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

      by deleuze ( 199965 )

      Rumors are that there is a very advanced search technology inside of HyperCard :-D. Remember, you could to full-text searches in your stacks at an amazing speed for the technology at this time?

      Then there were plans to integrate a color-HyperCard into QuickTime (i think it was QuickTime 3.0), which would be the flash-killer today. I once implemented a windowing-interface complete with mouse-triple-click handlers and drag and drop, all in HyperTalk.

      Awesome. Sad. Good Bye HyperCard.

      The remainings can be

      • I would look at Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming Volume 3 Chapter 6 to find information about string searching. I bet that Hyper-Card uses a combination of algorithms in that chapter.
    • Re:Open Source (Score:4, Interesting)

      by moof1138 ( 215921 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @05:15PM (#8729371)
      I read somewhere that this was brought up at a WWDC session at one point, and an Apple dev explained that "we dont want to use Open Source as dumping ground for dead technology."
      • by punkass ( 70637 )
        How's that phrase go? "One man's dead technology..."
      • "we dont want to use Open Source as dumping ground for dead technology."

        Um... why not? Seems like a great use for both Open Source and "dead technology" to me.

        I seem to remember hearing something about Unix being dead at some point in the past :)
    • Apple should really think about releasing the source code and letting the OS community take it over.

      One problem: Jobs wants HC dead which is really sad. When HC came out it blew me away. It was fun and mildly productive. People did some pretty cool stuff with it. People that never programmed before and many that haven't programmed since.

      Because of all the low level XFCN stuff I don't know how well it would translate to cross platform life but allowing the open use of the langauge would be a good start.

    • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MouseR ( 3264 )
      Giving away the source code of HyperCard would give away the back-end to AppleScript's OSA architecture. It's not something they want to do.

      Not that cloning this is not feasible, it's "safer" for Apple to keep it shush.
  • Six Years? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:53PM (#8726907) Homepage Journal
    It's pretty sad; the unexpected part was that it remained for sale at the Apple Store for six years without an update.

    Being in the market for a new PowerBook (and waiting anxiously for new revisions), this is a truly terrifying statistic.
  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:06PM (#8727048) Journal
    I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Rolodex/Programming tool Hypercard was found dead in it Cupertino, California home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss it - even if you didn't enjoy its output, there's no denying its contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
  • >the unexpected part was that it remained for sale at the Apple Store for six years without an update. Although we've all moved on

    you followed diligently for 6 years! and didn't give up hope that it may be updated!

    i'd say you are gonna have a tough time moving on... good luck. :D

  • I'll miss it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:16PM (#8727157) Homepage Journal
    The only "software" I ever created from scratch was HyperCard-based. I built a guitar tuner and a lotto game player (input state rules to a randomizer), both of which got a decent number of Compuserve downloads back in the day. I also used to hand out a version of my resume as a browsable stack, which was kind of cool and helped me get a few Mac-related jobs as well.

    Of course, I stopped writing stacks entirely by about 1991 or so, and haven't written more than a shell script since. But I still have fond memories of it as a tool and environment. It's a pity that HyperCard died when it did (really about 10 years ago), but it was always the "neither fish nor foul" of Apple products.

    That and Pippin.
  • Dead? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gropo ( 445879 ) <groopo@ya h o o . com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:22PM (#8727224) Homepage Journal
    My dad [] still uses the Hypercard Address Book stack under Classic. I keep urging him to take the time to transcribe the hundreds of entries so something uh, more... XML-ey [] :P His main gripe is that there's no cheap/free "dial selected number with the modem" augmentation available--freeware, OSS or otherwise.

    On a side note, my good friend recently joked about a 'skinny' port of Hypercard for the iPod. GID input might be a pain, though scrolling through buttons/fields might work?

    • Doesn't MacOS X's Address Book let you click on a telephone number and choose to dial it from a pop-up menu?
      • Doesn't MacOS X's Address Book let you click on a telephone number and choose to dial it from a pop-up menu?
        No, it simply allows you to see it REALLY REALLY BIG so you can reach all the way over to the touchpad and kick it oh-so-20th-century 'monkey action' style :P
    • This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it's close. From AddressBook help:

      Dialing your cell phone

      If both your computer and cellular phone are Bluetooth-enabled, and you have paired both devices using the Bluetooth pane of System Preferences, you can use Address Book to place outgoing telephone calls.

      Click any phone number label, such as "home," on an address card.
      Choose Dial from the pop-up menu, then use your cell phone to listen for the person you're calling to answer.

      Click the Bluetooth bu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      (* Written by Cecil Esquivel
      Requires DialModemOSAX from Javier Diaz Reinoso
      J avier Diaz-Reinoso <>
      Place this script in ~/Library/Address Book Plug-Ins/
      property national_prefix : "1"
      property international_prefix : "011"
      property length_of_local_number : 8 -- number of characters in a local number (no prefix needed to dial). Include dashes.
      property my_version : "v1.0"

      on prefixed_num(num)
      if first character of num is "+" then
      -- if numbe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:41PM (#8727404)
    we'll certainly miss it." I won't.

    *sigh*. It's easier to be negative that positive isn't it? And so I'll be likewise: maybe we don't care if you do or not Pudge. I certainly remember it fondly. And as someone who uses "classic macs" for fun, find it a very convenient tool to still use. So let the rest of us have our say.
    • I agree. I used to fool around in hypercard and enjoyed looking at other people's hypercard creation. It was a good introduction to programming, as you could usually see how a stack was made and easily test/modify what the script did.

      Pudge won't miss HyperCard, CmdrTaco thinks the iPod is lame. At least Jon Katz got fired.

    • Yeah, really. HyperTalk was my first programming language. Significant portions of my childhood were consumed by writing openCard handlers and making useless but fun stacks. So Pudge, do us a favor and cram it.
  • Myst (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DavidLeblond ( 267211 ) <me.davidleblond@com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:50PM (#8727483) Homepage
    I was surprised while reading about the death of Hypercard (like 3 days ago, way to stay on top of things Slashdot) to find that Myst was written in Hypercard.

    Not that Myst is anything special, I hated that damn game. But still, its interesting to note.
    • While it certainly could have been, I doubt that it actually was. Maybe it was prototyped with hypercard, because to my knowledge Hypercard never ran on windows-based systems...
      • .3.html []

        It's been known for a while that Cyan used Hypercard.
      • It was made with HyperCard.

        I don't think Apple's HyperCard ever ran on Windows, but I know there were plenty of HyperCard clones that did. They probably ported it to one of those for the Windows version.
        • Re:Myst (Score:2, Informative)

          by Meowing ( 241289 )
          I don't think Apple's HyperCard ever ran on Windows, but I know there were plenty of HyperCard clones that did. They probably ported it to one of those for the Windows version.
          The PC version used Macromind Director. Director's Lingo bears a strong resemblance to Hypertalk, and porting wouldn't be so horrible.
      • Re:Myst (Score:5, Informative)

        by shane_rimmer ( 622400 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:49PM (#8728233)
        Straight from the horse's mouth []
        Graphics and Construction tools:

        HyperCard (Apple)
        Think Pascal (Symantec)
        Photoshop (Adobe)
        Premier (Adobe)
        Illustrator (Adobe)
        Painter (Fractal Design)
        Morph (Gryphon Software)

        Images and animations were modeled and rendered on six Macintosh Quadras using StrataVision 3d by Strata, Inc.

        HyperCard was colorized using a proprietary version of Symplex System's HyperTint, written by John Miller.

        • I remember stealing the HyperTint XCMD out of something (I think it was one of the Atlas CDs that would Sad-Mac some computers if it was in during boot) for a teacher's presentation.
  • by karnat10 ( 607738 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:53PM (#8727508)
    HyperCard was waaaay ahead of its time. Years before the common user knew about HTML, JavaScript, or Wikis, all those concepts were already beautifully united in HyperCard. Well, the network was missing, but it was already WYSIWYG (en contraire to today's Wikis).

    Seriously. I learnt to know HyperCard like 15 years ago and developed some nice applications, and I haven't used it again until recently, and then I was like saying: Wow, shit, it was all there already!

    It wasn't perfect though because only a few people had macs, and I think it was too intuitive and required too much creativity from average Joe (OK, mod me down for my arrogance, come on, come on, give it to me, yeah)

    Wars are God's way of teaching Americans geography.
    • Absolutely right. Not to mention something Apple seems to have always overlooked: for a lot of people, HC was the only way they could *program* their Mac, hack it.
      It was for me. Even though I was learning Pascal and C in school, HyperCard was free, THINK Pascal/C were expensive. HC was simple to use, the Inside Mac API was horrendous. I knew people that traded free/shareware HC stacks: it was easy to learn from other people's code. People that *got it*, LOVED IT. It was great.
      It's not until years later when
    • HyperCard was waaaay ahead of its time.

      Yup, and so was Hypertalk. PHP and Perl brag about type-less variables, but few people realize that Hypercard was released almost around exactly the same time Perl was. While Perl took years to take off, Hypercard(and hence Hypertalk) were a near instant success; it used to be that a HUGE percentage of software on Infoman was hypertalk based, and people did some astounding things with it(there was an entire BBS coded in Hypertalk, for example.)

      Among other things,

  • by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:42PM (#8728109) Homepage
    I can't believe that Hypercard was still was just recently killed. I always thought that Hypercard was WAY more powerful than people let on. It was really the Mac OS of programming. On the surface level, it was an easy to use, fairly limited, programming environment. What most people didn't know though is that Hypercard was capable of just about anything any other language could do at the time. The "guts" of Hypercard were hidden from the user (and most programmers), but with some effort you could have a tool that was flexible as hell.
    • I totally agree. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned in this discussion was the way it could be extended by little compiled widgets called XFCNs and XCMDs. If HC didn't have some piece of functionality that you needed (or it was to slow when implemented as HyperTalk) you could whip one of these up in C or Pascal, stick it in the resource fork of a stack (or the HC app itself for global access) ,and call it from your scripts just like any other function or command. Allowed you to use compiled code where
  • by nvrrobx ( 71970 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:56PM (#8728344) Homepage
    I had a teacher when I was in 7th grade (1990?) that used a Laserdisc player, Hypercard and a projector to teach us life science. All of his lectures revolved around that setup. That was my first major exposure to a Mac. He had the Mac controlling the Laserdisc player and everything. Hypercard will be missed.

    The closest I ever really saw to Hypercard on the PC was IBM Linkway. I played with it briefly, and it just couldn't compete with Hypercard.
  • I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @05:00PM (#8729193) Journal
    It always struck me as odd that Apple kept hypercard around all these years, after all even Appleworks got more updates, and given that when Apple moved to OS X, they killed off a lot of calssic stuff (and steve's declaration of the death of classic) it seemed odd they would keep it arround.

    I wonder if we may see the next generation of hypercard from Apple in the near future? Something like that would be an awsome addition to OS X, and it seems to me like it could be Apple's iLife version of Keynote.
  • Okay, I'm not supersmart like the rest (well, most) of you. I'd like to do some simple programming to make stuff, but I have no idea where to start, what language to learn, etc. I know basic HTML, but that's it.

    So I have some questions on this Hypercard...I assume it's Mac (and OS9) only? Is it really outdated or something? Will somebody come out with something similair (is there already?) or would it be worth using today?
  • by highbrow ( 716454 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:35PM (#8731780)
    I have always seen HyperCard as a great opportunity lost by Apple.

    I had my first development job in 1993 producing university teaching materials using Hypercard & Quicktime. Back in those days developing using a Mac only product wasn't a problem, as the majority of our labs were Mac anyway. As Apple as a platform slumped in the mid-90's people's expectations changed- they wanted things to run on PC too.

    All that needed to happen was to produce a Windows runtime, and Apple could have maintained a stranglehold on straightforward multimedia creation. No-one's saying it was a great tool, but as a simple mechanism to convey rich content to users, it couldn't be beaten.

    Why Apple never dedicated the resources required to do this I will never know- perhaps it was so tied to Quickdraw that a port would have amounted to a complete rewrite... there were rumours too that playback was going to be built into QuickTime, but perhaps that was just wishful thinking.

    Anyway, it never happened, and it was pretty obviously after a few years of point upgrades that it was never going to.... the lame way that colour was bolted onto the original 1 bit code (using a plugin or XCMD) didn't bode well for where the product stood in Apple's priorities.

    I tried SuperCard, which at least natively supported colour and multiple windows, but the end result could still only be run on a Mac. The product changed owners so many times, it never boded well, and a Windows player or, better still a plug-in (Roadster, anyone?) were always just around the corner.....

    So I, and many others I imagine, moved to MacroMind Director v4. It was clunky as hell back then, interactivity strapped onto an animation package. But it has got better ;-). Coming from a Mac-dominated environment, we also discovered that you could use these tools on PCs too- perhaps not as elegantly, UI-wise, but with the price differentials in hardware, many grew up creating content on PCs for PCs. That can't have helped Apple at all.
  • by MacTechnic ( 40042 ) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:18PM (#8732073) Homepage
    Hypercard was the wonderful creation of Bill Atkinson, along with MacPaint and Quickdraw. Although Bill spends most of his time now as professional photographer, and not actively programming for Apple, he still uses Hypercard every day. Rumor has it that Bill has the certain retained rights to at least a good sized portion of the source code of Hypercard, which become active if Apple does not actively sell Hypercard. While more recent features of Hypercard such as Quicktime 3.0 might remain Apple's property intellectually, I would be interested to see if Bill Atkinson would be interested in putting Hypercard core code out in the Open Source area for development. It would require at least some grudging cooperation by Apple. So, the fact Apple has dropped it from its active inventory may actually set part of Hypercard free sometime in the future.
  • by alangmead ( 109702 ) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @10:57PM (#8733097)
    The Hypercard environment suited a very iterative development style, perhaps more so than anything else that I have worked on since then. Data was automatically persistent. Switching from running a program to editing a method handler was just clicking on a graphics palette. You could be using a program, see something you don't like, click on a selection tool, click on something, and fix it.

    It very much had the feeling of being able to tinker with the engine while the car is running. I suspect that working with Lisp Machines and Smalltalk environments was similar, but unfortunately I missed those boats. (except for being able to play around with Squeak now.)

    My first professional software development job was writing a series Hypercard stacks. I remember one time realizing that I had hit an architectural dead end, and needed to refactor a bunch of methods (although I didn't learn the term refactor until much later.) I was lamenting having to make those changes all across all the code base until it suddenly hit me, I could write a hypercard script to make the changes. I put something home stack that said "for each backgroud ... for each card in ... for item in .... set the script of it to ...." and it was all done.
  • HyperCard's a fine tool; it's where I started making little hobbyist games, and now I'm actually approaching a modicum of being able to program my own.

    It would have been really killer to be able to drop Smalltalk in there instead of AppleScript and Hypertalk for the scripting language, or to be able to use a number of networking goodies, or OpenGL crap, or whatever. Would have really showed off the power of Cocoa to have done an updated version. As the original article said, though, it's been time to mov
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:12AM (#8734486)
    HyperCard 3.0 and Quicktime 3.0 were previewed about at the same time. Hypercard projects (known as "stacks") would have become Quicktime movies playeable on any QT player on Mac OS, Windows and that also in a Web Browser. Evidently that meant full color support and things like wired sprites and QT movies in stacks without add-ons. Somehow thats about where Hypercard got an accident and went on life-support. Maybe backward-compatibility became too much of a puzzle when they asked themselve what to do with xfcn and xcmd's support(native code add-ons). Maybe they were also pressured by Macromedia as they were pushing flash and shockwave for interactive web content. Ironically, Macromedia Director Shockwave Studio originated from VideoWorks, a linear sprite animation program on the Mac. Macromind (that's how they were called at the time) took VideoWork, renamed it Macromind Director and added "Lingo" wich was more or less a carbon-copy of HyperTalk, HyperCard's own scripting langage and messaging structure. Director had persistent data too, fields and buttons, but it had color, native sprite supports etc, but it cost 1000$. Until version 4.0, it was a Mac only app and I guess Apple lazyness in upgrading Hypercard to support color and multimedia features had ,among other things, something to do with Macromedia even before HC 3.0 was planned. Hypercard 3.0 +Quicktime 3.0 on the web was probably too much for Macromedia. Mr. Gates had probably something to say about it too, in a way QT 3.0 would have become too much of a "trojan-horse" in Windows. It should be noted that Quicktime for Windows already contains some parts of the Classic Mac OS API to emulate Quickdraw in PICT files and other things.

    Anyhow HyperCard 3.0 never saw the light of the day and only some basic interactivity and the wired sprite feature was brought to QT 3.0. There is a single 3rd party app that can exploit all of the interactive features of Quicktime and its called LiveStage. Still, its very far from HC 3.0 could have been.

    Another thing I have rarely seen mentioned about HC, is that it was used internally for many years by Apple so the interface designers could prototype their GUI without having to know about memory pointers and A-traps. Specialised Pascal and C++ programmers would then reproduce the layout and behavior using Mac OS APIs. Many widgets, dialogs and control panels in Mac OS 6-8.x were designed and prototyped in Hypercard. I guess than Interface Builder and AppleScript Studio (please rename this Apple) fulfill the same goal today internally for Mac OS X interfaces.

    As for Myst, not only Hypercard was used to build the first Myst, it was the inspiration for the game itself. One thing so easy to do with HC right from the start were point and click adventures. I'm sure that I'm not the only one to have started to build (and never finished) a point-and-click black and white adventure game in HC before Myst was out. I guess the Authors from the start had the idea of doing an "hypercard point and click adventure using rendered graphics and qt movies". Hypercard limitations made the game what it is (for better or worse, but mostly the better). Also precursor to Myst and inspired by HyperCard is Cosmic-Osmo, one of the very first cd-rom game (also from Cyan). It ran on HC with a Macromind VideoWorks extension for animation. For those who don't know Cosmic-Osmo, it's a fun wacky adventure game with no goal where weird things happens when you click on things. You can go thru mouse holes and water drains and warp from place to place with secret passages. Oh well tha post is getting wacky too, let's end it here. HyperCard is Dead, long live HyperCard!

    Buzzy Beetle
  • by darby_smeed ( 704402 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @12:36PM (#8737698)

    We had a HyperCard product that filled a niche. It was perfect. It sold like hotcakes at the state fair on a sunny morning.

    We kept getting inquiries: when is the Windows version coming?

    We'd been told by Apple that a Windows version was in the works, and that the way they were going to do this was to build on top of QuickTime, which was already cross-platform. It was about a year overdue and we were getting anxious, so I cornered one of the main HyperCard guys at WWDC and asked him (1) why he was presenting on technologies other than HyperCard and (2) what was up with the QuickTime-based port. As you've probably guessed, the two were related.

    The company lasted another six months, then we closed the doors because HyperCard just wasn't keeping up with what people expected. It just languished away.

    If Apple had come through with a cross-platform HyperCard which made QuickTime programming accessible to non-programmers, it might have been killer. Might have been.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @05:20PM (#8741256) Homepage
    Perhaps HyperCard's biggest commercial success was the series of games released by Cyan: "The Manhole," then "Cosmic Osmo," and finally "Myst" (based on a much-extended version of HyperCard).

    I was in the room in 1987 at MacWorld Expo when BIll Atkinson announced that documentation for the format of Hypercard files was to be publicly released by Apple. He may have even mentioned the number of the technote. (It was in the low two digits back then). Everyone in the room applauded.

    And I remember my disappointment a few months later when the technote with that number was, in fact issued--and consisted of a single sentence, to the effect that "The Hypercard file format is not available."
  • by rspress ( 623984 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @10:12PM (#8743405) Homepage
    It has been dead for years they have only just now gotten around to writing the obituary.

    In its day Hypercard was an easy to learn and fairly powerful programming language that anyone could use to pump out very Mac like applications.

    The problem was that Hypercard did not keep pace with the Macs it was running on. Color was slow in coming as well as support for features that were added to the OS. Back in the day it was the defacto standard for Mac multimedia CD's.

    If Apple had kept development of hypercard on the same pace as the MacOS, hypercard would have been a killer program under OS X. Who knows how far it might have gone. Hypercard with access to all the goodies that OS X has to offer like a shell to UNIX, etc. might have been very powerful. Maybe even integration to the Xcode tools might have produced compact, fast, standalone applications without the need for a player app.

    Many people have tried to fill Apples shoes with programs like supercard and revolution but none had the knack of producing good programs like Apple.

    I am sad to see it go. It could have been so much more than it was. Too bad Apple did not notice the diamond in the rough that it had.
  • And I even used the "MAGIC" trick.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin