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OS 9 Businesses Operating Systems Software Apple

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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  • 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...

  • 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 []
  • 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.
  • Re:Six Years? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:41PM (#8727408) Journal
    I think the joke was that Apple had an item up for sale that was 6 year out of date with no updates. And that we're expecting a powerbook update sometime soon.
  • 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.
  • Re:Me neither... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:03PM (#8727652)
    java requires an IDE, compilers, reading through books, etc.

    Hypercard was more like flash (or VB for dummies). You can draw pretty pictures, add text fields, buttons, etc. without knowing any programming, and have them do stuff. Or if you were more advanced, you could write code in HyperScript, which was very english-like.

    What made it especially powerful was persitent storage - add an entry to your rolodex and it saves when you quit, no prompting, no saving step.

  • Re:Dead? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:11PM (#8727772)
    This is 8 bucks... Is that too much? :)

    It's even Applescript aware so you can get your "program" on and do some really neat stuff. Does classic applescript send commands to OSX apps? :)
  • 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.

  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:25PM (#8728730) Journal
    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.

  • by vallette ( 762759 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:44PM (#8728982)
    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 you needed it without having to worry about constructing a friendly UI.
  • 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 hawaiian717 ( 559933 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @05:18PM (#8729425) Homepage
    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.
  • FreeCard is intended to be a drop in replacement for HyperCard with a lot of nice new updates that people have been hanging out for since HyperCard stopped being updated. Unfortunately the project is struggling due to my not having enough time to work on it.

    If you're a Java programmer and want to see an opensource HyperCard clone come to fruition, please drop me a line or jump onto the FreeCard-general mailing list and start hacking away.
  • by mcdesign ( 699320 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @05:38PM (#8729761)
    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 than most of the monolith software companies where bugs turn into features

  • by Radiola ( 86603 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @06:00PM (#8730040) Homepage
    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) called openCard that was called whenever a new card was shown. If there was no openCard handler attached to the card that was opening, the background's (series of cards with a shared layout and handlers) openCard handler was called. Then the stack's. If it still wasn't handled, the handler in the "Home" stack was called.

    If you did handle that somewhere along the way, you could elect to pass the message on and let the "superclass's" scripts take a whack at it.

    The Home stack was a superclass of sorts for every stack in HyperCard. You could modify behavior globally from there (it could be overridden, of course, by individual cards, stacks, etc.). You could also insert arbitrary stacks into the search order. Some of Apple's demonstration stacks did that, as I recall.

    The search order was the same for pre-defined handlers as well as user-defined handlers.

    - Aaron
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @06:15PM (#8730257)

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @06:28PM (#8730454)
  • Re:Myst (Score:2, Informative)

    by Meowing ( 241289 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:00PM (#8731501) Homepage
    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.
  • by idlewild ( 767214 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:02PM (#8731957)
    Nothing in OSX frameworks has anything to do with HyperCard. All of the OSX frameworks have their roots in the NextStep technologies that were developed at NexT computer, the company Mr. Jobs formed after his oust from Apple Computer.

    I've used HyperCard since 1987 when it was introduced, and bundled with all Macs. That was the same time that Mr. Jobs was ousted out of Apple.

    Actually, Apple's new leadership in 1997 killed HyperCard.

    When Mr Jobs returned to Apple, it was no surprise that he hated HyperCard. He hated all things Apple and launched the "think different" campaign that killed off all things "Classic". His job was to deliver on what Apple paid for, bringiing the NextStep OS to Mac OSX.

    I can't say why Mr. Jobs hated HyperCard. It always helped sell Macs to educators in the same colleges and universities Mr. Jobs was trying to woo over to NexT. The Macs were selling because of HyperCard to these educators, it was easier for a scientist to mess with HyperCard on a project than with NextStep.

    Still is easier to use HyperCard.

    There are no similarities between Cocoa or AppleScript with HyperCard. On the surface, many languages advert they are object oriented. Under the hood, HyperCard simplified a lot of things for beginning users. Unintimidating, the language looked like plain-English, and the software used a message-passing heirarchy between objects that I have not seen in any other object oriented environment, save "xTalks".

    Before the G3 appeared, all software was getting slow. HyperCard on modern Macs runs like a fine tuned watch, it is very fast. And if I had to pull something out of the tool chest to write code that would translate spreadsheet data into uploadable ASCII for any mySQL server database, I'd use HyperCard. and get the job done in a fraction of the time. The HyperTalk language excelled at munging text, much easier to write a utility (in minutes) with HyperTalk than BASIC or C any day.

    What else have I used HyperCard for? Just about everything Apple might wexpect me to do with Apple Script Studio or Cocoa with much greater effort. HyperCard made creating interactive CDs child's play. I managed employee benefit plans with it; excellent for creating input data forms, posting and reporting. Also creating many stacks that produced clean HTML code, and more recently have written scripts that translate a stack's data to XML and other formats.

    HyperCard died becasue there has been a real shift in what the computer companies are willing to develop and bring to users. Their decisions are now based on demand-driven technologies. The companies know that people generally are not interested in computing, they want products that perform tasks at the click of a button and require little or no thought.

    Today, there is no need to "open up the box" for users to learn and understand what a computer is all about; few want to anyway. Back in 1987, that was an important part of marketing a computer, and HyperCard fit in very well. This environment no longer exists today.

    So what was once a computer renaissance in the '90s has digressed to a rather dark age for computing, as we are no longer seeing tools that let us expand how we understand the technology, tools like HyperCard. I do see a lot of tools that let us do things that the programming factories "think" is best for us, best for what we want to to with these wonderful works of technology. Many of the iApps looked like remakes of things I had already created with HyperCard.

    Think of what we've seen for progress in software since 1997. The only software that has appeared works basically the same as it did five or more years ago, only retrofitted to run on the new OS. Still the same MS Office or Works, Quicken, web browser, games mix. I thought speech recognition would have arrived by now. The only software innovation I've seen has not come from computer companies, but from the open-source community as so much has become web-centric.

    The reas

  • by ejeetify ( 668972 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:46PM (#8733438)
    HyperCard wasn't ever free. HyperCard Player was free, but you couldn't go past level 3 (i.e., no Scripting/Authoring).
  • by zbrimhall ( 741562 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @04:54AM (#8734870)
    HyperCard was created by Apple wizard Bill Atkinson back in 1987. It was an odd mix of database, multimedia, and presentation software, with a simple but powerful scripting backend that made it possible to do just about anything with the software.

    HyperCard documents were formed like stacks of index cards (they were, in fact, called stacks). Each card could contain GUI elements (forms, buttons, text fiends, etc.) and images, and every element could be scripted to interact with the stack as a whole, certain cards, or certain elements. The scripting language gave the programmer control over just about everything that the user was able to see and click on.

    Because HyperCard was capable of doing just about everything (IIRC, it was even used to implement a networking stack before TCP/IP existed), Apple didn't know how to market it. They were constrained by a promise to HyperCard's creator to give it away away for free, and it eventually got lost in a mire of company politics.

    I personally learned how to program through HyperCard, way back in Jr. High. I had a science teacher who made us all make multimedia presentations with it. In the after-school hours I managed to write a game into my presentation, in which the user had to squish an unflattering representation of one of my classmates as it moved randomly about the screen. Ah, those were the days...

    But in short, yes, it's Mac only. Yes, it's outdated (was there ever official support for color graphics?). No, there will never be anything like it ever again, unless Apple decides to go into the unprofitable business of marketing nostalgia. I'm afraid there's nothing for you to do but go and learn Java.
  • by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Thursday April 01, 2004 @11:45AM (#8736997)
    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 let you do thing that Hypercard could do are much more complex and expensive, and require MUCH more development. Very few database engineers would have jobs today if HyperCard took off like it should have.

    Apple should have made HC web-enabled, and let people run a 'HC Player' plugin written in Java. My job would be an order of magnitude simpler and more efficient if HC were properly fed ten years ago.
  • by ( 731545 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:16PM (#8739029) Homepage
    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 any depth and anti-aliased image rotation and scaling network access support that allows simple construction of servers and other useful facilities it runs bit-identical on many platforms (Windows, Mac, Unix, and others) a compact object format that typically requires only a single word of overhead per object a simple yet efficient incremental garbage collector for 32-bit direct pointers efficient bulk-mutation of objects Squeak is available for free via the Internet, at this and other sites. Each release includes platform-independent support for color, sound, and network access, with complete source code. Originally developed on the Macintosh, members of its user community have since ported it to numerous other platforms including Windows 95 and NT, Windows CE (it runs on the Cassiopeia and the HP320LX), all common flavors of UNIX, Acorn RiscOS, and a bare chip (the Mitsubishi M32R/D).

    What it is not

    The Squeak Smalltalk system bears no relation to the "Squeak" language designed by Rob Pike and Luca Cardelli in 1985, nor to its successor, "Newsqueak".

    What is Cool about Squeak

    To quote from Dwight Hughes, a frequent contributor to the Squeak mailing list, "How is Squeak important? Squeak extends the fundamental Smalltalk philosophy of complete openness -- where everything is available to see, understand, modify, and extend for whatever purpose -- to include even the VM. It is a genuine, complete, compact, efficient Smalltalk-80 environment (*not* a toy). It is not specialized for any particular hardware/OS platform. Porting is easy -- you are not fighting entrenched platform/OS dependencies to move to a new system or configuration. It has essentially been put into the public domain - greatly broadening potential interest, and potential applications. The core team behind Squeak includes Dan Ingalls, Alan Kay, Ted Kaehler, John Maloney, and Scott Wallace. All of this has attracted many of the best and most experienced Smalltalk programmers and implementers in the world."

    Squeak stands alone as a practical Smalltalk in which a researcher, professor, or motivated student can examine source code for every part of the system, including graphics primitives and the virtual machine itself. One can make changes immediately and without needing to see or deal with any language other than Smalltalk. Squeak runs bit-identical images across its entire portability base, greatly facilitating collaboration in diverse environments. The system, together with an adherance, for better or for worse, to the image model (the entire state of Squeak is manifest in an image file), has yielded a system of extreme portability and sharability. Any image file will run on any interpreter even if it was saved on completely different hardware, with a completely different OS (or no OS at all!).

    A Brief History of Squeak

    Squeak began, very simply, with the needs of a research group at Apple. We wanted a system as expressive and immediate as Smalltalk to pursue various application goals (prototypical educational software, user interface experiments and (let''s be honest) another run at the Dynabook fence). As you can read in the OOPSLA paper ("Back to the Future") we hit on the idea of writing a Smalltalk interpreter in a subset of Smalltalk, together with a translator from that subset to C.


    The current Squeak interpreter combines a classical ST-80 interpreter with a simple yet efficient 32-bit dir

  • by AnonymousKev ( 754127 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:47PM (#8747457)
    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.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner