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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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  • 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.
  • What was hypercard? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ben_degonzague ( 222715 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:41PM (#8726768)
    Well, I'm clueless, what is/was it?
  • 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
  • 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@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:22PM (#8727224) Homepage Journal
    My dad [slashdot.org] 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 [apple.com] :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?

  • Myst (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DavidLeblond ( 267211 ) <(me) (at) (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.
  • 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.

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

    by deleuze ( 199965 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:52PM (#8727504)

    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 found here:
    plusLibs [fu-berlin.de]

  • by Dephex Twin ( 416238 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:53PM (#8727509) Homepage
    The one we used for one of our classes was MetaCard [metacard.com] which is a cross-platform Hypercard with more features like color.
  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:08PM (#8727727) Journal
    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:29PM (#8727982)
    With the recent release of LiveStage Pro 4.5 and the QSXE QuickTime Component, is this a simple coincidence? Maybe.... but if you look at the QSXE reference manual, it specifically refers to HyperCard and how QSXE can now do everything that HyperCard could do and then some. Maybe Apple finally found a replacement app and decided they could now remove it from their site.
  • by MinutiaeMan ( 681498 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @03:33PM (#8728018) Homepage
    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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:12PM (#8728582) Journal
    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 & morsecode converters and shit like that. Hypercard never pretended any intended usage. It was just.. you know.. just "there when you needed it"...

    No other RAD I ever used even came close.
  • 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.
  • 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 commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @06:30PM (#8730479)
    A long time ago High Times had a great article about somebody growing weed in a warehouse and controlling everything via a HyperCard program. The cameras in the warehouse let him see what was going on, he could turn water on and off remotely, change the light settings, etc., so he rarely had to actually visit the warehouse until harvest time. I think he connected to his mac with Timbuktu or somesuch and then everything was controlled through his HyperCard interface.
  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @06:35PM (#8730545)
    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 be automatically calculated....

    It was a great program. Apple should really open source it so someone can make an OS X version.

  • 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.
  • Really is sad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by kylector ( 650096 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:04PM (#8733161)
    The passing of HyperCard really is sad. Sure, not many people used it anymore, but being fairly young, it was my introduction to "programming" ("scripting" was more like it). I was first exposed to it in 3rd grade, but really started to take-off in 4th grade. I played around with it for years because it was so flexible, and at the time, lots of third-party stacks were accessible that I could learn from. People built entire applications out of this thing, which simply amazed me, and there were tools around to break locked stacks so I could look at their code. There were even "resource" stacks that had animated icons, encryption routines, etc that you could copy and paste into your own! It was a wonder for multimedia way back in the day. Even the first Myst was built on this thing, using a hack that allowed for color cards!

    It's not much to todays standards, but it was what got me started in my future career of computers and software development, and for that I owe it much. Farewell.
  • 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 WalterSobchak ( 193686 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @08:01AM (#8735337) Homepage Journal
    When I present Objective-C, I throw in that the Macintosh veterans may notice some similarity to HyperCard. Both HyperCard and Objective-C use a bunch of SmallTalk concepts, which I think is a very cool thing.


  • 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 Petronius ( 515525 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @04:44PM (#8740844)
    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 I discovered Python that I had the same kind of joy hacking again... Still, what made HC so unique (and impossible to explain to non-HC people) is the way it blended graphics/scripting/persistence/OO so uniquely. I'll miss HC for the rest of my life. :)
  • 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."
  • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @09:45PM (#8743258) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.
  • HyperCard (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2004 @05:01AM (#8754529)
    In 1989, I took a graduate course in curriculum research and design. Class time was spent on theory, and each of the 15 students in the class had a copy of Danny Goodman's HyperCard book in order to design education materials. None of us had ever programmed: All of us were able to create something. (I got my master's degree with my stacks.)

    I can still remember the first time I used the "ask" command and the dialog screen appeared. I felt so empowered. My creativity was my limit... (and the 32K script and I could make things: games for my kids, class stacks/courseware, and a kiosk for my college.

    I love Apple, but I hate the fact that they dropped HyperCard all those years ago... leaving teachers like me in the lurch. I'm taking a Java course now and I have Xcode installed. I know the combination of Java with a developing platform of Xcode are much more powerful than HyperCard... but I'm nearly finished with the semester and I haven't made anything yet.

    I can only wonder what if... if Apple had continued to develop HyperCard... the projects I could have completed this semester with HyperCard 10.3.3...

    Still bitter,
  • by cookiej ( 136023 ) * on Saturday April 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#8759475)
    Hypercard was the tool that drew me into the Apple fold.

    It was 1989 and I was managing a team creating instructional material. Our Instructional Designers would write their scripts into a Word document, print them and hand them to the programmers for coding (and re-typing.) I was tired of the programmers having to be responsible for retyping, so I started looking for a new, cheap tool. I knew what I wanted but neither Word or Wordperfect (at the time) could provide what I wanted.

    I came across Hypercard and within two weeks of cannonball coding (and learning Hypertalk) I built an application that allowed the Instructional Designers to place text and paste images. Once they were done, the app would generate the code into a single file with the text appropriately placed, leaving the programmers to do the stuff they were good at. We cut our development time from 3 weeks to 1 week per course. We got all the developers Macs and never looked back.

    IIRC, there is a product called "Toolbook" which was supposed to be somewhat of a PC version of Hypercard/Supercard.
  • Re:Emailer!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @04:00AM (#8760420) Homepage Journal
    Claris Organizer lives on...for now...in the Classic MacOS version of Palm Desktop.

    I don't know about the MacOS X version...it might have some Claris Organizer code, it might not. I'll soon find out...my 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.

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