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HyperCard Comes Back From the Dead to the Web

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-many-ways-it-never-really-went-away dept.

Programming 117

TedCHoward writes "On the heels of the recent mention of HyperCard comes the launch of a brand new site called TileStack. Cnet's Webware blog writes, 'The idea behind it is to bring old HyperCard stacks back to life by putting them on the Web, meaning you can take some of those long lost creations from the late '80s and early '90s and make them working Web apps. You simply upload them to TileStack's servers and they'll be converted and hosted for just you or the entire world to use once again... Since the service runs without Flash... TileStack is perfect for the iPhone and other devices that run on the Web.' They also have a video showing the upload process."

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117 comments

Freaky. (2, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696149)

Wow, like 10 minutes ago i was looking for a spare phone in this box and found a case of floppy disks from my middle school computer class. If the disks are good i think there are a couple of hypercard stacks on there... Weird.

Re:Freaky. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696491)

Apple users are FAG-GOTTS.

Re:Freaky. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696991)

Same here. I was just talking with my wife about this programmable slideshow program we used in highschool. Although i'm sure ours ran on DOS. Although the basic premise of the program seems quite similar. I remember doing an x-wing fighter animation in highschool. I even had music and everything. Apart from LOGO, it was probably my first exposure to programming.

Re:Freaky. (4, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697445)

As someone who used HyperCard as a 10-12 year old, without using the manual ever, I realize only now that I never realized that by using HyperCard I was actually programming. The program must have been made in such a way that you could perform pretty complex operations with it, without even knowing that what you are doing is complex.

Years later I tried to do similar simple interactive animations for adobe flash. It faced me with multitudes of concepts, each with their own drop-down menus and rules, before I could even start drawing something. Maybe it was more easy as a child because I had no idea of what I was doing, but more likely HyperCard was just designed very elegantly.

Re:Freaky. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23697039)

Yeah, something similar happened to me. I was browsing through an old file-cabinet when I found a couple of floppy disks with unreadable labels (damn cheap markers). I hooked up my old PC so I could put the floppy in so that I could see what's on it. Lo and behold, I found some old hypercard projects of mine! Strangely, though, there was one called 08May, but I quickly realized that this was just May 8. I decided to run it anyway and it made an incredibly loud banging sound and my mom got scared and said "You're moving with your auntie and your uncle in Bel-Air." I whistled for a cab and when it came near the license plate said "Fresh" and there were dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare but I thought, naw, forget it, yo holmes to Bel-Air. I pulled up to the house about seven or eight and said to the cabbie "Yo holmes smell ya later." Looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.

why? (0, Troll)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696231)

OMG WOW! I want to run some software from the late 80s, because it is obviously superior to modern software ~

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696365)

Don't laugh, the Sony (cassette) Walkman is poised to make a comeback. Turns out that the iPod seems visually out of place when you're eating sushi at a conveyor-belt establishment with your dark suit and yellow tie. Also anytime you happen to get caught b/w the moon and New York City.

Re:why? (2, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698235)

Bah,you kids and your little baby cassette players and girlie iPods. When i was growing up we had REAL portable music players--Big honking RCA 8-tracks! One giant 12in speaker, TEN D batteries, and weighed a good fifteen pounds! Carry THAT around for awhile,why don't ya! I had mine duct taped to the handlebars of my Yamaha 125cc and since I laid it down mudding one day it could only play the 8-track that was in it,which was the first tape from KISS ALIVE!II,and we LIKED it that way! Now get off my lawn!

Saving your work. (1)

freenix (1294222) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696409)

This is about avoiding the intentional waste of non free software. You could run your old hypercard program in a VM but most people no longer have the OS and software required to set that up. They are more likely to have some old notes they want to share with themselves and others and now they can. Free software users don't have this problem.

Re:Saving your work. (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696519)

Yes, because in the magical free software land, file formats never change and become incompatible, even over the course of time between hypercard and now. Sure, you could, in theory, write a converter, but that's assuming the user has the time, skills, and inclination to do so, when they can often recreate the information on a new system in less time and headache.

Re:Saving your work. (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696579)

With free software though, I can almost always manage to download an older version of the program to open it 100% legally, or if for some reason the site is down/dead I can get a copy from many other sites again, 100% legally. If I want to open a document created in Office '97 and for some reason MS doesn't let you open Office '97 documents in Office 2010, the only way to legally get it is by buying a (presumably) used copy off of E-Bay of Word 2007. And if optical media degrades to unreadable in say 20 years, by 2030 you won't be able to access your documents legally. Ever (now granted Office '97 documents are openable in a text editor to salvage at least some of the info...)

Re:Saving your work. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697013)

You've never opened an Office 97 document in notepad have you? There's more binary junk in there than actual text content. However, you would have better luck just opening it in OpenOffice.

Re:Saving your work. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697091)

Eh, well I haven't ever opened up a Word document in notepad but I remember reading some PC repair thing and it said to open up corrupted documents in a text editor to salvage content. And yes opening them up in OOo would be good, but my point was using a 100% proprietary way you couldn't have your documents and as we all know OOo is free and open source.

Re:Saving your work. (1)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23699457)

... the only way to legally get it is by buying a (presumably) used copy off of E-Bay of Word 2007.
the only way to illegally get it is by buying a (presumably) used copy off of E-Bay of Word 2007.

There fixed that for you!

It's actually illegal to buy and sell Office secondhand, you don't buy "Office" you buy a licence to use Office and it's non-transferable.

It is like magic. (5, Insightful)

freenix (1294222) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696747)

Yes, because in the magical free software land, file formats never change and become incompatible, even over the course of time between hypercard and now.

That's about right. Emacs still works the way it did in 1984, despite improvement. GCC, G77, LaTex, ImageMagick, Xfig, gnuplot, grace, StarOffice and just about any software you can think of still works with documents written at the time. Free software rarely wrecks a user's work.

Re:It is like magic. (1)

Earered (856958) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698483)

Not true for Latex (and pretty sure that it's not true for gcc either, was it the 3.4 version released by redhat which was dreaded?)

Re:Saving your work. (2, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697607)

What? My god you're full of crap (I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Twitter, I recognise that rabid "non-free" hatred and insistence on changing the subject line of replies).

This is only because HyperCard actually was able to make some real neat stuff - entire games were able to be made in it. Some people want to play with those still, so someone else decided "hey, let's make a way to run HyperCard stacks". Good on them! Far from being some kind of "non-free" agenda like you believe, it's more just evidence of why we have Open Source - because people just want something, so they up and make it.

And don't go thinking that Open Source software is never abandoned, leaving users of it in the dust (hint: not everyone can just "fix the code" - that requires skills that relatively few people actually have).

Re:why? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696487)

And it isn't? Granted some of the features aren't there but if I remember correctly an old Mac could start up in ~30 seconds on an 8 MHZ CPU and 1 MB of RAM, while even my Linux distro takes about a minute on my low-end computer from 2002 with 512 MB of RAM, a 1.8 GHZ Celeron and loading the OS from a hard drive. Most '80s software was limited yes, but has better quality code and could run faster then modern programs because you couldn't say that in a year there will be a CPU to run it fast enough and that RAM is becoming cheaper. You only need to look at Vista compared to the old Macs to see how bloated todays programs are (and if you want to compare things feature-wise just compare a Ubuntu 8.04 disc to Vista SP1 or XP SP 3 and see that even that with more 3-D effects runs faster on older hardware).

Re:why? (2, Interesting)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696727)

OMG WOW! I want to run some software from the late 80s, because it is obviously superior to modern software ~
Actually, I'd like to find a replacement for something like SuperPaint. An under $50 (call it $100 now) drawing program with multiple layers, on-screen coordinates for precise placement of objects, the ability to switch seamlessly between bitmap and object modes for creation (with "outline" ability), a really huge palate of available shapes, and a few other goodies I've forgotten over the years. I can't seem to buy anything like that these days.

You want Inkscape with integrated GIMP, no? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696817)

An under $50 (call it $100 now) drawing program with multiple layers, on-screen coordinates for precise placement of objects, the ability to switch seamlessly between bitmap and object modes for creation (with "outline" ability), a really huge palate of available shapes, and a few other goodies I've forgotten over the years. I can't seem to buy anything like that these days.
So it looks like you want an SVG editor with an embedded paint program that lets you edit the PNG files in SVG image elements. Have you tried requesting this feature in Inkscape's issue tracker?

But can we make new stacks? (4, Insightful)

marvelouspatric (1112793) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696235)

i clicked the links, and it's a good chance i'm just an idiot, but I couldn't tell if there was going to be anyway to create new stacks. The beauty of hypercard, from what I recall, was that it had a pretty simple interface for creating the stacks. I remember doing an entire multimedia presentation with hypercard back in highschool in the 90s. while everyone else did powerpoint and thought the clip art was cool, i was making stuff move using sound and embedding quicktime video. granted, all that is easy (easier?) to do now, but back then, it was cool stuff.

Re:But can we make new stacks? (5, Informative)

PHPNerd (1039992) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696283)

Oh yes. You can create new stacks. I was in the beta program, and it was really easy to use too.

Re:But can we make new stacks? (2, Informative)

David Hume (200499) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696325)

i clicked the links, and it's a good chance i'm just an idiot, but I couldn't tell if there was going to be anyway to create new stacks. The beauty of hypercard, from what I recall, was that it had a pretty simple interface for creating the stacks. I remember doing an entire multimedia presentation with hypercard back in highschool in the 90s. while everyone else did powerpoint and thought the clip art was cool, i was making stuff move using sound and embedding quicktime video. granted, all that is easy (easier?) to do now, but back then, it was cool stuff.
The answer appears to be yes. If you RTFFAQ [tilestack.com] :

Essentially TileStack can be thought of as an online playground where people of all ages are free to create neat things that we call 'stacks'. Adapting concepts from the incredibly popular classic HyperCard system from Apple, a stack consists of one or more 'tiles' that take a person who uses the stack down a path leading from one tile to the next. In a simple case, each tile can contain a different picture and text, in effect creating a simple online and shareable slideshow.

You can also add buttons to any tile that respond to something a user does. For example, clicking on a doorway in a picture could display the message "Welcome to My Home" and then go to the next tile in the stack that shows a picture of the inside of the home.

You can add input fields to tiles to create a custom system for storing information. Have a collection of recipes? Would you like to organize your movie collection? Just create a stack that fits what you needs. And of course, after you create something neat, you can publish your creation on TileStack.com for others to use and learn from.

Likewise you can explore the published stacks that others have made. Making it easy to learn new things and pick up cool ideas. And finally, if you happen to have some of classic HyperCard stacks laying around, you can upload them to TileStack.com and use them once again!

3.5 inch floppy (3, Interesting)

jamesl (106902) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696339)

Now all I need is a machine that can read a 3.5 inch floppy.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (4, Funny)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696417)

At least it'll be easier than trying to use a 5.25" floppy. (Or god forbid, one of those old 8" floppies...)

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696439)

Pfff, when I was a kid we carved our programs on 78rpms records with our nails.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696535)

Pfff, when I was a kid we carved our programs on 78rpms records with our nails.
Child's play. When I was a kid, I created a web browser with a deck of cards.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (2, Funny)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696537)

When I was a kid we drew out screens from Super Mario Land onto little hand-drawn cardboard Gameboys. Oh, did we ever envy those with the IMB PCs, complete with the gramophone drive attachment. But alas, our meager salaries from working in the Atari pixel mines just wasn't enough back then. (To say nothing of that unlucky soul who was accidentally buried with the unsold copies of ET. Alas, poor Honorable Timothy.)

Wait, we were talking about HyperCard?

Re:3.5 inch floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696555)

Pfft, when I was a kid, we hooked a battery up to the memory data line and keyed our programs by touching a piece of wire to the battery.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696859)

Pfft, when I was a kid and we wanted to save data we did so in binary, on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696539)

I recently tried to put an old 5-1/2" drive in my parents' home computer so that they could copy their old diskettes. As it turns out, modern PC motherboards only support at most one floppy drive, so it would have cost them their actually-useful 3-1/2" drive.

There is actually a market for this. Anyone know a good provider?

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696599)

What kind of kid are you, leaving your poor parents to use diskettes when there are flash drives available for pennies?

I bet you're just waiting for the drive to fail so Mom will have some deep fried grits ready for your visit.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696659)

Wrong backwoods - we're not grits people up here in the Midwest. ;)

No, for whatever reason my dad prefers floppy disks. He is slowly getting used to flash drives for Quicken backups and the like, though. However, the desire to back up all of his 5-1/2" diskettes onto a CD (with room to spare, for sure!) still exists.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696775)

Can't you buy them a USB 3.5 inch drive, then use the 5.25 drive on the mobo connector?

I'm honestly surprised floppy drive connectors still exist on today's motherboards. Then again, parallel ports on a mobo lasted forever, and I can't remember the last time I even used it.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697059)

Don't worry, you can still get parallel ports [tigerdirect.ca] and 9-pin serial. That board has serial, parallel, usb, IEEE 1394, PS2, RJ45, and a bunch of audio connectors. That has technology from the 1980's right up until the latest technology. Sadly, I think the only common port it is missing is ESATA.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698883)

Check your cabling, and possibly jumpers on the drives. A floppy cable should have a twist near the A: drive connector.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23700105)

If you don't have a twist, just fuck with the jumper settings. If you bought the $4.99 and not the $2.99 floppy drive, then you probably have enough jumpers to set the drive to any of the four IDs which it supports.

Some PC floppy controllers can actually recognize more than two IDs. I believe the PC-1s and such had a controller which would do it but you had to patch the BIOS and maybe DOS too...

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696681)

Reading any high density (1.44MB) 3.5" floppy disks shouldn't be too hard. Assuming one has a method of reading the HFS file system, like the HFS module in Linux, it would be possible with any old USB or standard internal PC floppy. However, if merging the data and resource forks of a HyperCard stack into a flat file is necessary, I wish you good luck. Otherwise, scrounging up an old Mac with a floppy drive may be the only option. Old 800KB Mac floppies cannot be read by standard PC floppy drives because 800KB disks are written with CLV and not with CAV as with 720K PC floppies.

I wish any masochist good luck at finding all of these: an old beige Mac, a keyboard and mouse, a working floppy drive, a working bootable CD-ROM drive, and any version of the MacOS. I would first try to get a Beige G3 PowerMac as they have onboard SCSI and IDE ports. Also, Apple made many machine specific, bootable MacOS CD-ROM disks that only boot and install on the computer they were labeled. There are however, many generic install disks for the classic MacOS.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697073)

I remember playing around with Basilisk [cebix.net] at one point, and seem to remember there being a utility to read HFS file system disks.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23700119)

I have a Mac Classic or Plus or something with a Radius Accelerator and a superdrive (Working) a tray-loading Apple CDROM (working) an Asante appletalk to ethertalk bridge (untested but I have a SCSI ZIP I can use instead) and, I believe, System 6.0.7. About the only thing I'm not sure I have is Hypercard... If someone has an amazing stack they need converted, I'm sure I could help out. I also have a 3com ethernet card for a Mac SE, if anyone needs one of those :P

Re:3.5 inch floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23697521)

(Or god forbid, one of those old 8" floppies...)

You mean a Big Black floppy?

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 5 years ago | (#23699041)

Of course, an 8" floppy drive on the internet is about a 5.25 inch hard drive in real life.... ;)

Re:3.5 inch floppy (4, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696677)

Now all I need is a machine that can read a 3.5 inch floppy.

It's worse than that. Apple floppy disks were written with constant linear velocity --- i.e., as the head moves towards the centre of the disk, the rotation speed goes up so that the magnetic medium still passes the head at the same velocity.

PCs, and therefore all modern hardware, use constant angular velocity floppy disks --- the disk spins at a constant speed, so that the speed at which the magnetic medium passes the head varies depending where the head is. Yes, this is clearly a bad idea, but that's PCs for you.

This means that no modern hardware can read old Apple floppy disks. It's just not possible. You'll need an old Macintosh floppy drive and (probably) an old Macintosh floppy drive controller to plug it into, which basically means you need an old Macintosh. You still have yours, right? Right?

Have fun!

Re:3.5 inch floppy (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696839)

Apple floppy disks were written with constant linear velocity --- i.e., as the head moves towards the centre of the disk, the rotation speed goes up so that the magnetic medium still passes the head at the same velocity.
Actually, the Apple 400K and 800K drives used zone CAV [wikipedia.org] . Modern PC hard drives, magneto-optical drives, and DVD-RAM drives also use zone CAV.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696913)

You'll need an old Macintosh floppy drive and (probably) an old Macintosh floppy drive controller to plug it into, which basically means you need an old Macintosh. You still have yours, right? Right?
Yep, right. Got an Apple Performa sitting right next to my IBM XT. You mean you don't keep vintage computer hardware around?

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697187)

Yep, right. Got an Apple Performa sitting right next to my IBM XT. You mean you don't keep vintage computer hardware around?

Way too much of it.

(Apple Perfoma? Pah. I have an Acorn Risc PC sitting next to my computer desk! Currently used, er, to hold up my company laptop. But it boots and everything.)

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697269)

Ahh, reminds me how I supported my feet with a SparcStation LX under the table and my monitor with a VAX 4000... :o)

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697279)

Ahh, reminds me how I supported my feet with a SparcStation LX under the table and my monitor with a VAX 4000... :o)

Yeah, the old stuff is really cool and historic, but it's not precisely useful.

Unless you have a Performa and need to read some old Macintosh floppies, of course.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

haaz (3346) | more than 5 years ago | (#23700043)

Ahh, reminds me how I supported my feet with a SparcStation LX under the table and my monitor with a VAX 4000... :o)

Yeah, the old stuff is really cool and historic, but it's not precisely useful.

Unless you have a Performa and need to read some old Macintosh floppies, of course.

At last, an actual use for a Performa!

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

marvelouspatric (1112793) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698301)

bah.. i've still got a (couple of) working Apple ][es, plus an original Macintosh, a powermac 7200, and a G3 beige tower.
times like these make me wish i never sold my Performa 600CD. It was special because it had a CD-ROM. A 2X CD-ROM! Man, I was pimpin'!

Re:3.5 inch floppy (2, Informative)

jgertzen (975712) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696999)

Actually they seem to be willing to help people out who don't have 3.5 floppies any more. Per their FAQ "Is there anything I can do with stacks I have on old floppy disks?" [tilestack.com]

"If you have some old HyperCard stacks lying around on floppy disks that you can't read because you either don't have a computer with a floppy drive, then we'll gladly do our best to import them on our vintage hardware here in CodeFlare labs."

...just send your floppies in appropriate packaging to...

Their mailing address is in the FAQ for anyone who wants to give it a shot.

Re:3.5 inch floppy (2, Informative)

TedCHoward (920331) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697043)

Actually, you can mail your floppies to TileStack, and they will upload them for you. From the faq [tilestack.com] :

Send your floppies in appropriate packaging to:
CodeFlare
5919 Greenville #335
Dallas, TX 75206-1906

Re:3.5 inch floppy (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 5 years ago | (#23700223)

Before I sold my PowerMac G3 (desktop) on Craigslist, I spent a couple of days stuffing all the floppies I had into it, making disk images... Now that classic is gone, I'm not sure any of them are runnable, much less useful, but the amount they take up is less than a couple of songs in AppleLossless.

I'm new around here... (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696533)

Could someone please tell me what in the world Hypercards are?

Re:I'm new around here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696571)

Wikipedia is your friend.
So is Google, for that matter.

Re:I'm new around here... (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696595)

HyperCard [wikipedia.org] is an old application that allowed you to create files that were "stacks" of cards that contained text, media, etc and linked to one another. Consider each card to be a Web page and each stack to be a Web site, Intranet, or Web app rolled up into a single file. This all predated the Web, of course, but was pretty powerful and had a really, really easy development tool that could be used by complete novices.

A lot of early games, especially choose your own adventure style ones, as well as multimedia presentations, and educational tools were created as HyperCard stacks. This Web site is just allowing people to dig them up, dust them off, and play with them again (without paying for one of the commercial HyperCard programs still out there, or using a VM).

Re:I'm new around here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23699003)

As mutch as I love apple products, I'm somewhat sick of the 3G hype. Of course the 3G iphone will be awesome with out a doubt, but can we please have a phone that meshes with the business world? I'm sitting through grad school classes and I hear rants and raves about this phone. One in three have the last generation. They are very cool, with out a doubt, but I don't see myself dropping the cash. And talking with my classmates and group members I've come to a realization they keep talking up the 3G, but when it comes down to the facts, these guys dont know s_it.

As I write this from a Mac Book Pro I must seem like a Hippocrate, but I'll leave it at this...

Plase talk me into buying this phone!

BTW My first cell was AT&T when I was in collage and it sucked ass. I had to walk to the window and basically hang out to get reception. The first impression is the most important and AT&T/Cingular killed it for me.

Cheers,
        Nick

Re:I'm new around here... (2, Interesting)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 5 years ago | (#23699545)

A lot of early games, especially choose your own adventure style ones, as well as multimedia presentations, and educational tools were created as HyperCard stacks.

What's more, even the original Myst was a set of HyperCard stacks [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I'm new around here... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696603)

Its inventor claims that it was "almost" the World Wide Web, several years before the web. Except for minor details, it was local to one PC and lacked networking and collaboration features.

Inventor of the web says HC was his inspiration. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23696777)

He says that he envisioned the web as a giant networked HyperCard Stack.

Re:I'm new around here... (1)

Budenny (888916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698833)

Hypercard was in concept the exact opposite of the web.

It was written in a proprietary language, it was only accessible via an application that would run on just one, proprietary, operating system, and this operating system would only run on hardware from one particular manufacturer. Although it was innovative, it was doomed for this reason. It was thought of by Apple as a tool to sell hardware (like everything else they did). The essence of the web was and is that it doesn't matter who supplies the hardware or software you use, and that the material you access and even web based programs are open.

As soon as it turned out to be useless as a hardware selling tool, Apple closed it down. The episode shows that Apple's basic approach to business models and indeed to information and users has not changed in twenty years. Its as authoritarian and closed as ever. It would have been so easy to open source it, or port it to other platforms. You notice by the way a continuing, odd, hangover of this approach in Filemaker. You cannot compile your Filemaker program on a platform other than the one you're going to run it on. You can't compile a Windows executable on a Mac. What a bizarre hangover!

You notice also that Revolution is the only one of the HC successors to have really succeeded, and Revolution is quite the opposite of HC in these respects: it comes for Linux, Windows and Mac, and you can compile your programs on any platform for any platform.

Nostalgia for HC is justified in one respect: it did introduce a great many inventive users to programming, and probably many of them moved on to less kindergarten languages. This was valuable. But in all other respects, business model, lockins, closed format and so on, in all those respects we should all be profoundly grateful that the HyperCard model died. Intellectual freedom would have been the loser had it succeeded on the sale some of the nostalgics wish.

Re:I'm new around here... (2, Funny)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#23699999)

It was written in a proprietary language, it was only accessible via an application that would run on just one, proprietary, operating system, and this operating system would only run on hardware from one particular manufacturer.
So basically it was like IE6-based world wide web around 5 years ago?

Re:I'm new around here... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#23700017)

In what way? The other comment points out how it differs in many fundamental respects, so the only thing I see in common is things like hyperlinks, which existed years before the Web, and was available on various platforms (e.g., the Amiga's Amigaguide).

Re:I'm new around here... (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696635)

Could someone please tell me what in the world Hypercards are?

Have you accepted Google [wikipedia.org] as your personal Search Engine.

Salvation is at hand!

Mac only? (1)

zmjjmz (1264856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696549)

It says that new stacks must be uploaded in MacBinary format or something. Can you get a Mac these days that will read 3.5/5.25/8" floppies?

Re:Mac only? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696829)

You can probably get a USB floppy drive that can read all the floppies...

Re:Mac only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23699005)

If it's a new USB floppy drive, maybe not. There is an earlier post about this in more detail, but for example I have many early Mac floppies, single-sided 400K and 800K, that are not supported by the USB 1.4MB dual-sided "high-density" floppy disk drives of today. The only way I can read them is using an old Mac that I still have around.

Re:Mac only? (1)

alextmqazwsx (1124255) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697399)

It wants MacBinary because Apache clobbers resource forks. I spent about an hour trying to find out why a program I was transferring from my mac to an old OS9 computer was coming out unable to run. HyperCard, like many old Mac formats, is mostly in the resource fork.

Two words (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696639)

Radical Castle! Bring on the vorpal bunny.

Re:Two words (1)

welkin23 (1168399) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697161)

Despite a reference to Radical Castle being amazing in itself, I'm pretty sure the game was created with World Builder--which was a step or two up from HyperCard.

sweeeet. (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696655)

i saw more kids get brave and smart on things like logo and hypercard, especially hypercard as you could get an original creation with creamy UI goodness, it did something useful and immediate and creative. the ones who were convinced mpw / pascal was the way to go would sit there like we had just given them a pile of planks and two wagon wheel hoops, waving as we sped off in our trusty gti. don't know if i'm willing to risk uploading a entire voyager expanded book... i have every one of them and nothing to read them on. anyone got an original "manhole"?

Re:sweeeet. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23696943)

Manhole was my favorite Hypercard game.

Re:sweeeet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23697131)

Cosmic Osmo ftw, man.

Re:sweeeet. (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697239)

I remember playing manhole as a child when my father would lug home his Mac from work every night. A really great and engaging world in retrospect. I had forgotten the name until now. I found it by looking on google for hypercard adventure, which eventually led me to this page about hypercard stacks [smackerel.net] that is amusingly displayed to look like an old hypercard stack itself.

Re:sweeeet. (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697691)

I have "Manhole" on 5.25" disks, and would enjoy finding some way to run it on modern hardware/software, preferably under Linux. By the time I thought to try searching, the CD version had come and gone.

Re:sweeeet. (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698141)

5" floppies? running on what hardware?

Re:sweeeet. (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23699571)

We bought The Manhole on a trip to MicroCenter in Columbus, OH. I think my son, now 22, was 4 at the time, which would have made it around 1990. At that time I probably would have been using my XT-286 with a Video7 FastWrite VGA, though it's possible that I might have traded out the motherboard for something faster by then. It seemed like I was buying a hardware upgrade a year back in those days, so I'd probably already moved from 20G to 40G, and maybe had both after upgrading the power supply. Oh yeah, running DOS.

Tethered Hypercard (1)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697057)

Don't tell me - I can't download and use their software on my web server; I have to let them host my private data (private meaning, I have to trust them with it).

That's pretty impressive, figuring out how to tether a decades-old application that was designed to run entirely on the user's equipment.

I suppose you could just email the stack to those you really wanted to share it with. But where would they get the stack interpreter?

Why all the fond reminiscences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23697087)

Doesn't anyone remember how much HyperCard sucked? The only good HyperCard product I remember (out of legions) was Myst, and that was heavily modified.

Re:Why all the fond reminiscences? (1)

Lallander (968402) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697499)

There was one HyperCard stack that really stands out in my memory. It was called "If Monks Had Macs". It was a collection of writings, games, and other miscellaneous bits. I would love to be able to use that again.

Re:Why all the fond reminiscences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23698139)

"If Monks Had Macs" was rebuilt for the 21st century using Revolution, now available for OS X and Win XP, Vista:
http://www.rivertext.com

HyperCard had a really cool syntax (1)

jeorgen (84395) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697205)

HyperCard had a really cool syntax. For example to make a button that you could drag around, you would just double click it in edit mode and enter the following script:

on mouseDown
        repeat while the mouse is down
                set the location of me to the mouseloc
end mouseDown

(not case sensitive)

Re:HyperCard had a really cool syntax (3, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | more than 5 years ago | (#23697729)

The problem with HyperTalk/AppleScript is that they still have rigid syntax that's intolerant of ambiguity, but now it's merely verbose and expressed in a language where you might expect some constructions to work, but they don't, because they're English, not Hypertalk.

A perfect example is "the location of me". You can't say "my location", which is a far more common idiom.

Of course the saving grace of HyperTalk was that it was also a pretty darn good language for its time, aside from the syntax.

Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23698081)

Bundle it with Apple's Time Machine and we can go back to the 1990s to find people who would use this.

HyperCard was way ahead of its time (1)

thomas.me (864466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698767)

Maybe it was the most successful implementation of a HyperText before the Web came along. People built totally diverse applications and didn't even know what they were doing. Heck, it was impossible to explain what HyperCard to someone who hadn't seen it!

Revolution is the future (1)

JanSchenkel (1303945) | more than 5 years ago | (#23698817)

Though I find it an innovative way to revive your old stack and share it on the web, I can't help but wonder about security, privacy and copyright. Meanwhile, Runtime Revolution have just announced their revamped web strategy, and demoed a Flash-like browser plugin - which means you don't have to install any special software on your server. Just create your stack on MacOSX, Windows or Linux and then deploy it for the web. For a short introduction of this plugin-to-come: http://runrev.com/newsletter/may/issue48/newsletter1.php [runrev.com] - I was there during the announcement and got some time to play with it, and it is indeed a great way to share your stacks over the web.

Pass it along to Cyan Worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23699493)

It'd be cool if they convert and host Myst.
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