Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Trying To Save HyperCard For Mac OS X

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the or-is-it-time-to-just-move-on? dept.

Apple 157

jse75 writes: "This story from the O'Reilly site comments on the state of HyperCard - Apple's much-loved, long-lived, multimedia software tool. Lots of HyperCard stacks are in use today, in all sorts of places - businesses, doctor's offices, museums, and more. Currently there seem to be no plans on Apple's part to update HyperCard to run natively under Mac OS X. The story from O'Reilly contains more info about the International HyperCard Users Group and their quest to get Apple to Carbonize HyperCard. They even had a booth at MacWorld Expo! Join in, maybe together we can convince Apple that continued support for HyperCard is a Good Thing!"

cancel ×


Hypercard? Whatever happened.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327979)

I remember enjoying a piece of software on my Atari 520, and then my 1040, called Zoomracks . Apparently Hypercard was based on Zoomracks , but it was developed by 'some guy' and not a corporation. The story I have, and I can't remember where from, was that Zoomracks sued Hypercard and won. After that development on Zoomracks stopped, and 'the guy' fell off the planet. I was pissed because I'd bought it, and had a business depending on it. Zoomracks wasn't large, was written in Pascal, was very well behaved, had a recordable, editable programming language, AND had an intuitive ANSI GUI. I wonder if the source is around and available. That would be an easy port to Linux. Think about it... Take this guy's front end code, port it to Ncurses, convert the back end to MySQL, or a generic Linux DB API, and wheeeeeeeeooooo!!

FreeCard (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327980)

FreeCard [] is an open-source HyperCard clone in development. You can convert a HyperCard stack into a FreeCard stack (the converter relies on HyperCard to get at the stack data). And they're working on reverse-engineering the STAK file format.

Apple specifically said at MacHack 2000 that "We will not use open-source as a dumping ground for dead products." That makes sense, but a product whose users beg for support is anything but dead, IMO. I think Apple is squandering an opportunity to earn goodwill with its users and the open source community at minimal cost.

Now that I think about it, a Carbon application can't use 68K code, so even if HC were Carbonized it couldn't support externals (XCMDs and XFCNs).

I find all of Apple's scripting products (MPW Shell, HC, AppleScript) somewhat anemic -- they lack the power and richness of unix-derived tools (bash, perl, etc.) Anything really complex becomes a pain in the tush. Then again, they're commercial products, rather than just tools, and I guess that comes with the territory. So I'm porting bash to Mac OS. :-)

The more Apple declares things obsolete, the more its users will switch to cloned or competing technologies (or just stop upgrading) and the more Apple itself becomes obsolete. Eventually someone will implement Carbon for free Unix systems.

Josh []

Re:Revolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327981)

You certianly do have a choice to use Java or C on the 68HC11. The fact that once all the overhead is loaded you only have enough codespace left to blink an LED with your program code imposes a limit, of course.

Most of my profesional code is written for a four bit processor, one of the NEC 75000 series parts (uPD75328 to be exact). Guess what? There aren't any good C or Java compilers for it.

Write some code that has to fit into a single chip sometime. Pick one of the Microchip parts, or maybe one of the 6805 parts that fit in an 18 pin package. Tell me how much fun you have working with your high level language in a part with 512 bytes of ROM program memory and 64 bytes of RAM. And don't try to claim such coding environments are dead. There's a huge install base of that sort of stuff and it isn't going away. Your mouse has such a chip inside it, for instance.

wee! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327983)

Can't believe I got fp with such a stupid comment. Anyway, I say in the end forget reverse engineering it, why not use the power of Cocoa to make a similar OS X app that's modern and useful, which Hypercard at this point is not.

Ode to Hypercard (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327984)

Oh man.. HyperCard.> The program that got me into programming.. What an increadible piece of software..

Hypercard is the gizmo that gave use the word hyperlink. It's responsible for Myst and inspired TCL/TK as well as half a dozen other such scrpting languages. Ever used Delphi or any other visual programming tools? Hypercard's in there somewhere...

Hypercard is one of these old gems that are out there. It basically changed the world and then was neglected by Apple... the bastards.. For a while they said they would put Hypercard into quicktime. I liked that idea since quicktime with hypercard scripting would give macromedia a run for their money. :-).. + you'd have cross platform stacks sort of like Java but even slower ;-)..

pitty that didn't come to pass...

HyperCard is the Mac ideal in programming form. Easy, freindly, practical and totaly disrespected by all those that built on its lead or use its derivatives.

Now.. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play Cosmic Osmo :-)...


Odd to see THIS on Slashdot.... (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#327985)

I mean, Mac OS X has been out since March 24th, but if Slashdot was your only source of 'geek news' (god help you if you're like that) then you'd have no idea it was out.

HOWEVER, Slashdot is happy to post articles about lack of DVD players or CD Burning, and now a story about some antique piece of hardware that i've never even heard of. Seems Slashdot likes listing OS X flaws, but won't even tell you that the thing has been released.

This might come across as flamebait, but it's the truth. You can't just report the bad stuff.

Good to hear... (3)

Phroggy (441) | more than 13 years ago | (#327989)

Good to hear that so many people are concerned about the future of HyperCard, and nice to see this sort of thing on Slashdot. HyperCard is amazingly powerful. Most people don't understand what it is or what it can do - and unfortunately Steve Jobs can be counted among that group.

If anyone's interested, Cannons and Castles [] is a HyperCard port I did of an old Apple II game. Well, sort of a port and sort of a rewrite. Anyway, if you've got a Mac, or Basilisk II or something, check it out.


Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (3)

jandrese (485) | more than 13 years ago | (#327991)

I know I'm being redundant, but I loved Hypercard on my old LC and I just want to get my 2 bits in.

Hypercard is by far the easiest and fastest gui development environment (RAD at its finest) I have ever used. I learned everything I know about programming Hypercard from reading other peoples scripts (it was fairly hard to prevent people from reading your source code, so almost all Hypercard stacks were essentally open source). The entire package was so well designed an integrated that even a 7 year old can design a frightfully complex application. The best part is, every Mac came with a full development environment (until that blasted "HyperCard Player" appeared at least) that was only a "Command-M set userlevel to 5" away. Hypercard was Apples version of "GW Basic" when Apple did everything 100x better than Gates and Co.

Nur ar det slut

Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.

Your history's inaccurate... (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 13 years ago | (#327998)

Actually, VB was created because of HyperCard, not vice versa. And, like everything else out of Microsot, it was only a pale imitation.

I used to use HyperCard too, though I got into it later than you did. It was some great stuff. But its time has come. It's been superseded by how many different technologies now? Let's see; QuickTIme, AppleScript, Cocoa, [i]and [/i]Flash all have either HyperCard's power (QuickTime), ease of learning (AppleScript), or both (QuickTime, Flash). Put a good GUI builder on top of AppleScript, perhaps integrating it into ProjectBuilder/InterfaceBuilder, and you basically have HyperCard; the language AppleScript was, despite what the HC bigots out there loudly deny, based off of the language, and in fact they take it a step further.

HyperCard is a nice tool. It's what got me into programming. But its time has come; better things are out there. Things more powerful and faster, and even easier to learn. I think it's sad that HyperCard is dying, but I'm satisfied in that there are plenty of capable replacements on the Mac, and even on OSX.

Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (5)

MouseR (3264) | more than 13 years ago | (#327999)

Quite frankly, I don't think it's anything worth saving. If you think Mac zealots (which I am) are anal retentive about keeping their OS and their Macs, remember just one thing: HyperCard users are twice that, to the power of 2.

HyperCard is a black and white product. The color support was added as a sort of plug-in (XCMDs and XFNCs) and merely complicates colorizing. Multimedia support (QuickTime) is another suck hacky addition that doesn't really well mesh with the original intent of HyperCard.

History lesson: HyperCard, imagined and brought to life on spare time because of lack of interest of the then managment, is the child of O Grand Master Bill Atkinson, father of the Mac's original (B&W) QuickDraw code, whom to which we owe much of Apple's graphical prowesses. HyperCard is a meta card system which you can script using a near-english dialect called HyperTalk. This hypertalk is the ancestor of AppleScript. both share alot of the same architechture design, and even dialect. In fact, HyperCard evolved (around version 2 or 2.2) in a way that you could script using either or both HyperTalk and AppleScript in the same or across "stacks" (aka, HyperCard "applications").

A number of clones started appearing around that time (more than 10 years ago) in order to solve the lack of color and multimedia support. SuperCard, the most notable one, is still around today and is still maintained.

Note to HyperCard zealots: use SuperCard if you can't think of migrate to anything else. SuperCard DOES import HyperCard, and is compatible with the same XFNCs and XCMDs you (still) use today.

The are other alternatives for this today. Although you can't import a HyperCard stak or convert it easilly, some AppleScript-based similar products exist today, and are, quite frankly, much better than HyperCard ever was. One of them, for being a user of it (we use it as a build machine controler software) is called FaceSpawn. Think of it as Visual Basic, but AppleScript based and therefore able to communicate and exchange data with ANY AppleScript-ready application, including most of the mac OS system software--both 9 and X.

There's one comment (very personal) which I'd make about this issue. Mac OS has evolved a LOT since HyperCard (and Bill Atkinson original involvement). It's time HyperCard users evolve too.

Lastly, and since I haven't had a chance to do it before and that I'm publicly speaking about him, I'd like to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to Bill Atkinson for both QuickDraw (and it's regions!) and HyperCard. Thanks for the memories.

Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.

I say troll (1)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | more than 13 years ago | (#328000)

some antique piece of hardware
This might come across as flamebait, but it's the truth

I say somebody has been reading the Slashdot Troll HowTo.

Re:There *is* a solution (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 13 years ago | (#328001)

Supercard was painful when I used it in 1994..

I wonder if there's an OSS project out there to interpret HC stacks? Could be fun..

Your Working Boy,
- Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)

Macromedia Authorware/Director (1)

Sander van Zoest (8344) | more than 13 years ago | (#328003)


When I first saw and started playing with Director, it totally reminded me of an updated
version of hypercard. I am probably missing something here, but I can't think of anything that
Director or Authorware doesn't do that HyperCard did? Now are either of those going to be ported to
MacOS X?


kzinti (9651) | more than 13 years ago | (#328006)

I don't know much about Quicktime and Flash, but I don't think either is the complete package that Hypercard was.
Hypercard had three basic features: graphics, database, and programming. None of them were very advanced. Oh, I suppose the graphics in Hypercard were state-of-the-art when it was introduced into a monochrome bitmapped world. But its database capabilities were merely very basic, and its programming was only a bit more than basic (don't get me wrong - it wasn't intended to be anything fancy; it was supposed to be easy to use).

Today there are many products that beat the pants off Hypercard in one or two of these three areas. Flash clearly beats it graphically, and I'll take your word for it that Quicktime does too. I don't know much about Flash's scripting language, but let's say that it's as good as Hypertalk. However, I don't think Quicktime has programming capability, and I don't think either of these products has database capability like Hypercard did. I know even less about Visual Basic, but I doubt it has a built-in database either.

Perhaps you can hook up a database to these products. I know you can to Visual Basic. Maybe it's even easy to do. So maybe with some modern products you can come up with the same three feature sets as were in Hypercard, and they would be much more powerful.

That would still be missing the point.

In Hypercard, the three features were designed and built together. There was nothing external to hook up - no database, no ODBC drivers, no graphics package to add. You got it all right out of the box.

The best part was that they were exceptionally well integrated. Everything fit nicely into everything else. The object hierarchy that glued them all together is still one of the best and most likeable designs I've ever seen. For example, I still very much admire the way that Hypercard handled events -- passing them from specific to general: button to card to background to stack and finally to Hypercard itself. The design of Hypercard showed that Apple hadn't just stuck together a bunch of features -- they thought about what they wanted to do and came up with a holistic, comprehensive design.

The "card" paradigm was just a metaphor to let people work with databases without having to think in database terms. Build a background card and you're building a database schema. Add a card and you're adding a database record. Except, of course, that Hypercard never mention databases nor records. The closest they got to database terminology, if I remember correctly, was the "field".

My only complaint about Hypercard was that sometimes things were too simple. In trying to design a system that was "easy" for the average user to work with and even program, they built in some limitations that became obvious when pushed to their limits. Its database capabilities were crude, at best. And I seem to remember that string manipulation was often a problem. What I wouldn't have given just for some perl-like regular expressions! Probably, though, there's an XTND resource out there somewhere to do just that -- at least they made Hypercard extensible.

So, while I agree with you that there are many, many products that beat Hypercard in one or two if its feature areas, I don't know of any product that beats it at all three. And even if there is such a product, I doubt if the three features are as well-integrated as they were in Hypercard.

There's not a whole lot that I really miss about my old Macs, but Hypercard is definitely one of them. For simple databases like my card catalog, it not only did the job well, but it was a joy to use.


Ever think they're busy? (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#328007)

They haven't officially said they're abandoning it but their resources are stretched with OS X install problems and NOBODY has any friggin experience with it.

Maybe they don't want to commit to anything one way or another because they can't. For the moment, boot into 9.1 and grumble and keep writing that you want it.

Re:What the hell does "L337" mean?? (1)

tnt (10489) | more than 13 years ago | (#328008)

leet, dude, leet!

get ahold of yourself, man (3)

mr_burns (13129) | more than 13 years ago | (#328009)

Yes! Hypercard is powerful, and can be used to write apps.

However, as a 16 year mac veteran, trained in multimedia art in college, and above all else a geek...

Euthanize it already.

I'm not saying that anybody who's using it should stop. Tools are tools. I'm saying that we can do evrything that hypercard did and more sans cruft if we move on.

And I don't mean use flash either. To a designer who doesn't know a for from 4, flash is cool. For a programmer, it's the ultimate hell-spawn.

And Director has a good IDE, but let's face it folks, english is NOT the best language to do logic in, and Lingo is based on it.

I'll just list the following technologies included in MacOS X, and let your minds wander. I'm sure you can come up with very nifty stuff.

System Level XML parsing
Java access to native object frameworks
Java/Quicktime Integration

Plus the following Open Source technologies which can be brought on:

Mozilla's Java based JavaScript 1.5 VM (try/catch :) )

Need I go on? Hell, I'll bet some enterprizing hacker could write an XML formatting Object to fart out hypercared stacks from modern apps written using the above.

Us mac artists and coders have far much more at our disposal now than we have ever had. I think Apple should if anything work on giving us stuff that isn't out there yet, as opposed to porting over tech that in their default install is outclassed by mostly open source tech, especially when the old version works in classic.

I know it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks...I'm sayiong that we should let old dogs do their thing, and teach New tricks to new dogs.

Re:What the hell does "L337" mean?? (1)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#328010)

I think it's like a rock band or something.


Re:Odd to see THIS on Slashdot.... (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#328011)

Slashdot is not an advertising resource for large companies

Unless those companies happen to be Linux companies...


Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (1)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 13 years ago | (#328013)

Think it's outdated now? It was outdated 4 years ago when I noodled with it some. The color support is a cheap hack, and the animation is a third-party add-on that was bundled by Apple.

There *is* a solution (1)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 13 years ago | (#328014)

HyperCard always was, and always will be, a nifty piece of software. The thing is, it's severely outdated. It was state-of-the art nifty software in its time, but now it's a relic. I'd compare HyperCard on Mac OS 6 (er...System 6) to Logo on the Apple ][. They were nifty pieces of software that enabled beginners to learn the basics of software design and programming.

In this day and age, I think we need a new tool to do the same thing. For example, REALbasic [] is a fully modern tool that lets you write apps for both Windows and MacOS. An OS X version has been in beta for a while now, and should be released shortly.

On the other hand, if you really have to run that old stack, SuperCard [] can import your old stacks. I have not personally used the product, but it should do the task quite nicely. I am unaware of plans to port SuperCard to OS X, but at least it is actively maintained.

I want to know why all this fuss about HyperCard is finally coming to the forefront, while it has virtually been abandonware for two or three years already.

What about education? (1)

zealot (14660) | more than 13 years ago | (#328015)

Apple is the company that has always put their support behind getting their computers to be used in schools (elementary, middle, and high schools), and they've done a great job of that. Almost all schools have (or at least had) macs, and usually exclusively macs. So much so, in fact, that many college education programs (for students majoring in education to become teachers), teach hyperstudio and encourage its use for certain types of lessons. It has become a rather standard teaching tool. So are they going to leave teachers to start over and use something other than hypercards? If so, they'll probably have less and less support from teachers for schools buying those [ugl]iMacs.


mcc (14761) | more than 13 years ago | (#328016)

Ha! OK, i was *afraid* that story would turn out to be incorrect. That only makes hypercard all the cooler, though, now doesn't it; it WAS visual basic, earlier, and in a more elegant fashion, with a more elegant backing "language" to boot. And i'll assume your agreement covers the fact that had apple continued to update Hypercard, it could now be everything visual basic is now and more.. :shrugs;

Please excuse me if my memories on this subject are not too clear, i was two years old at the time and i am working off things i heard later :) There *was* some kind of thing going on involving hypercard and microsoft, i *think*, but i have just violated my right to speak on this subject i suppose ^_^

Please forgive me. I honestly really hate people who post vaguely remembered information on slashdot without checking their facts for correctness first, i am chagrined to find myself one of them =_=. []


mcc (14761) | more than 13 years ago | (#328018)

Let me start by saying i was a huge-ass hypercard addict in the fifth grade, and that the damn thing probably had a huge formative impact on me.

Let me continue by saying that i think it was a great, great loss that apple chose to drop hypercard the way they did. Had it continued to *grow*, it could have been a disturbingly influential piece of software. Hypercard could have been what Virtual Basic is now, only better. Short bit of obligatory history for the slashbots here: Hypercard was created BECAUSE of visual basic. Remember, Apple historically thought Basic was a nifty language. When Microsoft was first working on VB, apple asked them to create a BASIC R.A.D. tool, and MS agreed.. time passed, VB came out for windows, VB did not come out for mac. Even more time passed. Apple realizes VB is not going to come out for mac, and so an engineer there named Bill Atkinson (AKA "the dhali lama") decided screw microsoft, he was going to create his OWN visual basic.. and it came out beautifully. Hypercard was just SUCH an elegant tool for what it did, ESPECIALLY for the time, in every way, from the way it made the Fields and Buttons feel like the graphical elements they were to the strength and simplicity of the scripting language. Unfortunately with time apple just started neglecting it, in a horrible way. They blatantly refused to add color, they wouldn't take the obvious step of expanding their concept of button icons into real, useful SPRITES, and they let it get SLOW .. what could have been a fantastic low-end development tool was left to rot. And yet somehow it survived, mostly at this point living on the strength of the Quicktime integration. If you could write XTNDs (extentions to hypercard living inside a stack, written in "real" programming languages like c or pascal), hypercard was still useful.
hell, Cyan was a hypercard company. Myst was a hypercard app, and i think Riven was too.. or had they switched to Director by that point? Blah.

However, at this point.. dude, it's too late. Let the thing die. It had it's day. It's fun as a relic, but.. just.. no. If hypercard still holds some niftiness for you, just drop the damn thing and get Shockwave Flash. It is well worth the $300 or whatever it is (i don't have it). Flash IS what hypercard COULD HAVE BEEN: vector-based, visually rich, POWERFUL, flexible, cross-platform.. hell, just look at Flash and give me one good reason for Hypercard to still exist. And as far as hypercard serving a PURPOSE.. well, at this point the tools apple is serving instead have such power, such potential. I don't know if any of you have ever USED the combination of neXTStep interfacebuilder and objective C, but i honestly doubt it would be any more difficult to get a fifth grader like i was-- if you presented it right, and threw in kinda object library for sprite animation, and integrated that library with I_B-- to deeply grok writing cocoa software to the point where they could do everything they could in hypercard and more without much more difficulty. But oh, i mean, HELL. At this point *QUICKTIME* is as powerful or more so than hypercard. That's right, Quicktime now has sprites and interactivity and filters and everything hypercard had! I was actually for a short time considering writing a program that would convert hypercard stacks into quicktime movies! (I still think this would be an awesome project.)

If we're going to carbonize/update ANYTHING, it should be World Builder. Anyone remember World Builder games? "Mr. Roger's Revenge" and that whole bunch.. i mean like just think like what if they like added support for like color and quicktime movies and hypercard and shit DUDE HOW FUCKING L337 WOULD THAT BE??

(note: i honestly do not think i am being sarcastic about this last bit.)

Re:No more! (2)

irix (22687) | more than 13 years ago | (#328020)

These days I write mostly C/C++ on Solaris, and some Java.

I started with BASIC on an Apple ][ e, but I really got going with Hypercard. It allowed you to create results quickly, and learn to program at the same time. Heck, I got started with C by writing Hypercard XCMDs.

There might be bad programmers who code in Visual Basic, probably even a higher per-capita than other languages becuase of the lower barrier to entry. But don't be a language bigot - things like VB and Hypercard have their place, and I sure owe a lot to Apple and Hypercard for gettme me going 12 years ago.

Re:Sorry, can't agree (1)

KH (28388) | more than 13 years ago | (#328022)

First, what about the Cocoa / Interface Builder tool on OS X? Talk about powerful GUI building & rapid app development.
I agree. When I first saw the Interface Builder on NeXT, I thought, ``Wow, souped-up HyperCard!''

Since it's right there in the Mac OS X, who needs HyperCard any more? I thought when Apple discontinued Compact Macs, the days of HyperCard were over. Stacks only look good on those monochrmoe 9 inch monitors. Anything larger than that did not look good. I wish my SE/30 is still in my parents' house so that some day I can play around with HyperCard on it.

It won't happen. (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 13 years ago | (#328023)

Having worked a number of years for an Apple VAR and developer, I can honestly state that I have never once seen Apple do anything that indicates it gives a shit about its advocates, much less it users. They're willing enough to flatter them in marketing campaigns and pats on the back at MacWorld, but when the chips are down anybody who relies on Apple to act with anything but indifference to the fate of its friends is a sitting duck.

This is why they blew it in the corporate market. Early on, there were opportunities for Apple to earn several niches other than graphics in the corporate arena. However, IT managers who went out on a limb to advocate for Macs not only received no real support from Apple (other than copious brainwashing sessions at the local sales office), but time and time again Apple demonstrated its ruthless willingness to pull the rug out from its diminishing supply of friends if there were short term gain to be made.

The shell-shocked ex mac manager rushing into the embrace of Microsoft has become a sad cliche.

I'm not saying Apple products are bad, most are good and many have been revolutionary. I'm just saying that time and time again they have proven to be driven by a endogenous, technological vision rather than any sensitivity to the needs of their users except as abstract system components. If anything Apple has even less of a communitarian instinct than Microsoft. I'm not saying that companies should be run as charities, but there should be at least some sense of enlightened self interest. Microsoft at least offers a faustian bargain -- Apple's more take it or leave it.

If Apple open sourced ANY product they expected to be of value to anyone, it would signal the birth of a new Apple. Yes I know about Darwin, but I'd be surprised if Apple didn't go through OS X and carefully remove anything that might be of value over what is already available in existing BSD systems.

Re:Apples Response... (1)

mjpaci (33725) | more than 13 years ago | (#328026)

Shouldn't that be:

All your hypercards are belong to us?


Re:Open Source It (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 13 years ago | (#328027)

"But HyperCard might be in danger of going the way of the dinosaur. With the launch of Mac OS X, unless HyperCard is 'carbonized,' it could be the beginning of the end."

Hm, funny that. For the dinosaurs it was the opposite way around: they were carbonized after their demise or so they say. Cars and buses run on exploding dinosaurs, right?

There is no need to update it. (2)

lostguy (35444) | more than 13 years ago | (#328028)

Lots of HyperCard stacks are in use today, in all sorts of places - businesses, doctor's offices, museums, and more. Currently there seem to be no plans on Apple's part to update HyperCard to run natively under Mac OS X.

Everyone seems to read this as "Apple is dropping support for HyperCard." Let's take a few seconds to analyse the situation.

There are thousands upon thousands of HyperCard stacks out there, developed for the last fifteen years. A safe estimate would indicate that the vast majority were developed more than three years ago.

OS X is support on boxes shipped with G3s and G4s. These are all boxes developed in the past three years or so. By one of the few appropriate applications of Moore's Law, these machines are from 1 to 1000 times faster than the boxes used to develop and deploy the HyperCard stacks, which are mostly UI-bound anyway.

There's not a significant enough performance hit for Classic apps for these HyperCard stacks to be slower than they were originally. It's still pretty doggish, but it is in Apple's best interests to improve and to lure customers away from their old boxes. As it is, even though it's slower than it should be, remember the environment for which they were developed, and remember that almost all of them are not computationally demanding.

Hypercard was BRILLIANT! (1)

nphinit (36616) | more than 13 years ago | (#328029)

Seeing people bash hypercard is fairly painful for me. You obviously have no idea what impact it had, and how ahead of it's time it was!

Hypercard stacks were a bit like web pages, only many years prior.

We're talking 1985.

You could *easily* make a simple program with a full-fledged GUI. A child could! (And they did!) Buttons, scroll bars, text fields, etc. etc. were all very easy. HC was used *extensively* in education.

Hypercard enabled kids like me to delve into programming at a very early age. When I was about 10, I was working on a 1st-person cartoon-style game, with animation, non-linear gameplay, and cheesy music. Of course, later on I learned Pascal and C, but Hypercard is where I began.

There is much to be said for such a simple, easy-to-use technology that predated the WWW, Visual-Blah++, Java, etc. by years and years. I think it would be great if Apple open-sourced it...that way it isn't up to them to keep it running on their new OSes, the Hypercard community can handle it.

Re:Fond memories (1)

jeek (37349) | more than 13 years ago | (#328030)

Hypercard was great... I was writing decent-quality programs in it when I was 4 years old. Why haven't other languages progressed to the natural level of Hypertalk yet?

Webobjects (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 13 years ago | (#328036)

One word, my friend, webobjects.

Yes, I too grieve for hypercard, it was sooo much easier, albiet less powerful than webobjects.

And, what is apple smoking? their webobjects development is less focused on mac, and more cross-platform.

Unclear on the Concept (3)

Cheesewhiz (61745) | more than 13 years ago | (#328037)

That's just what we need! An API that hasn't been updated since 1985!

Oh! Lovely idea! Let's keep alive ANOTHER defunct, archaic standard in an operating system that's even sacrificing performance in backwards compatibility to get RID of the ridiculously outdated infrustructure of the classic Mac OS in favor of modernizing and UNIX-izing! Apparently some people aren't too clear on the concept of OS X.

Frankly, HyperCard stacks are not the prettiest thing to behold. Let's just let it die and be done with it. It will always run in Classic under OS X, to boot.

Has Apple EVER open-sourced anything? (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 13 years ago | (#328038)

Steve Jobs has never been famous for paying attention to the desires of even a substantial minority of his users. Anyone remember the Newton; killed off by Jobs just about the time PDAs started to take off?

My suggestion is to start an open-source project on sourceforge. The best part is that if it works on OSX it will almost certainly work on Linux.

Hmm... do ya suppose that OSX may migrate frustrated Mac people to Linux?

Re:Open Source It (1)

hub (78021) | more than 13 years ago | (#328040)

Even worse than not being Open Source. Data file format it NOT publicly documented.

Please Apple, if you don't bother about HyperCard, bother about your users and release HyperCard source code under an Open Source license so that users aren't left out.

Little HyperCard story (5)

hub (78021) | more than 13 years ago | (#328041)

What HyperCard has to save ?

  1. the huge amount of stacks (an HyperCard program) that has been developed using HyperCard. Lot of them have real value in term of content, and since stacks are made using an undisclosed file format, you have no way to re-read them.
  2. the concept. HyperCard is hypertext since its inception, circa 1985 (by Bill Atkinson, one the Macintosh father. It was called Wildstack then), even before WWW birth in Switzerland. This is not exclusive to HyperCard, but it pioneered in this area.
  3. the easyness. I have yet to see a tools that is so easy to use with so much possibilities. HyperCard does not pretend to provide a full featured development environment, but its goal is to offer basic computer users a way to present data simply and interactively. The concept is that you have a stack of card. Each card use a background (sort of a template) and you go from one card to another. Any card can have text data, associated either to a local text field or to a background text field, drawing data, buttons, etc. Each object (card, background, button, etc.) receive messages that are handled by script written in HyperTalk (on which is based AppleScript). It was so easy to use that pre high school kids could do nice work with HyperCard.

The problem is that Apple killed it before version 2.0 (still desperately in black & white) as they started to no longer give it away with each Macintosh sold, starting at Mac Classic. (in fact version 2.0 was limited to a runtime unless you paid for it, but you could still "hack" the home stack to tell HyperCard to move to the development level). Then later, starting with System 7.0 they only provided a runtime, not unlockable.

At that time, Apple thought of replacing HyperCard with AppleScript. Not only they didn't achieve this, HyperCard and AppleScript did not cooperate well as it should have. In the mean time, Apple failed to provide color support in HyperCard making it worthless as a separate product.

Hey Apple, if you listen ? You provide iMovie free, you provide iTune free, why not writting iHyperCard and provide it free of charge for everybody with every Macintosh, with every MacOS X? You already provide complete professional development tools... That would be a great asset for you.

(and opening the file format would be the cherry on the top, for sure)

Re:2 years uptime on a laptop??? (1)

daniell (78495) | more than 13 years ago | (#328042)

Either you don't understand the meaning of uptime, or that's a real waste of a laptop letting it just sit there for 2 years..

I could envision it. Everyday between home and work a laptop could continue running on its batteries, then it could run off the first or second power adapter, and charge in the process. If you had something like the pismo apple powerbook, this is perfectly feasable with even a 5 hour commute, additionally the pismo has a working sleepmode which will give one the range of something like 24hours for moving the laptop with-out bringing the system technically down.

I think its you have have confused uptime with being tethered. I'm sure you know that unlike win##, you don't have to reboot to recofigure your network connection for your new subnet if you're using ... well just about anything else (any unix, MacOS 7.6 (and up), BeOS la la la).


Re:Hypercard and programming. (1)

larkost (79011) | more than 13 years ago | (#328043)

I have to third this opinion. HyperTalk was how I really got into the programming business (ok... Turtle Basic was my first). I remember in grade school a teacher gave us the magic square problem, and not being able to think it out on my own I spent a half hour creating a simple stack that let me brute force the solution (I moved the numbers around, and it did all the calculations). At that time there was no comparable language, and for getting a simple GUI, there still is no solution that is simpler to learn (for that it sacrifices complexity later on...).

Why is it still around? (1)

Ingerod (82705) | more than 13 years ago | (#328044)

Everytime I hear something about HyperCard these days I'm always astonished that it's still around. I haven't used it since 1987 or so, and then fairly quickly switched to FileMaker for similar tasks. What I remember however was a very wordy (AppleScript-like) language and a very limited window format. I admit it introduced me to the concept of events and event handling though...

Could somebody tell me why it still is in use? No, really, this is a serious question: Why? What makes it better than for example FileMaker, RealBasic or AppleScript/Frontier?

Re:Open Source (3)

beerits (87148) | more than 13 years ago | (#328045)

WTF? Apple will never open-source anything?
How about Darwin or Quicktime Streaming Server? Or MkLinux. No apple never will open source anything.

Re:Open Source (3)

frankie (91710) | more than 13 years ago | (#328047)

Apple can't handle it. They need 100% control

Silly troll. You're living way Way WAY in the past, and even then you were still wrong.


artemis67 (93453) | more than 13 years ago | (#328048)

The mac veterns will miss it but don't bring obsolete software or an emulator to run HYPERCARD to OS X. In its current form, yes. It really needs a total rewrite, otherwise Apple will be wasting their time carbonizing it. The last version of HC is now hopelessly outdated.

The Development Environment for the Rest of Us (5)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 13 years ago | (#328049)

It's hard to quantify the amount of value that HyperCard added to the Mac. Most people who use computers are not so übergeek that they want to dive into C++, Perl, Java, etc.; just the opposite.

HyperCard offered (for the first time and, perhaps, the last) a development environment that the average person could understand and work with, giving immeasurable power to the user community. That sounds like a pretty heady statement, but it's true. A somewhat small case-in-point was a Greek class that I was struggling through in my undergrad work; I was having a rough time keeping up with the vocabulary. Incredibly, I found an HC stack for Greek vocabulary drills that followed the same book we were using, written by a grad student at some other university. The author was not a programmer, and I think that it was safe to say that he never would have attempted something like that in BASIC. This was purely a work of the community that would not have existed otherwise.

In fact, I ended up authoring my own stack for Hebrew that gave a basic introduction to the language, did vocabulary drills, and even spoke the vocabulary aloud using MacinTalk. Not being a programmer, I wouln't have known where to begin to author something like that without HC.

Sure, there are better tools out there today for doing snazzier stuff; there were a lot of more advanced tools during HC's days, too. But what made HC a killer app for the masses was both its accesibility and its flexibility. And of course the fact that it came free on every Mac.

Not coincidentally, HC came onto the market just as Microsoft was starting to put some distance between PC's and Mac's. The biggest argument for buying a PC (then and now) was, "The PC has thousands more apps available!" I think Bill Atkinson realized that putting a tool like HC in the hands of the average Mac user just completely deflated that argument. For almost any category you could imagine, if you couldn't find a commercial app to suit your needs, the chances were good that someone had already written an HC stack to fill the void. Or, it wasn't such an outrageous proposition to think that you could write one yourself.

And therein lies another missed opportunity for Apple; creating a community of coders for the Mac. The Apple ][ had a very long life, I believe, because there was always a strong emphasis on programming it, and that emphasis gave rise to commercial authors who grew the software base. The Mac floundered in the mid 80's because Steve Jobs made it difficult to become a Mac developer; in 1984, you had to fill out an application and be approved before Apple would sell you their development kit (and don't even dare to suggest that you wanted to write games). Not surprisingly, Mac software development got off to a slow start.

HC could have done for the Mac what AppleSoft BASIC did for the Apple ][. Created a community of "amateur" developers that would go on to become loyal, professional Mac developers. But unfortunately, CEO's Gil Ameilo and Jobs got all hung up on the fact that Apple giving HC away, rather than viewing it as an investment in the platform's future.

HyperCard, as it now exists, is dead. I stopped using it years ago because its development path was just pathetic (e.g., the way color was handled was just totally bizarre). The app is dead, but the market it addressed still exists, perhaps now more than ever. If Apple would rewrite HC from the ground up, rebrand it, and GIVE IT AWAY (while still selling add-on packs, books, support, classes, etc.), they would have a tremendous investment in the Mac's future.

Apparently, Jobs now understands the value of giving away apps, because he's giving away frivilous stuff like iTunes and iMovie (I say "frivilous" because, cool as they may be, they won't have the lasting impact that a consumer-level development tool would have). Now if only he could be convinced to see the long-term impact a new version of HC could have...

WebObjects & HyperCard = Apples & Oranges (2)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 13 years ago | (#328053)

um... WebObjects is incredibly powerful, but comparing it to HyperCard is like comparing Visual Basic to BEA WebLogic - they're operating in completely different worlds.

HyperCard is a development environment based on a card metaphor - it's designed for use on a Mac in a non-networked environment.

WebObjects is an application server that is used to build database-driven Web applications that are, by definition, served to multiple client machines.

BTW, WO 5 is due in May, the developer release is already out - it's a pure Java rewrite that will be deployable on any server OS that has a Java VM. Also, a totally revamped OS X Server is due at around the same time, and it should serve as an excellent development and deployment environment for WO.

HyperCard was great - it's what got me into multimedia and web development, but Apple has limited resources, and they need to think about the future. Life goes on, RealBASIC is here, Cocoa is here.

Place your bets (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#328054)

If Apple fails to support HyperCard, how long do you think it will be before emulators or other software pop up that make it possible to run them? I'm guessing that it'll happen butt-quick. As is often the case, it only takes one nostalgic programmer to get the job done.

I know this may be hard to believe.... (1)

cprincipe (100684) | more than 13 years ago | (#328055)

But not everyone wants to learn how to program assembly for the x86, or C or Pascal for that matter. I know it is probably heresy to say this on Slashdot, but that doesn't make people idiots. They just don't have the aptitude to succeed in programming. It is a skill set some people can grasp while some others can't. I'm sure people would agree that someone like the Dalai Lama is a very intelligent person, but I doubt he could hack code. Hypercard is an extension of the philosophy that the Mac was founded on, that there had to be a way to create a computer that was easy to use. Hypercard was a way for people with limited programming aptitude to create small custom databases for things like recipes, record collections, etc. I had a custom cassette label maker that I used in Hypercard. Hypercard stacks were not intended to be complex things.

Apple's next iApp (1)

Bill Daras (102772) | more than 13 years ago | (#328057)

Apple will probably repackage it as one of their homoginized iApps to allow newbies to create multimedia presentations.

People who are still employing HyperCard stacks... (1)

galego (110613) | more than 13 years ago | (#328059)

are probably not the early adopters of OS X. I did Hypercard back in the mid-90's...after Apple started to ignore it's development and got tired of waiting for updates after about a year+.

On the other hand...I do know a group at a University that uses it extensively (still, I believe) for computer-based testing. They would probably just run it in the 'Classis' environment...or go to something more updated...ya know, that natively supports color and all!



earache (110979) | more than 13 years ago | (#328060)

Hypercard existed way before Visual Basic.

I'll agree with your other points though.

Re:Oh, come on, let's get real. (1)

earache (110979) | more than 13 years ago | (#328061)

It's called metacard ... runs on mac, ibm, linux and solaris (I believe).

Well, the solution is... (2)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 13 years ago | (#328062)

Thy (the users, not Apple) should start work on an open source version. Expandable, modifiable and portable to all platforms. Of course, the latter of these probably scares those irrationally loyal Apple users a little too much


Re:Open Source It (2)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 13 years ago | (#328063)

the fact that its still in use speaks wonders about how far ahead of it's time it was

I don't think so. It wasn't impossible to write useful software then and people are still writing useless software today. I think it's time that we lose the assumption that just because something's old, it's likely to be crap.


Re:No more! (2)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 13 years ago | (#328064)

Visual Basic may share a nomative similarity to the original basic but it is by no means the same thing. The original basic required very little understanding of how computers work. Visual Basic requires at least a cursory knowledge of advance modern architectures (event cues, OLE etc)


Re:Open Source It (4)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 13 years ago | (#328065)

The dinosaurs were fossilized. You are thinking of Han Solo.



JamesIIGS (123752) | more than 13 years ago | (#328067)

A quick history check shows Visual Basic 1991 and HyperCard 1987.

- Jamaes - [IMAGE]

No more! (1)

^chuck^ (131444) | more than 13 years ago | (#328072)

I took a class entitled "introduction to programming" at my school. We used macs (the teacher who taught the class was also the system admin and a Mac fanatic). What did we learn to program in? Hypercard and HTML
Fat lot of help that's done me in University

I'm convinced that Hypercard is the reason that we have Visual Basic and all the other "friendly" programming languages. Or else it was the first to discover a market for idiots who didn't want to program, but needed creative window packages really fast. If I see another stack before I die, it will be too early. It was also probably the reason why, at the same time, I taught myself assembly for the x86.

Maybe someone can convince me otherwise, but I never saw the point of it. It seemed to be just an easy slow way to create simple databases with limited animation...

Re:HyperCard (1)

Arcanix (140337) | more than 13 years ago | (#328073)

A language targeted for pre-teen and mentally handicapped programmers.

Re:Odd to see THIS on Slashdot.... (3)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#328074)

Slashdot is not an advertising resource for large companies - they didn't report on the launch of Windows 2000 either because, just like the launch of OS X, it wasn't necessary.

Re:Odd to see THIS on Slashdot.... (1)

Lizard_King (149713) | more than 13 years ago | (#328075)

>and now a story about some antique piece of hardware that i've never even heard of

Hypercard is not hardware. Hypercard is a software that Apple released in 1987 that was the first widely available personal hypermedia authoring system. In my opinion, the software had huge influences on a lot of the stuff you see these days and even acted as a pre-cursor to something you may have heard of: WWW.

Re:No more! (1)

kennyj449 (151268) | more than 13 years ago | (#328076)

These were created for the following reason: They actually do allow you to set up a number of applications in less time than if you program, without the hassles of debugging and with much less know-how. Once you know your way around Hypercard and the "easy languages" well enough, they can enable this. Usually. However, if you have a good, working knowledge of more advanced solutions you may find them to be more efficient - of course, there's always the learning curve involved in getting to that point (the single largest barrier) and also the extra work incurred with more complex projects - particularly debugging. And God help you if you try to do a large project in Assembler in a hurry... then again, that's what C, C++, Java, SQL, Perl (Yes, I know Perl is a scripting language, but it is more than obfuscated enough to avoid the "made for idiots" label - and the only one of the previous list who's code I can't easily read) and other such languages are for, along with the associated libraries and APIs that make your life easier. Now, if you're going to gripe, (not saying you are) gripe at the school for not knowing any better and not even teaching you programming. (HTML, and nearly all scripting languages (especially VB) do not qualify as programming IMO) That course sounds more like an introduction to basic content creation / problem solving using computer technology, while real programming involves the use of computer science, logic, and a host of other concepts that will likely never (fully) become involved in Hypercard and HTML. Or many scripting languages. I challenge you, however, to program a database with even limited animation in assembler faster than I can do so in Filemaker or some random Java IDE with SQL backend support (may not even be necessary with vectors and hash tables, depends on the project), while taking frequent coke breaks. Hell, I'll do a beer-run to give you a head-start. These things are designed to make you do as little as possible to get something done, by doing all the dirty work for you. If you use Assembler for anything other than scientific applications, compiler design, or OS design, you're out of your fscking mind... it's just too much work to tell it every little thing it has to do when you can just spit a few lines in a high-level language or use a visual tool to get the same job done.


Bren (153085) | more than 13 years ago | (#328078)

>Start with a new dev environment/language, design, and add more functionality! Reuse of ancient code is futile!

Aren't the re-using the BSD code? I would consider that ancient...


Maybe a third party? (3)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 13 years ago | (#328079)

There have always been HyperCard lookalikes, such as SuperCard [] , and MetaCard [] . Maybe one of those companies could breathe some life into it.
Maybe, also, it would generate more interest if it were a browser plugin.

Re:Hypercard and programming. (1)

vought (160908) | more than 13 years ago | (#328080)

If you want to thank the people responsbile for HyperCard, start with Bill Atkinson [] .

Legend has it that he was looking for a way to organize content for a presentation, and whipped up the majority of the code over a long weekend. Nothing like Persuasion or PowerPoint existed at the time.

I have no idea about the vercity of this story though.

Re:HyperCard (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 13 years ago | (#328081)

Just like the OS it runs on. :)

Another example: Claris Home Page 3.0!!! (2)

Curious__George (167596) | more than 13 years ago | (#328082)

Claris (Filemaker) Home Page 3.0 was a pretty darn good entry level visual editor for HTML and it too was abandoned by Apple/Claris/Filemaker. They stopped distributing it on Feb. 1st. I'd like to see it made available as Open Source instead of simply dying away.

I'm not suggesting that it can hold a candle to Dreamweaver, but for teaching the basics to beginners, I have found that Home Page has next-to-no learning curve. Home Page 3.0 was also really big in the education sector, as it didn't cost an arm and a let ($59 academic) Yet it has some features lacking in the barebones editors like Netscape Composer (like the ability to create form widgets).

I would imagine that Apple is scared of torquing-off any developers that have competing projects, but there is really no one left in Home Page's price catagory on the Mac. I think that is sad. How (in 2001) can you ship a product that does not give the user the ability to create web pages out of the box? (Okay, I know there's SimpleText -but you know what I mean!)

Curious George

Re:Open Source It (1)

Snuffub (173401) | more than 13 years ago | (#328084)

Apple has said before that theyre not going to use open source as a grave yard for projects they no longer have an intrest in. And i commend them for that. hypercard has been dead in terms of development for years. I dont see anything remarkable about this. (the fact that its still in use speaks wonders about how far ahead of it's time it was.)

Ok, indulge me for a minute... (2)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | more than 13 years ago | (#328087)

But why exactly is hypercard worth saving? Not a troll, I really want to know. Yes, I understand that it has a large installed base, but so did DOS at one point. Is hypercard really that groovy, that the technology just has to be migrated over. Again, I'm not trying to start an argument, but I'm MAC illiterate for the most part, with my interest in Apple mostly coming from my following the development of OSX. Help me out, O wise ones.

Re:Fond memories (1)

cronik (196639) | more than 13 years ago | (#328089)

HyperCard does have it's good point, the fact that a 7 year old can figure out how to use it (I should know, I started making stacks in 2'nd grade). The only thing that HyperCard was used for in my middle school and high school was to make simple one dimensional presentations. Not to bad mouth HyperCard but has anyone ever heard of HTML???

I have no love lost for this defunct program, and I hope that it's phased out as quickly as possible.

Handy Dandy HC to HTML converter []

Open Source (4)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#328090)

If they don't want to port it, why wouldn't they leave its source to some generous Geek?
Hypercard has one elegant aspect, it is its simplicity.
If many people have been using it for years, it is not because of something else.
The problem is that we might have to wait for a very long time to see companies Open-Sourcing software instead of just abandoning it.

You missed the self-referentiality (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 13 years ago | (#328091)

The comment "This is clearly the ramblings of a troll" was aimed at me, not you.

Re:Hmmmm (3)

91degrees (207121) | more than 13 years ago | (#328092)

Your Windows 98 box has a security mode. I believe they named it "Power saving" or something.
Your Linux box has a Commodore 64 emulator and Speccy emulator available. What more do you need?
BeOS has many dozens of applications, and a version of Wine that has been known to run for several cycles before crashing.

This is clearly the rambling of a troll who has no idea what the current state of the art is on any of these platforms.

Re:Revolution (1)

chainxor (210225) | more than 13 years ago | (#328096)

Yeah! Well, I guess if you like creating small programs only that are impossible to port to other platforms, I guess assembler is the way to go.

Don't trust closed source! (2)

cabalamat2 (227849) | more than 13 years ago | (#328099)

If this makes some people realise that trusting your data to closed source applications is a bad idea, it'll be worth it.

Hopefully someone will write an open source clone of Hypercard. And do it in a portable way, so it runs on Unix and MS boxes as well as Macs. Or Jobs will allow it to be open sourced.

Revolution (1)

Aapje (237149) | more than 13 years ago | (#328100)

At the time it was revolutionary. But since it was hardly updated I can't see why it is still a compelling solution.

Why don't these people use tools like Supercard, which has evolved? And the legacy stacks can run under the Classic-emulation of MacOS X. Surely it doesn't access hardware directly ;)

PS. x86 assembly sux, Why didn't you learn C or Java?

Fond memories (1)

mobydobius (237311) | more than 13 years ago | (#328102)

I loved hypercard as a kid. My family's first computer was a mac-in-the-box, and I first learned to teach a computer tricks with hypertalk and hypercard.

The actor Harry Anderson came to my elementary school to talk about macs way back when, and he showed me a "slot machine" that he wrote in Hypertalk. He was especially proud of it because it cheated. And then I showed him how to get the babel fish in his ear in Hitchhikers... Aw, to be young again.

Sorry, I know this is off topic, but Hypercard makes me gush with fond memories.

Re:Fond memories (1)

CeruleanSilver (247990) | more than 13 years ago | (#328103)

Hypercard makes me gush with fond memories

Tell me about it. HyperCard was also my first computer related experience, and I loved it. I remember making little RPGs that me and my grade school friends would play. I used to do dynamic animations using grids of 32x32 black & white button icons... ha ha.

Paul Heckel (2)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 13 years ago | (#328104)

"LOS ALTOS, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1989 OCT 27 (NB) -- The author of Zoomracks, a popular shareware program for the PC and Atari ST, has filed suit against Apple Computer, charging that its HyperCard software violates a patent he obtained on screen displays.

"Paul Heckel of Quickview Systems in Los Altos, California, created Zoomracks in 1985. Available as shareware from such firms as PC-SIG, Zoomracks allows portions of information from various fields to be combined and displayed in an electronic version of file cards. Heckel won a patent for the design -- patent number 4,486,857. Two years later, the suit contends, the design showed up in HyperCard from Apple."


The rest is at []

I am the Raxis.

Well, if it's HyperTalk you want, there's MetaCard (1)

deepfoo (252923) | more than 13 years ago | (#328107)

There is a proprietary cross-platform (Win, Mac, all Unix flavors, Linux, and yes, Darwin Core) version of HyperCard from a company called MetaCard. It actually supports a super-set of HyperTalk with a lot of "Unix intrusions" including RegEx support. Natively lets one mess around with sokcets, etc., etc. and supports creation of standalones. Buggy, a little odd in the "one man made it work for himself" sense, and the documentation will make you climb the wall. Still, it is out there for those that want to have a look:

Re:Your history's inaccurate... (1)

Petrophile (253809) | more than 13 years ago | (#328109)

He's sort of correct actually. Apple developed an internal version of BASIC that had somthing like the hypercard/VB-style of graphical screen building.

Microsoft was already selling a (very buggy) version of their procedural BASIC for the Mac, and wasn't happy about this development so the Apple Basic project was kiboshed and work on HyperCard was started.

Somewhere around I have an ancient MacWorld that talks about using HyperCard as a frontend to a DEC database system. Unfortunately, Apple never picked up on this and never shipped easy-to-integrate database drivers for Hypercard, as MS did for VB.

Speaking of Flash, it's only a matter of time before it starts getting used as a DB front-end itself.

Hypercard and programming. (2)

Phibz (254992) | more than 13 years ago | (#328111)

Even if apple chooses not to support hypercard in macos X, i'd still like to thank apple especially the core group of programers that wrote the first version of hypercard. Hypertalk was the first language I learned and I feel that it taught me the core concepts of programming. Hypertalk featured an event driven instruction scheme that is similar to several programming api's in use today (gtk and qt come to mind.) It was one of the early languages to have "english like" syntax, and it used the idea of objects extensively. Later as I moved to C I still continued using hypercard through the of xcmd's. I still have my books somewhere, all dog-eared, riped and wrinkled. Thanks.

Filemaker (3)

vkt-tje (259058) | more than 13 years ago | (#328113)

So I'll have to transfer all that to filemaker?
Ow, how the users are going to looooove that...

I remember HyperCard in monochrome! (1)

SlashMoose (265361) | more than 13 years ago | (#328114)

I remember in seventh grade, I used HyperCard to make an animation short about a plaid ameoba who ate everything in site - even Ross Perot with his gangly ears. That was on a macintosh clasic. The one piece unit with a tiny black and white monitor. Those were the days. Like it or not, I posted it.

Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 13 years ago | (#328115)

OSX has something called "Classic" which basically runs a Mac OS 9.1 machine as a process within OSX. It's a bit like Mac on Linux running on Yellow Dog Linux, it's not emulation, it's native instructions. It's a bit of a pig but works suprisingly well. Even my Handspring Visor can talk to it over USB (despite Classic's poor access to the hardware.)

As a bonus, if Classic locks, you can go into and kill it without rebooting :) A definite plus. It shows up as TrueBlueEnviron in a process list.

HyperCard (and the ripoff of it, Visual Basic) (1)

bodhisattva (311592) | more than 13 years ago | (#328116)

I've left the Mac world and work in UNIX mostly these days. My Fiance uses a Mac daily for graphics and art. I remember when there were thousands of HyperCard stacks for almost everything on BBs. One of the big strengths of the Mac was that it came out of the box with an easy to use way of programming it. Then Apple decided to stop giving HyperCard away and the development of stacks dried up. So did sales. One of Apples biggest mistakes ever. In my opinion, Visual Basic is a rippoff of HyperCard. There is an executable for each object (field, button, etc.) - it's not organized as nicely, but it's the same idea. Window, Card, what's the diff? The script is Basic because it's what Bill used to start MS.

Re:Paul Heckel (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#328117)

Son of a...! Zoomracks! That was a nifty piece of software. Pretty cheap, and it came with PC and Atari ST diskettes. It was a really nice database-like thingy for the Atari, but that stupid lawsuit killed the company and the product. Sigh.

Re:Hypercard and programming. (1)

Cranston Snord (314056) | more than 13 years ago | (#328118)

I also consider Hypercard the thing that turned me on to programming. I started messing with it at age 11 and found I could do all sorts of gee-whiz multimedia things (as gee-whiz as a 16mhz 608030 will let you:) I got deeper into it, Hypercard managed to give me a fundamental understanding of object oriented programming without the complexity or non-englishness of something like C++. Hypercard could serve as an excellent "programming tutor" for early grade school kids to teach them that programming isn't such a scary concept, and get them on the road to more advanced languages.


url-lm (319174) | more than 13 years ago | (#328120)

The mac veterns will miss it but don't bring obsolete software or an emulator to run HYPERCARD to OS X. Apple has finally made a wise decision. Start with a new dev environment/language, design, and add more functionality! Reuse of ancient code is futile! Tell gramps that HYPERCARD isn't coming out of retirement

Re:Filemaker (1)

KingAzzy (320268) | more than 13 years ago | (#328121)

I started my career in Filemaker.. Left it behind years ago as I evolved into the land of Oracle and three tier web app development.

However, I'm starting my own business and needed to put together a database system quickly for handling basic business needs. I didn't have the time to do use the tools I use for my day job, so I turned to MS Access thinking that this would be somewhat as easy to use as Filemaker was. Boy was I dead wrong and it didn't take me long to figure it out! Actually, Access is more complicated than Oracle and Developer/2000 (imho). What a bloated (and extremely buggy) piece of shit that was! I ran screaming.

So, once again, I am now using Filemaker. I left it back when version 3 came out and it got that 'relational' featureset. Version 5 is whats available now and I'm surprised how LITTLE the ol' cutie has changed. They added some web support and a very light ODBC connectivity features, (neither of which I will ever use) but everything else is pretty much exactly the same. How strange, in these days and times, that a commercial product continues to exist in a relatively unchanged form for over 5 years.

Same story with Hypercard. I used that back in the days of the Mac Plus. I can't believe it's still around, but I am pleased to hear that it is.

Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (1)

KingAzzy (320268) | more than 13 years ago | (#328122)

Hypercard is truly a legacy application. Filemaker Pro is a much better solution, imho.

Apple has made their position on this clear. OS X is a very necessary evolutionary step for the company to take and the Mac advocates have been waiting this for YEARS. I bailed after Apple flaked out on Copeland and then Rapsody some years back, and I'm very happy to hear that they've finally gotten their shit together and done so in spades.

I digress... Anyway, Apple has made their position clear on legacy apps, of which Hypercard is definitely one regardless of its fan base. Dual-boot with System 9.

And won't there be some System 9 emulation built into OS X ala WINE, WinVM, et al? And if there isn't, won't it be coming out real soon?

(Pretty ignorant on all the details on OS X.. )

Re:Open Source (1)

KingAzzy (320268) | more than 13 years ago | (#328123)

IMHO, Apple, to the very core of their consciousness, will never open-source anything. Microsoft will open source stuff before Apple does.

You DO remember what happened when they tried to crack the door open for Mac clones, right? They freaked and slammed it shut, is what. OHCP?? Dead. Apple can't handle it. They need 100% control of their software as well as their hardware.

Does Apple still even OWN Hypercard or has it been spun off?

Re:Odd to see THIS on Slashdot.... (1)

KingAzzy (320268) | more than 13 years ago | (#328124)

Apple is downplaying the release of OS X as they work in things like you mention (the DVD and CD burning issues) and wait for the vendors to catch up with OS X versions of their software. I've heard tell that the real market push will start later this summer or fall.

In fact, if you buy a Mac today, it will still come with OS 9 installed.

Re: Oh and! (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 13 years ago | (#328126)

Let me not forget to mention that:


Open Source It (2)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 13 years ago | (#328127)

"But HyperCard might be in danger of going the way of the dinosaur. With the launch of Mac OS X, unless HyperCard is 'carbonized,' it could be the beginning of the end."

Simple answer. Open source it! Anything with enough support to form a user group has enough support to form a programming group about as well, and if the Apple folks don't want to bother to carbonize it I'm sure others will.

Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (1)

DiLLeMaN (324946) | more than 13 years ago | (#328128)

The only reason ppl might want to save HC is because they have >3Gb of Stacks... It's a very old multi-media package, nice for it's time but IMO a bit dated now... Think of it as a database program with some multimedia capabilities.

I think the hard part in porting HC would be getting all those old stacks with all kinds of funky rsrc's in 'em running on X.

However, opensourcing the thing might be a Good Thing(TM)...

Re:Ok, indulge me for a minute... (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 13 years ago | (#328129)

Because hypercard was really easy, so easy that joe blow could create something they could use at home even if joe blow had no programming skills, talent, or inclination. It was the first, and probably is still the only authoring environment that is easy enough for practically anyone to use.

Re:You missed the self-referentiality (1)

aol (413245) | more than 13 years ago | (#328133)

I just wanted an excuse to complain about operating sytems.
They do pretty much all suck.

Hmmmm (5)

aol (413245) | more than 13 years ago | (#328134)

I can't understand why Apple would ignore user requests like this.
No other maker of Operating Systems ever ignores user pleas. For example.
My windows 98 box is bug free and secure just as I requested.
My Linux box has the latest in gaming capabilities without any duplicate, incomplete, or beta software of any kind. Of course I run the standardized window manager. (As I requested)
My BeOS box has a plethora of software available and runs Windows applications too! Just like I wanted!

Sorry, can't agree (3)

TheMonkeyDepartment (413269) | more than 13 years ago | (#328135)

Hypercard was a great, easy-to-use, groundbreaking program. I once wrote a series of web server CGI's with it! (I passed info back and forth between Webstar and Hypercard by using Applescript.)

But I sure couldn't recommend to Apple that they spend development dollars on renovating this program.

First, what about the Cocoa / Interface Builder tool on OS X? Talk about powerful GUI building & rapid app development.

Second, as others have mentioned, there are already plenty of third-party options that come close to (or surpass) Hypercard in function, power, and ease. Apple should instead spend a little money on convincing them to port their software to OS X, as opposed to spending money on porting Hypercard -- a very nice, but aged and now superfluous -- media authoring tool.

-the monkey department
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account