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posted by martyb on Saturday November 01 2014, @03:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the If-they-released-it-now-it-would-be-called-iCard dept.

HyperCard, an application program and programming tool released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987, represented the ‘computing for the people’ philosophy that enabled users to go past the pre-built software that came on their machines, and to program and build software of their own. "Mac users could use Hypercard to build their own mini-programs to balance their taxes, manage sports statistics, make music – all kinds of individualized software that would be useful (or fun) for individual users." Now Jer Thorp writes that the end of HyperCard left a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled – a space for an easy to use, intuitive tool that will once again let average computer users make their own tools. According to Throp, this type of plain-language programming makes sense, particularly in an application that was designed specifically for non-programmers. "I find the largest concern for learners to be not with the conceptual hurdles involved in writing a program, but with obscure and confusing syntax requirements. I would love to be able to teach HyperTalk to my students, as a smooth on-road to more complex languages like JavaScript, Java or C++." By putting the tools of creation into the hands of the broader userbase, we would allow for the creation of ultra-specific personalized apps that, aside from a few exceptions, don’t exist today."

HyperTalk wasn’t just easy, it was also fairly powerful. Complex object structures could be built to handle complicated tasks, and the base language could be expanded by a variety of available external commands and functions (XCMDs and XFCNs, respectively), which were precursors to the modern plug-in. But ultimately, HyperCard would disappear from Mac computers by the mid-nineties, eclipsed by web browsers and other applications which it had itself inspired. The last copy of HyperCard was sold by Apple in 2004. "One thing that's changed in the intervening decades is that the hobbyist has largely gone by the wayside. Now you're either a user or a full-fledged developer, and the gulf is wider than ever," writes Peter Cohen. "There's really nothing like it today, and I think the Mac is lesser for it."

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  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:32PM

    by HiThere (866) on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:32PM (#112256) Journal

    The last time I used it, SuperCard was a botched reimplementation of HyperCard. Botched because in trying to make it more capable they took away the simplicity. HyperStudio at the time I tried it (around 2000) was essentially unusable. Promising...but not there yet. Well, those tries were both over a decade ago, so perhaps they've fixed the problems. I no longer use a Mac so I can't check.

    FWIW, I used the original HyperCard to make music note reading games for my wife to use. Some of them were quite interesting, but they tended to strain the computer capacity (speed, not memory). Today, if they still worked, they'd be much better games.

    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
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  • (Score: 2) by cyrano on Sunday November 02 2014, @08:11PM

    by cyrano (1034) on Sunday November 02 2014, @08:11PM (#112467) Homepage

    I've never really used Supercard, but I did a fairly important project in Hyperstudio back in '96 or so. That project was taken over by the music school students (age 6 to 12). They expanded it until it resembled a musical encyclopedia with their own recordings, info about composers etc. Everything was available to everyone, pupils, teachers, parents, until the powers that be took over and replaced it with... nothing. They couldn't agree about anything. So everything died a silent death.

    Hyperstudio was very easy and very stable. Later on, we moved to Macromedia Director, which was bl**dy expensive, hard to learn and very unstable. We did a big project for the port of Antwerp's "ambassadors", which was never used and cost a bundle. But hey, we made much more money on this one, so I can't complain.

    The reason we used Hyperstudio and not Hypercard was simply because HS has a Windows version.

    I've only seen this kind of development degrading over the years. And now, people even suggest VB to prove that they even can't grasp the basic and fundamental differences...

    The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. - Kali []