The members of the International HyperCard Users Group (iHUG) refuse to abandon their efforts to get Apple to revitalize HyperCard and bring it to Mac OS X.
“The iHUG exhibit at January’s Macworld Expo did a great job of raising awareness for HyperCard’s need for Carbonization,” spokesman Steve Collins told MacCentral. “Our non-profit organization poured its collective heart out, not to mention emptying our wallets, just to get Apple’s attention.”
HyperCard is an Apple-created tool for creating custom software solutions for users at all skill and experience levels. Introduced in 1987, HyperCard organizes information into “stacks” of cards that users can navigate and search for the information they need. At one time, Apple planned to ramp HyperCard to version 3.0. Those plans have stalled, however, as the company said doing so would require moving resources and people away from currently successful development strategies in order to set up a full team with all its complementary support structures. The most recent version of HyperCard, 2.4.1, was released in 1998.
This week Apple will release OS X, and this big step forward will needlessly mark the beginning of the end for HyperCard, Collins said. More important than the loss of thousands of creations that rely on HyperCard is the disappointment to come for the thousands of people and institutions that rely directly and indirectly on HyperCard for everything from managing home gardening to tracking commercial jet maintenance, he added.
“But this course of obsolescence can be easily and quickly changed,” Collins said. “With the help of just one person at Apple, HyperCard can be Carbonized in six months or less; allowing it to run directly on OS X and thereby continue to thrive in the future. This is not a money or resource issue for Apple. It’s an issue of getting HyperCard the attention it needs.”
iHUG is asking educators, business people, developers, enthusiasts and anyone who recognizes HyperCard as a useful part of the Macintosh toolbox to help save HyperCard, and in turn promote Macs “forward compatibility” by writing: Apple Computer, Inc., 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014.
A sampling of compelling responses to iHUG’s recent “Why I Use HyperCard” online survey can be viewed online. iHUG can be reached at their Web site for additional details and to submit your own HyperCard story, if you wish. iHUG’s latest CD containing a collection of useful tools and information can also be ordered at the site.
It’s an understatement to say that the group is dedicated in its efforts. Working to raise awareness, iHUG raised more than $6,000 from individual HyperCard enthusiasts to purchase a booth at the January Macworld Expo. It was a grass-roots effort lead by iHUG’s Charles Flickinger.
“HyperCard fans flocked to the exhibit, reinforcing the group’s belief that HyperCard is still a widely used part of the Macintosh toolbox,” Collins told MacCentral. “Many of the visitors at the exhibit were educators. The common theme coming from this group was that HyperTalk, the HyperCard scripting language, is unparalleled as a tool for teaching programming. They find it to be unlike any other language, being so inviting yet so robust. While many of them said they have tried similar products, it was their opinion that HyperCard held up as the best tool for teaching in the classroom.”