International HyperCard Users Group
(iHUG) had a very successful presence at last week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, according to iHUG spokesperson, Steve Collins.
Not surprisingly, most folks coming to the iHUG exhibit were interested in the future of HyperCard. They were anxious to know if HyperCard would work in its present form, not only in the Classic environment, but also directly in OS X.
“The best we could tell them was that Apple is still considering what to do about maintaining HyperCard,” Collins said. “We do understand, however, that Carbonization is not a matter of money or engineering resources, as it would require little of each. There really is room to be hopeful. We have it on good authority that a one-person team at Apple could perform the modest maintenance work on HyperCard and Carbonize it, allowing us to move forward with Apple. We are excited about what OS X has to offer, and we can contribute with an abundance of applications and developers.”
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.”
Industry people made a big turnout as well, Collins said. Representatives from Northwest Airlines brought a photograph showing iMacs running HyperCard against the backdrop of a jet viewed through a window. The company uses HyperCard to track the maintenance of their jet passenger aircraft. Representatives for one of Nabisco’s plants abroad expressed commitment to using Macs in the factory because they run the factory on HyperCard, Collins said.
From within the Mac industry, Micromat, makers of TechTool Pro, runs everything from phones to accounting with HyperCard. Kagi, the software payment processing company, was born on HyperCard and recently made substantial competitive strides against competitor Digital River by implementing new services written in HyperCard.
“The unifying message these visitors wanted to convey is that HyperCard fits their needs more precisely than any other solution, and this brings Macs into their business environment,” Collins said.
The iHUG expo event became a “who’s who of HyperCard” with a visit by Danny Goodman, author of “The Complete Hypercard Handbook.” And HyperCard creator Bill Atkinson expressed his best wishes.
“Many from the press came by to snap photos and to get our story,” according to Flickinger. “With a stellar 14-year history, you can imagine just how many people have been touched by HyperCard and how many continue to be inspired by it. Many who visited our exhibit at Macworld saw a HyperCard they never knew about. They saw stacks using AppleScript to send commands to the Macintosh Finder and e-mail software. They saw HyperCard building dynamic web pages quickly and easily. These two HyperCard strengths brought more attention than the interactive multimedia we presented.”
Collins and Flickinger want anyone using HyperCard to contact
and supply a short paragraph on how they rely on HyperCard. Technical support is free from iHUG’s mailing list.
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.
HyperCard fans are working to convince Apple to revive and rejuvenate the tool. The HyperCard Mail List and CD are two of those efforts. The most recent version of HyperCard, 2.4.1, was released in 1998, and provides full advantages of incorporating QuickTime and AppleScript technologies.
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. By clicking on a button, users can view related text, see a graphic, hear a sound, watch a QuickTime movie or listen to text aloud. It’s available at the
for US $99.