25 years of HyperCard

Reading about HyperCard at Ars Technica brings back so many memories. I had used computers for a few years, but I never loved computers until I discovered HyperCard. That was in 1988, the same year the author places his experience:
I opened the app and read the instructions. HyperCard allowed you to create "stacks" of cards, which were visual pages on a Macintosh screen. You could insert "fields" into these cards that showed text, tables, or even images. You could install "buttons" that linked individual cards within the stack to each other and that played various sounds as the user clicked them, mostly notably a "boing" clip that to this day I can't get out of my mind. You could also turn your own pictures into buttons.

Not only that, but HyperCard included a scripting language called "Hyper Talk" that a non-programmer like myself could easily learn. It allowed developers to insert commands like "go to" or "play sound" or "dissolve" into the components of a HyperCard array.

Intrigued, I began composing stacks. None of them amounted to anything more than doodle-packed matrices of images, sounds, and aphorisms, but I eventually glanced at my wrist watch. It was 4:00 AM. Startled and quite tired, I turned in with visions of stack buttons dancing in my head.

To understand what a breakthrough that was, you have to place yourself in a time without the internet world wide web, without Windows, and in which most programs required pretty decent typing skills, if not programming skills. The concept of doing something on a computer by just pushing a button was revolutionary, and the idea of designing your own buttons to do things was out-of-this-world awesome. So whatever happened to HyperCard? If things had gone a little differently, it might have been the internet's first browser. Read the full article to get caught up on this program that influenced so much of what came after. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Flickr user Karl Baron)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Always wondered why Apple didn't build the Newton around Hypercard; would have had lots of ready-to-use stacks, plus ability for users to develop their own.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"before the Internet" ... Except 1988 saw the release of the Morris Internet Worm, a sophisticated piece of malware that used multiple methods of propagation to spread to a variety of machines rather than being designed for one specific machine.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
HyperCard was shown to everyone at IBM's PC laboratory. We were warned at this was the future of low end computing. It caused us to contract with Microsoft to design O/S2.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
You're right; corrected to world wide web. I was on Compuserve every day back then and thought it was wonderful. Except for the expense. Not only did we pay for the service, but we racked up hundreds of dollars every month in long-distance connection charges!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Om Nom - Twaggies by Twaggies
Email This Post to a Friend
"25 years of HyperCard"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window