The first time I saw a web page was back in the early 1990s. Hypertext, meet Hypermedia. The first thing I thought was, “Well, this is just like HyperCard.” Apple’s legendary HyperCard died a slow, lingering, nostalgia-laden death in the early 21st century, leaving behind millions of users who cut their computing teeth on stacks. Does HyperCard love live on? It depends on which app is keeping the flame alive. Here’s one.
More Powerful Than A Graphical Interface
Think of HyperCard as a powerful, albeit locally confined, internet. It contained hyperlinks to other cards and stacks, built-in applications, databases, graphics, multimedia, and much more.
Today, the internet and the world wide web are more like HyperCard than current online users realize. Is there yet a Mac app that keeps the ghost of HyperCard alive? There are a few.
One is BayCard, billed as a HyperCard clone. It’s not. But it’s useful and HyperCard-like. There’s also HyperStudio. Yet another, even more HyperCard-like app is SuperCard, far more super than either HyperCard, BayCard, or HyperStudio.
To know HyperCard is to understand SuperCard. For everyone else, SuperCard is a flexible building environment. Part presentation, part development tool, part whatever tool you need at the moment. Just like HyperCard wanted to be.
All The Pieces, All The Time
There are Cards. Buttons, fields, and SuperTalk (the scripting language). Many HyperCard Stacks can be converted, with some work, to SuperCard. There’s even a RunTime Editor environment, the starting point for creating and building projects.
SuperEdit is the tool to use to dig into a specific project without triggering scripts so you can see all the cards, backgrounds, and scripts at the same time. StandAlone Maker is the tool to create standalone apps from SuperCard projects. It even generates XML to work properly on Mac OS X.
The SuperCard Player lets you distribute your projects or applications to other Mac users who don’t have SuperCard installed. Extend SuperCard into your Mac with TransMaker and the Internals Toolbox. The latter has templates and libraries which allow you to use Apple’s Xcode on a project. The former brings QuickTime capabilities into the project.
Not HyperCard Priced, More Capable
Any honest evaluation of SuperCard will not be without comparisons to HyperCard. SuperCard has a price tag. Along with the price are capabilities far beyond the original HyperCard, which was free with the purchase of a Mac, freely available, and even with a price tag, was less than $50.
SuperCard is much more. It’s a good development environment for non-coders, but for people or businesses which have distinct needs where specific applications probably don’t exist and need to be created from scratch.
It’s also a way to relive those glory HyperCard years, but with an environment that’s totally Mac OS X Lion ready. It pays partial homage to the past with some capability to convert HyperCard stacks, but brings to the present a vast array of tools that exceed anything envisioned by HyperCard enthusiasts.
SuperCard is not HyperCard. It’s better. But it keeps the flame burning.