Posted: Oct 21st, 4:14am
Waxing Lyrical about Hypercard
Apple's late lamented Hypercard (lamented by me at least) was my first real brush with computer programming. It certainly led me to become a programmer, and it probably had a lot to do with my later interest in MUSHes and MUDs (which had some coding similarities), which in turn is how I met my wife — so you could say it was moderately influential on my life.
What was Hypercard?
Hypercard was what you'd now call an app development tool, but in black and white bitmaps on old Apple Macs in the 1980s.
If that sounds dry, it wasn't. Hypercard appeared, for free with every Mac, in an era when websites were unknown, and writing software for PCs and (especially) Macs, was a full-time undertaking with a massive learning curve. In that era of gated programming, Hypercard let you create your own software with a few clicks of a mouse, and share it with other people. Hypercard stacks came free on the CDs on the fronts of magazines. You could subscribe to user groups that would send collections of stacks around on floppy disk. Hypercard scripts appeared in fanzines, in much the same way that BASIC scripts had been listed in the gaming mags of the Commodore and Spectrum era.
How well I remember the joy of getting a new Hypercard disk in the post from one of the members of my fan group. I even sent out a few of my own, if I remember rightly (it was 30 years ago). Yes yes, you get all that joy now on the Internet for a fraction of the work, but that was then.
Hypercard also became a commercial tool of choice. If you bought yourself an electronic encyclopedia, catalogue, or educational program for the Mac in the late 80s and early 90s it probably came in the form of a Hypercard stack.
How did it work?
Hypercard let you create stacks. Stacks were a series of cards (screens) each of wh...