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Here is the best way to answer the question, "What is HyperCard?" — with real world examples. Most of the authors below have agreed to accept correspondence. If you would like to write to any of them about their use of HyperCard, just click on the name at the end of their story.
And in case you are wondering, all the user stories on these pages (as well as those in our Readers' Tips area) are stored in a HyperCard database which automatically generates and updates the web pages for this site.
Update: As these are historical pages, it is likely that most of the authors' contact information has changed by now.
I have been using HyperCard for more than 10 years. In 1988 I built an application for evaluation of diplomas from foreign countries for the Swedish National Board for Universities and Colleges. There are 13 persons working with the system. It was aimed to be a prototype for two years, but are still working. It is a client server application, all built by stacks. Two years ago they decided to build a new system. A Company got the job. They used 4D and an Informix database, but they could not get the same functionality as the old HyperCard system. Two weeks ago they decided to skip the new system (cost 80,000 $) and continue with my old HC system. The persons working with the program reminded me that when they asked for some changes it was always possible to do it. When they asked the guys using 4D they too often got the answer "The program does not allow us to do that". Just now I am working with web applications using HyperCard. The great success was the invoice writer for travelling expenses, which is very complicated due to the Swedish taxation laws. Last year there was about 15,000 accesses to the program. The form is very simple to fill in. The HyperCard program does all the calculations. The personal data is stored in text files. The first time you have to fill in the form complete. Next time you use the form you only need to fill in your social security number. The result is sent back to the user within 4 to 10 seconds. The newest program is a "Project Manager Program." It is not a program for a single project, but it gives a good view over all projects within a department. It is also a Web program. It is a very good combination to use HyperCard's database with the programming in hypertalk. For text processing e.g. to create html text HyperCard is excellent! When I started to make Web pages there was no editor that was able to convert Swedish umlauts aao to html entities so I wrote an HTLM-HyperEditor myself using HyperCard. I offered this as freeware and it has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. (http://www.lu.se/info/Editor). And who am I? I am 62 years old, self-educated, never touch a computer before 1986. I have worked as director for the Counselling Office at Lund University for many years. The last three years I have worked as IT consultant within the administration of Lund University. In three weeks I will retire!
Comments to: Lars-Olof Albertson
I create various stacks to help with the role-playing games I run. RPGs are a specialised market, so there is very little software around for them, and I tend to write what I need in HyperCard—and I can create *exactly* what I need. I don't want to waste years and brain cells on mastering and using a low-level programming language, and can get useful things going reasonably quickly. I've released one such stack to the Internet: Weather 2.1. Gamemasters seem to like it, and some writers have used it too, since it got distributed on a MacFormat CD-ROM. It's available on Info-Mac under Games. I released version 2.1 anonymously, but the next version goes out under my own name, soon (-ish). Weather is a weather-generating system for any role-playing game. It lets you add realistic weather and other background information to your game without spending ages in preparation. You can customise a calendar and weather pattern for your own world, or simply use one of the calendars supplied or available. Temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind are all calculated, along with the hours of daylight, the phases of the moon or moons, and how far you can see at any hour of the day or night in all weather conditions.
Comments to: Malcolm Bowers
My partner and I started a precision analog electronics manufacturing company 5 years ago. The corporation is now a manufacturer of precision measurement devices for government, contractors, engineers, and education alike. The key to developing the companies product line was to develop multiple products from one circuit board. This can be done by substituting different pieces into various locations on the circuit during the board stuffing phase. Board stuffing is a process in which the assembler puts all the necessary chips, diodes, capacitor etc. into the etched, silk screened circuit board. Once the board is stuffed it can then be wave soldered and incorporated with the other elements of the product like the front panels and knobs. As we were a small company we needed a process by which a minimum wage employee could come in and stuff the boards containing over 250 possible parts, into the over 100 different per board. Once more, the boards needed to be different from batch to batch depending on the model that was being produced. As a minimum wage employee could not be expected to read a circuit schematic and have a scientific calculator handy to crank capacitor values before the placement of each part. It was determined that we would need to arrange some sort of Tele-Prompter to guide the assembler through the process. After researching various software options on both platforms we determined that Hypercard was the only program that could act like a teleprompter but be flexible enough to calculate the parts needed for different products in minutes without the invlovement of management staff. Better still, Hypercard could do it in such a way that the assembler could do the whole assembly process from start to finish without the aid of a manager. The stack we call "the assembly stack", stores scans of the empty (unstuffed) boards, and has a record of all the parts inventoried. The assembler tells the computer what products are to be assembled during the working day. The computer advises the assembler which boards to use in the production batch and then guides the user through each spot on each board. To minimize confusion the program has the user open each part bin only once, each time the program calculates in advance the total number of pieces from the bin that will be needed. For each piece that is to be placed the program then shows the user a picture of the space on the board where the part is to go. Users like the "assembly stack" because it is friendly. It uses sounds and animations. Moving from step to step is easy, once the user is done with a part they just hit the forward arrow button to continue. In a world of memory hungry bloatware Hypercard was invaluable to us, in the start up days a couple years ago. A stack can run on even the oldest Mac, some having less than two and a half megabytes of memory, and still use sounds and animations. These flexible requirements saved the company alot of money when it needed it most. Hypercard helped seat the Mac in our company. It is unusual for an electronics firm to use Macintoshes. The fact is CAD-Star, and Auto-CAD dominate the electronics manufacturing market and these programs don't run on macs. Yet, as time has gone on, HyperCard has demonstrated that everything else in electronic production CAN be done on a Mac. Hypercard is also used as a timeclock for production workers, an inventory tracker, a log book, a quality control procedure stack and much more. Best of all, all the stacks are connected through a common, familiar home screen. Hypercard generated an interest in an all PC company that has changed the platform balance. After learning about Macs, workers preferred them to PCs. All networked computers at the company are now Macintoshes, and the Sales and Marketing office is exclusively Macintosh. Henry Ford would have liked HyperCard, it is an invaluable tool to a great manufacturing assembly line.
Comments to: Quinn Carver
HyperCard has become for me an integration tool. Several years ago I started using HyperCard to prepare lecture materials for teaching Microbiology to first year dental students. I found that the flexiblity of HyperCard faciltated the organization of my lecture outlines and slides. Using these stacks as a foundation, it was easy to develop them into interactive tutorials that the students could use to review and supplement the lecture materials and prepare for exams. The tutorial stacks use interactive links, animations, and speech to emphasize concepts. The best feature was that the tutorials could demonstrate relationships between topics or principles that would otherwise be more difficult to grasp when presented in disparate lectures. This year I hope to take better advantage of the built-in QuickTime features. The tutorials have continued to grow in size and complexity so that this past year, for the first time, they were distributed on a CD using a HyperCard stack as a front end launcher. The integration theme was continued when I modified the stacks for lecture and seminar presentations. I can now bring my PowerBook to the lecture hall and use HyperCard to "run the show". The only limitation so far has been the lack of cross platform support since a significant number of students only have access to PCs.
Comments to: Joseph DiRienzo, Ph.D.
In my work teaching engineering and doing research, I use a half-dozen computing environments on a day-to-day basis, from Fortran to Excel. HyperCard is my favorite and the one in which I'm most productive. Why? HyperCard is complete and scalable. "Complete" because, with it, I can do all sorts of things: * keep my calendar and my personal notes * maintain a database of research papers * process manuscripts to add reference citations and a reference list in final format * do quick calculations of one-line math expressions or complex formulae * construct interactive instructional software "Scalable" because I can use it for very simple tasks involving no programming (e.g., drawing a funny picture, adding two numbers in the message box, making a simple database) to complex, large-scale projects involving dozens of linked stacks with animated graphics and "number crunching" (e.g., integration of differential equations). Another reason I like to do as many things in HyperCard as I can is that it is extremely easy to "customize" stacks. An example: I still use the old calendar and address book shipped with the HyperCard package. However, over the years I've modified the scripts to make these stacks easier to use (for my wife and kids) and more powerful (for all of us). Screen shots and download links to two of my instructional software packages can be accessed at my web page. Both are "standalones" and do not require HyperCard or the Player: http://www-ames.ucsd.edu/RESEARCH/HERZ/ "The Reactor Lab" is a simulation of a chemical reactor laboratory. The interface was designed to allow ANYONE (even you) to run experiments with no training or instruction. In addition to being an illustration of an easy-to-use interface to a complex software package, it is also an illustration that HyperCard, running on today's computers, can be used for reasonably serious "number crunching," though, of course, it isn't the first choice if that were the only task. "True BASIC Reference" is a guide to the True BASIC computer language (True BASIC is a trademark of True BASIC, Inc.). It is designed for use to help teach beginners how to program. Richard K. Herz, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences University of California at San Diego San Diego, California, USA 92093
Comments to: Richard K. Herz
One of the coolest things I do in hypercard is making games but right now, I want to talk about one week of school. It began like any normal week. Then, I had math class. My teacher told us we had to do a project on a famous mathametician. I chose Ada Lovelace. Since Ada was the first programmer (She programmed Charles Babbages Anylitical Engine), I thought it would be fitting to make a hypercard stack about her as my project (well, it's easy and in some ways, you could consider it programming). I spent the weekend drawing pictures, making interactive stuff, and doing other cool stuff. Eventually, I had a nice presentation that was much better than some slide show or poster board. When I presented my report in the school library, you should have seen the expression on the superintendent's eyes. It was really cool and I got a lot of respect from other students. Hypercard really works for me. I've made quite a few different kinds of games in hypercard. Some range from the submersive reality type games (like Myst and Riven, which happen to be written in HyperCard), to Arcade type games and Adventure games (like Collosal Cave). I've even done Tile Graphic type adventures (like ultima, Exile, and many other games). Hypercard is a truly powerful solution building system.
Comments to: Paul Ingemi
I use HyperCard as a captioning program for my film. I'm a photographer and need to provide a detailed caption sheet to be shipped with my film to my agent in New York. I use Hypercard for this because it allows me to create a searchable stack as well as launch my Federal express software etc from within hypercard. I can then print or fax the caption sheet.
Comments to: Jim Kelly
How do I use HyperCard? To do work. To save time. To conjure up a little fun. I teach children and teachers how to use computers. As part of my job, I run a network in an elementary school. HyperCard is my mainstay. The integration of HyperCard and Applescript allows me to remotely controls my network of Macs, setting the system volume, monitor bitdepth, restarting, shutting down, etc., all on the fly. I use HyperCard to keep an inventory of hardware and software. I also use the combination of HyperCard, AppleScript, and the scriptable macro program "Keyquencer" to automate the input of student records, saving countless teacher work hours that can now be devoted to children. I take special pride in the help I gave to another teacher that allowed him to create a sound-generating HyperCard stack for a quadriplegic student. The student was enabled to participate in his school orchestra by "playing" the stack. Keep in mind that when I started with HyperCard, I had no programming experience whatsoever. My "affair" with HyperCard began when I made a simple children's game, "The Haunted House". The game has generated shareware fees and eMails from around the world. While making "The Haunted House", I discovered that HyperCard was extensible through the use of code resources called XCMDs and XFCNs. Since I couldn't find XCMDs to provide certain features that I wanted, I set about learning how to write them myself. To my surprise, some of the XCMDs I wrote proved to be useful to others. One in particular, "ColorCover", has been used in hundreds of commercial, shareware, and freeware projects. My licensees include names such as Knowledge Adventure and the NASA Classroom of Tomorrow. None of this would have happened if it weren't for HyperCard. If I had been told that in order to begin programming I had to start with Visual Basic or C++, I would never have taken that first step. As a teacher, I know that few topics are as "hot" as computer education. In the next decade, the schools will introduce millions of children to computers. The schools will be providing many of these children with their first experience in programming. Will the introduction that tomorrow's programmers receive come in the form of HyperTalk on a Mac? It's all up to Apple...
Comments to: Mark Klink
After ten years in animation, I had a fine arts job - working with a documentary director who was planning her first dramatic movie. Her husband was a technology buff who'd developed a storyboard/video system while working on Rumblefish. He liked Macs. He liked HyperCard. Apple sent us computers, Apple sent us evangelists, we beta tested software, we had demos of wonderful prototypes - many made in HyperCard, and had MIT boys visiting us every week, breathing down my neck as I tried to work. I worked for a couple of months with a HyperCard author who'd made a wonderful storyboarding system which worked with HyperScan and the first Farallon sound recording software. It was great. I would tell him what would work for us, and he would sit there and make it IN FRONT OF MY EYES! He'd open a script and say "later on when you figure this out, you can do..." and then he would make my Mac do some amazing thing. I was awed. I was also pregnant. After my baby was born, I spent a long months too exhausted to do much of anything. But my Plus sat there waiting for me. By this time, I think a 11cx was the "hot" machine. We couldn't afford a new computer - we couldn't afford a new BOOK to explain the computer we had. But I had a copy of HyperCard and I had Danny Goodman's HyperCard Handbook. Since I couldn't afford software it dawned on me I had the means to write my own and I proceeded to do every "you do it" in Danny Goodman's book. So while my baby napped, I learned to script. The biggest thrill was the day I decided that I wanted to change every phone number in my address stack to have a 1 in front of the area code. I wrote something and just sat there amazed watching it go. I also discovered the internet. We had tinkered around with some 300 baud modem and a terminal emulation program on our PC but decided it was worthless. Then my husband came home with a 1200k modem. It felt like the concorde. It worked on the Mac with Compuserve and... I discovered a HyperCard community. Along with that community, I discovered that the attitude of the first author I'd worked with was the rule, not the exception. I gained teachers who showed me how to do things the right way, and examined and helped correct every horrible script mess I'd wrapped myself up in. I was very fortunate - it was like a wonderful gentle grad school without the tuition. I made a little bit of shareware in HyperCard, but most important were the skills I learned from people willing to share information. I've gone on to do commercial multimedia work and web development, but the community I gained with HyperCard is an important part of my daily life. I've developed professional relationships with many other HyperCard developers. One of the neatest things I worked on was software which wrote html using Speech Recognition via Applescript and HyperCard. (I did color coding and palettes for it.) I script in HyperCard to test visual ideas, and to rough out interactive sequences rapidly. I use HyperCard to control my Quicktime animations and I am writing a game with my daughter. In addition to writing with HyperCard, I *use* HyperCard on a constant basis. Every day I use a stack my co-worker wrote which automates writing html to display artwork - I aim the stack at a folder and it makes a page for me, and there are a lot of other HyperCard utilities I couldn't live without. In the context of my work as a HyperCard Forum volunteer on AOL, I use software which checks uploaded stacks for compliance with AOL's TOS guidelines. HyperCard is great stuff!
Comments to: Catherine Kunicki
A complete encyclopedia of electricity usage end technology could be a reality. I used HyperCard because it is easy to program, and schematics in black and white are adequate. By using PICT files when and where I need to show reality, I can add a picture of the real machine. Adding movies is the next step. I also use HyperCard to program multiple choice quizes that are self-correcting. As HyperCard's popularity grows, I plan to help others enjoy using it. By the way, all my work is in French because I was a university teacher for the last 38 years. I am retired but not inactive.
Comments to: Adrien Leroux
I started using Hypercard because a friend told me: "It's the best tool to have your work organized exactly as you want it!" The Macintosh is already very flexible, but Hypercard adds a much higher level of flexibility. Hypercard is "SuperMac". My work is very much oriented towards storing and retrieving notes, information, or creating small tables to correlate data, etc. I also use hypercard to keep web bookmarks, telephone numbers, etc. A telephone example will show you how flexible Hypercard is: I use a stack (call it a window if you prefer) where the left part shows a list of domains (e.g.: "local shops", "national administrations", " family", "friends", etc.) Clicking on a line of this list makes the right part of the stack show a scrolling field of type "text" where you can type any information, in the form you like. To be recognized as a phone number, a string should be prefixed by "t" and one or more spaces, and be underlined (a style called "group"). The phone numbers are at any place in the text; clicking on a phone number triggers the modem which dials the number. This way I can add any comment I wish for a phone number, such as "manager: Mr X", "opening hours: 9-19", etc. and modify it at any time, including while I phone (e.g. "Mr X will be away until June 25"). Similar principles apply to my "Bookmarks" stack. I also have a "Hypercard tricks" stack, and many professional and personal stacks where I add buttons,fields, etc. to perform tasks I need: creating an index of the words of a text, taking out carriage returns, etc. My future freeware "Cardtext" will be along these lines; you can have a look to its general orientations at http://www.bigfoot.com/~philippe.lestang/
Comments to: Philippe Lestang
I have the data for the Language Lab Tape Library in HyperCard stacks. And I print all the labels using HyperCard's built-in "Print Report..." I also keep information on sources for language tapes, software, audio equipment, etc. in HyperCard stacks, so I can quickly look up whatever I need to find, and open a URL (if there is one) in Netscape for more information. None of this may qualify as "cool" but it sure helps me with what I do all day. I also made a HyperCard French verb conjugation puzzle for my sister. It has draggable buttons with the verb forms on them, and the students line them up with the right subjects. It gives feedback by matching with the answers in an invisible field.
Comments to: Lucinda Miller
I use Hypercard for two things, mainly. First, I manage my entire company's operations in Hypercard, a database and modular quoting system which is accessed via a peer to peer ethernet network by two dozen users on two dozen Macs. This system allows anyone to input a series of parameters in response to a customer query and output a quotation containing both detailed mechanical and pricing data. Second, I do what Bill Atkinson did in the early heady days. To paraphrase: I have have written many, many stacks, which I create, keep and/or discard as required. These are used in any number of applications, mainly related to my manufacturing business. The ability to create these tools is the PRINCIPLE reason I use the Macintosh. For example, I recently returned from Kuala Lumpur where I installed a Hypercard controlled fiber optic lighting system in the world's tallest building. The controller interfaces through the ADB port with custom built hardware to create user programmable choreographed lighting effects in a concert hall. There are 2472 separate fiber optic lighting elements, all of which are addressed and manipulated from a single Hypercard application running on a PPC performa. You cannot do this type of thing in ANY other environment. Hypercard is the last great bastion of "Think Different".
Comments to: Craig Newman
* Hardware control I work for a biotechnology company which specialises in bacterial fermentation. I use a HyperCard stack to monitor and control the fermenters 24 hours a day. Using Apple's Serial Tool XCMDs, I communicate with an A/D converter to read various probes (pH, temperature, oxygen, weight etc). The HyperCard stack sets up the required controls so that the probe readings are kept within preset limits, e.g temperature between 28 and 30 degrees C. The data is read in and stored using HyperCard and it is mainly using graphs which can display the data over various time scales. This uses Rinaldi's Chartoid XCMD. A colleague wrote a similar program in Basic taking about a year. I wrote a fully operational stack in 5 days - of course it has had lots of refinements added since then! Using Timbuktu Pro, we can even monitor the fermenters from home during the night. Screen shots &/or a demo version are available on demand. * Automated Purchase Orders I have a set of two HyperCard stacks that automate all purchase orders for our company. One stack is the controller and stores all the suppliers details as well as different delivery instructions, payment methods, tax exemption numbers. The second stack is sized to fill an A4 page and contains the actual order form. To make a new order, you assemble the bits you need, editing or adding to the stored data as required. You can even add an electronic signature for immediate faxing of the order. We often need to repeat an old order. With a paper system this takes a lot of time & effort to locate the last order and write it out again. With the HyperCard system, you search for the item and duplicate the order. This also checks to see that all the details are up-to-date. When items are delivered, this is recorded on the order so that people can search for undelivered orders if necessary. Orders can be assigned to a specific project so that cost reports can be generated. * Mail Out System We run an agency which has to do mail outs of catalogues and magazines about three times a year. We have about 2300 people on our mailing list but as we ship to researchers in hospitals and universities, we have lots of people at the same addresses. I use a HyperCard database to maintain the mailing list, with the main problem being to stop people typing in duplicate addresses e.g I don't want some people at the University of Melbourne while others are at the Univ. of Melbourne. I solve this by making people choose addresses from popup fields. When you pick an institute, another popup offers you all the departments in this institute. The addresses are filled in automatically when you select the institute and department. The more interesting part comes when we need to do a mail out. There are three possible ways to send the packets - air freight, road freight or post. The cost of each of these varies according to weight, destination and the number of packets that can fit into a single large parcel. The HyperCard stack asks you to enter the weight of a single packet and the freight costs for each different type. It then goes through the whole list, works out how many people are at each address, and chooses the cheapest way to send that packet. It then produces labels for each person, labels for each large parcel and packing instructions telling the packers how to send each packet.
Comments to: Sarah Reichelt
Molecular Models Workshop (MMW) is a program that was developed by the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne with the assistance of the Multimedia Education Unit and the Science Multimedia Teaching Unit. It teaches concepts in molecular modelling to first year Chemistry students. Its elegant design allows lecturers and students to rotate each model to study its structure. The package can be used for self evaluation and formal assessment. MMW was developed by Assoc Prof Rob Capon with a production team including animators, programmers and graphic designers. It was supported by Apple Australia and CAUT. It was written using HyperCard and makes extensive use of QuickTime for 3D animations. Team: Robert Capon (Concept, Design and Project Management), Ric Canale (Management Support), John Swales (Programming), Matthew Riddle (Programming Support), Gyro Interactive (Graphic Design and Cross Platform Development), Chris Drake (ICV International, Distribution), Jacaranda Wiley (Australian and New Zealand Publication) Contact: School of Chemistry University of Melbourne Parkville, 3052 Phone: +61 3 9344 6468 Email: email@example.com Internet: http://Rob-Capon.chemistry.unimelb.edu.au/
Comments to: Matthew Riddle
* Page layout Every year we produce a pocket sized reference book of 70 or so pages with information from a data base and based on the calendar. It was a bit of a slep for the customer when they had accurately to select the correct data from the files in their PC for each day and then Harper Collins, the publishers, sent it to their typesetters who usually made a few typos and not all picked up by the customer when proofing. So we imported their data base from their PC into HyperCard (1.2.5 at the time) and scripted the very complicated rules for the calendar and hey presto each year HyperCard works out the correct data for the calendar. It usd to export it in a text file which we then had to put into a page layout application but that proved a bit of a slep especially to get the pagination right. So now HyperCard exports Postscript text files which are downloaded already beautifully and more accurately laid out with the correct pagination (as each A4 page has to have say page n on the left and page (73-n) on the right. OK HyperCard seems a bit slow - but whereas it may take about 3-4 hours to run the HyperCard programmes at least the result is accurate, the layout is accurate and it is quicker than say 2 or 3 days of typesetting PLUS the time to select the correct data from the PC files. * School photos A school needed 500 ID tags - laminated with photo and the child's name and class etc. HC imported the school pupils' list from their PC admin computer and printed the 500 tags (8 per page in 2 columns of 4). The photos were taken in groups of 4 which after guillotining provided for one column on the printed page of tags. Inevitably there were absentees, so by excluding marked cards for the absentees, it was easy to print the sheets with the tags accurately listed for the photos of the pupils present. Also HC- HT printed the class sontrol sheets for this excercise and the school commented how smoothly the whole operation went which was no doubt due to the ease with which we could use HC both as an administrative tool as well as the production tool. As for the tags - the common data of course was on the card background. By printing a sheet of just the backgrounds by hiding the card pictures we created a master for litho printing them in red ink. Then later by hiding the background picture and showing the card picture, we were able to overprint in black, quite accurately located, the particulars for each pupil.
Comments to: Brian Russell
Elko is a HyperTalk application I wrote a couple of years ago to help me make sense of the structure of large Apple Guide help files. (You can see Elko at: http://www.best.com/~jaed/appleguide/elko/ ) To accomplish this, Elko imports the source files for the Apple Guide, parses the Guide Script language, analyzes the dependencies in the Apple Guide, and displays the structure in a series of seven stacks. Elko also generates an automated index for the Apple Guide's content, lets you adjust and add to it, and finally exports the finished index as a ready-to-compile Apple Guide source file. The indexer was designed to be usable by either experienced Apple Guide scripters, or skilled indexers with little or no Apple Guide experience. HyperTalk made it easy to write a parser for the Guide Script language and generate a properly-coded index file in Guide Script format. And the HyperCard interface tools made it easy to present the complex load of required information to the user, in a way that makes it easy to understand and navigate even for non-techies. I can't think of any other tool that would have made creating this application so easy and fast.
Comments to: Jeanne A. E. DeVoto
One of our Japanese TV programs was to air in Hawaii, primary target audience was Japanese speaking. However, after arrangements to air the program was made, the sponsors told us they wanted it subtitled in English so that it would appeal to a broader audience. Unfortunately there was no money in the budget for this. I could handle the translation, but just typing all the subtitles into a titling machine in the studio cost about $800 per program for rental fees—to say nothing of my time. The machine available to us was old, slow and cranky; preparation for one program took a full 8 hour day. Of course it could not do anything so useful as importing a text file and making the titles automatically. The subtitles were going to kill us financially. I'd used Hypercard to make a database to track our viewer response, and it occurred to me that HC could help with the subtitles as well. I made a relatively simple stack. One button prepped the entire program's subtitles: It read in a text file, stepped through the data line by line as it made a new card for each line and put the line in a field in the lower third of a full-screen sized card. The script, if needed, automatically broke the line of text into two parts, so that each subtitle would be at most two lines, centered in the middle bottom of the screen. The field's text was 36 point Narrow Helvetica, bold. Text was black, field transparent, card was white. A second button hid the menu bar and all visible elements except for the text. A handler in the background programmed keys to turn the subtitle on and off (hide the field), and advance to the next card/title. While listening to the program, I practiced stepping through the subtitles, turning each one on and off as needed. Finally, we outfitted the Mac (a IIcx) with an NTSC/video output card. This allowed me to take the Mac into the studio and feed the Hypercard image into the video switcher's key channel. A switcher can take a high contrast image, let video show through one color (in this case, the video showed through the white background) and "key" the other color (the text) over the video image. The switcher could also change the black of the text to another color, and apply a drop shadow to the text as well. Then, as we dubbed the program from the master tape to the station's on-air copy, I pumped the Hypercard subtitles out of the Mac into the switcher in real time. Thirty minutes later, the program was finished. At the time this project began, Macs were very expensive—even more so in Japan. The Mac we dedicated to this project, along with the NTSC output card and a laser printer, cost close to $10,000. But we ran 130 subtitled programs. Doing it the old way would have cost at least $800 more per program. So I saved the company $94,000. To this day I, who wouldn't know a line of C++ code if it bit me in the rear, enjoy computer-guru status throughout the company. All because of Hypercard -- I know of no other software that could have done this. (By the way, that trusty IIcx is still in active duty as a word processor...) (And the stack still works in case anyone else needs to do subtitles on the cheap!) Tim Selander Pacific Broadcasting Association
Comments to: Tim Selander
As a graduate student in clinical psychology I have used HyperCard to create several applications related to the practice and research of psychology. My dissertation chairperson and I have used HyperCard to create a scoring and interpretation program for the Rorshach Inkblot Test. The "Rorschach Scoring and Interpretation for Macintosh" (RSIM) application allows for easy entry of scores via mouse clicks, viewing of the "Sequence of Scores" in an external window, exporting of scores for future reference, calculation of summary values, as well as printing of these summaries. RSIM also generates interpretive hypotheses based upon current age norms (age 5 to adult) for the Exner Scoring System. Another application I have created with HyperCard is "Psychology Data Base." PDB is a bibliographic data manager that is able to create annotated bilbliographies or APA style reference pages for research reports. PDB's unique features include the ability to edit and import data files downloaded from major CD-ROM databases (e.g., PSYCLit), the export of data to Rich-Text-Format (styled text) files, complex data searches using multiple criteria, automated entry of Journal names (including support for creating your own journal name sets), and setting of file creator types (e.g., MS Word) for all exported files. I have also used HyperCard to create an Macintosh version of a PC application (for a SUNY professor) that is related to a particular research instrument. The "Attachment Q-Sort" (AQS) provides a brief tutorial on attachment theory, secure base behavior, and the use of the Q-sort methodology. The application contains the full set of Q-Sort items, the rational for their inclusion, and their weighted values. All instructional text and item information is exportable to text files. Another tutorial application I've created with HyperCard is called "Crisis Intervention." This HyperCard stack is a presentation of general crisis intervention and prevention techniques, as well as specific focus on suicide prevention, intervention and "postvention." The information in this stack can also be printed or exported as a crisis intervention manual. Currently, a computerized version of a neuropsychological test is in the planning/conceptual stage. This HyperCard application will present the test's stimulus items and the user (client) will indicate their answers via mouse clicks. The application will score and print the results. This will be my first project that takes advantage of the powerful relationship between HyperCard and QuickTime.
Comments to: Stan Soria
* I have been using HyperCard for virtually everything! All of my vital information (projects, patents, inventories, account numbers, contact info, calendar, curriculum vitae, Christmas cards, etc.) are placed in a series of HyperCard stacks called "HyperInfo Intelligent Knowledge Object Organisation System" to maintain consistency and integrity. All of the HyperCard handlers and AppleScript scripts that I have coded are stored in a single HyperCard stack called "HyperCard Object Organiser". Every HTML and GIF file on the numerous web sites that I manage is stored in HyperCard stacks called "HTML File Organiser", from which hundreds of web pages are generated from components with a push of a button via proprietary HyperTalk and AppleScript scripts. * HyperGames [http://WWW.HyperInfo.CA/~HyperGames/] is a multimedia HyperCard stack, jam-packed with more than 50 exciting games and useful utilities. Creative games include an acclaimed Pong clone, a Pac-Man clone, animations, music makers, mathematical puzzles, educational quizzes, etc. Original HyperTalk utilities include a Find/Replace function, an Internet data converter, an automatic index generator, a progress bar, synchronised multiple scrolling fields, and much much more. It is also an ideal vehicle to learn scripting, as well as to demonstrate the awesome power of HyperCard! * Food Nutrition Knowledge Matrix [http://WWW.HyperInfo.CA/~FoodNutrition/] organises hundreds of foods and nutrients in a simple and consistent manner. It focuses on only major helpful and harmful food nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, lipids and other important compounds, rather than on calories. The properties of the foods are based solely on their nutrients, which are accessible with a click of a button. * These HyperCard stacks and standalone applications will be converted to cross-platform QuickTime Interactive format as soon as it becomes available.
Comments to: Sunatori, Go Simon
I've been developing custom solutions in HyperCard for about ten years, so it's worked its way into many aspects of my professional life. Of interest: Golem: Golem is a HyperCard-based Internet robot, designed to help manage and analyze large numbers of URLs and Internet resources associated with sizable editorial and survey projects. Rather than being a Web-spider that progressively checks links as it finds them, Golem verifies a specific list of URLs and produces a detailed report for each item: whether the URL has moved or is missing, whether the URL matches your keywords with some confidence, what servers or Web technologies the URL might be using, etc. Although Golem isn't currently available for public use, its services are contracted by a number of high-profile clients in the computing industry, including Microsoft Corporation. http://www.quibble.com/golem/ TidBITS: Over the years, substantial portions of the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day operations of the Macintosh newsletter TidBITS have come to rely on HyperCard. HyperCard-based solutions include: * Automated distribution of weekly issues to FTP and Web archives, databases, search engines, and other facilities * Automated processing of subscription requests * Creation and maintainance of online discussion list archives * Processing and automated handling of email "bounce" messages received in response to issues * Automated (hourly) updates to the TidBITS home page and other portions of the TidBITS Web site http://www.tidbits.com/
Comments to: Geoff Duncan
One of the first projects I have done with Hypercard was for a weekly newspaper. It did everything from accounts receivable, to counting the words in classified ads and preparing the bill and generating the sorted and tagged text file for Quark Xpress. Then I created a set of stacks to manage a bookstore. After a few years, the owners of the bookstore decided to split. They each took a copy of my stacks, and Pierre told me: "Now that Jacques is gone, we're going to remove this and that..." And Jacques told me: "Now that Pierre is not there any more, we will add this and that..." So now, I have two very different solutions for bookstores. I have also created stacks to manage box offices of summer theatres. Selling tickets may seem simple, but there is a lot more than meets the eyes. There are so many exceptions, and the employees hired to operate the thing have to learn everything within a few hours of training. And the board keep finding new packages that wreak havoc with the system (like 3 tickets for 55$ (=$18.333 each). Good thing Hypercard is very flexible. I have also written a software to manage a granite manufacture from preparing and faxing the quotes, to printing the price lists to managing production, billing, shipping and accounts receivable. And one of the secretary who has worked for a competitor said that my software is simpler to use than the one she had at the other shop (which ran on Unix boxes and cost more than 20 times more than mine). Making a backup of their files took hours and was very distressful. While my whole system resides in one stack which can be saved on one disquette (with all the price lists, and info on a hundred customers for the last three years and room to spare). Well processed invoices are kept in a separate annual archive stack (which easily fits on another disquette). But anyway, making backups is much simpler. Now, I'm working on ways to create reusable scripts and to improve the style of my screens so that people can recognize my look and feel.
Comments to: Serge Grenier
I have used HyperCard to create scanning communication displays for several adults with severe disabilities who attend our day programs. These displays emulate expensive and sophisticated augmentative communication devices and are extemely useful when the expensive hardware is out for repair. Using these communication displays, our adults can use remote switches, activated by a movement of the hand, arm or head, to indicate a choice from among a variety of routine items and activities.
Comments to: Bill Lynn
I teach Esperanto to kids who have messed in their other foreign language courses. I built a Hypercard stack that works like a set of flashcards, but with some refinements. Students can pick which level of words to work on, what part of speech to practice, and which language will serve as the prompt. They can also marked words as learned when learned, to avoid having them repeat, plus they can keep a running count of words learned. Using the text-to-speech capability of the Mac, the stack will also speak each word if the student chooses. The students can also type in the Esperanto words to see if they remember them (or since the language is phonetic, whether they can transcribe them.) Also, I recently added a card for writing letters, with a two-way Esperanto-English dictionary. I also built a collector stack which will retrieve the learned words from each kid's stack, and put them into a text file for later vocabulary tests. (Not a feature that the kids really appreciate.) Hypercard also lets me hack quick fixes to various text document problems - misplaced tabs, too many returns, etc. It's great for fixing the idiosyncracies of a faculty who have no common stylesheet for some of the things they write.
Comments to: S. D. Wagenseller
I have been a high school special education teacher in Wisconsin for over 25 years. Since 1993, I have used HyperCard to develop applications for Special Educators and Athletic Directors, and currently market these programs in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa. I function under the name of the JENWORTH COMPANY, and currently do business with over 180 school districts. Special educators have the unenviable task of writing Individual Education Plans (IEP's) for their students. Along with these IEP's, there are additional forms and reports that must be developed throughout the course of the school year. The JENWORTH IEP SYSTEM is a classroom management tool that allows special educators to develop these forms and reports with the computer, thus saving invaluable time. The program also contains the following components: Lesson Planner, To-Do List, Address Book, Letters, and Grade Book. Athletic Directors (AD's) have an overwhelming amount of paper work associated with their job. In the smaller districts, the AD's are often without the aid of a secretary, and must generate all this paperwork on their own. This paperwork is in the form of Game Contracts, Official Contracts, worker notices, check requests, time sheets, bus schedules, team schedules, and team rosters. In addition, student participation records and budget records must be maintained. The JENWORTH AD PROGRAM MANAGER was developed to function as a personal secretary to the Athletic Director. After data is entered surrounding the athletic events, the program generates all the forms and reports in a fraction of the time, and also assists the AD in managing the athletic program. Marvin Wurth 330 E. Dewey St. Platteville, WI 53818
Comments to: Marvin Wurth
I've used HyperCard for quite a variety of tasks, ranging from simple 10-minute text massagers to full-blown vertical apps and commercial software. In the order that I built them... 1) A graphics program for generating text for highway signing. This program would let the user select a font, and the size, and it would generate output. May not sound like anything special, but the key here is the format of the output - Adobe Illustrator files. The program would determine the kerning of the letters based on very specific tables, and then actually take Illustrator PostScript primitives (the PS definitions of each font character) and adjust their positions to build a true Adobe Illustrator file that could be opened and edited - it would contain precise outlines of the entered text, perfectly kerned. Later I added dimensioning lines as well. Finally I made a plotter control utility that would let the users output the data (converted externally to HPGL) to a vinyl cutter. I built this over 7 years ago, and to my knowledge it is still being used for all the overhead highway signing in Ontario. 2) Order Processing. At the same governmental agency, but a different department. A system for managing the distribution of reports. Requests would come in and the user would go to the accounts and enter the items requested. All the requests were done in one batch. The final step would output packing slips for all the customers, and a shopping list for the user indicating which bins to visit to get the physical reports. It also had a wide variety of reporting capabilities. I also made a standalone version of the reports database for users - they could search themselves, select reports, and it would output an order which they would mail in. 3) Statistical Analysis and report generation. Same department. They were spending about $50,000 a year on a DOS DBASE II system that summarized and reported on how money and manhours were allocated to various R&D projects. It was a dog, a mishmash hack that couldn't add. They even had to hire someone full time just to manage it and deal with the problems. The director asked if I could re-write the entire thing with HyperCard. The DOS consultant said "Macs can't do this stuff!" but I convinced the director I could do it for a measly $3,500. The final result was exactly what management had hoped for and more. It would import a FileMaker database, do full validation on the data, and then output a 300 page report complete with logos and borders. And the numbers all added up. You would basically just import, click a button and go home and the next morning there's the report waiting on the printer. I don't know if they're still using it, unfortunatly it wasn't Y2K compliant. Still, the program took the annual cost from $50,000 to $900. The director personally thanked me and actually told me that choosing to migrate this project to HyperCard was the single best decision he made that year. Wow. 4)Utility for FirstClass Intranet Server This commerical product (FC SuperTools) borrowed from some earlier projects of mine. It did two particularly cool things. First, using the comm toolbox, it would log in to a server and then recursively "crawl" the entire structure and map it out so you could get an overview of the hierarchial layout. The second thing is how it could output that structure. Either as an Excel file, as a folder structure in the Finder, as a Batch Adming file, or as a gigantic Adobe Illustrator EPSF file with the full folder structure laid out across multiple pages. I've also made some goofy things like "Homer's Pain" which would string together Homer Simpson sounds in random ways. I guess you have to hear it to understand :-) I still use HyperCard today for all kinds of things, mostly manipulating data and doing repetitive chores (like dishing out id's and passwords via e-mail). I think it will be a long time before I find something that can replace it. Oh I almost forgot this one... I also used HyperCard to make a program called 3D Quicktime Viewmaster. It's a nifty gizmo that lets you view certain QuickTime movies in 3D Stereo (I'm not kidding). Working from the basis of the "Pulfrich Effect" it provides stereoscopic vision of a movie by simulating the effect with two side-by-side frames of the same movie, shown at different time indexes. It requires an eye trick called "free fusing" where you kind of cross your eyes to merge the two images together so that each eye sees a different pane. The program includes some training tools to help you do this. As I said, it only works with certain movies, ones where the camera is travelling to the left or the right, but not panning (like shooting out your passenger window). It isn't hard to find shots like this on TV or in movies. Basically once you have a movie loaded, and you free-fuse, then you can just move the mouse left and right to move through the movie, all in perfect 3d. This works because any two frames taken of the same scene from slightly different angles will provide the brain with enough information to see depth. And a movie where the camera was tracking but not panning provides exactly that... views of the same scene from a whole line of perspectives. It also works great for movies of rotating objects (QTVR) Find it at: http://macinsearch.com/infomac/gst/mov/three-d-qt-viewmaster-131.html
Comments to: Oliver Kenkel
I made a good living from HyperCard several years ago as the one-man I.S. department of Standard Broadcast News. SBN was a Canadian news service providing audio and text via satellite to over 100 radio stations across the country. HyperCard was integral to our 24/7/365 operation, and enabled us to achieve considerable operational economies and flexibility. I used HyperCard, primarily in conjunction with the Comm Toolbox serial port externals, to: - Transmit several thousand wire stories a day to our satellite uplink. These wire stories were written and formatted in custom-designed HyperCard stacks and collected by another HyperCard stack that parsed them into "ANPA" structured text format. This system also operated in several news bureaus across the country, essentially without technical intervention. - Downlink, filter, reformat and re-broadcast several thousand weather reports a day. - Control client's remote tape decks via DTMF tones on the satellite audio feed with HyperCard's "dial" command. - Send alphanumeric pages to field staff. (This was a bit of a hack, there are better commercial products now.) - Interface with some particularly nasty mini-computers through a scripted serial connection to retrieve news stories from a local affiliate. (This system was called "NewStar" but I preferred to refer to it as "NewsTar".) - Generate and uplink real-time 1995 national referendum results on only a few weeks preparation time. - We were beginning the design stages of converting from a "folders & files" -based structure inherited from an earlier system to a using HyperCard as the front-end to a Butler SQL relational database. I was sorry to have to drop it when a better opportunity came along... The satisfying thing about the whole system was that I was able to respond to user feedback very rapidly and add features in a matter of hours or days. HyperCard's interpreted programming language made it possible to use an "interactive" style of development, with changes often made to the live system on a test-and-revise basis. All this was done on extremely modest capital outlay, and very reasonable payroll. Where I was not able to solve problems using HyperCard's extensive and unambiguous HyperTalk language I usually found a free code module, called an "XCMD" or an "XFCN", that gave me the feature or the speed that I needed (there are literally thousands of XCMDs available on the internet). In the final stages, we began using CompileIt to turn optimised HyperTalk code into lightning-fast XCMD code modules and WindowScript to design custom windows for data display or sophisticated user interfaces. [http://www.nobleswan.com/hypercard/]
Comments to: Ben Lawson
I use Hypercard, among many common things, to manage databases on the Web. The simplest example for such a website is the program of an upcoming scientific meeting. Participants submit their titles and abstracts through an HTML form. The Hypercard stack then reads the incoming data from the Eudora folder and creates a new set of HTML files containing updated abstracts and a list of speakers. This website can be found at http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pheronet/iobc/titles.html. Another example is a database on the chemical structures, gas chromatographic retention indices and sensory properties of naturally occurring flavor chemicals. This website, conceived by Terry Acree at Cornell, is located at http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/flavornet/. You need the right plug-in, but then it's fun to see the molecules rotating through space. The original information is kept on a Filemaker file. After each update, data are exported as a plain text file, sent to me by e-mail and converted offline to a new set of HTML files. The most elaborate web database created in this way is the Pherolist, a documentation on the sex attractant pheromones which are produced by female moths to attract the males. This database is located at http://www-pherolist.slu.se. Pheromones are important in today's pest management where one tries to get by with a minimum of insecticides. They are used to monitor insect populations and control pests via an environmentally safe technique called mating disruption. Each insect species uses its own bouquet of sex perfume. There are about 2000 HTML pages in this website containing chemical structures, insect pictures and numerous index pages. These are all interlinked in various ways, so a few changes can affect numerous files. For this reason I often end up rewriting the entire set, at the click of a button of course. The original database is kept in the same 2700+ card stack that runs the update. The scripts for updating these websites are often long and complicated, but they use just a few functions for creating tags, replacing strings, sorting lines and handling files. I am working on a direct linkup to the server, using externals like Marionet. The idea is to build custom applications for the part-time webmaster who is not at all familiar with Hypertalk, HTML or FTP.
Comments to: Heinrich Arn
For the last eight years I have worked as a developer of Computer Assisted Instructional (CAI) materials, first at Ohio State University, now at Brigham Young University. During that time HyperCard has been a workhorse. I have created or assisted in creating CAI programs for teaching Russian, Chinese, French diction for singers. I have also created too many utilities to remember them all. At BYU we teach classes in CAI development to students majoring in Humanities. We have used HyperCard for Macintosh development for years, and have found it an ideal environment for teaching the intricacies of program design without the huge upfront investment of a programming language like C or Java. I have seen amazing things come from students after just one semester of HyperCard. In our labs here we offer our students access to many computer-based tutorials, most of them programmed in HyperCard and served from an Apple Workgroup Server. We have tutorials for Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Introduction to the Arts, Italian, French, and more. And they aren't just simple grammar drills. Several of them use complex multimedia and offer features such as centralized student record keeping and report printing. HyperCard is a stable, easy-to-learn, extensible, scalable environment that just keeps getting better. We can't wait for HyperCard 3, which should give us the ability to quickly deploy this large body of software in our Windows labs. We also run a 35-station computer based testing lab, where we administer multimedia tests to thousands of students each term for all first and second year Spanish classes, beginning German, beginning Humanities classes, and several others. Do I need to tell you what environment the testing software is developed in? You guessed it--humble, reliable old HyperCard. I continue to be amazed at its flexibility. To see some examples of our HyperCard-based tutorials, go to our Web page: http://humanities.byu.edu/HRC/products/catalog.html/ . Most of the Mac-based software is done in HyperCard.
Comments to: Devin Asay
Well, I do a lot of little quick-and-dirty stuff in HyperCard, including a little thing to parse the InfoMac digests and download all the files, a few device control thingies, and some prototyping stuff. The most used things I've worked on recently, though, are the BSU Math and Chemistry Placement Exams (which were supposed to be a one semester quick fix, and were just retired this year after serving more than 8 years of duty). A way was needed to give placement exams on demand when we went to year round registration. The math department did not want to use up faculty time giving and grading these tests. HyperCard to the rescue! I wrote a quick little shell that allowed the entry of the math problems, including special symbols and graphics, presented the test, scored it, and told the student which math courses he or she qualified for based on the score. Now that it is no longer in use at BSU, I'm refurbishing and generalizing it, and it may show up as shareware somewhere along the line.
Comments to: Bruce Carter
The coolest thing I've done in HyperCard? Probably the stack I created for the International Buddhist Meditation Center, which they commissioned and used for their 25th Anniversary Celebration. The IBMC is deep in the heart of Los Angeles, by the way. At any rate: My stack, which could be described as a "Buddhist Yellow Pages", is a searchable database of over 100 Buddhist temples, most of them found in the LA region. Each record has fields for the temple's name, head abbot, address, etc. Users can search for temples that fit any criterion, or combination thereof; naturally, I used HyperTalk's native FIND command to implement the searching function. Since the stack was to be used in what amounts to a "kiosk" setting, open to the general public, I had to "idiot-proof" both the stack and the Mac (a Classic) it was running on. The solution I chose to implement: Set the userLevel to "browse", and take away the Classic's keyboard. Of course, this made life a bit more interesting for my search function. To work around the keyboard's absence, I set up a sort of "virtual keyboard" that lets the user "type" with the mouse. The user clicks on a field; uses the "v-board" to enter his search criterion for that field; and so on, until he's set up all the different criteria he wants to. When the user is done, he clicks on the "find 'em all NOW!" button, and the stack marks all the cards that match the criteria. The last thing worth mention about this stack is the "go to the Help card" button that appears on every card. Its icon is a yin-yang symbol... and the sucker rotates, gracefully and continually. I created wholly automatic processes that run by themselves, completely without human intervention. I've done other stacks, but this one is my biggest success story.
Comments to: Quentin Long
I use HyperCard exclusively to write instructional software for the languages of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and German. I have also used HyperCard to write a comprehensive school master schedule program which we currently use at our school in Cincinnati, Ohio (The Academy of World Languages). HyperCard is also excellent for easily creating instant-self- grading quizes and tests. I've used HyperCard to teach computer programming to 11 & 12th graders. HyperCard is one of the greatest computing inventions since the monitor!! It is the ultimate programming "swiss army knife." I can't wait until it goes cross-platform. Mike Brucato Cincinnati Academy of World Languages
Comments to: Michael A. Brucato
I'm a 67 year old Biologist that started with an old Apple in 1980. The only way you could do anything was to program it yourself, so I became a BASIC programmer,self-taught. I developed a number of programs for Ecology, primarily simulations and computation. When the first Mac came along I talked the department into getting one, but I continued to use the Apple IIe for most of my class oriented work since you couldn't program a Mac in BASIC. Then I discovered HyperCard!!! My first project was a stack which made herbarium labels, with maps, and at the same time became a data base of our herbarium collection, which would automatically update as new student collections came in. Next, a data base of the department's undergraduate theses, easily updated and easily searched. Next a data base of a Diatom culture collection. These could have been done with a data base application but Hypercard was already on the Mac and 15 years later the stacks are still functional and we can modify them and add graphics if we wish. As our old Apple II's were phased out I started to convert the BASIC simulations to HC stacks and discovered that I could do mathematical and statistical manipulation and graphing easier than with BASIC. Next HyperCard became my presentation application of choice. I built a simple stack which could show text, graphics and PICTs, from scanned illustration or photos. We then got a camcorder and video capture software and added movies into the mix. Building on this, and the help of a state environmental education grant I've been developing a series of multimedia stacks on local biomes, plant and animal communities. The stacks have been used in local schools and the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque. Now that I've retired I'm in the process of expanding the stacks to include all the biomes in the U.S. The major problem now is not the programming but access to illustration and video clips. Oh, and expansion to that other platform! Where are you HC3.0? That's my story, and it started with a biologist in his fifties with no programming experience. Ed Cawley, Ph.D Professor Emeritus, Loras College
Comments to: Ed Cawley
The Grauer School has developed a database using HyperCard which essentially drives the school. We enroll, track, notate, keep addresses, etc. with this database. More importantly, we have used it to make many kinds of reports including such things as report cards, weekly report cards, guidance counselors reports, attendance, and even whole school reports. For example, our Weekly Reports are far more detailed than any report cards I have ever seen in my 7 schools over 25 years - needless to say, most schools can only generate reports quarterly. HyperCard gives our school an amazing edge; it enables us to communicate with parents, students and teachers with unparalleled timeliness and precision. We continually exceed everyone's expectations for most types of school evaluation. If something happened to our HyperCard, I think I would commit hari kari. We have been developing and refining the functions of this database for 7 years now, and it has evolved in tandem with the school. With minor refinements, individual teachers could use this program to their great benefit, as could department heads and tutoring services. It's completely flexible. We can evaluate and generate reports easily on anything we can imagine. Dr. Stuart Grauer, Director The Grauer School
Comments to: Dr. Stuart Grauer
To many, it may not seem like much; but to me, it's incredible that I can "program" and do useful things. HyperCard and HyperTalk have made this possible. I have a property management firm with our own shopping centers. I utilize stacks I've written for accounting, property management, 1099's, vendor and tennant information, and the like. I use version 2.2 with an SE30. My next project is to build a stack for fixed asset depreciation; with arrays(items) it will be a cinch. The boring part will be to enter the monthly percentages. HC and HT are very helpful. Also will be doing checkwriting tied in with accounts payable and general ledger.
Comments to: John Hudson
The coolest thing I do with Hypercard? Utilities For Speeding Programming Tasks (in various languages)! Automation Software for text processing! Speech Assisted Programs for the Handicapped or (like me) lazy! I have accomplished so much with straight hyperTalk, and even more by mixing HC, AppleScript, and compiled code, it's hard even to start. To see (what I feel is) the "Coolest" thing, go to www.wsmarketing.com, and then follow the links to the "Websites" page. There you will find a short story about a program called "WebWrite." In short, WebWrite is a "turn-key" solution for putting any type of "listing" publication on the web. Currently being used in the realestate market by Osborne Publications of Gaithersburg Maryland, WebWrite runs on a network of 21 Macs and produces 8000 perfectly formatted web pages a month, including converting the company's "TIFF" images to "JPEG", starting with raw text and requiring no (as in ZERO) user intervention. None of the 30 (aprox) people responsible for the company's 10 monthly print publications can type the first line of HTML, yet an entire searchable site is created, maintained and updated for them while they produce those printed versions (WebWrite even creates a Spanish version of their publications). The question is, could it have been created in another environment? Sure! At over 4 times the cost and man hours. Next, pop on over to AOL and do a software search for "ScriptScraps." This shareware stack is really helpful to anyone who codes in several languages. It supplies it's user with a means to organize "snippets" of code by language, function name, etc, and to retrive them quickly when needed. And lastly (but certainly not least), if you visit my web site or any of the sites from our "examples" area, I want you to know that very little of the HTML in any of the sites you view is edited by hand (and no, I'm not using an HC based HTML editor like the ones you've probably seen). All of the sites are coded with an application called "SpeakEasy," and as the name implies, the code for the pages is produced by selecting passages of text and speaking into a plaintalk microphone. It's faster than any WYSIWYG editor on the market, more convenient to use by far, and is 99.9% pure HyperTalk!
Comments to: Bill Westfield
I have three stories. 1. I wrote a system for a dental practice consultant. It was origially written in Fortran. I saw the value of Hypercard in providing a lot of services that I would have needed to write myself. I did need to do some customization as external commands to speed things up a bit (this was written for an SE back in 1988). Well, the same system has been carried forward with very little adjustment, now running on a G3 machine and speed is no problem. It just surprises me how little I have had to work to keep this system going. The consultant goes years without asking me for any help. The last problem was fixed simply by moving from Hypercard 2.1 to version 2.2. Since I am not in this for making a lot of money, but just for helping this guy out, I haven't missed a great financial opportunity that this could have been if I had written it using some Microsoft product on a WinTel machine. 2. When I need to craft some data for any purpose, Hypercard is my first choice. I needed to convert data from a network accessible UNIX based database (usually accessed by a Windows program), I wrote a HyperCard program to take and extract the data and send out email messages to patrons surveying them about our service. I was able to get HyperCard to keep track of everything and make it easy to send email messages via AppleScript to Eudora and then analyze the responses from the patrons, entering the data into another Hypercard-based database. It also produces a report summarizing those responses. This was written in less than a day with adjustments made very easily when necessary. I also use Hypercard via AppleScript as my CGI processor for my web server (try http://laanjak.cc.utah.edu/doCalendar.html). 3. When I got my Palm Pilot, I needed a good way to keep track of my different address databases, one of which comes from an archaiac DOS system at my church (I would love to convert them to the Mac and Hypercard). I export the data in text form of a printout and process it in Hypercard and create a file that I can then import into my Palm Pilot database. It was quick to write and is slick to use.
Comments to: Joseph F. Buchanan
Create a commercial interactive educational software title designed to teach children about conflict mediation techniques and how to reduce violent behavior. The software program, Conflict Smarts, used QuickTime video and contains exercises, such as facial recognition, that use photos. We even used 3 second Quicktime clips to "animate" topic buttons with video. Taking only 6 months to develop, Hypercard was the key to keeping costs and production time down. We're eagerly awaiting Hypercard 3.0 so we can share this marvelous and important software program with Windows users. Drop by http://www.mindspring.com/~dschan/ConflictSmarts.html and take a peek at what the program has to offer.
Comments to: Dexter Chan
Several years ago on-line banking became available in our area. It uses an automated touch-tone phone mechanism to prompt the caller for actions such as getting account balances and paying bills. I initially used it only with the phone and got tired of the repeated entry of numbers. Having played with HyperCard scripting previously I figured I could program all the sequences and build a push-button interface that my wife could use also. So, after a couple of evenings of HyperTalk programming, we were paying our bills on-line. My wife uses it all the time and just loves it—no more trips to the bank to pay bills or check the account balances. The program allows us to: pay any of our 14 bills immediately or post-date them (we use this feature all the time to avoid missing payment dates); get account balances; transfer money between accounts; and, scan our payment history. The program connects to the bank and using the modem speaker we can hear all the transactions as they occur. At any point in the process we can cancel the transaction. It is very easy to use and logs all actions when finished. We still use this program even though our bank recently added on-line computer banking. The new service is only for PC users via a custom PC application. Intuit has a form of on-line banking with Quicken, but only for certain banks and not in Canada where I live. They also have extra charges for their use. Using my HyperCard version does not incur additional charges.
Comments to: Brent Goss
I have generated a Hypercard stack containing a set of methods for generating the data needed to estimate the drag of modern jet aircraft. The user selects the various components of the aircraft and a Hypercard card is presented on which the user enters the geometric parameters ( length, width, height, sweep angle, etc) in appropriate slots on the data sheet. The Hypercard stack calculates the needed areas for most components. For few types, the user must enter the area himself. The result is a text file that is read by the drag evaluation program which is written in C. This works like a charm and needs almost no manual since it is so intuitive.
Comments to: Sidney A Powers
I am a multimedia developer that specializes in natural history education exhibits, CD-ROMs, and web sites. One of the main reasons I got into being a multimedia professional is due to Hypercard. In 1988 I began using HyperCard to develop a data base and training system for Humpback whale cooperative feeding behaviors in Southeast Alaska. Hypercard allowed me to rapidly develop both an interactive data base to hold all our research data and also an interactive training course that was integrated into the database to provide training to new research volunteers. The combination of Hypercard and my little old fireplug SE allowed me to easily take my Mac out into the field, shipboard, before the days of laptops! Since then I have used HyperCard to develop interactive kiosks at places like the Saint Louis Zoo where we developed a series of interactive exhibits on Missouri Streams. These exhibits utilize full screen digital video and dual laser disc players, all of which is controlled from HyperCard. I have also used Hypercard to rapidly prototype many exhibits for clients that are strictly PC based. After the prototypes are done, the PC version is built and many times (especially in the early days) the PC version could not deliver the same functionality, speed, and presentation that the HyperCard prototype could! I have also had wonderful experiences using Hypercard for producing CD-ROMs. The first major title I used Hypercard for was the Earth Explorer Environmental Encyclopedia. This $2.7 million National Science Foundation project required a multimedia interface system that could also handle a half a million words of text and over 30,000 data points of data. We used HyperCard to program the Macintosh version and Visual Basic for the PC version. The Mac required only one programmer, while the PC version required 2 programmers for an equivalent length of time. The Mac version also provided and reformatted many of the assets for use in the PC version. Additionally, the Hypercard version required about one half the testing (since the HyperCard program was ahead in the schedule, it’s testing also included most of the content testing) of the PC version and little or no tech support calls. I have also recently used Hypercard to produce the Macintosh version of a CD-ROM we produced with Jean Michel Cousteau. Cities Under the Sea: Coral Reefs is a fully interactive multimedia CD-ROM with 50 minutes of QuickTime movies, over 700 color pictures, and 70,000 words of text. The Macintosh version was produced for a similar programming budget of the PC, Visual Basic version, but incorporated many extra features into the system and required less testing. Again, Hypercard allowed us to develop much more for the money. Finally, I continue to use Hypercard as my internal project data base engine. For every project I create a data base in Hypercard that contains all the text content, media file references and other detail information for the project. The data base is then used to manage this content during production, then the data is exported in whatever format is required of the final multimedia system for use. This system using Hypercard to manage the content of large projects has saved time and money and allowed us to run projects distributed over consultants living all over the place! Hypercard has really been both my introduction to doing multimedia as a profession and my mainstay as a multimedia production tool. Its flexibility, stability, value, and ease of use are unparalleled!
Comments to: Jeff Reynolds
It is difficult to limit this statement! The most extensive things I have done with Hypercard include: 1) A media catalog and booking system that allows reserving of some 8000 media items and keeps track of who request what when. It is essentially a three file relational database. The program also prints catalogs and is searchable at a high speed. 2) A series of programs called "Clip Creator" that simplify excerpting Audio CDs, Laserdisks, MIDI files and QuickTime Movies. Sets of clips can be accumulated and used in a series of drill and practice exercises or used interactively along with comments and hot spots in the comments to automate a multimedia presentation. Also included in the set is "Clip Chart" which allows users to created an analysis of a musical work along with a related graphic representation of the analysis and comments that pop up as the analysis is played. This set of programs is in use at colleges and K12 institutions around the world, and I'm (impatiently) waiting for version 3 of Hypercard to bring the capabilities of this very useful tool to music instructors who insist on using Windows machines. 3) A set of spelling drill programs what allow instructors to create sets of spelling words, common misspellings, sample sentences and voice recordings of the word and the sentences. The program will produce pencil and paper tests, and a series of interactive spelling "games" that allow the student to learn to spell. They can even hear their own teacher say the word and the sentence. Various kinds of help are provided when errors are made. 4) A set of programs that interact with a CD-ROM produced by the state of Minnesota FACs project that provide linkages to ninety some samples of world music and 50 or 60 art works (in JPEGs). Extensive cross-referencing of these works is provided and a simple means of marking cards and following progress through the cards provides ways for teachers or students to organize the information to make presentations from it. These materials were distributed statewide to the K12 schools. 5) A Hypercard interactive front end to the award winning University of Delaware Video Disk Music Series that provides simple access to the musical works (with analysis of those works) and to the mre than 5000 still images on the video disk set. I could multiply these examples, but the point is clear. Hypercard is a fast efficient database and multimedia tool. It is my tool of choice for many projects, and is one I would use much more if it were update and provided a means for Windows users to take advantage of the things I have developed. Chuck Boody Analyst/Programmer ISD 270
Comments to: Chuck Boody
I have recently started a stack in HyperCard that is a database of every reptile species that can be found in and around my capital city. I have text fields for things like size, appearance etc, and then colour pictures, movies, and sounds. I chose HyperCard because it lets me design the stack the way I want it. I can also save it as a stand-alone application, and distribute it to others.
Comments to: Stewart Macdonald
Ok, let me just tell you that I have not finished this program yet, but I will be very very soon - It is a complete organizational system for teachers in which to keep track of everthing from attendance to marks to lesson plans, times and special days, as well as little things such as reminders on student birthdays, individual performance graphs, personalized thank you notes, even ways to dismiss the class at the end of the day. My latest addition that I am currently working on is an emergency medical help feature - eg. a student is having a seizure or something and it will tell you what to do. I'm running out of ideas for more things to do with this stack! I've also made some different versions of games like Clue, Monopoly, and Balderdash, too. I just recently bought a new Mac G3-266 with 96 RAM and a 15" monitor and the switch between it and my old 9MHz Classic with 2 RAM and a 9" B&W monitor was seamless. Thank you, Apple computer, for making such a great product.
Comments to: Jason Ruhl
After retiring after some 30 years of programming and management, I spent more time gardening. But, being an engineer, I needed to keep track of the plants as well as enjoy them. The things to keep track of for a plant include its name, shape, size, color, ..., etc., and where it is, because labels disappear. So I bought a Mac with HyperCard, and started developing the "garden information manager", or "gim" (pronounced "jim") which is essentially an inventory control program for a garden. After it was working pretty well for me, I decided to see how it would work for other gardeners. That led to six months working with a public garden to add other features they needed. Some of the challenges including handling really BIG fields of plant names, etc., handling large numbers of cards (gim uses one card per plant as an accession record, and some gardens have many thousands of plants), making it work for first-time users who don't have a clue as to delicate a computer program really is, restricting certain features by user level, and maps. gim is now quite bullet-proof, and has a rather nice mapping capability which allows scrolling over your garden, moving plants around in your garden, "growing" your plants, showing just selected plants, zooming in in a particular area of the garden, etc. gim customers now include public gardens and private gardeners, located from New York to Hawaii. In all but one case, the customers are first-time Mac users, and most of the private gardeners are first-time computer users. Oakhill Associates 585 Ransier Drive Hendersonville, NC 28739 1-800-GIM-0428
Comments to: Bob Stelloh
I have made a complete HTML editor in HyperCard, called "HTML TagWriter". I wrote my first webpages in TeachText, but I soon got bored having the same tags again and again. In stead of buying an editor, I made my own. With 6 years of scripting experience (I started when I was 14), it was really easy to write the necessary handlers. I've tried to learn C, but I gave up: way too difficult. The things which could not be scripted without a severe slowdown, like pop-up menus and text convertors, are handled by XFCNs which can be found in most XFCN archives. A great advantage of HC is that it's tremendously easy to modify things or add new elements. When I discover a bug, or something which doesn't work good enough, it's fixed within a few minutes. I didn't even take lessons to learn HyperCard. I just started working with it and by looking how the example stacks worked, I first modified them, and then started to make new stacks, first funny stacks which weren't particularly useful, but after a while I made adventure games... The only reason why these games are not available is that they're not finished... It's so hard finding a decent ending for such a game! I made other utilities too, like a stack which makes a list of the contents of floppy disks (becoming outdated, indeed!) and a stack to manage my tons of past e-mails (I really can't throw things away). I even made a stack which converts images into cylindrical projections which can then be merged into a QTVR panorama... But I must admit that that one is pretty slow. However, it shows that HyperCard is pretty good at Maths too, and I used this feature to make stacks which draw graphs and 3D-wire models of mathematical functions. For who might be interested in the HTML TagWriter stack: http://cryogen.com/dr.lex/tagwriter The Panorama stack is available at: http://cryogen.com/dr.lex/qtvr/makepano.html Other utilities (mostly mathematical) can be found at: http://urc1.cc.kuleuven.ac.be/~m9608615/software/3dstuff.html
Comments to: Alexander Thomas
Hypercard is the brains behind the Periodic Table Challenge web page (http://www.chem.uky.edu/misc/periodicquiz.html) recently featured in both the New York Times as well as Chemical & Engineering News. Alas, Hypecard was not mentioned by name, but then again neither was I! The Periodic Table Challenge is a *blank* periodic table. Users are challenged to fill in the table and then submit their entry. Hypercard scores their answers, makes a comment or two and even adds a line of chemical trivia before returning a response to the user. It's a valuable tool for learning (not merely memorizing) the periodic table and is of particular use to higher level chemistry students.
Comments to: Robert Toreki
You want to know what the problem with educational software for the classroom is? It’s designed by people who don’t really know what’s needed in the classroom—especially _my_ classroom. They don’t know where my students’ weaknesses are or their strengths; they don’t know what kinds of tasks I wished someone (or some other intelligent agent) would take care of for me. Those tasks and needs might change next week or next month or next year—or they might not. Only I can tell. And even if they did know, they wouldn’t do it because there’s no money in it, because I am a market of one. I want to create the programs needed in my room. And I want to do it quickly. I want to do it without having to learn C or some other life-consuming programming language. That’s why I need HyperCard. That’s why teachers need HyperCard. In 1990 at age forty I entered the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Willamette University. I had no previous computer experience. Within six months I was creating my own classroom software using HyperCard. Over these past eight years I have refined a large group of very sophisticated HyperCard stacks which I use to manage my classroom and my students use to practice a variety of skills. There are no comparable products available commercially or as shareware. They work so well because they are ours and they suit us.
Comments to: Glen L. Bledsoe
LabanWriter introduced me to the Macintosh where I soon discovered that the notation created in LabanWriter (movement notation software) could be copied and pasted and that HyperCard provided a background for notation that could be "read" by animated stick-figure demonstrators in the foreground. Thus began my addiction to HyperCard, and thus, a choreographer/notator/teacher was transformed into a published software developer. A paper describing HyperCard's value as a positive teaching tool was presented at the 1991 conference of the International Council of Kinetography Laban and soon, several attendees began to use the software themselves. Students have learned so much more quickly and thoroughly as a result of this very user-friendly program. Literate dancers can be accompanied by music as they sightread excerpts from a score, and beginners who lack access to a teacher may learn the basics in front of a Macintosh. I have looked forward the the marriage of HyperCard to QuickTime and trust that the marriage will, indeed, take place.
HypoerCard for me is the core application of my Macintosh universe (and I AM a Macintosh evangelist!); I do almost everything with or together with HyperCard: - making educational software for my students at the Interlaken High School - teaching my students to have their Mac do what thay want it to do. - giving them their first experience in programming - controlling other programs through HyperTalk/AppleScript - making data management software for my fellow teachers at our school - defending the Mac by showing them the incredible power of good old HyperCard - making Mac evangelism by having them read several interviews with the Apple genius Bill Atkinson For me, HyperCard incorporates all the promises made by the famous 1984 TV spot.
Comments to: Kurt Keller
I use Hypercard to write programs to help students learn organic chemistry and the history of science. I also use it to test students ability to do quantitative reasoning, a new requirement at our college.
Comments to: John McClenon
Music & video production. Renaissance entertainment staffing. Table hockey statistics.
Comments to: Gary Parker
Business solution prototypes. Personal information tools galore.
Comments to: Jason Parker
I have used Hypercard for almost everything to help me run my home based business since I had my SE - which by the way still does service downstairs next to the phone running a stack I created which serves basically as a telephone message pad with database abilities. It also runs a recipe database stack. I pull recipes from rec.food.veg and reformat them with HyperCard. I manage entirely my graphics and illustration business with self-created HyperCard stacks for Invoicing, Time Logs, and Contacts. I use HyperCard to prototype multimedia projects for one of my clients and I also use it to format storyboards. I teach an Introduction to Macintosh course at the local community college. Most of these students have never touched a Mac, using only Intel/Windows products. I have built Stacks demonstrating Mac interface and networking basics as tutorials, and have showed many students the ease and power of English -like scripting languages - HyperTalk and AppleScript. I know the numbers aren’t big, but out of 15 students at a time, over two or three sessions, that yields 10 to 15 Macs sold in this middle sized town based solely on first time experience through me and HyperCard. I can’t imagine a more productive, creative, satisfying user experience on any platform without such a simple accessible and powerful, all around useful program.
Comments to: Doug Rogers
HyperCard is the best way for someone with no programming experience or knowledge to actually create programs. I started with HyperCard 2.0, which was a free version, but soon upgraded to HyperCard 2.3 for the additional features it offered such as color and stacks into standalones. Having no knowledge of a programming language, with nothing but a vision of what I wanted to create, HyperCard, and two HyperCard how-to books, I wrote a shareware game called Fortune Puzzles. I was awed by this wonder I had created. And found that my heart's desire was to create games. Killer Dice soon followed, and then internet access came my way via a gift from a friend, and Gypsy King Software was born. I now had the means to send my creations forth unto the world. Within days of it appearing in the Info-Mac Archives, Killer Dice was chosen as one of ChezMark's MacPicks of the Week. I've got several other games in the works, all created in HyperCard, and the excitement of creation is ! absolutely wondrous. Though I am utterly baffled by one small question... HyperTalk, which is HyperCard's programming language, is so intuitive, being in plain English, I do not understand why the rest of the languages are so cryptic, and why HyperTalk is not made into a full-fledged programming language. Programmer's would flock to a language as intuitive as HyperTalk, bundled with the ease of use of HyperCard itself, if it offered fully the features of the other languages without its current limitations. Programmer wanna-be's would be tripping over each other trying to get their hands on HyperCard if they had any idea what you can create with it. Clip art storage is another use I've found for HyperCard. It used to be that my clip art was in several different programs and formats, and I'd have to jump from program to program searching for that perfect piece of art for a project. RAM limitations complicated the search even further, as I had to quit one program to launch another, and then quit again and relaunch, wasting valuable time and energy. I organized all of my black and white clip art into stacks: Animals, Buildings, Holidays, Sports, Office, Nature, etc. Then created a card in the home stack with buttons linking to each of the categories. Now, all in one program, with a click of a button, I can go right to the piece of art I need. No muss, no fuss.
Comments to: Gypsy King Software
HyperCard's extraordinary versatility allows expert programers to build useful application quicker and better than with any other offering. I came across a multimedia/database application for comic book enthusiasts, written in HyperCard, at the largest comic book trade show in the world. The business and product were so popular I barely got to talk to the author. He told me how very disappointing it was to hack together for Windows an application that went together so elegantly with HyperCard. Four years ago I started working with HyperCard. Its uniquely easy starting point allowed me to learn how to build applications as a layperson. Today I say with confidence, astonishment, and much appreciation to Apple, that I am a programmer. This could only have been done outside of academia so gracefully through the nurturing qualities of HyperCard. Today I have 2, 40-hour per week user/beta sites who rave about how great my full-featured contact management application is compared to the ones that came free on their Macs such as Now Contact, and the demos they have tried of Act! Nearly 1,000 pages of code and 4 years of intense, meticulous development have brought a commercially competitive contact management application nearly to market. The application will be ready for larger beta testing in a couple months. Steve Collins firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments to: Steve Collins
One of my best stacks lets adult language learners practice English grammar. They get spoken feedback on right and wrong answers, animated presentations and the ones who don't know the keyboard yet can do the exercises by clicking and dragging. Teachers can customize the stack and get a printout of students' progress. And for the classes or schools that have only one Mac in them the teacher can set up the stack as an archive of printable exercises. The print version is laid out properly for the page, while the screen version takes proper advantage of that medium. My school board paid me to develop this stack and distributes it fee to schools. The name ? Gram'a'fun. The other good work I've done is a student file management stack. It does grades and attendance which is nothing very new but it does one thing which is unique to us. Our adult learners have to finish their courses within a deadline. Each course is supposed to take a certain number of hours depending on its difficulty and the adults are supposed to work at their own speed. Well, they don't often realize they're falling behind -- or even that they need to plan their work—until it's too late and they have to abandon their hopes for a diploma. My stack calculates their deadlines for them and lets their teachers stay on top of any changes. The teachers who use it say their students start working faster and better within a month after their progress starts being tracked. Of course this stack does more—generates reports, excahges data with other stacks and soon with other programs, updates itself and more. But one of the neat things about HyperCard is that stacks can be updated and redesigned so easily. A teacher will come to me asking for a feature or a change and often she gets it the next day. Our school wired up with an AppleShare server and an Ethernet network because of my work. I've done more: exercises for groups of students to use in class, file massagers and animations—but the first two stacks are the ones I'm most proud of.
Comments to: Toby Earp
Comments to: Michael Pease
Accommodata Corporation, an Apple Developer and approved indirect VAR, provides a complete solution to medical professionals in the field of Ophthalmology and Optometry. We produce a number of products based on Hypercard™: The Portal™ Exam Station, The Portal™ TeleCapture Station, and The Portal™ Review Station. These represent a complete visual acuity testing package, medical image capture, stereo image processing, monocular and stereo viewing, telemedicine and education. Our systems have been used by doctors at Johns/Hopkins, Wilmer Eye Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Eye Institute, The Midwest Eye Institute, and The Ohio Eye Alliance. Many noted doctors in sub speciality fields, pediatrics, neuro, etc have remarked upon the quality, accuracy and ease of use of the systems. Many product development leaders within the industry from Nikon, Topcon and Essilor are impressed with the quality of the interface and the ease of use. I will be glad to supply specifics if requested. Hypercard™ is our software of chioce! Paul James Podnar President
Comments to: Paul James Podnar
I am using HyperCard since 1988. I came to HyperCard having background in scientific and commercial software development. My software experience included Assemblers, PL/I, FORTRAN, Algol-68, Lisp, IDS and many other languages on different platforms, but HyperCard impressed me forever! Today I have two computers on my desk: PowerMac and Pentium II, and I need Mac only because of HyperCard. I am consulting big enterprises here in Russia and you'll be suprised, how HyperCard help me in developing knowledge base with information about complicated business. I connected HyperCard with Intranet and with corporate SQL servers. I am using stacks to collect ideas, facts, data, etc. about the business, and to link everything with everything. Nobody in the company ever asked me—"Why you need Mac on my desk?", the most frequent question is—"Why you need PC on your desk?". My first commercial application in HyperCard was developed for clinical decision making. The neural net based solution helped in making correct and quick decision in urgent abdominant illness. After presentation that stack on the Software Expo in Russia, I got a number of suggestions to develop decision making application for business executives. So, I got contracts with the shipyard, local government and the construction company. As the result of working with business experts, I developed NNB -- XCMD toolbox for experts and consultants in business. I am continue to use HyperCard and found the absence of internetability. To make HyperCard open to the Web I developed HyperHTTP—the set of XCMDs to communicate with the Internet. This set allows easy develop Internet oriented applications in HyperCard. I even making few dollars selling this tools over the Web as shareware now! http://private.convey.ru/apreal/neuropage/ http://members.aol.com/stolkachev
Comments to: Sergey Tolkachev
I have created a HyperCard-based scheduling system for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the major public art museum in Sydney, Australia. It is used for scheduling guided tours, lectures, performances, films, workshops etc. into four specific spaces as well as the general gallery floor. It handles the allocation of staff and other resources and produces various types of printed output such as daily summaries, statistical reports and confirmation letters. Thanks to HyperCard's AppleEvents support, it is a multi-user system, using a server/client model. Each day-card on the client stack is updated from the server only if necessary (referring to a hidden time-stamp field). If a booking is edited on the client, a temporary file is created on the server's hard disk, to be processed the next time the server is not being used directly. An advantage of this method is that a client stack still works (with some provisos) even if the connection to the server is temporarily lost. Other features include: * Sub-bookings, or bookings within bookings * Repeated and cloned bookings * Statistical functions,broken down according to topic, geographical area and type of group * Auto-entry of school contact details, using an external database * Automatic and 'one button' back-ups * Booking filters on day-cards, to show only certain kinds of bookings * In-built contextual help. This scheduling system (called Museum*ARTS—for "Museum * Activities - Resources - Time - Space") has been in use at the Art Gallery since May 1996 and over 50,000 bookings have been made on it, as of Feb 2004. (To download a demo of Museum*ARTS, visit http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/sub/jcooper/stacks/.) We are aware of the potential problems with using customised software, particularly when it (currently) only runs on Macintosh computers and the rest of the Gallery uses IBM-compatibles. But at the moment we know of no viable alternatives. We have actually tried a commercial software package that is advertised as an event scheduler for museums but we have found it unnecessarily complex for 99 per cent of our needs and completely unable to handle sub-bookings (an essential for us). Like most commercial software, it was created by professional developers who made assumptions or guesses about their end users' needs. So, at the moment at least, management is willing to tolerate a separate sub-network of Macintosh computers because my software is mission-critical and unique. Creating Museum*ARTS, and seeing it being used successfully in a real life situation, has convinced me more than ever that HyperCard is a software platform without equal when it comes to creating solutions to problems you are very familiar with. You don't have to be a professional programmer to create useful HyperCard stacks: you are either the user yourself or the users are people you work with. As a result, you get instant and constant feedback and so the software can be continually improved as required. HyperCard's open-endedness is its biggest advantage. You dream of what you want to do with a computer and then you just create something that does it!
Comments to: Jonathan Cooper
I am a Mac consultant with hundreds of clients. In 1988 a law firm asked me to automate their substantial debt collection business. After searching through all the software available at that time (including non Mac), it was determined that none met all of their requirements. The brief version is that I wrote for them a new application that did everything they wanted. It was in HyperCard. I called it Total Collections. They have used this EVERY day since 1988, collecting money owed from tens of thousands of debtors. Starting in 1992 I started selling this program to others interested in collecting debts, and continue to do so today. You can see our web site, with screen shots, at http://www.northnet.org/brvmug/DebtCollection.html Again, EVERYTHING was and is in HyperCard. Simply a marvelous tool...
Comments to: John Droz, jr.
I am a baker and a wedding cake designer and I have a small bakery that specializes in only wedding cakes. I have created an invoice on HyperCard that makes my *Wintel* oriented brides and grooms jump out of their chairs and ask me *Where did you get that program?* I tell them I wrote it myself. (They are often employees of huge corporations used to working with obtuse, inflexible programs with odd quirks that must be memorized. Some have even watched me edit the invoice background while they are sitting there.) "WHAT program IS that!?!?" I tell them it's basic to my Mac... (I grin with glee!) "It's hypercard. Been around since '87 or something." They just go nuts! The invoice includes all their information, ie; time, date, contacts, etc. then moves on to calculate the cost of the cake with different prices for each flavor of each layer. Then it figures delivery costs and sales tax (ho-hum...) Then it brings up my bookkeeping program where I enter the sale...then I bring up diagrams of cake designs and paste their choice on the invoice, adding flowers, lace and fountains where they want them... (By this time they are hanging over my shoulder!) "How can you DO that?" "Oh, you can do anything when you're MacEnabled," I tell them. Then I print it so they can take it home. They usually go away mumbling under their breath about IBM and MicroHard..... Without any prior experience I created my web page, www.thecakery.com/ on hypercard in 2 days. See, you can do anything when you're MacEnabled!
Comments to: Jeannie Lawrence
I've used HyperCard to build custom databases since I got it with my newfangled Mac SE in 1987. I've held onto a couple of jobs because of HyperCard's ability to let me tell it how I want it to work. I could click a link and get the necessary info faster than anybody else. Full fledged database apps are often faster, but none are as versatile and customizable. Currently I'm using it as the billing/inventory/scheduling backbone for my business because, guess what, FileMaker Pro won't do what I need done. There's no other program that gives the Macintosh a unique software advantage.
Comments to: Edward Nutter
I started programming with HyperCard at the age of 12, and have continued to program with it ever since, till I am now 17. In that time, I have programmed everything from games, to multimedia, to cgis, to musical score writing aids. Twice, I have come up with stacks that wowed even my staunch IBM loving friends. The first was a very simple multimedia stack which ran on 6 different computers in a lab at once, communicating via appleEvents over an AppleTalk network. While there was nothing fancy about the stack, the effect of pressing a button and having 6 computer screens change was something that amazed the entire audience. The second time was with a novelty stack I wrote, called "Match Maker". It simply asked a heap of questions and then searched a database for a person which matched those questions. All that made it great was a soft pink colour scheme and some soft background music provided by a QT MIDI movie. That stack was a sure fire way to attract an entire classes attention. Hopefully, with the onset of HC 3.0, this stack will run over the internet providing a way to waste time and dream for millions. :) There is so much more to tell about what I've done with HyperCard, but many others have said that kind of thing, and so my testimony to HC needs to be no longer. If you do want to know more, feel free to email me. So long, and happy scripting, Adrian Sutton
Comments to: Adrian Sutton
I have several personal information stacks—one includes all of my "vital statistics" including bank accounts, insurance, credit cards, and the complete contents of my safe deposit box. A second mimics my circuit breaker box, except that it is searchable and includes detailed information about what outlets are on each circuit. My favorite is my Wines database. I've kept track of every wine I've purchased over the last decade including price paid, how many bottles are in the cellar, as well as the usual type, vineyard, and tasting info. My kids all have used Hypercard to create "Inigo" like stacks, some starting with the original "Inigo gets out". My son, now age 13, is creating a Maze, and is learning to put scripted puzzles and other more advanced stuff into his.
Comments to: John Burgess
To me, HyperCard is a software scratchpad--a place for a programmer to doodle. Or perhaps it's more like software plasticine, that you can mould into any shape you like. I've been a software developer on the Mac for over ten years. In that time, Apple has come out with all kinds of interesting technologies (QuickTime, AppleScript and so on). Getting to grips with these technologies can be hard, particularly when the documentation, as good as it is, fails to clarify some important little detail. The only thing you can do then is write some code to try it out. But writing a whole Mac application to try out one system call is just too much work. Which is where HyperCard comes in--it's much simpler to write an XFCN or XCMD than an application. Then it becomes easy to write a few lines of script to try out some function, or even to type a system call directly into the message box! From there, it's a small step to prototyping an entire application in HyperCard. I particularly like this way of programming, because my code is visible to anybody who opens my scripts in the script editor. More than that, they can change my code if they don't like it, and have their change take effect immediately. HyperCard becomes an interactive learning tool for programmers! I have also made several of my toolkits of XFCNs and XCMDs available for other people to use at http://www.geek-central.gen.nz/sw/index.html There you will also find several stacks that make use of these toolkits.
Comments to: Lawrence D'Oliveiro
HyperCard runs my life. Well... ok, perhaps not my entire life. But runs my computer. Really: imagine you have an alarm clock on your computer. Now imagine that instead of just being an "alarm" the clock can do anything your computer can do-- any time you want your computer to do it. Like: - As the webmaster for two web sites, HyperCard automatically updates the home page and a calendar of events page (http://vsa.vassar.edu/~qcvc/calendar.html) for me daily. It's like being a webmaster and not doing any work! - My destop image is changed every day, selecting a random pattern or image. - My computer sends e-mail to everyone I know on their birthday. - My weekly time sheet of freelance work I do is automatically e-mail to my supervisor every Friday night at midnight. - I can set reminders for myself for anything I ever want to remember. I use it to do just about all database management on my computer.
Comments to: Jason F
We put out a correspondence course in meditation. HyperCard is used since the last ten years to run the whole course. Who gets what lesson, who gets billed, what inserts go with which lessons; Inventory of the lessons and which lessons need to be ordered from the printers. We are a small non-profit organization and are not able to hire a programmer. HyperCard is the best solution for us.
I have been using Hypercard since in was first released. It is actually the main reason I have continued using Macs instead of switching to PCs. Virtual Basic is getting very good but Hypercard is still much faster to use and build applications with even though it is currently more limited. It seems like apple could expand Hypercard to acheive more than what MS has done with VBasic. Some of the applications I have developed for various organizations with Hypercard: - Complex point of sale, retail accounting systems - Databases for hospitals - Customer/patient tracking systems - Data navigation systems for authors (some for Apple) - Loudspeaker engineering and development tools - Enclosure/cabinetry development systems - Landscape architecture database - Games - Electronic circuit simulators for switchmode power amplifiers and much more... I have made very good money in the past programming Hypercard applications for organizations. They are always pleased and impressed with what can be done quickly and can be used easily by everyone in their organization. I can modify to their needs on the spot most of the time. I can even tell them how to modify it for themselves. I don't think there has ever been an application for the Mac that leveraged the user in the same way that the Mac leverages the user from hardware standpoint. Actually the Mac is software not hardware but HC augments the user in the same way that the Mac does. Jim Croft VP of Audio Engineering American Technology Corporation
Comments to: James J. Croft III
We have authored over 2 gigs of interactive software to assist students in their goal of learning a foreign language at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Hypercard is ideal for us in many ways. You don't have to be a 'computer programmer' to use it. It's straight forward structure means we can cut and paste functionality into different lessons. It's interpreted nature means we can change external files (like vocab lists,reward graphics etc) without changing the stack itself. We use the quicktime movie format to store our sound and movies files. It just works without hassles or tweaking. We use other authoring tools and for flexible parsing of text entry hypercard is the best. Try doing that with director. :-) Hypercard and Quicktime are the reason we have computer labs with macs in them. For us Hypercard is the killer application which isn't available on the pc.
Comments to: Charles Lever
As well as making my own adventure games in my spare time (in HyperCard of course!), I also enjoy fictional writing. However, I constantly have the problem of coming up with new plot ideas, new characters, and things like that. Recently I was thinking how cool it would be if I could have a program that created random plot and character ideas for me. "No problem," I said. I whipped out my copy of HyperCard 2.4 and cooked up a customizable idea generator in about 2 minutes. Then I entered in the idea "fragments" I wanted. Now I can get random plot and character ideas with one click of the mouse, and it's all thanks to HyperCard. It may not sound like that big of a deal, but it's just another example of how HyperCard has solved my problems!
I will never forget my first Mac (the Mac Plus) and the curious little application that came bundled with it...Hypercard. I have always preferred the Mac, and it was not until recent months that I realized that one of the main reasons I held on to the Mac platform was HyperCard. Hypercard was part of the original spirit of the Mac; an easy interface to a powerful system. I have developed my own software in Hypercard: http://members.aol.com/MidiToolz/midi/MidiTools.html This software represents years of work for me; I am a programmer and a musician. Hypercard gave me the freedom to create solutions to my own problems. To this day, I own a copy of Metrowerks CodeWarrior that just sits on my shelf collecting dust. A truly non-inspirational piece of work. A 'PC' compiler on my Macintosh...blech! John Rule RCS Programming MidiToolz@AOL.com
In 1993, I custom designed and implemented a package of retail software for Keith's Comics, a Dallas-based chain of stores, which is still used and supported today. I used Nine to Five Software's Index and Reports Datapro to add powerful database capabilities to HyperCard. It includes: * customer database * customer requests and orders database * video rental software * customer subscriptions system (pull and hold service for periodicals) * ordering database which imports various text file catalog formats from distributor, and exports orders in the format required by the distributors * inventory tracking system * many different database reports It still lacks: * Point of sale interface to barcode readers...maybe someday. Keith's Comics (main store) 5736 E. Mockingbird Dallas TX 75206 214-827-3060
Comments to: Brad Allen
We have used HyperCard to create software widgets since we first saw it in 1987. Back then it was MacPaint cards and bit-map fonts for text. In 1992-ish, our Scriptor's Pal stack won us a copy of MacWrite Pro. In 1994, we produced our wilderness exploration game, Idle Wild on an LC III with 8 megs of RAM, using HyperCard. In 1999, we released our European exploration and trading game, EuroTrader. EuroTrader was produced periodically across three years. In 1996, the scenes from Europe were organized and a navigation interface was created for them. During 1997, a gaming interface was created that facilitated buying and selling from a list of goods and prices. During 1998, we used Ray Dream Studio and Poser to create rooms from some of the buildings in the pictures and create animated characters. What we learned was how to mix stereo sound with QuickTime animations created from our design tools, and use HyperCard to address them on CD-ROM. The result is an entertaining and educational software product that introduces one to Europe and Economics 101. We created EuroTrader, and Idle Wild, because we believe Apple HyperCard is as worthy a tool for addressing graphics and animation on CD as more expensive alternatives. We consider our titles to be wonderful demonstrations of what can be created, easily, with basic Apple technologies. We invite you to experience EuroTrader as an introduction to Apple HyperCard.
Comments to: R Charles & Charlene Flickinger
School, although boring, happened to have a copy of Hypercard on their computers. With a few friends, we started to write a game with strange sounds, images, and many many ways to unexpectedly make the game quit. Approprietly, we named it "Random" and that's what it was. We had things such as parodies of every fast food chain, a working electronic keyboard, lots of cards with strange designs, and more. When we let our classmates obtain copies, you wouldn't believe the amount of respect/admiration etc. we gained. Hypercard boosted my status while I was having fun! Since then, I've created 8 more stacks with my buddies.
Comments to: Freddie
I work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney. One of the big events of the year in Sydney is the Royal Easter Show, which is very popular with children. We (the Online department of the ABC) had the idea of creating web pages on the spot for kids, using a Connectix WebCam. We sat the kids down in front of the Mac, had them pick which page design they wanted, got a few details, and took their picture, then the page was automatically generated by Hypercard with their picture in the middle. The idea was a big hit with kids and parents (we had a lot of people telling us "I'll email the grandparents overseas with the URL") and we even did one for the Deputy Prime Minister who dropped by as part of a different event. The resulting 120-odd pages (http://abc.net.au/eastershow/) were charming, good publicity for the organisation, and cost us nothing. The system, which I put together in one afternoon, ran happily all day without a hitch. We're considering using it at a number of future events. Everyone was amazed that I'd "written a program" which did so much in such a short time (and was able to reprogram it on the day in thirty seconds when we started getting duplicate filenames—doh!).
Comments to: John Horner
For nearly ten years I worked as a volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution's Naturalist Center. The Naturalist Center is a place where people can bring objects they have found to be identified, where they can develop their own skills at identification using real museum specimens and our library and technical resources, and where they can ultimately learn to read natural ojbects. My background as a geologist and experience in developing Macintosh software was early on put to the task of developing an online database to the Center's mineral collection. We used HyperCard exclusively to develop databases of the collections, which we expanded to include all the objects in the Center (about 30-50 thousand), but also to automate identification keys, background materials ("help" stacks), and day-to-day collections management tasks (specimen labelling, etc.).
Comments to: Peter K. Matthews
Parents evenings, where parents come to interview teachers about the progress of their offspring, can be a nightmare for all concerned. Parents seem to come all at the same time to see the same teacher causing long queues. The obvious thing to do was to have an appointment system where the interviews could be spread out over the evening. I wrote a HyperCard stack called Aptas to do just that. It takes the staff list and the list of pupils and produces and produces an individual appointment schedule for each teacher and each parent. We did have a program years ago runningb on an obsolete computer which did something similar but with HyperCard the big advantage was that non computer literate teachers could produce 'professional looking' appointment lists themselves in about an hour. Without HyperCard this solution would not have been available and its now being used by two other schools. Pupils attending our school can buy tickets to purchase food from the canteen. These tickets were normally issued on a daily basis requiring the pupils to queue during their break time. Commercial, plastic idcards were beyond the budget of the school so I designed a HyperCard stack which produces an 'id card' containining the pupil's photograph, if available, their name, class and school number. These are printed three to a page onto coloured card, trimmed to size and laminated. They are now issued by staff at registration time in the mornings and have proved so successful that the canteen is reporting increased sales!
Comments to: Ian McKnight
HyperCard has provided me with a method of programing that is both interesting and extremely functional. I have written stacks for many things such as Medicare payment documentation, Real Estate contract payments, numbered ticket printing, phone/address book with dialing, etc. but by far the most sophisticated is "HyperHandicap Prot", a complete package for recording, calculating and reporting golf handicaps & slope index for a large retirement resort in Mesa, AZ. The resort has been using this program successfully since 1991 for an average of 450 golfers per season. HyperHandicap Pro is a menu driven program that has been updated through the years to provided complete integration of up to four golf divisions (both 9 & 18 holes), club dues, inactive participants, one day and two day tournament eligibility & calculation, help file, and numerous types of reports. A runtime version of "Reports Data Pro" from Nine to Five Software Co. is used for all reports and views.
Comments to: Kelly Peavey
I use Hypercard to control and evaluate data in the isotope ratio mass spectromtrie environment. We really control the mass-spec and all connected physical hardware like additional gauges, preparation devices, DMM«s and others using serial to IEEE 488 converters. HyperCard with its ability to build up every control as buttons or fields is the interactive container for all our demands. Data evaluation and storage is be done in additional stacks which are combined with gauges or meters represented on screen. Actual we control a Finnigan DeltaE Mass-spec with an attached equilibration-device, gas-multiport and DIC-isotop-prep-sdystem using IEEE 488 control to the mass-spec and its peripherals including liquid nitrogen-support-control, a Keithley DMM 2000 with scanner and a serial controlled gasbench. It runs on 3 Macs. iMac #1 controls simultaneously the three devices, iMac #2 is the print-server and database engine, PPC4400 with G3-accerlation is the actual MS-controller and the hardware-interface. They are all connected via 10MB Ethernet and uses program to program-communication between the stacks. Every Stack runs in a different named copy of Hypercard. We ran up to 5000 Samples in the last years and are now able to nearly double the amount. For long-term storage of data is a Filemaker database involved. All our other computer-based datamanagement is done by Mac. I worked at the stable isotope department of the "Leibniz-Labor fur Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung der universitat Kiel". In the near future it is planned to re-engineer our Kiel-Carbonat-System to be controlled by Macs instead of Apple IIe! By the way, all of our quick-and-dirty software development is based on Hypercard. It still ran with MacOS 9.
Comments to: Hans H. Cordt
At school the office staff were constantly forgetting to ring our bell at the appropriate times. So for a computers project (in a school full of PC's) I wrote a Hypercard stack that rings the bell and then reads out what the next class is over the PA - our timetable is not always the same. Now the bell is rung by an old LCII.. and its always on time!
Comments to: Tim Egan
I made a grading program for my classes that I use to take attendance, calculate and post grades, remind me of events, print all the special ed. and attendance forms, and e-mail all changes in status- new grades, absences, discipline- to parent, student, administrator, guidance counselor, and case manager, depending on preferences for each kid. Friday afternoon with a click of a button all records are backed up, forms printed, standard e-mail sent. I am the only one using a Mac in the high school, and we are building two new schools for $165 million. No one has found software that can- or can be customized to-do what I am doing with a HyperCard stack. Me- a little bitty social studies teacher.
Comments to: Tom Gilfoyle
Back when I was not serious about computer programming and wanted to be an author, I was checking out some older files on my Mac II ci, and found Hypercard 2.1! I asked my Dad if he had anything on it, and he gave me a binder about 4 inches thick and a 500 page book on Hypercard. Using those two tools, I began to develop stacks. Then, one day during English class, (Middle school!) I realized Hypercard's potental: GAMES!!!! I took out my notebook and began doodling the layout for my first game, Hyper Quest. Hyper Quest is sort of like Myst in the sence that you go around clicking on stuff. It's also an RPG with a battle system. After Hyper Quest was in the works, my company, Rome Entertainment, was born. When I look back at Hyper Quest, I think about fate. What if I didn't discover Hyper Card? What if, that one december evening, I didn't get that binder or book? What if I didn't make Hyper Quest? I would be an author now, but, with HyperCard's help, I became a programmer, something I had dreamed about ever since I first got a computer. As you can see, HyperCard has been a great help to me and my life.
Comments to: Roman Kalinoski
Hypercard has to be one of the most intuitive presentation/language programs ever developed. I conclude this because - hey - even I can do it. My first efforts in programming were specialized programs for my kids to help them with schoolwork (e.g. "Alphabetize This!") Recently, I used Hypercard to provide computer-assisted instruction in Neonatology (medical care of babies)to Pediatric residents at the children's hospital where I work. The residents give feed-back on reading assignments and can play a game called "Can you make it to a million" (yes, it's a knock-off of the popular T.V. game, but the questions cover important medical concepts). I am currently working with digitized images to create programs that will help training in medical procedures and help with physical diagnosis.
Comments to: Frank Kokomoor
I used Hypercard to generate a geneology program which I have used since the MacPlus era. I have upgraded it to utilize new features as Hypercard became a more serious programming tool. I am currently using it on a PowerPC 6500 with Mac OS9. There is still no other genealogy program for any platform that has all the features and capacity of this one that I know of. I also used my own integrated stacks for estimating, work orders, billing, maintaining Accounts Receivable & Payable,and compiling P & L and a complete schedule C summary for about 15 years in managing our own comercial printing business. When we retired in late 1998 the new owners of the business were amazed at the efficientcy and ease of use of the software. Hypercard is certainly no toy.
Comments to: Gaylon Lovelace
Since 1993 my company, Idiom Software Inc., has been making foreign language tutorial software with HyperCard. It all began for us in 1992, when I was working as a substitute teacher in a district here in Washington. My brother, a teacher of Spanish, had received a large grant for software, and eagerly began a lengthy search for materials to use in his classroom. After many weeks, he reluctantly gave up the search, and returned most of the grant money, because there was virtually NO software for the Macintosh platfrom that suited his department's needs. At just about the same time, I had discovered HyperCard, quite by accident, while playing games on a Mac-Classic provided to him by the school. After some weeks of clusmy experiments, trips to the library to hunt down HC manuals, and some late (but happy) nights, it became clear that WE could write the software that he needed and wanted, we two teachers, with no prior background in computing or programming. After more than six years, we have produced more than a dozen titles in Spanish, French, German, Italian and English versions. Our HyperCard titles are robust, compatible with many systems from Mac+ to the latests G3/G4's, and (we think) easy to use, just like HyperCard itself. The sad part of this story is that we have been forced by circumstances in the past year to migrate away from HC to the use of cross platform tools, principaly Macromedia's Director. The transition has not been a wholly satifactory one, and the stuggle with expensive, buggy software tools has made us painfully aware of just how good we had it with HyperCard, and just how much we will lose if Apple declines to support and market HyperCard in the future.
Comments to: James D. Parkin
I've been using Hypercard since I had a Mac. I've done all kinds of stacks, some just for fun and to test out and develop my scripting skills, and some have turned out to be useful for myself and others. I've done stacks to manage URL's, to extract and store bibliographic citations from text files, to flexibly tag and manipulate text, to log drug interactions, to generate a medication schedule for withdrawing someone from valium, all the way down to silly things like a stack that tests to see if an anagram is accurate. (Did you know that "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.—Neil Armstrong" is an anagram of "Thin man ran; makes a large stride, left planet, pins flag on moon! On to Mars!"?) I designed the Hypercard FAQ stack, sectioning Peter Fleck's HC FAQ into cards with a simple navigation system involving a clickable table of contents, find capabilities, etc.—a very simple stack, really, but elegant enough that it has been around for some years now, and apparently widely used. And what could be more appropriate than the HC FAQ in the form of a stack? I collaborated with Glen Bledsoe in revising his Gutenberg Reader stack, cleaning up the scripting and using a couple of XFCN's to make it three times faster. In case you're not familiar with it, it has been one of the most widely used tools for reading and formatting freeware text from the Gutenberg Project. In my professional life (I'm a practicing psychiatrist) I've used Hypercard in two major ways: to manage email (particularly the output from a high-volume mailing list) and to keep my patient records. The first is done with a stack I started designing 10 years ago and have repeatedly refined since. It allows me to import email messages wholesale from a given folder, and reformat them with a few mouse clicks, and export them as a formatted text file complete with table of contents. With this I have distributed a selected sampling of postings from a psychopharmacology mailing list on a regular basis to the psychiatrists and prescribing psych nurses in a large HMO. I also use the stack to save all my personal email. I can also export the contents of the stack in a format readable by Filemaker Pro—so I have a 10 megabyte Filemaker archive of reference postings on psychopharmacology. My patient record stack is set up so I have a running record of notes on every patient. Clicking on a button allows me to enter a note headed by the patient's current medications and the procedure code for the visit. Boilerplate text (when needed) is inserted with a keystroke. New prescriptions are easily logged by filling in a few fields (with a lot of automated filling in from the scripting), and med renewals are logged with a simple option-click on the current meds list. When a med is started or discontinued, a separate card tracks all medications started and stopped, with the dates and reason for discontinuation, etc. The group practice I belong to keeps paper charts, so with the aid of the Reports add-on for HC, a few clicks allow me to print out the last note, any given note in the record, or a full patient record, complete with demographic info, allergies, diagnoses, and current meds. And the practice letterhead appears at the top. The result is that I can turn out an elegantly formatted note in a couple minutes. Another click of a button exports a summary of the active cases in my practice, with name, phone numbers, ancillary contacts, diagnoses, and current meds—so in a few minutes I have a document I can hand over to a covering colleague when I go on vacation. Hypercard has allowed me to tweak these tools as my needs shift over time. I am *totally* attached to Hypercard. Apple is missing a *big* marketing opportunity by letting it languish.
Comments to: Peter M. Brigham, MD