HyperCard: a starry night in Los Gatos

How many engineers required Apple Computer to the invention of a very unusual application? Those who lived part of his life with HyperCard may not agree with me about his unusual… So it was all just. That is what is unusual!

Answer a provocative question in the subtitle of the article. Invented (or rather, invented) HyperCard single engineer. It happened in a somewhat unusual way. I was even hesitant to talk about it. But as readers of the resource people are smart and will not include an equally dangerous ways… I will, but later.

First I will tell you what HyperCard.

What it is HyperCard

HyperCard presents information in the form of cards, which can be a text (or texts), graphics and controls. One of the functions of these elements – managing the transition on other cards. From the card on the screen to go to any other, in the same document, or in any other.

HyperCard documents are called stacks – stacks are stacks of cards.

Stack is a repository of information. Directory, reference, textbook, bookshelf, but not the only vault. Stack can be a weekly organizer, tutorial anything – foreign language, programming, traffic rules, algebra, physics. With the functions of the verification knowledge of the student, with the conduct of a “diary” (when the diary for himself, that’s OK).

Up to games (Myst, for example) and most of these programs. Program in the form of HyperCard stacks were sold, they had their own name – Takver. In computer magazines and catalogues software products was appropriate sections.

In the stacks were published, and magazines. Remember the 68000 (for numeric index of the processor Motorolaused in Macs and Lisa). Interactive magazine with catalogs, articles and reviews, advertising. To us the rooms of this magazine gets on it, whether it was free – I don’t know. Probably not.

It was like the Internet, only local. The team of developers of the first web browser at CERN used the ideas of HyperCard, this was done by Robert Cayo, which, among other things, was also an experienced HyperCard developer.

HyperCard is one of the primary sources of the Internet.

HyperCard did not provide any exit in the big world, nor the ability to communicate directly with their peers all over the world. They say that this problem is his undoing. But this feature can be added without any technical or other objective reasons, making it impossible.

The Internet was not there, and in the throes of a nascent means of communication and personal computers were still very expensive, imperfect, and, above all, just unfamiliar to the author. Bill Atkinson came to him in a few years, not at Apple.

First contact

To the user of HyperCard came in the form of several 3.5-inch floppies (with a capacity of 800 K). It is distributed free of charge. Powerful marketing machine Apple has worked on its promotion, it was announced at the summer MacWorld in 1987 in Boston, and it did not go unnoticed. From this point of HyperCard shipped with every Mac purchased Ohm.

Very quickly copies of the program came from Apple dealers and user groups who willingly shared it with everyone. The program copied from friends.

By early 1988, HyperCard was millions of users. Imagine yourself one of them. At the top the screenshot of the screen seen by a user who discovered HyperCard or document on behalf of the Home.

Depending on the mood and personal preferences, someone started with the Help and Intro, someone opened the everything. Impressions were different, there were those who did not understand.

Segregation level of intelligence

And was somewhat unusual in HyperCard for Mac ovskih programs hell, almost like in the game: the user is granted the “access level”, depending on which he was permitted to perform certain actions.

However, the access level set by the user. Unless, of course, knew about its existence and understand what it is. Nobody hid that information was available in the program help. But not all look in the Help.

The level can be set, a screenshot of which is shown above. This is the most common card. The user with a level five (the Scripting) could see how her functionality. Assign user levels was right here.

Real users of the fifth level made it easier, from anywhere in the application, for this it was necessary to open the Message Box (open it was on the menu, and there were also indicated the equivalent keyboard shortcut, Command-M) to type in this Box the command “set userlevel to 5” and press Enter or Return. Took this for a second.

By default, the user was assigned a level 2, allowed to wander around the credit card of any stack, as well as enter and edit text in text fields.

The first two levels are the safest environment for HyperCard. For use of other tools the second level is perfect.

The third level turned card in HyperCard canvas for drawing, not restricted by any taboos or conventions. Imagine what could turn the samples stack inquisitive researcher at the age of 3-4 years, if the level was equal to 3 or higher?

The fourth was allowed to make structural changes and to create your own objects, the fifth allowed all.

Programming for all

In early 1988, a third-party stack is almost not there, only the ones that came with a set of HyperCard. The clinical picture looked like this: first, the man just went and looked. Tried different stacks added to your address book and other important addresses recorded in the weekly plans and started to use it.

When a man begins to use something every day, he immediately wants to change something. Add a field to record repetitive actions in a script and bind them to the button, something to remove, change, rearrange…

Surely you’ve encountered something like this: are you satisfied with the programs of iOS or Android that you use every day? Well, because you want to change something!

Asking software developers is virtually useless. They did not before.

Developing commercial software is a complicated process, it involves a lot of people. Including those who are responsible for the development and success of the product. And plans, strategic and tactical. Lists the required improvements and improvements of hundreds or even thousands of points. The decision-making process, alas, eliminates the randomness and spontaneity. What causes mass discontent, as a rule, these lists get.

Not always. The software industry lives by the rules that are written in blood. Something in them would do well to change, but without further bloodshed is not going to happen.

And HyperCard allow anyone to look under the hood, make changes and test them, immersed in this fascinating case…

Stacks HyperCard, most likely, was the world’s first software with open source.

At the end of 1988 appeared on the market the first program, written in HyperCard. Among them was a catalogue of HyperCard stacks information, where and for how much they could buy. Many of the characters in that directory, without any exaggeration, could be called programs.

In the catalogue of 1988 was only about 300 stacks. But, as you know, the process of absorption with this virus has taken time.

Journey to the stars in Los Gatos

When the Macintosh project was transformed from a continuous crisis and hectic activity in the normal work, bill Atkinson, author of QuickDraw and MacPaint, think about what will happen next. He had the idea of a tablet computer communication, GUI, MagicSlate (Slate – slate).

But to convince Apple of the need for MagicSlate he couldn’t.

Three years of continuous rush and tension of all forces felt: he fell into a depression. Two months did not work and did nothing, sitting at home.

In the end, he tried LSD. Made a trip (an LSD trip).

He suddenly realized how separated the stars in the sky (fusion giant essence) and the lights on the streets of Los Gatos. Even if they wanted to communicate, they could not. Between them hundreds of light years.

Similarly, people of different professions. Each of them knows a lot and is important, but each other, they do not hear or understand. Physicists, musicians, doctors…

Knowledge is impossible without information, wisdom is impossible without knowledge as a programmer, he can help spread knowledge. He understood how to be a tool for creating applications for all. Which can use without an intermediary, any person with your Outlook on life.

Cards with text and graphics, intelligent navigation between them, a graphical tool that is always at hand – and so was born the idea of HyperCard. And, not coming to the establishment, he immediately began to implement the narcotic delirium.

But just in case warn: LSD banned in Russia up to 3 years for a minimal dose. And although the horrors about telling him, not scientifically confirmed, it can cause serious complications even in a single admission.

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