OT - Revolution and Its HyperCard Roots

Dan Shafer dan at shafermedia.com
Fri May 30 17:57:02 EDT 2003

Since this topic has diverged from the original discussion of a book on  
Revolution, I thought it would be useful to carry it on in a new thread.

(As a side note, I only mentioned HyperCard/HyperTalk books as a useful  
introduction for people who are hungry to learn Revolution while some  
of us are scrambling to write books about Revolution.)

Revolution acknowledges its HyperCard roots in many ways: it's  
mentioned in docs, it's covered in a special paper on Revolution for  
HyperCard developers, and there are some elements of the language that  
are essentially only stubs to ensure that Transcript remains compatible  
with HyperTalk. To suggest that Revolution simply try to act as if it  
weren't rooted in HyperCard originally would be unhelpful at best and  
disingenuous at worst.

That said, there is a legitimate concern about the reaction of  
dyed-in-the-wool Windows and Linux programmers to anything that sounds  
vaguely like HyperCard. I suspect that's one of the reasons the folks  
in Scotland didn't choose a name for the product or the scripting  
language that would make the connection too obvious to the casual  
observer. I work on an Open Source project called PythonCard that is an  
attempt to take some of the good things about HyperCard and move them  
cross-platform, swapping Python for xTalk as the scripting language.  
There, too, we have prolonged discussions about the degree to which we  
want to have PythonCard (even its name) tied too closely to HyperCard.  
It is a legitimate concern, but I don't think it's huge and I don't  
think acknowledging one's historical roots can be a bad thing.  
HyperCard was and in some ways is an awesome, pioneering product. I  
know of a number of organizations, including a huge European auto  
maker, who rely heavily on HyperCard even today.

Dan Shafer
Technology Visionary - Technology Assessment - Documentation
"Looking at technology from every angle"
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