Why did HyperCard wither away? [was: Re: Why is Konfabulator 'Pretty?']

Rob Cozens rcozens at pon.net
Sun Dec 11 10:40:37 CST 2005

Jack, Bill, et al:

>Can anybody pick it up when hypercard went back to apple and we were 
>supposed to have version 3.0?

>   I guess I assumed the leadership at Apple controlled the 
> robustness and goals of the teams involved in product development, 
> even at Claris. The HyperCard team apparently lacked in both areas.

With all due respect for the view of insiders at Claris, don't blame 
the HyperCard team(s) for it's failure--look directly to Steve Jobs for that.

When HC came back to Apple, the team proposed and created 
proof-of-concept demos for HyperCard v3, or "QuickTime 
Interactive".   QTI melded QuickTime and HyperCard by storing HC 
stacks as QuickTime movies.  The potential was tremendous: HC 
acquires color, eliminates the field & script text limits, and 
becomes cross-platform; but, as with the original HC, Apple 
management didn't get it...with one exception: the person who 
preceeded Jobs' second coming.

It's been too long for me to remember his name (Jean ??); but when 
Kevin C. demoed QTI for him, his response was "This is what Apple is 
really all about, isn't it?"  Apparently the Board of Directors 
decided Apple was really about colorized hardware and eye candy, and 
put Jobs back in charge.

For much of my career, the holy grail of programming was a tool that 
would allow non-programmers to create software.  In the mid-seventies 
the City of Oakland spent many $ acquiring an IBM report generator, 
DYL-260, and training people from every City department how to use 
it...just to generate reports from existing data files.  In the end, 
only one other person outside the DP Department besides moi ever 
produced anything meaningful.

HyperCard was that holy grail; but Apple didn't understand it the 
first or second time around.  Nor did the software reviewers, I might add.

Rob Cozens CCW
Serendipity Software Company

"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
  Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."

  from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631) 

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