[OT}] Hypercard and an uneasy read.

Bernard Devlin bdrunrev at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 08:28:59 CST 2011


Björnke, I think you are right on the money.

I had never used Hypercard, but stumbled across Rev 1.1.1 and was staggered
to think that this entire programming paradigm had passed me by (I wrote my
first BASIC program in 1980).  I'm glad that RunRev/Metacard had gone with
a cross-platform implementation.  I'm only just stepping my toe into mobile
development, and I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't for Runrev facilitating
that, I would not do it (I've a huge number of other programming/systems
issues to deal with).  If Apple had not ceased Hypercard development, then
Runrev may never have taken off.

Jobs focused with incredible vision, and Hypercard was a casualty.  In
fact, so was WebObjects, which was a product which was much closer to Jobs
heart (being the product that sustained NeXT in its last few years before
acquisition).  There were key trajectories of WebObjects that were only
ever started but never finished (e.g. DirectToJavaClient, where an
application was developed by specifying rules).

WebObjects is not dead but not really living much.  The technology is still
available to download, but it requires the use of the open-source Eclipse
IDE for development, and requires many third-party open source libraries to
function decently.

The difference between the death of Hypercard and the stasis of WebObjects
is about 5 to 10 years.  WO was used (and probably is still used) as a
fundamental infrastructure within apple.com.  Nevertheless, the last retail
copy of it was 5.2 (released in 2002).   Apple still needed WO to persist,
and made great use internally of 3rd party open-source libraries, so Apple
continued to make minor updates to WO whilst no longer selling it.  If
Apple did not use WO themselves, I'm sure it would have simply died 5 years
ago.

So, Hypercard was not the only Apple innovation to be killed-off.  Back in
the day, NeXT used to charge $20,000 per server for WO, and I believe it
was $5,000 for a developer license.

2011/12/2 Björnke von Gierke <bvg at mac.com>

> People who wrote in this thread about why HC was killed are all self
> centric conspiracy lunatics. ... But of course Jobs did what he does best:
> Concentrate on a single project (the iMac & what became Mac OS X), getting
> ridiculed for it
>


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