HyperNext ? Worth a look ?

Russell Martin russell_martin at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 14 13:38:41 EST 2008

I just downloaded it. I didn't have any problems downloading it, and it
wasn't terribly slow either. I think my download speed averaged about
39k per second. It was the Mac version.

Now, once I downloaded it and played around with it, I'm both impressed
and amused.

He's obviously built this with RealBasic. And, as someone who used to
struggle with the poor quality and bugginess of RealBasic, I have to
hand it to him, he's achieved something nearly miraculous. Namely, he's
almost managed to make a working HyperCard-like environment and he's
done it in RealBasic. Did I mention that RealBasic is very buggy?
(Okay, enough trashing on RB.)

However, as impressed as I am with what he's managed to achieve, from
the 15 minutes I spent playing with it, I'm amused that he was once
attempting to charge money for it and I don't see how anyone could use
it regularly for serious software development.

For starters, the splash screen comes up and stays up on every launch
until you click a button to dismiss it. Annoying.

Before I launched Creator (that's the name of the HyperNext development
environment, not to be confused with "Developer", which is the name of
the HyperNext plugin creation tool). I attempted to double click on the
HellowWorld.prj file in the included sample projects.

TextMate opened up and displayed a garbled text interpretation of the
project file. That might be my Mac's fault. I quit TextMate and then I
right clicked on HelloWorld.prj and chose Open With Creator. Creator
launched and I clicked the annoying button in the splash screen, but
once the program loaded, HelloWorld.prj did not load.

So, I went File, Open and opened the HelloWorld sample project. It's
not much, just one card with two buttons on it. One of them opens a
message box that says (you guessed it) "Hello World". The other button
uses speech to say, "Hello World". I clicked on each button, clicked
the edit script button in the properties window. All of the design
windows disappear when you are in the code editor window. The code
editor window seemed pretty straight forward. I didn't edit any code, I
just clicked on each of the object/event pairs listed on the left and
looked at the simple scripts in the edit window on the right. When you
close the editor, the design evironment comes back.

I then pressed "Run" in the "C Mode" window. This appeared to compile
the project, suspend the development project and then run the compiled
app. That's no biggie, except when I chose to quit, Creator just quit.
It did not take me back to the development environment like I expected.

Okay, so I opened up Creator again, and re-opened HelloWorld.prj. This
time I clicked on "Preview" instead of "Run". And, the project ran as
expected and I was able to switch back to "Design" using the "C Mode"
window. I've now noticed that this window is present even when you
choose "Run" and it can be used to switch from "Run" back to "Design".

The next thing I did was compile HelloWorld for OS X. There are two OS
X compile options in the "Go" menu, "Build Mac OS X PEF" and "Build Mac
OS X MachO". Only the "Build Mac OS X PEF" option works, choosing the
"Build Mac OS X MachO" option just presents a message box stating that
this feature is not yet implemented.

The app compiled. It built a 7.2MB Carbon application (when you right
click on the compiled app, there is no "Show Package Contents" option).

When I launched the compiled HelloWorld_X app, there was a default
splash screen. There is no button on this splash screen for dismissal,
but it sits on the screen until until you click in it. I think having a
pre-made splash screen could be a nice feature. And, maybe there is an
option somewhere in the project settings to determine whether or not to
display the splash screen, or whether or not the user has to click on
the splash screen to make it go away, but the default is awful. I can
imagine many end users would be a bit stymied by the default splash
screen of a compiled HyperNext project. A quick check of the Guide's
entry on the Splash screen only tells how to customize the information
within your project's splash screen, not how to disable it or have it
automatically disappear after a pre-defined time.

I then tried two other sample projects, the "Speak" sample project and
the "MP3 Player" sample project. In the little bit of playing with
HyperNext that I'd done up to now, something happened to Creator. When
I switch from Design mode to Preview mode, events no longer seem to
fire. I now have to either compile or switch to Run mode to have
buttons respond and code execute. I've quit Creator and opened it
several times and the problem remains. Even HelloWorld, which at first
worked perfectly in Preview mode, will now only respond when in Run
mode or by using the compiled app. And, now, every time I switch modes,
my MacBook makes a strange click.

Also, after I compiled the MP3 Player project and ran it, I tried
dragging some MP3s into its window. They did get added to the list, but
all of them showed a time of "0", so when I clicked "Play" the
highlight would just move from track to track and there was no sound.

One side note, it appears that the only style of button that you can
have in your projects is the flat, square style that Revolution calls
"Rectangle Button". I'm curious as to why that is, as it would prevent
your apps (at least on the Mac) from ever having a standard, normal
look and feel.

Oh, one positive, is that because it inherits them from RealBasic,
HyperNext's table fields look nicer than Revolution's. I don't know
when Revolution will finally get around to providing us with decent
table fields, but I'm getting tired of waiting for it. You even get
nicer tables using AppleScript studio than you do with Revolution.

Despite all of its problems, I couldn't help but think that HyperNext,
with a little more time and attention might possibly morph into
something useable. However, it's very possible that HyperNext's
developer has attempted to achieve the impossible- he's attempting to
build a development environment using the deeply flawed and extremely
buggy RealBasic as his starting point.

--- Jerry Daniels <jerry at daniels-mara.com> wrote:

> Bill, I couldn't even download the Mac version--even at the super
> slow  
> download rate.
> On Jan 13, 2008, at 5:25 PM, Bill Marriott wrote:
> > Everytime I tried to download the WIndows version, I got a  
> > corrupted .zip
> > file. (And anemic file transfer speed.)
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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