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Basic data

developer Apple
Publishing year 1987
Current  version 2.4.1
operating system Mac OS Classic
License proprietary
Others Development stoppedTemplate: Infobox software / maintenance / other

HyperCard is software for hypertext with its own data format for an old Macintosh platform.

HyperCard was developed by Bill Atkinson for Apple and was released to the public in August 1987. New Macintoshes then came standard with HyperCard's viewer , each priced at $ 50  . The editor of HyperCard cost $ 400 and was the first usable for larger user groups authoring system for hypermedia . Computer networks did not support HyperCard.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, HyperCard was the preferred development environment for hypermedia learning systems.


As early as 1985, Bill Atkinson developed a notepad application called QuickFile for Apple , in which texts could be recorded and displayed like in a card index . However, cross-links were also possible. The consistent further development of this system led to HyperCard two years later.

HyperCard's demise began in 1989 and was sealed in 1994 when the Library of Congress switched from HyperCard to HTML and the HTTP of the World Wide Web . HyperCard was doomed because there was no adequate open mindedness to networking in the Apple culture.

After 1990, various attempts were made to further develop HyperCard. Under Kevin Calhoun HyperCard 3.0 was pushed to the beta version and distributed in 1996 at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in an edition of 600 copies. New features included full color support and internet compatibility.

However, the new version was not released. Calhoun, the driving force behind the release, left Apple disappointed in 2001. In 2004 Apple stopped selling version 2.4. The most recent edition of HyperCard is from 1998.

HyperCard was no longer ported to macOS , but ran in the Classic environment .

Possible uses

The integrated script language HyperTalk enables programming beginners with little learning effort to use applications such as B. to create learning software for computer-aided teaching . The globally successful computer game Myst was also developed with the help of HyperCard.

The spectrum of uses of HyperCard ranges from simply networked structures (index cards with text) to complex databases. Each base document is the "stack" (English stack ).

Alternatives to HyperCard

The following follow-up products to HyperCard, some of which can even read old HyperCard stacks, and which can execute HyperTalk scripts with little or no changes, are available:

  • FreeCard (Java) - Open source project with the goal of a 100% compatible HyperCard clone .
  • LiveCode - There are companies that offer successor products that can read the old HyperCard stacks. One of them is LiveCode (formerly DreamCard and Runtime Revolution ), which runs with identical data not only on Macintosh computers, but also on Windows and Linux . It thus represents a lightweight multi- platform development environment. Revolution is based on the MetaCard product , the development of which has been discontinued. LiveCode is developed and used on the desktop platforms Macintosh, Windows and Linux and can be exported to mobile iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
  • SuperCard - Clone of the HyperCard 1.x series, created in 1989 by Bill Appleton as "a better HyperCard". Right from the start it offered color support and could read HyperCard stacks. The program has been revised for Mac OS X and includes a HyperCard converter. A peculiarity of SuperCard was the separation into SuperCard and SuperEdit in order to change projects without accidentally triggering scripts.
  • WildFire - Open source project with the goal of a HyperCard clone that is largely compatible and modernized.
  • Oracle Media Objects - HyperCard clone previously developed as PLUS or WinPlus , which also ran under Windows. (Discontinued)
  • ViperCard - Open source implementation of HyperCard as a web application.

Further products are based on structural ideas from HyperCard:

  • Hyperstudio - multimedia tool for education with a map structure. Programming takes place in a logo variant.
  • Macromedia Director - animation program with an originally HyperTalk-related programming language called "Lingo". The language has changed more and more towards JavaScript, and the object model differs significantly.
  • mTropolis
  • PythonCard - GUI environment planned in Python under the leadership of HyperTalk developer Dan Winkler.
  • ToolBook from SumTotal Systems.
  • Webjets.io - A modern HyperCard implementation that enables collaboration and publication. The application runs in the browser and is based on web technologies.

Individual evidence

  1. Konrad Lischka : 25 years of Hypercard: How Apple almost invented the web. In: Spiegel Online . June 2, 2012, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  2. Leander Kahney: HyperCard: What Could Have Been. In: wired . August 14, 2002, accessed December 14, 2014 .

Web links