As if to commemorate its return from Claris to the company with the rainbow-striped logo, Apple's HyperCard has an improved, color-capable interface. The venerable “software erector set” can now also create and play animations, generate standalone applications, control other applications, and support non-Roman alphabets. Interface Tweaks.
Some new interface features — new button and field types and better control over layering of objects and tracking of the mouse — make HyperCard stacks look and act more like real Mac applications. For visual interest, you can now colorize buttons, fields (although not field text), backgrounds, and cards as well as display color pictures, HyperCard’s paint tools are still black-and-white, but most stack developers probably prefer to create color pictures in more-sophisticated applications and then import them.
The animation support consists of Motion Works’ included ADDmotion II software. Designed to integrate well with HyperCard, ADDmotion II offers a 24-bit-color paint editors waveform sound editor, timelines, path-based-animation tools, and more. There’s also a QuickTime stack for playing movies.
An important new feature of HyperCard is support for the Open Scripting Architecture (OSA) and therefore for AppleScript (version 1.1 is supplied), OSA support means that stacks can drive and be driven by other OSA-compliant applications; it also means that stacks can include scripts written in any OSA-compliant language (such as AppleScript or UserLand’s Frontier), not just in HyperCard’s own HyperTalk language. We initially doubted that OSA would be accessible enough to mainstream HyperCard users, but the extensive supplied documentation and on-line tutorials for AppleScript and OSA won us over.
The App Stands Alone.
Being able to generate stand-alone applications is a long-awaited feature, smoothly implemented here — you simply select an option in the Save As dialog box.The generated applications aren’t very compact, since they include more than 700K of overhead, but we found that ours could fit on an 800K disk (just barely). The stand-alone capability is just one facet of a new technology that will allow third-party developers to produce stack translators — making it relatively easy, for example, to move stacks to other platforms such as Windows machines and the Newton.
Judging from this solid upgrade, HyperCard's return to Apple looks like good news for all stack users.
Swaine, Michael. (August 1994). HyperCard 2.2. MacUser. (pg. 64).