3 decades on, Apple’s HyperCard lives on at The Internet Archive

“On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system called HyperCard,” Jason Scott blogs for The Internet Archive.

“HyperCard brought into one sharp package the ability for a Macintosh to do interactive documents with calculation, sound, music and graphics. It was a popular package, and thousands of HyperCard ‘stacks’ were created using the software,” Scott writes. “Additionally, commercial products with HyperCard at their heart came to great prominence, including the original Myst program.”

“To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Hypercard, we’re bringing it back,” Scott writes. “After our addition of in-browser early Macintosh emulation earlier this year, the Internet Archive now has a lot of emulated Hypercard stacks available for perusal, and we encourage you to upload your own, easily and quickly.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: HyperCard. Yet another example of Apple being far ahead of times.

SuperCard 4.6 released (Universal Binary) – August 24, 2006
Former Apple CEO John Sculley: We blew it with HyperCard – October 3, 2003


    1. There are few Apple products I anticipate highly and get more more excited about still than new more capable Macs. This is something Apple should never fail to consider. Macs are not also-rans, not hardly.

      I still think those responsible at Apple that have neglected the Mac need some repetitive & sound slapping upside the head followed by some solid centered hard body-flying kicks in their derriere.

      1. Like I blamed yesterday for some of the ill will from China… the idiot beancounters bear a lot of the blame.

        Here, the beancounters were stupid because when the company makes tens of billions every quarter and a couple of products are disproportionately raking most of that in, it makes NO SENSE to judge whether a product line should be continued or not based on its percentage share of all products’ revenue/profit.

        With the Mac Pro it was even worse because they were probably short-sighted enough to think that low sales were due to declining pro interest, instead of realizing that the last update(s) failed to meet the needs of pros.

        You can string along consumers with missing features and then dazzle them with a big reveal (we’re supposed to laud them for minor improvements to iOS Notes every major iOS update?), but that wanton disregard doesn’t fly with pros.

  1. Apple also released HyperCard for the Apple IIGS that same year. The program was great but Apple dropped all updates for it after about a year after being released.

    1. I disagree. Although Hypercard was very web-like with images, hyperlinks, etc, Apple then and now are focused on locking the user into their products and services. The original Microsoft Network, AOL, Apple’s eWorld, etc were just variations on this theme.

      The WWW as we know it could only have come from organizations working together using common, open platforms and protocols.

  2. HyperCard was a significant product for me. I started using it the day it came out, and used its follow-on derivatives SuperCard and LiveCode through a 40-year career as a human factors engineer in the space and computer industries. It was one of the very first effective user interface prototyping tools. I used it and SuperCard to create an actual working interface for a Martin Marietta Flight Telerobotic Servicer simulator, an early robot concept for performing robotic servicing operation on the Space Station. The simulator was praised by NASA, honored with a company engineering award for our team, and installed in the Houston astronaut office. Astronauts told me they really used it and liked it. My simulator interface work was described in a MacWeek article, “Another small step for Mac-kind” (02.19.91, Vol 5 Number 7). HyperCard and what it led to in the world of interface prototyping is yet another example of Apple being way ahead of its time.

  3. Coincidentally, I was just thinking about HyperCard this morning, probably because I went to my T-shirt drawer and saw my black T-shirt with Apple spelled out in rainbow colors that came free with my purchase of a HyperCard upgrade.

    HyperCard really could have been Flash done right if only Apple had their eye on the ball back in the 90’s. I wrote some amazing stacks and cgi’s with that thing. Siiiiigh.

  4. Apple’s withdrawal of support for HyperCard revealed a significant disconnect between Apple management and the user base that had spent countless hours generating large stacks that became the core of their small businesses.

  5. HyperCard was the deciding factor which made me buy my first Mac.

    At work I had been using a Mac II and discovered HyperCard installed on it. It wasn’t being used for anything, but my curiosity got the better of me and I soon found myself creating stacks which made our work easier, more productive or more professional looking.

    Clients were very impressed with the look of those stacks and in a world mostly of DOS computers, customised programs with graphics interfaces were virtually unknown, so they generated a lot of attention.

    When I decided to upgrade my home computer, a Mac was the only option for running HyperCard, so it had to be a Mac for me. I was dismayed when Apple allowed HyperCard to whither and die because it had so much potential.

  6. HyperCard was one of those applications that inspired so much hope about how computers could work for the non-expert who had a very specific new application in mind that could be made even when the user pool was too small to devote a trained programmer to it.

    I envisioned a market for small special purpose and generalized app components assembled in new configurations for new purposes.

    And then I got curious about how to fill these stacks with useful information about the world around us. It was all very exciting.

    And then I wondered if trading stacks back and forth connecting stacks to one another might be possible.

    What I was wondering was already happening in small labs around the country and would only burst out when the WWW popped its head above all the other internet based services.

    When I finally saw the web in person it was like my old friend HyperCard only cooler. But the democratizing elements of HyperCard are still sadly missing. At least for folks like me.

  7. I’m happy to see all the great posts on HC here.
    Obviously, those of us telling stories are older, but it really was one of the things that made the DOS-using IBM XT/AT folks jealous. Even a dolt like me could use it – proving the true potential of computing for the average Joe.

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