Ars Technica has a short article for HyperCard’s 25th Birthday.

I’m not sure I quite buy the notion of HyperCard as proto-web-browser. But I totally buy Atkinson’s original goals with it:

“Simply put, HyperCard is a software erector set that lets non-programmers put together interactive information”

It was not the first thing I wrote software in – that honour goes to GW-BASIC, I think – but it was the first tool I made something useful and unprovoked in. I was eight or nine when I discovered it at school. It made it possible to realise what was in my head, not what was in a book.

And it was the first thing that made designing the visual interactions of software easy for me. Software isn’t just arithmetic and lines of code – it’s something people use. HyperCard made sure that the visual end of software was usually the first part of a stack you made, not the last. (I was always disappointed that Visual Basic looked like it did this, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations).

Look at XCode now, with its integrated Interface Builder; that’s one of the many legacies of HyperCard. It showed the average computer user (not the average programmer) that interaction and interface was important to great computing experiences, and gave them the tools to poke around.

It is a tiny percentage of the reason I do what I do now, but a memorable one.

  • Kars' "hypertext remix" of his marvellous dConstruct talk. It was sensitive and well thought-through, and appealed to me as both a designer and game maker. Very much worth your time.
  • "With the full avatar spritesheets available in the API, we dream of Glitch characters overflowing the bounds of the browser —and even the game itself— to find new adventures, anywhere people can take them. To this end, our new developer site is chock-full of resources to enable web/HTML5, iOS, and Android developers to build interesting applications leveraging Glitch APIs." Full spritesheets! Gorgeous. But really: this has the potential to be super-brilliant, and it's nicely designed. Hopefully more conventional developers will get on this sort of thing at some point. Bungie? Valve? Blizzard? Watch out.
  • "In re­cent re­leases, Sa­fari has been re-ar­chi­tected, with some of the work farmed out to a thing called “WebProcess”. This doesn’t seem to be work­ing out that well." Much as I was excited about Safari 5's re-architecting, I must admit: I've seen everything Tim says, and it's driving me nuts.
  • "…as soon as consumers become used to things acting this way, they’ll start actually expecting things to act this way. And when that happens, beware any software company that doesn’t deliver the same experience. In the new world Apple will create, to ask a user to manually sync files between different devices will be the equivalent, back in the ‘80s, of asking a bunch of home computer users used to interacting with GUI’s, to use command lines instead." Yep.