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HyperCard for the Apple IIGS.

For the past three years, users of the Apple II series have been forced to watch with envy while Mac owners have had fun using HyperCard, Apple's software tool kit for the Macintosh. Now all that has changed, at least for Apple IIGS users.

In December, at the AppleFest Conference and Exposition held in Long Beach, California, Apple announced the introduction of HyperCard IIGS for the Apple IIGS computer.

Available in mid-February, HyperCard IIGS will contain the full functionality of HyperCard 1.2.5 for the Mac with some specific enhancements to take advantage of the improved performance and color capabilities of the IIGS.

As with HyperCard 1.2.5, HyperCard IIGS is based on the index card metaphor. Stacks are made up of cards that can contain different backgrounds, fields, and buttons. At press time, many issues were still unsettled, but it may be assumed that HyperCard IIGS will have a fixed card size like HyperCard 1.2.5. However, fields will not support multiple fonts and styles as HyperCard 2.0 now does.

Scripting Language

HyperCard IIGS will contain the HyperTalk scripting language found in the Mac versions. Users will be able to link cards and stacks and perform the same programming operations now possible in HyperCard for the Mac. These functions will include the use of text, graphics, video, sound, and animation. According to Apple, HyperCard IIGS will also contain debugging tools to speed development of stacks.

In addition, HyperCard IIGS users will be able to take advantage of Mac HyperCard stacks. While it was not crystal clear, it is assumed there will be a built-in conversion utility that will allow Mac HyperCard 1.2.5 stacks to be converted to IIGS format. Whether UGS stacks will be convertible to Mac HyperCard stacks remains to be seen. If this utility is not implemented at this time, it would be reasonable to expect to see it in future upgrades to HyperCard 2.0.

HyperCard HGS will leave Mac users envious in one particular aspect: color. HyperCard IIGS has been designed to take advantage of the advanced sixteen-color graphics capabilities of the IIGS.

System Requirements

HyperCard IIGS will require an Apple IIGS with at least 1.5 megabytes of RAM (2 megabytes are recommended), UGS System Software 5.0.4 or greater, one 800K disk drive, and a hard disk.

The program will be distributed initially via authorized Apple dealers with a suggested list price of $99.

HyperCard TIGS will come with a large collection of ready-to-use stacks as well as templates and card designs to help users create their own. These stacks should be similar to what is available in the versions of HyperCard prior to 2.0.

The stand-alone kit will include six program disks in 3.5-inch format and three manuals. Included in the disks will be nine ready-made stacks for productivity, learning/games and creative applications.

IIe Users: What to Do?

What does this mean for Apple IIe users? Since a ITGS is required, IIe users will be faced with two choices: upgrade to a UGS (available from Apple); or get a Macintosh.

IIe users who don't require color in their stacks might look at the Macintosh LC. The LC has the advantage of being a Mac, and, with the addition of an optional card, can run thousands of Apple He programs. For those with an appetite for color, the UGS upgrade route is the way to go.

The Claris/HyperCard Connection Since my last column on HyperCard 2.0, a significant event in the history of HyperCard has occurred - namely the highly controversial transfer of HyperCard development and marketing responsibilities from Apple to its wholly owned software subsidiary, Claris Corporation. Claris develops and markets MacWrite II, MacDraw U, Claris CAD, Smar-to-Forms designer and Assistant, and FileMaker Pro.

What does the Claris move mean? For one thing, HyperCard now will be distributed in three ways:

1. A bundled version on one 1.4megabyte high-density 3.5-inch disk will continue to be distributed with every new Macintosh. This version will contain a modified Home stack set at the Typing user level, and an address and appointments stack. Included will be a thirty-page general introduction to HyperCard.

The user preference card on the Home stack has an opaque button hiding the three higher levels. According to the HyperCard Development Team, this was done to prevent novice users from accidentally destroying their stacks. The opaque button can be removed by choosing Message from the Go menu and typing "magic" in the message box followed by a carriage return.

2. A HyperCard Upgrade Kit is now available from Claris for $49. It contains a five-disk set including HyperCard 2.0 and numerous productivity and development stacks. It also includes a thirty-page general introduction and a revised HyperTalk Scripting Guide that reflects all the changes made to HyperCard 2.0.

The Upgrade Kit can be obtained by calling Claris at 800-628-2100 ext. 90. Have your MasterCard or Visa card number handy. Purchase orders should be mailed to Claris Software, HyperCard Upgrade, Box 526, Santa Clara, CA 95052. The upgrade offer expires April 30, 1991.

3. The HyperCard Developer's Kit has been available since january for $199. It contains the entire five-disk set available in the Upgrade Kit and the two manuals. In addition, a HyperCard 2.0 Reference Guide, an introductory user's guide, and a laminated reference card are included. This kit is designed for novices who are just starting out in HyperCard and for developers who desire the full package.

Support and Upgrades

Those users who purchase the Upgrade Kit or Developer's Kit are entitled to unlimited free support from Claris via their no-ntoll-free number. Claris is also promising frequent and more significant upgrades than have been available in the past. With this move, we can expect to see more commercial applications of HyperCard than in the past. Also, we should see an abundance of development tools that will help all of us to create better stacks.

Act Now and Save

Whether you are a casual or a dedicated HyperCard user, my advice is to get to the phone and order the Upgrade Kit. With the money you'll save not buying the Developer's Kit, you can purchase any of several terrific books that unlock the new features of HyperCard 2.0 and make the Reference Guide available in the Developer's Kit pale in comparison.

Scripters should look at Dan Winkler and Scott Kamins, HyperTalk 2.0: The Book, published by Bantam Books ($24.95). Danny Goodman has also come out with a revised edition of his classic guide, The Compete HyperCard 2.0 Handbook (3rd edition), which includes HyperCard 2.0's new features. It is also published by Bantam and retails for $24.95.
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Title Annotation:software tool kit
Author:Vaccaro, Bill
Publication:Computers in Libraries
Article Type:column
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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