Hypercard - Way Too Early

I have always loved the name of my friend Howard Morgan‘s now dormant blog – Way Too Early.

Some ideas are just way too early. And one of them was Apple’s Hypercard, which was a Mac application that came with a built in programming language. The interface was a series of cards that were mini apps inside of the Hypercard application. I built a few Hypercard based applications in the late 80s and early 90s as I was winding up my programming “career”.

But as I look around the mobile landscape, I see cards everywhere. Benedict Evans wrote a good post about this trend a few weeks ago. Google is pushing cards as a UI inside Android and their Google Now UI is the best example of that. Twitter has had cards inside of Tweets for several years now, although I wish they would display them by default in my timeline. The Facebook mobile UI looks like a series of cards, although you can’t really do anything with them, yet. And, of course, my favorite example are theKik Cards that are mini mobie web apps that run inside of Kik’s messenger. I’ve blogged about them a number of times here at AVC as Kik is a USV portfolio company.

It feels like the Hypercard metaphor has arrived as the atomic unit of content in mobile, both inside of native apps and, if Kik is going in the right direction (I think they are), as the default mobile web atomic unit (cards instead of pages).

The problem with the native app environment is that there are things you cannot do inside of a card without violating Apple’s and Google’s terms of service. If Facebook wanted their cards to allow the purchase of music or video natively in the card, well that would not be possible in the current regime.

On the mobile web, that is different. You can do anything you want in a browser, even if that browser is on iOS or Android. That’s a legacy of the desktop web and it’s a damn good thing. Innovation happens best when there are few if any limitations on what you can do as a developer.

So keep your eye on cards. I think Apple was on to something important from a UI and usability perspective thirty years ago when they started building Hypercard. It is now coming to life again on mobile and I think this will be the most interesting battle ground on mobile in the years to come.


Comments (Archived):

  1. David Semeria

    Even before Hypercards appeared on the Mac, Stewart Brand had already uttered the immortal phrase “information wants to be free”. As the newspapers have painfully found out, information won that particular battle.Now it’s time to say “ecommerce wants to be free”. Like the newspapers tried to do with information, Apple and Google will try to ring fence monetary transactions as much as possible, but I’m betting the same dynamics will play out again.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe via bitcoin?

      1. David Semeria

        Bitcoin, faster mobile cpus, and HTML5 could be the triple witching event of the decade….

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I’m still not convinced, through theory, how Bitcoin will ever become mass adopted. The people who start using Bitcoin later end up getting less value than the people who started earlier – and those people who started earlier gain value for doing nothing. The later people adopting Bitcoin in the big picture receive a diminishing value as the percentile goes up. I’ve been hoping someone could correct me on this logic that I see, though I’ve not really had a chance to discuss it with anyone – nor to really clarify it, nor do I have the mathematical background to help confirm the theory/hunch.

        1. awaldstein

          You need to rethink ‘mass market’.Is there a market for ‘natural wine’ in NA? No way, pundits say as it is just 7% of sales going to 10-15% this year.10% of some $42+B in sales is a powerful market by any stretch especially when this is just one market.Bitcoin may just take the same path to mass market.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Ahh, thanks for the reality check. My brain’s been outputting for to design for creating a ecosystems where 100% adoption is possible / probable / likely..

          2. awaldstein

            Facebook is the closest to 100% adoption that I have seen for anything in my career.Twitter, considerably smaller but that does not diminish its importance or power.

    2. Richard

      What does “ecommerce wants to be free” mean?

      1. David Semeria

        Like the Sting song “If you love somebody”….

        1. Richard

          That was helpful.Money flow is like a river, you can make as many free things as you like, but until “we” get out the water (and create a new transportation system), whatever is left unspent ends up in the hands of whomever is furthest downstream.

          1. Jim Canto

            ….now pondering the full meaning of “downstream” in this context. Is it a place one can position themselves?

      2. Ed Freyfogle

        For most products the seller/advertiser wants to be everywhere there is a relevant audience. He/She doesn’t care about your platform or walled garden.

        1. Richard

          Sometime the nectar of the flower does work for you.

      3. Matt A. Myers

        De-centralized, availability to purchase from anywhere, anytime – perhaps meaning cutting out the middle layers too?In the end, governance will still play the largest role in who “wins.”

    3. Elia Freedman

      How come we only remember the first half of his statement?

      1. David Semeria

        You mean “Information also wants to be expensive”? As Paul Simon said, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”.

    4. jason wright

      why is apple kicking every bitcoin app out of its store?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Rumours they’re starting their own currency might be the reason.

    5. JamesHRH

      You mean Stewart was Way Too Early on the idea that information wants to be free?

  2. pointsnfigures

    A friend told me she made an investment in ebooks….in 1994. Too early.

    1. awaldstein

      Must admit, I was early more than once with video chat.

      1. Elia Freedman

        The story of my mobile professional career…. so far. Too early.

        1. pointsnfigures

          but not where they want to work.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        When I was 12 I had desires of turning my text-based MUD into something similar to World of Warcraft. I have no idea what was around graphical wise at the time – though I am sure I would have gotten there if I had had any support at all around me at the time.

    2. Richard

      Bezos didn’t think so.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Bezos had money and time on his side.

  3. Sebastien Latapie

    Interesting topic. Would these regulations apply to Yelp? After facilitating users to make decisions, I see Yelp moving towards facilitating transactions between local users and local businesses. Being able to do transact natively in the app would be a requirement for this to succeed. It will be interesting to see how this space evolves and how companies work around these hurdles.

  4. Emmanuel Bellity

    Any word about WildCard ? I’m not sure exactly about what they’re cooking but seems on topic …

    1. Michael Brill

      That does look super-cool… in effect converting the web into cards more or less on the fly. Seems like performance is the primary goal but my guess is that’ll be the least interesting thing once they’ve got all these sites’ data in a structured format.

        1. Michael Brill

          Did awhile ago… patiently waiting (well, except the patient part)

          1. JordanCooper_NYC

            sweet. thanks for your early support…

        2. Jim Canto

          I did…earlier today.

  5. JimHirshfield

    Today’s cards are an inventive distributed UI.HyperCards were a programming method. These things are more different than the same, yes?

    1. Elia Freedman

      I agree. Today’s cards are forced by form factor more than programming. At least I can say that writing for iOS or Android is nothing like HyperCard.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      . . . incoming comment from the cyberspace peanut galleryMaybe Apple should fix that difference by adding a Hypercard-Rendering-Engine into webkit.Thus making the web a giant interconnected Hypercard-Stack where every web page is a Hypercard that can be loaded up from a large open inventory of data and processing objects.This would empowering the rest of us with a simple dragged and drop ease for creating distributive web-processed synchronicities.Sure it would start out as a lame, slow, inefficient toy-like affair but it would accomplish one very important task.It would democratize/accelerate the evolution of our new web mediated social realities by inviting the complete domain of human knowledge and skill-sets to the Web’s social-synchronicity party.Sometime a metaphor’s simplicity/accessibility factor trumps its executional inefficiencies at the very least as a transitional meme strategy.

      1. Michael Brill

        +1… and I think we’d all be surprised how quickly we’d move past the toy stage. All the pieces and motivations are here EXCEPT the container app and a few APIs. That deficit won’t last long though.

      2. josephcohen

        @SubstrateUndertow:disqus — we are on the same page. how do i contact you?

      3. Matt A. Myers

        But how’s this good for a businesses’ profit?

  6. Barry Nolan

    As consumers have shifted to mobile, cards have emerged as the dominant interaction model. They are the creative response mobiles constraints – small screens, short attention spans, thumb driven interactions. The most effective cards instantly blend four elements:1. Deliver short bursts of personalised information.2. Contextual to situation or surrounding (exploiting native sensors of the device)3. Task oriented. Getting a job done.4. Touch interactive.Cards are permeating every mobile web interaction. Take a Google search for an Apple Store. Instead of links we a have card delivering the stores address, a map to guide you there, and touch interaction options – call, navigate, visit website.I disagree on Apple/Google exclusive ownership of the transaction.1. If it’s monetizable outside the app, it’s your revenue exclusively. In a sense, hailo is a card.2. If content can be ‘also’ consumed outside the app – e.g. Spotify – it’s your revenue exclusively.3. If you want to keep all the revenue, let the card link to a browser window. This is the Kindle hack.It used be your credit card was associated to the app store. In the future, its more likely your credit card is associated with the app – hailo, uber, spotify, etsy, amazon…No question, they are the future of customer interaction.

    1. Richard

      Are we speaking past one another? How did we go from “too early” to the “dominant interaction model”?

      1. Barry Nolan

        Consider just one ecosystem – the App Stores. They serve billions of interactive cards each year. Apps, searched or suggested, are presented in a card – details, reviews, price. Over 100 billion apps were installed this way last year. Apple’s Touch-ID now reduces install to a tap (password no longer needed).

    2. Matt A. Myers

      It all sounds a part of decentralization to me. And I can see how certain players, even new ones, will want to maintain control in a decentralizing system, though they should be cautious – as if you don’t match what nature eventually wants to lead to, then someone else will build for it and will “win.”

  7. Elie Seidman

    I remember playing around with Hypercard on my Dad’s “Fat Mac” in the late 80s. Good memory. (“fat” because of it’s immense 512k of RAM instead of 128k that a normal mac had)

  8. Richard

    HyperCards, bitcoins are more examples of why “ideas DO matter”.

    1. fredwilson


    2. sigmaalgebra

      Bad idea are “plentiful and worthless”.Good ideas are rare and valuable.Means to know the difference between a good ideaand a bad one — “priceless”, or, if you will,”everything”.

  9. timraleigh

    It was 30 years ago, jeesh…thanks for reminding me. The company I joined in the early 90’s Mackerel Interactive promotional disc (yes, 21 MB floppy disc) was all Hypercard. It was Amazing. Too bad there was no “PC” friendly version at the time. It would have made the work we were doing with Toyota USA so much easier.

  10. martinowen

    I was a huge HyperCard devotee. I have carried on using LiveCode which – even though you can’t author does play on Andriod and iOS (… and browser and Win and Mac).

  11. RichardF

    I wish html5 would develop faster, apps are so restricting and time consuming to develop across multiple platforms.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I think it’s evolved enough for many useful applications, though it’ll take some major improvements before the masses of development resources start focusing on dev with HTML5 — that might be 10 years away even.

  12. martinowen

    and of course … its abandonment was a Jobs decision when he returned to the helm. I believe he didn’t like amateurs producing ugly.

    1. Elia Freedman

      Jobs discontinued hundreds of technologies when he came back. He didn’t like being interim CEO of a failed company.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Streamlining operations saved the company. the iPod made it what it is today.

    2. Elia Freedman

      Well… It was actually discontinued in 2004. I didn’t realize it was that late. Jobs returned in 1997. I will bet cancellation had to do partly with rewriting it for Intel processors.

      1. kevinmarks

        No, HyperCard was being merged with QuickTime in 1997 and was already multi-platform. It ran on Linux, Irix, Solaris, Windows and MacOS. This layer became Carbon. Hypercard was ported to run on OS X, but was never shipped. QuickTime was deflected to focus on streaming, not authoring.

  13. smeenge

    SuperCard is where it was at.

  14. martinowen

    Also Bill Atkinson claims that if Apple had drawn their network diagrams in the same way as Sun did, you would have “buttons” that linked to cards anywhere on the network (as opposed to your own HD). The web would have been here in 1987.

    1. LE

      “The web would have been here in 1987.”Not really since you couldn’t easily get commercial internet connections until the 1990’s. And even then not much going on for the masses. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. The Internet was commercialized in 1995 when NSFNET was decommissioned, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial trafficI remember using Delphi in the early 90’s and it was all text base and I quickly lost interest from a commercial perspective.Not to mention the total chicken and egg problem. Why would people pay for internet access (by modem no less) when there was nothing they really could do with that connection (which was iirc paid by the minute back at the start (remember AOL?)).Specialized info services obviously were around. I used to dial in by modem to Dun and Bradstreet [1] to get credit info about customers from a terminal hooked into the Unix system. Many times while they were on the phone asking for pricing so I could see the size of the company and their credit rating. So you could have had applications that tapped info sources like that I guess.[1] Charge was per inquiry don’t remember the amount but it was probably $5 dollars perhaps.

      1. martinowen

        Chicken and egg…. Where there is a demand things change faster.I was a university user at the time. It would have overtaken Gopher and Veronica …. and at the level of applying the internet to fulfilling specific needs there would have been a major step change.

  15. Matt Quirion

    Interesting you talk about the “Hypercard metaphor” here. When I was in HS, we did Hypercard projects for presentations in AP History classes. Later, in college, when I first got into “interactive” wed development (read: HTML with Javascript prompts), my brain saw it as “just like Hypercard.” 18 years later, I haven’t looked back.What HS kids in a public South Carolina school could do with Hypercard was remarkable, considering the age. It’s always left me convinced that 1) Apple never should have killed it, and B) eventually someone will make another Hypercard, and then this whole web thing will really explode.

    1. Jim Canto

      ….all I saw in high school were punch-cards. :-

      1. LE

        All I saw in high school was ass. (That’s to get Hirschfield started..)

  16. ErikSchwartz

    Hypercard was truly awesome. It in many ways lives on with Livecode, the metaphor and the syntax are quite similar.http://livecode.com/

  17. William Mougayar

    Important topic. But the one catch is that, as a user, the more cards you add to an App, the more messy your experience might be. You’re opting for more functionality, but might sacrifice some UI consistencies.The onus is on the “host” to make sure that card providers are also adhering to some UI consistencies.

    1. Matt A. Myers


      1. William Mougayar

        more than just curation.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          One example how it’s more than curation ?

    2. Michael Brill

      If cards are to become a dominant interaction model then there needs to be card organization, insertion and linking. It’s not so much an issue of constraining card types, but really more about organizing them so that workflows more complicated than viewing a video or doodling can be accomplished. Imagine being able to insert cards into other card pages/flows and link those into other card pages/flows. Not to get too geeky but also imagine that you can bind the functionality of these cards to different data sets on the fly. Now you have a radically more flexible application/information architecture than apps or the mobile web. I have to imagine that if I’m pretty far along with this model, then a lot of much smarter people are going to be producing some crazy stuff pretty soon.

  18. LE

    I never really got into hypercard (in the 80’s I was already having fun with Unix shell scripts on a multi user system (with a 70mb hard disk)). In fact I had to dig up this video to even remember what you could do with it. Interesting the parallels to web pages. Shows Bill Atkinson of the original mac team fame. Note the faded and degraded video tape.http://www.youtube.com/watc…Having a multi user system that you could dial into by modem made using anything that was tied to one particular physical machine not very attractive by comparison. I guess you could call it early cloud computing. Even if it was not graphical it was very useful.I suspect that this is one of the reasons that hypercard never became widespread in use. No ability on the mac to easily collaborate with others the info that you had. (Even in the same company which of course was not what the mac was for anyway.)

  19. Pat Clark

    It would be interesting if Cards could be as transferable across/within apps as pictures are.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      If they all used a standard like HTML5 attached to an API – it shouldn’t really be a problem, other than business-motives being barriers.

  20. Darren Herman

    Agree around cards, especially as more API’s open up. I think there are many uses here.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      What the predominant use cases become will be the interesting thing to see unfold..

  21. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I remember using a remote compushare service for stock control (I set up for a company during my school holidays) – the interface for a batch transaction was a tape of data, a phone number and a modem (where you inserted the phone receiver into an acoustic cradle).Think Phone No = url for http posttape = file:/// (local storage)phone / model = mobile appThere is nothing new under the sun – This was a stock control batch transaction “card” with a slightly different form factor

  22. Michael Brill

    Cards won’t replace pages (you still need organization on top of cards for most workflows) but perhaps they will replace hyperlinks and frames. The greatest thing about the card concept is the ability to dynamically insert application content into any arbitrary flow of cards and link into other flows. This, imho, is what is going to break the ridiculous app model that we have today.

  23. Pete Griffiths

    “On the mobile web, that is different. You can do anything you want in a browser, even if that browser is on iOS or Android.”Kinda true. You can’t write any extensions in the Apple environment which rules out some very cool possible applications.

  24. Rob Underwood

    This just takes me way back, and makes me more than a bit nostalgic. I did some light systems, software, and computer consulting in high school for a local real estate firm and did some work in Hypercard. The video is great. I remember when I first heard about “hypertext” a few years later thinking “Oh, that must be like hypercard”.

    1. Rob Underwood

      My buddy Josh Burker just sent this to me — it’s a link to an entire album he and a friend composed in Hypercard. http://freemusicarchive.org

      1. fredwilson


  25. Nik Bonaddio

    HyperCard was massively influential in my development. I must have been 8 or 9 when I first started creating stacks, usually of baseball players and statistics. A few years later, I was running a heavily modded BBS and posting poorly-coded HTML onto my local ISP. Once I started futzing around with HTML (and learning the building blocks of Perl), I realized the connection between the stacks I used to create and the web; you were creating environments, structures, and narratives, with navigation and hierarchy and design.I was incredibly lucky to realize all of his early in my life, so I never really had a “What career do I want?” question in my mind. I was going to attend Carnegie Mellon, study whatever they call I’m doing, and then build and create things the rest of my life. And I did, and I have.

  26. hypermark

    Actually, the assertion that there are things that you can not do inside of cards in native apps without violating the TOS is not accurate.The way that you achieve the balance between the atomicity of the unit, and the dynamism of native functionality is that you structure each card as:1) Calling upon a template that is baked into the native build; and2) Using the cloud to dynamically configure and populate that template with content (text, images, video, audio, layout, settings).We have done this in building an early learning series with Macmillan where there are 100 or so cards interspersed across a series of apps, which call upon different variations of twenty templates.As the templates are full blown native app functions, we’ve configured these things into math, phonics, letter drawing, puzzles, cognitive pattern matching, etc., but there are few limits to how you might use such a model.Here’s a Slideshare that describes the approach:The Mobile Native Cloudhttp://www.slideshare.net/h…

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will check that out

    2. Matt Hamilton

      I think many businesses are worried about violating the TOS in the sense there are many restrictions revolving around ecommerce: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t…With Apple’s 30% cut, it significantly reduces the possibilities there.

  27. Paul

    Fond memories…Hypercard (or more accurately Hypertalk) was my first programming language too. Amazingly powerful yet accessible. For the uninitiated here’s a great video http://bit.ly/1fabquNNostalgia aside, I don’t see much connection between HC and current trends. As others have noted, cards make sense for mobile due to space constraints and thumb-driven interactions. I think the big surprise is that its taken so long. Palm saw the potential for cards with web OS in 2009. 4 years later, the rest of the industry is catching up.

  28. sigmaalgebra

    For this thread and as I read the Evans,> Suppose that in 5 years or so I send you a Yelpreview of a restaurant, from my phone to yours. Whatwill that mean?my guess is that maybe there’s money to be made inthis direction, but “I’m reticent. Yes, I’mreticent.”.Maybe it’s like selling lipstick for pigs: Thereare a lot of pigs so that if sell lipstick for just1% of all the pigs then can get a good business!And, think of all the possible colors! And sellthem matching nail polish! And matching tchotchkeson their heads!I suspect that such directions are not verysubstantive or sustainable. Maybe such products canbe novelties, fashion fads, or a way to keep upstatus in some social circles.For the Evans question, my answer would be, juste-mail or something similar.So, since he didn’t consider e-mail there is atheme: Take some simple data or a simple operationand write software to put a ‘user interface’ (UI) infront of the data so that a user will click, doubleclick, swipe, touch, or some such.Then for each little new category of data and eachlittle new thing to do with that data, have anotherUI and mobile app.Make this user interface basically hide the realdata and the real operation. E.g., SMTP and POP3e-mail is just dirt simple. All that is reallyneeded is the old TCP/IP application Telnet tocontact the mail server and get back the text of thee-mail. Yes, Virginia, it’s essentially always justsimple, printable text, usually in just old 7 bitASCII in an 8 bit byte. Yes, with ‘multimediainternet mail extensions’ (MIME) and old, verysimple base 64 encoding, even pictures, audio,movies, etc. are just simple text.Writing basic e-mail software is so simple that itwould make a good exercise in the first week of abeginning programming class.So, my Microsoft Outlook e-mail program takes thisvery simple data from e-mail and locks it up in itsown proprietary format. Bummer.When I get a free afternoon, I will take my olde-mail software, I wrote in one afternoon in thesimple programming language Rexx, which has a TCP/IPAPI, update it, and finally have some easy to usee-mail with the data not all locked up.For how to lock up data, for years IBM’s mainframescommunicated via ‘systems network architecture'(SNA), bi-sync, and 3270 protocols which effectivelylocked up all the data in the mainframe. Finallyways were found to get the data out so that it couldbe used for, say, ASCII printers and terminals.So, a general pattern is to take simple data andlock it up with private protocols and interfaces.Another general pattern is that such lock upattempts don’t work very well for either the vendoror the user.For the Yelp restaurant reviews, thank you, butsimple text in old SMTP and POP3 is fine, just fine,and covering over the crucial data with clicks,double clicks, touches, swipes, and proprietaryprotocols and data formats is Excedrin headache#3,397,480,902,783.So, let me be more clear: One of the grand gifts toall of civilization is the Roman alphabet. Now oneof the grand gifts, if only by default, is the Romanalphabet in ‘flat’ ASCII text files. So, such ‘datarepresentation’ is sufficient for writing Englishand, close enough, many other languages. Mostly’information’ is communicated to humans via such useof a natural language. So, such simple text solvesa potentially huge ‘tower of Babel’ problem.Yes, a vendor can want to create part of a ‘tower ofBabel’ so that a user needs the vendor’s product tomake use of the user’s data. Bummer.E.g., so far my e-mail is locked up insideMicrosoft’s Outlook e-mail. Yes, there is an API tolet me get at the actual e-mail data; someday I willdo that and also update my own e-mail software andf’get about Outlook.SMTP and POP3 will not much change, for more decades– my approach to e-mail will last.But locking up a user’s data is a risky approach toa sustainable, financially successful businessbecause it is too easy to get at the actual data andhandle it just as text and not very attractive tohave users have to use special apps for particularkinds of data and click, touch, or swipe in someuniquely contrived UI.So, one step farther, my most heavily used tool ismy favorite general purpose text editor, and I useit to ‘slice and dice’ data, i.e., in part, as acomputer version of the standard, favorite kitchentools of a cutting board and chef’s knife.> That’s a legacy of the desktop web and it’s a damngood thing. Innovation happens best when there arefew if any limitations on what you can do as adeveloper.Or, also, a user.Yup.Some parts of mobile are no more solid than somerecent fashion fad for bored teenage girls andplaythings, toys, statements of style, etc. forothers.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I agree with you in as much and as that we don’t know what it will look like.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        If I want a Yelp restaurant review, then just sendme simple, old e-mail with, say, a URL of thereview. Don’t need or want “an app for that”.I suspect that in the “5 years”, “what it will looklike” for such overly specialized apps is nothing –they won’t be around. They will be like some overlyspecialized kitchen gadget, say, an onion chopper orhot dog cooker, when those two tasks can be moreeasily done with just general purpose kitchen tools.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          You have to remember we’re not the mass market, nor will we behave how they do. Though, I agree, I don’t want to be bombarded by visual information.

  29. Paul

    Fond memories…HyperCard (or rather Hypertalk) was my first programming language too. Great video here for the uninitiated http://bit.ly/1fabquNNostalgia aside I don’t see much connection between HC and current trends. Cards seem almost inevitable on mobile due to space constraints and thumb gestures as others have noted. The puzzle is why it took so long. With Web OS Palm was pushing cards 5 years ago. Seems the rest of the industry is just now catching up.

  30. ShanaC

    I always thought a card as a programming concept was a good one. It makes the idea of repeatable functions much easier to understand.You can use a card however you want, as long as you have all the powers needed to play it, in a game. Same with a function as a card :)We should bring back the paradigm. I think it would work well for those teaching …

    1. Matt A. Myers

      The idea of a card is really just in general a narrowly selected context of information. Flash cards would be one example in teaching — is that what you mean?

  31. Nicola Mattina

    If you like me lived HyperCard, it is very likely that will like also what I’m building now: take a look at Stamplay (http://stamplay.com)

  32. JamesHRH

    Please make Featured Comment go away quickly.

    1. Cam MacRae

      I was just thinking the very same.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        What don’t you like about it?

        1. Cam MacRae


          1. Matt A. Myers

            I am curious what it will result in, though. For non-regular users or the first time visitor, etc..It’d be nice to be able to turn it off though – for those who don’t really gain enough benefit by seeing it.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I thought it was interesting. Why don’t you like it though?

    3. fredwilson

      featured comment is just the start of giving publishers/bloggers real estate to promote stuff in the comments

      1. JamesHRH

        That’s what I figured. It sucks big time.Comments can’t be featured – they lose all native credibility.

        1. fredwilson

          I have featured a comment yesterday and today. Feels kind of natural for me to be able to do that

          1. JamesHRH

            It is natural in that it is your bar and you can stand up on it, yell at everybody and tell them to listen to somebody.But it breaks up the flow of the organic conversations that are occurring / blog discussion experience people are having.

  33. JamesHRH

    These last two posts are classic examples of geeks speaking geek to geeks and everyone leaving them along to speak geek to each other.I was in way early on the awareness of GitHub. I’m not a moron. I took CompSci classes w a lab partner who is a senior exec @ the GOOG.If someone had said: you post code samples (which are called Gits) to share with other coders (3 years ago) I would have seen the obvious implications.Instead, I was told it was a repository on the cloud. Jeez.Oh, wait – say hello to Cards. Let’s be clear here kids – a web page has an analogous offline experience. Read web page like you read paper page. Easy? Peasy.Cards. How many types of cards are there in the offline world……..Rename for mass adoption please.BTW, as much as I am a fan of all things USV (generally), I NEVER open Kik because of the social implications of accidentally accepting a connection to a friend’s 13 yo daughter…….

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Cards is the rename for mass adoption. What would you rename it to?When I was 13 or 14 I was using version control because a guy nicknamed Xap – I have no idea why I remember that – was helping me do more advanced features on the MUD I was developing, called Fallen Shadows; Maybe he’ll show up or a frequenter on AVC and will see this comment?Anyhow – version control was brilliant to me then, and it’s a bit surprising it took so long for it to hit the web the way it has now. I wonder what else out there has obvious high-value to a specific community or group, but not yet have a platform built for them.

    2. fredwilson

      critique accepted. if AVC is content marketing (and at some level it is), then one of the markets i most want to reach are geeks

      1. JamesHRH

        less a critique of the posts, more of a critique of the general practise of geek attitude of superiority ( ‘ you would have to code to get it’ ).When things don’t go really huge, ‘normals’ point to this type of behaviour.

  34. Bruce Warila

    If anyone needs HyperCard printing XCMDs, I still have dozens of “Hey I Can Print” floppies 🙂 HICP was my first packaged software venture. I spent a couple of years writing HyperTalk scripts.

  35. Brandon G. Donnelly

    Hypercard was great. My first programming experience. Anyone remember a game called Myst? Built on Hypercard.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Really? Cool..

      1. Brandon G. Donnelly

        “The original Macintosh version of Myst was constructed in HyperCard. Each Age was a unique HyperCard stack. Navigation was handled by the internal button system and HyperTalk scripts, with image and QuickTime movie display passed off to various plugins; essentially, Myst functions as a series of separate multimedia slides linked together by commands.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Thanks for the link. That must have helped with resource load quite a lot. 🙂

  36. Matt A. Myers

    I wonder if Hypercard was a reincarnation of a different previously existing ecosystem? Much like how the App Store had an origin from France?

  37. Bill Appleton

    HyperCard was actually based on World Builder, circa 1984, written by the guy who ended up writing SuperCard in 1998. The real question is why HyperCard wasn’t Mosaic.

  38. jaysbryant

    We ran an entire photo department at a newspaper in CA using hypercard. Set it up to do the scheduling, captions and image management.

  39. ZekeV

    I did quite a lot of tinkering with Hypercard as a kid. Somehow my mom talked my school into letting me skip 7th grade English for a semester, which I spent working on a choose-your-adventure game in Hypercard, with the other dorks. I know there was a native scripting language, but I am pretty sure I only used it to animate some explosions. The rest of the experience was basically mac paint, but it felt like programming and was a lot of fun.

  40. Ben Davey

    Hypercard was an idea that attempted to bring the concepts behind application development to the masses. Like the dozens of ideas that were inspired by it, I also attempted (and also failed) to bring forward a visual programming paradigm. One day, somebody will figure out how to deliver this concept in a more communicable manner.

  41. David Metcalfe

    Perhaps I’m focusing too much on the choice words the article finished off on here… But cards are a UI/UX choice. They allow modularity in the presented data, making for an easier, more personalized experience, etc etc. What about this is to be a battle ground?

    1. Michael Brill

      It’s less about the concept of a white rectangle and more about the encapsulation and insertion of application content into app containers that you don’t own or know anything about. That is, our mobile experience is no longer defined by a million monolithic apps or the clunky (and still largely monolithic) mobile web but by more bite-sized, task-oriented cards that show up when and where we need them and are created by entities with the best domain expertise. So if I’m great at X then why can’t I bundle up X in a card and use the card-based app containers that emerge as my distribution channel? Much more efficient than forcing me to go create a whole new product that I now have to get funded, market, installed on people’s devices, etc. As we shift to wearables you can easily extend this encapsulation model to other presentation devices. For me, this is the most exciting thing happening in technology today. OTOH, maybe it’ll be OLE 1.0 all over again… I doubt it.

  42. B Devlin

    This company has been continuing with a cross-platform version of Hypercard for the last 20 years.http://livecode.com/Develop on Windows, OSX, Linux. Deploy on any of those 3, plus Android, plus iOS. Also even develop in xTalk as a server-side language, like PHP.Oh, and it’s free and open source.

  43. CJ

    A post about the CardUI and not one mention of WebOS being the father of the modern day card UI. I’m am disappoint.

  44. Frederick

    Completely agree. The web browser and desktop are the only truly free app ecosystems around these days. Everything else is a walled garden and you need to ask google and apple for permission to get in.

  45. Oisín G.

    I wrote a few short lived mobile apps in WML, which also had the deck/card metaphor. Here’s someone back in 2000, (fourteen years ago now… wow) making the connection between WML and HyperCard:http://www.wirelessdevnet.c

  46. Tonio Loewald

    I pretty much kickstarted my programming career by implementing a relational database in Hypercard for a small government department which had Macs and no software budget in a few evenings (in exchange for access to their laserwriter). A guy in a consulting unit saw what I’d done and I was promoted 5 grades and turned into a consulting programmer.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    I learned to program on HyperCard in elementary school, so it was perfect timing 🙂

  48. Eric E

    Clearly Trello fits this model as well. Hypercard was the first way that many people were exposed to multimedia and object-oriented programming. Web services “cards” are more a metaphor that updates the offsite embed/syndication model that we saw from the first wave of so-called “Web 2.0” companies like Flickr.

  49. JimHirshfield

    Remember thingamajig?

  50. Matt A. Myers

    I see widgets being different than cards, even though they have strong similarities.

  51. JimHirshfield

    No. Just the expression.