Friday, March 13, 2009

Fun on Friday #23: A blast from the past

Another self-indulgent Fun on Friday. Sorry.

I really liked HyperCard and I was a bit scunnered when Apple canned it. However, I was very pleased to discover that someone is re-creating HyperCard... as a web application! It's called TileStack and to be honest I'm not sure if it is brilliant or barmy. At the moment I'm leaning to brilliant but it's still in beta so it's a slightly frustrating and clunky brilliant. :-)

What is especally impressive though is that the stacks you create can be embedded in a blog/website, or turned into a Dashboard Widget, a Google Gadget or a Facebook application. Very clever.

Here's my first attempt (or at least my first working attempt). It doesn't do much... but it is a bit better than a "Hello World". :-)

HyperCard was billed as "Programming for the rest of us" and certainly it was used to produce goodness knows how many teacher created stacks, including two that I had a hand in creating in cooperation with the BBC - Jacobites: The Lost Succession and 1707 - The Lost Parliament. However, it wasn't just a tool for amateurs like me, it was also used as a professional development tool to produces applications such as Myst and Xplora 1.

More importantly however, it got a generation of people interested in programming and in computers. (For example, if you ever meet him, ask John Johnston what a difference HyperCard made to him.) I'm not sure that TileStack will have that kind of impact - it will need to become quite a bit slicker and easier to use first. However, I hope to keep an eye on it and see where it goes. In the meantime I've had fun this Friday. Hope you have fun with it too. Please post the links here if you create any TileStacks.

1 comment:

Ted C. Howard said...


Thanks for the write-up! I know it's still a bit clunky. We are continually working to improve the site, so please keep building stuff.

As always, anyone who has any questions or comments about TileStack can ask questions in our forums or send me an email directly (ted at tilestack dot com).