How many Apple Computer engineers are required to invent a completely unusual application? Those who have lived part of their lives with HyperCard, may not agree with me about its unusual … So it was easy with him. This is unusual!
I answer the provocative question in the subtitle of the article. Invented (rather, invented) HyperCard is the only engineer. This happened in a somewhat unusual way. I even doubted whether I should talk about this. But since the readers of the resource people are smart and will not entertain themselves in the same dangerous ways … I'll tell you a little bit later.
First I'll tell you what a HyperCard is.
What is HyperCard
HyperCard presents information in the form of cards on which text (or texts), graphics and controls can be placed. One of the functions of these elements is the control over the transition to other cards. From the card that is on the screen, you can go to any other, in the same document or in any other.
HyperCard documents are called stacks, they are stacks of cards.
A stack is an information store. Catalog, reference book, textbook, bookshelf, but not only storage. A stack can be a weekly, an organizer, a self-tutor of anything – a foreign language, programming, traffic rules, algebra, physics. With the functions of testing the knowledge of the trainee, with the maintenance of the “diary” (when the diary for yourself, this is normal).
Up to games (Myst, for example) and the real programs. Programs in the form of HyperCard stacks were sold, they had their own name – stekver. In computer magazines and catalogs of software products there were corresponding sections.
In the form of stacks magazines were published. I remember 68000 (based on the numeric index of the Motorola processor used in Macs and Lisa). Interactive magazine with catalogs, articles and reviews, with advertisements. To us in hands numbers of this magazine got on diskettes, whether it was free – I do not know. Most likely not.
It was like the Internet, only local. In the development team of the first web browser, CERN used the HyperCard ideas, which was done by Robert Cayo, who, among other things, was also an experienced HyperCard developer.
HyperCard is one of the sources of the Internet.
HyperCard did not provide a way out in the big world, nor the ability to communicate directly with oneself like in all corners of the world. They say that it was this defect that ruined him. But this function could be added, there was not any technical or other objective reason that made this impossible.
The Internet was not there yet, and in the throes of the emerging means of communication of personal computers were still very expensive, imperfect and, among other things, just unfamiliar to the author of the program. Bill Atkinson came to them a few years later, no longer in Apple.
The first contact
The HyperCard got to the user in the form of several 3.5-inch floppy disks (with a capacity of 800 K). It was distributed free of charge. A powerful marketing machine Apple has worked on its promotion, it was announced at the summer MacWorld in 1987 in Boston, and it did not go unnoticed. Since that moment, HyperCard has been shipped with every Mac purchased.
Very quickly copies of the program appeared at Apple dealers and at user groups who willingly shared it with all comers. The program was copied from acquaintances.
By the beginning of 1988, HyperCard had millions of users. Imagine yourself as one of them. At the top is a screenshot of the screen that the user saw who opened HyperCard or his document named Home.
Depending on the mood and personal preferences, someone started with Help and Intro, someone opened everything. The impressions were different, there were also those who did not understand anything.
Segregation on the level of intelligence
And was in the HyperCard somewhat unusual for the Mac's programs feature, almost like in the game: the user was given “access level”, depending on from which he was allowed to perform certain actions.
However, the level of access was established by the user himself. If, of course, I knew about its existence and understood what it is. Nobody hid anything, the information was available in the program's help. But not everyone looks in Help.
The level could be selected in the settings, the screenshot of which is shown above. This is the most common card. A user with a level of five (Scripting) could see how its functionality is arranged. Assigning yourself as a fifth-level user could be right here.
True fifth-level users made it easier, from anywhere in the application, to do this, they had to open the Message Box (the command to open it was in the menu, and there was specified the equivalent keyboard combination , Command-M), type “set userlevel to 5” in this Box and press Enter or Return. It took a second.
By default, the user was assigned level 2, allowing to wander around the cards of all stacks, and to enter and edit text in text fields.
The first two levels are the most secure for the HyperCard environment. To use other people's developments, the second level is ideal.
The third level turned HyperCard cards into a canvas for drawing, not limited by any prohibitions or conventions. Can you imagine what an inquisitive researcher could have turned into a sample of the stacks at the age of 3-4 years, if the level was 3 or higher?
The fourth allowed to make structural changes and create their own objects, the fifth allowed everything.
Programming for all  In early 1988, there were practically no third-party stacks, only those that came with the HyperCard kit. The clinical picture looked like this: first the person just walked and looked. I tried different stacks, added my own and other important addresses to the address book, entered plans into the weekly – and started to use it.
And when a person starts to use something every day, he immediately has a desire to change something. Add a field, record frequently repeating actions in the form of a script and bind them to the button, remove something, change, rearrange …
Surely you've come across something like this: are you satisfied with all the iOS or Android programs that you use everyday? Well, you want to change something!
To ask about this program developers is almost useless. They are not up to it.
The development of commercial software is a complex technological process, many people are involved in it. Among them are those who are responsible for the development and success of the product. And plans, strategic and tactical. Lists of required improvements and improvements from hundreds, and even thousands of items. The decision-making procedure, alas, excludes randomness and spontaneity. What causes mass dissatisfaction, as a rule, falls into these lists.
Not always. The software industry lives by the rules that are written in blood. Something in them would not hurt to change, but without new bloodshed this will not happen.
And HyperCard allowed anyone to look under the hood, make changes and try them out, plunging into this fascinating business deeper and deeper …  The HyperCard stacks were probably the world's first open source software.
At the end of 1988, the first programs written in HyperCard appeared on the market. Among them was the catalog of HyperCard stacks with information, where and for how many they could be bought. Many of the heroes of this catalog, without the slightest exaggeration, could be called programs.
In the 1988 catalog there were only about 300 stacks. But, as you have already understood, the process of absorbing a person with this virus took time.
Journey to the Stars of Los Gatos
When the Macintosh project evolved from a continuous crisis and workloads into normal normal work, Bill Atkinson, author of QuickDraw and MacPaint, what will happen next. He had an idea – a tablet communications computer with a graphical interface, MagicSlate (Slate – slate).
But he could not convince the Apple executives of the need for MagicSlate.
Three years of continuous work and stresses all affected: he fell into in depression. I did not work for two months and did nothing while sitting at home.
In the end, he tried LSD. He made a journey (LSD-trip).
He suddenly realized how the stars in the sky (thermonuclear giant essences) and lanterns on the streets of Los Gatos are disunited. Even if they wanted to communicate, they could not. Between them hundreds of light years.
Similarly, people of different specialties. Each of them knows a lot and important, but they do not hear each other and do not understand each other. Physicists, musicians, doctors …
Knowledge is impossible without information, wisdom is impossible without knowledge – as a programmer, it can help spread knowledge. He understood what should be the tool for creating applications for everyone. Who can use, without intermediary, any person with their views on life.
Cards with text and graphics, smart navigation between them, a graphic tool that is always at hand – and the idea of HyperCard was born. And, without coming to the creation, he immediately proceeded to the realization of narcotic delirium.
But just in case, I will warn: LSD is banned in Russia, given up to 3 years for the minimum dose. And although the horrors that are told about him are not scientifically confirmed, he can cause serious complications even with a single admission.