If Apple had realised HyperCard's possibilities...

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by cosmichobo, May 3, 2013.

  1. cosmichobo macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006

    I've read several times now how close HyperCard came to basically being the world's first web browser... and now just read part of an interview with John Sculley re-iterating that fact:


    If Apple had opened HyperCard up to wide area networking... If they had basically developed http/html before Tim Berners-Lee... Would anything be different?

    I'm not sure exactly what went on with the arrival of html other than that the Net got more interesting, as it was opened up into basically what HyperCard was capable of - text, images, links...

    So what I'm getting at I guess is, if a company like Apple started the WWW revolution, rather than it being something that was open platform... Would we have seen Apple become a dominant player in global communications?


  2. lostngone macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2003

    Hindsight is always 20/20.

    There were a few HyperCard clones back in the day and none of those capitalized on the idea.
  3. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I remember Hypercard very well. It was a fascinating, oddly powerful, combination of scripting language and database.

    Was Hypercard a "missed opportunity" for Apple in the 1980s?


    But its very hard for me to see how, exactly, Apple could have capitalized on the technology within Hypercard. Sure - they could have patented an HTML-like markup language, and integrated it to the existing communications protocols that powered the internet as it existed in ~ 1985.

    But I don't think that would have fundamentally changed the company's fortunes. Back in hypercard's heyday, most online access was restricted to dialup modems, BBS systems and the like. Connectivity simply wasn't the driving force in computer purchase decisions that it is today.

    Hypercard might have somewhat accelerated the process by which the internet itself became mainstream. But that wouldn't have happened if consumers and businesses had to pay Apple a $25 license fee to use hypercard. Instead we got Tim Berners Lee, Marc Andreesen and a bunch of other people to give it to us for free.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the internet was too far into its infancy to use an existing technology like hypercard. That is no one, including Berners-Lee really had any idea what was going to come of this
  5. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

    But I prefer Atkinson's perpective as HyperCard's developer to that of Sculley.
  6. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    What I'm wondering is, if Apple had added WAN capabilities to HyperCard, indeed making it basically a web browser, 4 odd year before html... whether they could have fought off competition and really made it their own...

    HyperTalk and HyperText are very similar IMO... Or at least, they are both quite simple yet powerful languages... (Ok, HyperTalk is better)

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