Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters

[1115] Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters
Front Cover, Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters. The Waite Group 1989.

In 1987 Apple released an application called Hypercard. Once I saw Hypercard, my life changed. The inbuilt programming language, HyperTalk, combined with the UI/database made it extremely easy to write small applications. Many of the features of HyperCard predate the web, but I believe heavily influenced Tim Berners-Lee in the HTTP/HTML design he was perfecting at the same time.

At about the same time, there was no world-wide web as we know it today. Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and large online services such as CompuServe ruled the roost. To work with these systems, you used a terminal emulator, XModem/ZModem downloads and command line systems. CompuServe created a MacOS UI over this complex interface.

In 1988 Brian Musker, IT Manager of the Australian Submarine Corporation, was also a HyperCard fan – and wanted to know if you could write an interface over complex terminal-based systems. Born from this was a great relationship between both companies and the building of a career (in my case)

Another side benefit were some postings into the HyperCard forum in CompuServe. Mitchell Waite, of the Waite Group asked me if I was interested in writing a chapter for a book they were planning “Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters”. Mitch asked me to write a front end to CompuServe using HyperCard.

I have never written anything of note in my life. My english sucks. Blame a poor country school education! By 1989 I had completed the HyperCard “stack” with scripting – and had written the text that described what the stack was doing. Naming the application Chauffeur, it was meant to assist you through the complex process of CompuServe.

My fee was all of US$500 for this project, and personally paid about AU$1200 in CompuServe fees! The contract I signed was longer than the chapter I submitted.

[1116] Page 420, Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters
Page 420 of the Chauffeur chapter

[1117] From Pacific Computer Weekly, May 1989
[1118] TOTHM: Adelaide Advertiser