HyperCard’s role in bringing hypertext and connected notes to us

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole after reading Steven Johnson’s mention of HyperCard, and how it brought the ability to create linked notes/cards to create knowledge stores.

A bit more history:

Edit: and of course the people at Xerox did it first.


Gosh Hypercard! I think I even tried some hyper-linking options in it.

Great memories.



HyperCard was such a cool app. I had a riot playing with it… having a teddy bear jump up and down on a bed. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:There was SO much you could do with it. Just scratched the surface though. Is that company still around. It wasn’t something Apple came up with, was it?

I miss HyperCard. :heartbeat:

I was also a fan of SuperCard which would also convert HyperCard projects into SuperCard.

I see they’re still around but I’m not sure what kind of support they have nowadays. Sadly, it hasn’t been updated for Catalina or Big Sur. Its future is in doubt.



1 Like

Just for perspective (and this is discussed in the history page linked above):

HyperCard was invented by Atkinson in 1987.

The Web was invented two years after HyperCard, in 1989.

IBM PS/2s were new, and 80386 processors were current.

Hard drives were about 40 megabytes.

Perl was new.

Tinderbox was first released in 2002.

Curio was first released in 2004.

By today’s standards and expectations, HyperCard would probably fail (hence its being discontinued 20 years ago). But at the time, it was something quite different.

Let’s not also forget that Xerox didn’t come up with the idea of hypertext. It was first proposed by Vannevar Bush in a 1945 paper entitled “As we may think” (can be read here, in case anyone wants to read a bit of history).


I was just referring to their being first in implementing a hypertext PKM program on their D-Machine.

I think the concept of hypertext and linked text probably predates Bush as well. To wit; these excerpts from the Wikipedia article about Zettelkasten.

Antonin Sertillanges’ book The Intellectual Life (1921) outlines in chapter 7 a version of the zettelkasten method…

He also recommends a “certain number of tagged slips, guide-cards, so as to number each category visibly after having numbered each slip, in the corner or in the middle”. He goes on to suggest creating a catalog or index of subjects with divisions and subdivisions and recommends the “very ingenious system”, the decimal system, for organizing one’s research…

Organization of Intellectual Work: Practical Recipes for Use by Students of All Faculties and Workers by Paul Chavigny [fr][12] [1918]

1 Like

The price is a wee bit high. But does that app bring back good memories.

I’m slowly reading my archive of CD-ROMs and converting important documents while I still have a drive and machine that can read the media. Lo and behold I have both hypercard and supercard projects there. I may ressurect an old machine to see if they need to be converted into something else. I suspect not but I’ve set them aside for now until I figure that out.

1 Like

There’s a video on the SuperCard site showing how to run Mojave in a virtual machine to run their 32-bit software. Should apply to HyperCard too, I would think.


1 Like

Astoundingly high, especially since it is 32-bit and won’t run on current macOS.

Wow! Does it only run on antiquated Macs?

HyperCard was fun. Told a lot of people, often kids, that they can learn to do a lot more with their 'puters.

I seem to recall HyperStudio too.

There is also LiveCode which has been around for about 20 years (used to be called Runtime Revolution). https://livecode.com They do have a 10 day trial. About 6 or 7 years ago they did a kickstarter for the basic version to be open source (they also had other paid versions). The kickstarter was successful (~600,000+ USD). They recently went back to all paid versions. Seems that many of their customers switched to the free open source version. The open source project didn’t have many people contributing code, etc. There is still a version on GitHub somewhere but LiveCode Ltd does not maintain it. The company has had many models for monetization including kickstarters to add features. Anyway, it’s a Hypercard clone with many advancements.


Thanks! If I progress to the point of deciding Ineed these files still I’ll look into that.

1 Like

I’m always astounded by the number of cool software applications that I’ve never heard of!

1 Like

Nice memories. I used Hypercard from 1989-1990 to illustrate visual info about vision. May have tried SuperCard, can’t remember now. Smalltalk (Mac , Windows & UNIX) and Pop-11 (UNIX) in the 1990s. Each one unique and old.