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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2001. Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Hypercard and the Web 

Following up on my Hypercard + MORE post, I didn't make the connection. This may take a few tries. What if you could design, create and edit a stack in a single outline? That's what I have working. Instead of the runtime being Hypercard, the runtime is the Web.

The Web is a descendant of Hypercard but I've never seen a developer toolkit that made programming the Web as easy as it was to program in Hypercard. I am now there, after seven-plus years of work, I'm actually beyond it, imho the outliner and Hypercard should have been integrated in the 80s. We didn't have good interapplication communication, and while networking was ubiquitous on the early Mac (a major innovation), the programming APIs were horrendous. That's why Hypercard didn't become the Web.

Why is programming a stack in an outline such a win? You're editing at a higher level. I can see all the text in one window. Moving things around, while tedious working in HC itself, is a breeze in an outliner. Give this tool to a writer who loves writing, and all of a sudden the complexity lifts, for the user, because it's lifted for the writer. If the writer is confused, the writing is confused. If the writer had to labor too much, the interface is laborious. Hypercard was all about user interface construction. So the quality of the resulting UI is the way you evaluate it.

(BTW, it's easy to forget that Macs of the mid-80s didn't have the memory, disk and CPU speed of today's honkers. Today I have lots of room to put a whole UI in a single outline, and the computer performs very well while I'm editing it. I doubt if this would have worked so well on a typical 80's computer.)

Now of course Hypercard had something that the Web doesn't (and should). Lineto-moveto. I hate tables. If Microsoft ever wants to upgrade the Web instead of fighting it, let me know. Two big things to do: 1. Add vector graphics that are so simple that HTML coders can grok it in three screens. 2. Upgrade the text editor in the browser to at least be as good as WordPad. I would be happy to give Microsoft 1/4 of my time over the next year if they agreed to let me drive the development of these two things. No charge. Free as in it costs you nothing.

More free advice 

Thoughts arising from the discussion re Jake's outliner story..

Some people take parenthood in stride, you can have a conversation with them without them insisting on being right about everything. These people make good friends, and I believe, good parents. If they can listen to and enjoy other adults, even people who are different from them, there's a chance that they'll treat their children with respect and take good care of them, and enjoy them for who they are.

Another thought -- Jake is an adult now, 32 years old, and when you talk about him as a child without including the adult Jake in the conversation, you're showing disrespect. Does Jake-The-Man think Jake-The-Kid (and his Mom) did the right thing? That's for him to decide, as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe the know-it-all parents (who don't know Jake) should defer to his judgment. This "I know what's right" school of parenting is pretty horrible to be around, even for people who aren't their kids.

Miscellania Blogalia 

Yesterday's Special Vehicle was the Wienermobile. Today's is the Kissmobile.

Julian Bond's Celebrity Blogmatch. I'm not sure how it works, but if I say something about weblogs here, I guess it shows up over there. Is it based on RSS? Julian says not yet, but maybe sooon. Can his server handle the flow? Will his page rise to the top of Daypop? What do the opinions of two bloggers matter in this crazy world we live in? And will the wienerboys show up? So many questions. BTW, the correct motto is "It's even worse than it appears."

Wired's annual call for vaporware.

Doug Kaye: "I hereby grant the new design the Doug Kaye Personal Publishing Preferences Administration User Interface Award for the week of November 19, 2001. Gold Ribbon and First Place in the competition."

WSJ: "All over the high-tech industries, a looming recession and a collapse in stock prices have forced companies to cut spending, lay off workers and slow product development and sales efforts. For Microsoft Corp., that means it is time to wrest important new markets from its weakened rivals. At the top of its target list: software for hand-held computers, online services and servers."

Seth Dillingham, a great Frontier developer, with lots of experience, is looking for work.


Last update: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 at 9:55 PM Eastern.

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