August 9, 1987: HyperCard Released

by Chris Seibold Aug 09, 2011

Apple has overlooked a lot of potential hits over the years but one of the biggest mistakes was HyperCard.

It was a new way of managing information that relied on a note card metaphor. Users could enter information on the virtual note card and link pieces of the information to another card in the "stack." Say you entered notes from a meeting on a card. In the notes you might have referenced the presenter and his name might have been linked to a card with his bio. So you could start with one card and magically, um, surf through a wealth of information. If you remember the first Myst, you've played with a really well executed HyperCard stack. As the most thick of us can see at this point, HyperCard would have made an excellent web browser. In fact, HyperCard was a large influence on the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (or, more familiarly, HTTP).

The slickness of the program couldn't overcome the fact that it was given away free and thus generated no revenue. What could have been the first smash hit web browser among other things was introduced this month in 1987.


  • Interestingly, Apple has now begun to reproduce features that were perfected in HyperCard in the FileMaker Pro suite of applications. 

    What is even more interesting, and very frustrating for those who were avid users of HyperCard, is that these features are being dribbled out one or two at a time in major (and expensive) upgrades to FileMaker.  It shows that Apple definitely learned its lesson:  never give away a good product, and if you do, terminate it and create a new product which you can slowly rebuild into a functional clone of the good product, charging lots of money all along the way.

    Make no mistake, I like FileMaker, and I like Apple products in general, but losing HyperCard and going to FileMaker was a huge step backward in functionality and capability, and only now is FMP beginning to show some _potential_ of comparing favorably.

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