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HyperCard Help (1.x stacks ported to 2.x)

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[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us
hc_help.sea_.hqx (538.35 KB)
For System 1 - 5 - Mac OS 9

   My first wife, Carol Nasby Kaehler, died in 1991 of diabetes. She had the priviledge of being on the Macintosh team, and she wrote the original Macintosh Owners Guide. It's the thin little book that floats down beside a Mac in contrast to three heavy IBM PC manuals in an early TV commercial. Carol built the beautiful HyperCard Help System, that was included in version 1.0 of HyperCard. You can download the original Help System converted for use in HyperCard 2.1 or HyperCard 2.3. She also wrote HyperCard Power (Addison-Wesley, 1988, out of print).


   I was chief advisor to author Bill Atkinson during his creation of HyperCard at Apple. The card above is from the Help System, authored by my first wife, Carol. The Help System was the most complex application written in HyperCard during development, and it drove many design decisions. HyperCard is a very flexible system, allowing a wide range of people to create their own applications. It was the first of a category of end user programmable systems, such as Visual Basic.

   In the Fall of 1985, the protype of Hypercard, called WildCard, held all of its stacks in a single large file. Work on the Help System told us that a stack needed to have more than one background (kind of card) in it. Bill Atkinson estimated that adding multiple backgrounds would take six months, and was really dreading doing it. One day I realized that if Bill simply called each 'stack' in the big file a 'background', and added some simple code to load a new file when changing stacks, he would have multiple backgrounds. During an outdoor birthday party, I drew pictures on a napkin to explain my proposal. Bill got very excited, and two days later multiple backgrounds were working.

   - excerpt adapted from Ted Kaehler's personal website

Architecture: 68k

Requires HyperCard 2.1 or later. This stack is already included with the retail set of disks for HyperCard 1.x.