I had an odd realization the other day that the early popular applications on the iPhone such as Facebook and Gas.app are really the network equivalent of old hypercard applications mixed with a Gopher-style interface. Oddly enough, long forgotten user interfaces from 10+ years ago are inspiration for the new rage of mobile apps.

We’re at an interesting crossroads of UI development at this point. Do we basically cede control of the way our applications look and behave to the excellent but limited user interface that Apple provides for many of their applications, or do we try to innovate on the user interface to keep some uniqueness to our user experience?

2 Responses to “iphone apps: hypercard meets gopher?”

  1. on 22 Dec 2008 at 12:25guido hick

    Hypercard was great and completely open as a programming platform. What about an iphone port of hypercard? Do you think this to be useful, feasable, likely to happen one day?

  2. on 09 Nov 2009 at 10:10Ianf

    Sure thing, there WILL BE a HyperCard/ equivalent [hypertext authoring tool] app on the iPhone… whether by Apple or third party is another matter (my wishful thought is that the coming iTablet will have that as its KillerApp ;-)) HyperCard and iPhone/Touch are practically made for one another: see my earlier comment elsewhere: http://blog.marxy.org/2008/04/i-miss-hypercard.html?showComment=1224964620000#c1748302318384903748

    Observe, that, since 2008, a Texan company TileStack.com has been claiming to have [in effect] recreated the HyperCard authoring environment on the web[*]. Only they’re NOT QUITE THERE yet. The app certainly shows promise, but, judging by their rush to market what is still a highly buggy and limited-instruction-set environment, with lots of unimplemented HyperTalk features and apparent lack of persistent vision, I’m not holding my breath just yet.

    Current TileStack webapp (v. 0.8) is much too imperfect to be called a bonafide authoring tool for the iPhone. Simply put, there’s much more to native AppStore apps than what simple mechanical conversion from HC-, or TileStack files can deliver. For one mouseClicks, so self-evident on desktops, really have no place on an iPhone. Any true authoring app for that platform MUST offer at least a rudimentary set of native Cocoa Touch functions such as swipes, button and menu-selections with a pointer the size of a fingertip, etc. Without that, and unless they are EXTREMELY SIMPLE index card-like collections with no scripted functionality above “go previous/ go next” buttons, the converted stacks will be a waste of everybody’s time.

    Because, where iPhone is concerned, nothing short of a dedicated authoring [web]app will do… you can’t get away with iPhone skins and style templates. I truly hope TileStack company realizes this SOON ENOUGH.

    [*] TileStack webapp comes complete with HyperTalk-alike scripting language called Speak, and the ability to import AND convert existing HC stacks to native AppStore apps [in a half-automatic process by the looks of it, @ US$35/pop]

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