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HyperCard is an application program created by Bill Atkinson for Apple Computer, Inc. that was among the first successful hypermedia systems before the World Wide Web. It combines database capabilities with a graphical, flexible, user-modifiable interface.[1] HyperCard also features HyperTalk, written by Dan Winkler, a programming language for manipulating data and the user interface. Some HyperCard users employed it as a programming system for Rapid Application Development of applications and databases.

HyperCard was originally released in 1987 for $49.95, and was included with all new Macs sold at the time.[2] It was withdrawn from sale in March 2004, although by then it had not been updated for many years. HyperCard runs natively only in Mac OS versions 9 or earlier, but it can still be used in Mac OS X's Classic mode on PowerPC based machines (G5 and earlier). The last functional native HyperCard authoring environment is Classic mode in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) on PowerPC based machines (although it can be run on modern Intel-based machines by using an emulation layer such as SheepShaver).



HyperCard has been described as a "software erector set." It integrates a software development environment with a run-time environment in a simple, easily accessible way. The tools required to write an application, principally the creation and configuration of screen objects like buttons, fields and menus, are part and parcel with the ability to add programmed functionality to those objects. When designing and programming an application one may contemplate both structure and capability within a single well defined arena. That one could personally design and implement a custom application uniquely suited to one's own needs revolutionized the very concept of what software was. Instead of trying to force a particular task onto an Excel spreadsheet, for example, a custom solution may be authored, modified and updated as needed, in a very short time, without functional compromise and with a personalized interface. "Empowerment" became a catchword as this possibility was embraced by the Macintosh community, as was the phrase "programming for the rest of us", that is, anyone, not just professional programmers.

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