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Welcome to the HyperCard FAQ - Part 3 of 4 - Scripting
FAQ Version 1.2.2 Tuesday, Nov 18, 1997

  FAQ Version History
  Foreward for Version 1.2 

  Add your $.02 
  Copyright Info 
  Easy View and Setext 
  New in HyperCard FAQ 1.2.1
  New in HyperCard FAQ 1.2 
  New in HyperCard FAQ 1.1 
General Scripting
  How can I learn scripting? 
  Why do scripts speed up with repeated use? 
  How can I stop a script from running? 
  When should I save my script? 
  The lines in the script editor are too long. 
  Home Stack Specials 
  How can I select multiple buttons or fields? 
  Can I script menu commands? 
  How long can a variable name be? 
  Can I add color to my stacks? 
  How do I create pop-up menus on a card? 
  What is the maximum capacity of a field in HyperCard? 
  How can I get more than 30K in a field? 
  What are resources? 
  How do I install resources in my stacks? 
  How do I create a PICT resource? 
  Can I auto-compact my stacks? 
  How can I create stand-alone applications with HyperCard? 
  Save As Application Not Available 
  Standalones as HOME 
  What is Hypertext? 
  Are there programs like HyperCard for ...? 
  Where can I get the Power Tools stack? 
  How do I use QuickTime in HyperCard? 
  How do I refer to a QuickTime movie window? 
  Is it OK to install fonts in stacks? 
  I'm going to try installing the fonts anyway, do I use ResEdit? 
  What are the correct parameters for the picture command? 
  SuperCard vs. HyperCard 1 
  SuperCard vs. HyperCard 2 
  How close are HyperTalk and SuperTalk? 

  Why scripts don't work. 
  My visual effect commands don't work. 
  My userLevel won't stay at 5 (scripting). 
  Selecting text from a script doesn't work. 
  The text insertion point disappears when opening. 
  What does the padlock in the menubar mean? 
  What does "Error XXXX" mean? Error on compacting? 
  How can I script the polygon tool? 

  What's the difference between an XCMD and an XFCN? 
  Where can I find an XCMD/XFCN to do such-and-such? 
  How can I get Balloon Help in my stacks? 
  Can I test the state of a specific pixel? 
  How can I create a custom palette? 
  Palette TIP 

  Who's Peter Fleck? 

FAQ Versions
  Interim Organic FAQ v.0.0.2 by Dave Lorand released in October, 1993
  Version .04 released in November, 1993
  Version 1.0 released in 1994
  Version 1.1 released in 1995
  Slight modifications 7/20/96
  AND NOW version 1.2, released on Monday, December 9, 1996
  It's been a long, strange trip.
  Version 1.2.1 released Monday, December 23, 1996
  Have a happy HyperCard holiday and script safely.
                   SEE THE FAQ ON THE WEB!
         [Please be patient for the current version.]

Foreward for Version 1.2 

  Apple is still alive and kicking and HyperCard seems to be making a
  comeback. Me, I've delved into Macromedia Director and learned some
  things about the DOS/WINDOWS world and my own conclusion is that
  there's still nothing in the scripting/authoring world like
  Long live Bill Atkinson.

  This may be the last version of the FAQ for HC 2.x.  Rumors of HC 3.0
  are hot and heavy with folks seeing it more often than Elvis and it
  hasn't been released yet (as of this writing).  My guess is Q2 of '97.
  The FAQ addendum contains what's known in the civilized world about
  3.0. Join the mailing list or news group to keep up with the latest
  rumors or go to MacWorld or the WWDC for a preview.

  Mine was not the only FAQ in HC history -- several of us got the FAQ
  idea about the same time and Dave Lorand got tired of waiting for my
  FAQ and released the Interim Organic FAQ.  (Dave continued to help
  with the FAQ thru 1996.)  I *think* Bruce Carter was also preparing a
  FAQ and kindly sent me his archive. Seeing I didn't really understand
  the amount of work involved, everyone deferred to me.  I thought it
  would be easy.  It's not which is why this is the first big update in
  quite a while.
  I want to thank hypercarders everywhere for all of the support and
  help I've received in the process of putting this document together.

  Peter Fleck, Keeper of the HyperCard FAQ
  December 9, 1996


  A Listing of Frequently Asked Questions and Information about the
  HyperCard Programming Environment

  Part 1 is general information and a full table of contents. Part 2 is
  meant as an introduction to the HyperCard environment. Part 3 covers
  scripting. Part 4 is an addendum that covers multiple topics of more
  recent interest than the previous FAQ files.  I'm hoping to do more
  frequent updatings within the addendum.

  Current versions of the FAQ are available for anonymous ftp from


  [You'll also find links to downloading at:

  The purpose of The HyperCard FAQ is to provide information and answer
  basic questions about HyperCard; its scripting language, HyperTalk;
  and various resources and products relating to HyperCard.

  When I first released the FAQ, Apple was still bundling the "real"
  HyperCard application with new Macs, sans documentation. One of my
  goals with the FAQ was to provide some very basic documentation for
  those curious about following the HyperCard path.

  Today, Apple only includes the HyperCard Player; to script and author,
  you have to buy HyperCard and you get all the manuals.  You should
  also consider some third-party books -- check the Books section of
  this FAQ for more info.

  The HyperCard FAQ is not meant to replace the Apple manuals, or the
  excellent third party books available.

  Editorial comments are in brackets ([]). Script commands and internet
  addresses in text appear between <> (except where I forgot to use
  these conventions).

Add your $.02

  Comments, suggestions, ideas, typo lists, are welcome 
  and appreciated. [I know I didn't proof this version as well as 
  I should have.]
  I can be reached via the internet at:

Copyright Info

  This document may be copied and redistributed on the
  understanding that NO resale of this information is undertaken
  by any recipient. This means non-profit, non-commercial
  publications (user group newsletters, for example) can reprint
  the FAQ but that it cannot be used in a book or commercial
  magazine.  Individual authors who contributed to the FAQ still
  own the copyright on their material.

  Any reproduction of the information should be complete and
  entire and provide reference to the original source (i.e. the
  HYPERCARD FAQ) and the editor (Peter Fleck), and individual
  authors where directly mentioned in the text.  The editor would
  like to be informed of any reprints and would very much
  appreciate a copy of the publication.

  The editor takes no responsibility for any errors, omissions or
  misunderstandings, however induced!

Easy View and Setext

  [I have a 7500 with System 7.5.5 and Easy View still works with 
  no problems. 12/9/96]

  This document is formatted as setext. You can use the Easy View 
  structured text reader to browse the FAQ. Easy View divides the FAQ 
  into chapters and heads and has search capabilities. 
  Easy View is available for anonymous ftp 
  from <mac.archive.umich.edu> in directory /mac/util/text. 
  [Info from the Easy View Read Me]
  Easy View is an application for intelligent browsing of collections 
  of structured text files, large or small. It allows very fast access 
  by recognizing the internal structure. All of the following text 
  formats can be viewed using Easy View: 
    - setext, including TidBITS and similar publications 
    - Info-Mac, c.s.m.p, or similar digests
    - Mail collections: Internet, Navigator, Notebook, etc.
    - Text with "simple" format
    - Dictionaries
    - Plain text
  Written by M. Akif Eyler, Bilkent University, 06533 Ankara, Turkey.
  e-mail: eyler@trbilun.bitnet          eyler@bcc.bilkent.edu.tr
    More information can be obtained from the designer Ian Feldman   
    <setext-list@random.se>, or by sending "setext" alone
    on the subject line, no quotes, to <fileserver@tidbits.com>

New in HyperCard FAQ 1.2.2

  Updated "HyperCard Info Resources" (Part 2) to reflect the new 
  mailing list. Also some other minor updating of that section.
  Added some new info from Paul Foraker about the resizing windows.
  (Part 4).
  Corrected some errors.

New in HyperCard FAQ 1.2.1

  Jacque Gay reported some 8-bit characters in the text which caused
  her problems when uploading the FAQ files to AOL.  I think I've
  removed them via the Convert to ASCII... extension in BBEdit.

  Added "Where did the Button Tasks button go?" in part 4, Bugs

  Added "How do I extract my original stack from a stand-alone?" in
  part 4, Misc. section.

  Added "How can I get my HyperCard stack on the web?" in part 4,
  Misc. section.

  Added Mark Gregory's HyperCard tutorial site:
  <http://www.chepd.mq.edu.au/boomerang/teachhc/> in part 2, The
  Basics, "HyperCard Info Resources".

  Added short blurb about my home page in the Introduction section.

  Added Jacque Gay's name to the people I thank in Acknowledgements.

  Added Peter Brigham's name to the people I thank in Acknowledgements
  for his "FAQ to stack" work.

  Updated info on Michael Swaine's HyperPub publication in part 2, The
  Basics, "HyperCard Info Resources". There is a web site: 

New in HyperCard FAQ 1.2

  Added a new Part 1 which contains a full table of contents and general

  Part 4, The Addendum is all new.

  Updated URLs and put them in standard format.

  Added some URLs for downloading x-things.

  Updated titles and ISBNs for Winkler's, Kamins's, & DeVoto's _The
  Book_ and Goodman's Complete Handbook.

  New introductory section.

  Updated "Are there programs like HyperCard for ...?" with new information
  about Oracle Media Objects, MetaCard, and HyperCard IIGS

  Added info about TrueColor and OpenStack.

  Did some other stuff I can't remember.

New in HyperCard FAQ 1.1 (1995)

  What's the background domain? What's the card domain?
  How many stacks can I have open at once?
  Will my HC 2.2 stack work with earlier versions of HC?
  My color standalone has no color!
  Can I add color to my stacks? [Moved from HC Scripting FAQ]
  My visual effect commands don't work. [Moved from HC Scripting FAQ]
  HyperCard doesn't work on my PowerMac.
  What is the merryxmas virus?
  What is the HC virus?
  Reporting bugs and suggesting improvements.

  Minor changes, additions, or updates were made to the 
  following FAQs
  Where Can I purchase HyperCard?
  HyperCard Info Resources
  Where can I find HyperCard stacks? (ftp info)
  What is the HyperCard Player?
  What is AppleScript?
  What is Home?
  Books on HyperCard
  Book Reviews
  HyperCard Products and Related Applications

General Scripting

How can I learn scripting?

  by Michael Nieckoski <0005392263@mcimail.com>
  There are 4 ways that I suggest to learn basic (and beyond) 
  1) Read two or three good reference books and keep them at your 
  side. Danny Goodman's _The Complete HyperCard Handbook_ is a great 
  one to start with. [The documentation that comes with the retail 
  HyperCard package is also an excellent resource.] 
  2)Take apart other stacks. There is nothing like learning from 
  something that you know works! Look at the scripts throughout the 
  entire HC hierarchy (button, field, card, background, stack, 
  Home, Hypercard). Use your reference books to explain the commands 
  you don't recognize. When you see how things work in the stack, you 
  can change the variables to see how the scripts might work in your 
  own stacks. 
  3) Use the Message Watcher (type "mw" into the message box on any 
  unlocked stack). The Message Watcher is usually used for de-bugging 
  stacks, but it is also a good way to see what commands are given how 
  they effect the stack operation. The Message Watcher will give you 
  ideas on which commands are used, how frequently, and where in the 
  hierarchy they are placed. 
  4) Stay in touch with all of the electronic support groups 
  available. There are people there that can answer most of your 
  questions. Don't forget, they've been where you are -- and not so 
  long ago! 
  Keep in mind that HyperTalk is a very intuitive language. If you 
  want to go to a card called "ThisCard," the script syntax is: go to 
  card "ThisCard" -- which is elegantly simple. So often I have 
  stumbled on to the correct command by simply picking the one or two 
  words that clearly describe what I want to do. 
  [In addition to Michael's ideas, use the Debugger (v.2.0 and later) 
  and follow a script line by line and try to understand what's going 
  on. If you purchased HyperCard, explore the Readymade Buttons and 
  Fields Both have interesting and innovative scripts. The Power Tools 
  stack also has good example scripts.] 

Why do scripts speed up with repeated use?

  by William J. Brown-Stone <brownw@IBM.CL.MSU.EDU>, Dan 
  Crow <d.n.crow@open.ac.uk>, Juan Ingles <ou90392@deere.com> 
  Scripts are computer programs written in the HyperTalk 
  programming language. Before version 2.0 of HyperCard, these 
  scripts were "interpreted". This means that HyperCard examined each 
  line of the script in turn, and converted it into the Macintosh 
  machine code before executing it. The conversion process 
  is relatively slow, so, as each line had to be converted every time 
  it was used, scripts ran fairly slowly. 
  In HyperCard version 2.0 and later, the first time a script is run, 
  it is compiled. This involves HyperCard converting all of the lines 
  of the script into a more compact internal representation of the 
  script. This process takes some time to perform, but once the script 
  is in the internal format, interpreting it a line at a time is much 
  quicker than interpreting the original script. 
  Thus, the first time a script is executed it runs slowly, as it is 
  compiled into the internal form (technically known as 
  intermediate code). Subsequent executions of the script run 
  much faster, as HyperCard interprets the intermediate code 
  rather than the HyperTalk script. 
  The compiled version of the handler will be retained in memory until 
  you quit HyperCard or until HyperCard runs out of memory to compile 
  additional handlers. When the latter happens, HyperCard purges 
  one or more previously compiled handlers to acquire 
  additional space. If the purged handlers are called again, they will 
  need to be compiled again. Because of the way this works, a 2MB 
  memory partition for HyperCard generally results in optimum 
  script execution speed because that is enough memory to hold most 
  scripts in memory without purging and recompiling every time a new 
  script is called. 
  What the incremental compiler does should not be confused with what
  a "true compiler" does, which is create machine language program
  code. That kind of compiling is done to produce XCMDs/XFCNs and is
  what you get from CompileIt! from Royal Software and from C or
  Pascal compilers.

  The incremental compiler goes through the process of checking the 
  handler for syntax errors and building a table to library routines 
  used by the handler. As long as the handler does not change (which 
  causes it to be recompiled) and the compiled version is still in 
  memory, the error checking doesn't have to be done repeatedly and 
  the table of library routines is still good. 
  Scripts can be "primed", which is useful when you have a stack with 
  handlers that are dependent on timing (like animation). The trick is 
  to call your handlers one time before hand so that they are 
  compiled. The best time is usually at startup or on opencard. To 
  keep your handlers from executing when you prime them you can either 
  set a global or pass a parameter that tells the handler not to 
    on startup --priming method 1 
      global Primed
      put false into Primed --start priming ExampleHandler 
      get Examplefunction () -- finished 
      put true into Primed 
    end startup
    on OpenCard --priming method 2
      ExampleHandler empty,empty,true 
      get Examplefunction (empty,empty,true)
    end OpenCard
    on ExampleHandler x,y,DoPrime 
      if DoPrime is true 
      then exit ExampleHandler --method 1 
      global Primed -- method 2
      if Primed is not true 
      then exit ExampleHandler 
      --handler code goes here.... 
    end ExampleHandler
    function Examplefunction x,y,DoPrime 
      global Primed --method 1
      if Primed is not true then return empty -- method 1 
      if DoPrime is true then return empty -- method 2
      --function code goes here.... 
    end Examplefunction

How can I stop a script from running?

  Command-period (.) will stop a script unless the cantAbort property 
  is set to true. 
  Command-option-period (.) will break into the Debugger.

When should I save my script?

  Modifications to a script MUST be saved before the script will use 
  them. The easiest way to save and return to your stack is to press 
  the Enter key (not return) which closes the Script Editor window and 
  saves. If you want to leave the Script open, choose the save command 
  from the file menu (or type command s) before you try to run the 
  If you leave a script editor window open without saving, HyperCard 
  will run the last saved version. The user is not notified. If you 
  set a debug checkpoint in the script, HyperCard will switch to the 
  debug mode (debug checkpoints don't have to be saved) and warn you 
  that the script has changed. If you continue running the script, it 
  will run the last saved version. 

The lines in the script editor are too long.

  Use an option-return to split a HyperTalk command over more than a 
  single line. A character that looks like an "L" turned on its side 
  will appear. 
  You can break a command line just about anywhere except within 
  quoted text. 

Home Stack Specials

  Following are help and utility scripts in the Home stack script of 
  HyperCard 2.1. Many of them also work on previous versions (and I'm 
  assuming there available in 2.2). Try them from the message box. 
    help <topic> - Opens online help and searches for topic.
    hyperTalk <topic> - Opens HyperTalk help and 
                        searches for the topic.
    nav - opens palette navigator
    c - Opens Card Info dialog 
    b - Opens Background Info dialog
    s - Opens Stack Info dialog
    mw - opens Message Watcher
    vw - opens Variable Watcher
    se - use to set script editor font and script editor font size
    ss <pattern>,<stackname> - searches all scripts of 
                               stackname for pattern
    xy - puts mouse coordinates in message box 

How can I select multiple buttons or fields?

  HyperCard will only allow you to select one button or field at a 
  time. However, you can make multiple selections through scripting or 
  use the Super Grouper part of the Power Tools 

Can I script menu commands?

  Use the doMenu command. For example, to delete a card through a 
  script use: 
    doMenu "Delete Card"
  Make sure the text in quotations exactly matches the menu command 
  you are accessing. If the menu command contains an ellipsis (...), 
  you must include it and use three periods -- not the ellipsis 

How long can a variable name be?

  According to Winkler and Kamins in _HyperTalk 2.2: The Book_, 
  comments and blank lines are stripped before runtime and make no 
  difference in speed, and short variable names also have no impact on 
  speed. Both of these are listed as myths on pages 49. And 
  longDescriptiveVariableNames do make program code so much 
  more readable and understandable, for yourself 6 months to a year 
  from when the code was written and for anyone trying to learn from 
  your code. 

Can I add color to my stacks?

  You can add color PICT images to HyperCard using the picture XCMD 
  that comes with HyperCard. [See the 'What are the correct parameters 
  for the picture command?' question in this FAQ] A borderless picture 
  can be added that looks like it is part of the card. Clicking on the 
  picture sends the <mouseDownInPicture> and 
  <mouseUpInPicture> messages. 
  Using the QuickTime XCMD that is part of the QuickTime Tools stack 
  is another method. A movie can be borderless and does send messages 
  when clicked (<mouseDownInMovie> and <mouseUpInMovie>). 
  If you have HyperCard 2.2, you have the Color Tools stack which 
  allows colored buttons, colored fields (but not text), 
  colored backgrounds and importing colored pictures that can be on 
  either the card or background layer. It is slow and there are 
  limitations such as colored pictures having to use the system 
  palette. But it's very easy to use and great for basic color work. 
  This stack uses the AddColor XCMD. Beyond basic use, it's fully 
  scriptable and Color Tools includes documentation. 
  AddMotion II, (bundled with HyperCard 2.2 and 2.3) gives HyperCard 
  color capability in the form of color animations. [AddMotion is 
  considered to be VERY buggy. If you work with it, save often.] 
  TrueColor from Alain Stadler:
  [No experience with this product.]
  InColor from Royal Software. This is a commercial product that 
  consistently gets good reviews. (Royal bought Heizer Software.)
  QuickColor Library by Harry Alloul ($10 shareware). I'm looking for a
  review of this.  Fairly new as of late 1996. Very nice web site (if a
  bit slow).
  Web: http://www.netinfo.fr/objectivesw/
  email: objectivesw@dial.oleane.com  

  The Colorizing HC XCMD is an alternative to Apple's AddColor XCMD. 
  It's available via ftp. [See Part 1 of the FAQ for info on where 
  it's available.] 
  HyperGasp from Caliban Software is a commercial product used for 
  multimedia creation in HyperCard including color. [Part 1 of the FAQ 
  has more info on HyperGasp.] 
  Also available for adding color to HyperCard (and I'm afraid I don't 
  have more info): 
    HyperCard Color
  Dr Nigel Perry <N.Perry@massey.ac.nz> has developed the 
  following externals for color buttons and color text (these are Dr. 
  Perry's descriptions): 
    Pictoids Package - Any-shape you like colour buttons 
      based on pictures (PICT's) or movies (QuickTime) 
      i.e. a button with a movie "label" is entirely possible...
      Colour Text Package - colour text in fields
    Available: most archive sites (Pictoids is now v1.2 - check) and
    Cost: postcard for personal & educational use to non-shareware 
      authors add a shareware fee waiver for me if you're a 
      shareware author commercial use etc. can be licensed.
    My son gets postcards :-)

How do I create pop-up menus on a card?

  HyperCard 2.2 now has this ability.
  There are also several externals available. Two are FullHPop by 
  Frederic Rinaldi and HierPopUp by Jon Pugh. 

What is the maximum capacity of a field in HyperCard?

  by William J. Brown-Stone (aka Bill Brown) <brownw@IBM.CL.MSU.EDU>
  I've received what I think are sufficient requests to warrant 
  posting this and the following related message to the list once 
  In writing this I have gone through all of the HYPERCRD list 
  messages I was able to collect about the topic. I have tried to 
  include the essence of those messages but, in the interest of 
  brevity, in many instances I have not included the full content. 
  Even so, brevity is not my long suit, as I am afflicted with 
  terminal wordiness, and the following is quite long. 
  There are two different capacity limits for fields in HyperCard. 
  1. The maximum number of characters you can put into a field is 
  30,000. [In _HyperTalk 2.2: The Book_ 
  (Winkler-Kamins-Devoto), 29,996 is stated as the limit. PF] 
  This capacity limit is in force no matter what font or font size you 
  are using for the field. If you attempt to put more than 30,000 
  characters into a field, HyperCard simply will not allow it. When 
  you are typing into a field and exceed this limit, HyperCard 
  displays the following message: 
    Can't type more than 30,000 characters into a field.
  If you exceed the limit while pasting text into a field you get the 
  following message: 
    The clipboard is too big to paste.
  If you exceed the limit with a HyperTalk command from the message 
  box or within a script you get the following 
    Fields can't hold more than 30000 characters.
    [In 2.2 the message is: Fields and buttons can't hold 
     more than 30000 characters. PF]
  2. There is a maximum limit of 32,786 on the total height (in 
  pixels) of the text in a field. You can calculate the 
  TotalTextHeight of a field: 
    TotalTextHeight = 
    number of lines in the field * the textHeight of the field
  It is important to note here that when a line of text is long enough 
  to wrap onto two lines of the field, that line counts as two lines 
  in the above calculation. That is, if the text in a field wraps, you 
  cannot use the HyperCard command line <the number of lines in field 
  x> to get the correct number of lines to do the TotalTextHeight 
  calculation. This will be discussed further below. 
  For the purposes of this discussion, we will refer to this type of 
  field capacity limit as the FieldTextHeightLimit. To put a slightly 
  different spin on the problem, you can think about the 
  FieldTextHeightLimit as being a limit on the number of lines of text 
  you can put into field, given the textHeight of the field. You can 
  calculate the MaximumNumberOfLines: 
     MaximumNumberOfLines = 32,768 / textHeight of the field
  Again, this is only a correct statement if the text lines don't wrap 
  in the field. 
  Since this is an undocumented feature, when you exceed the 
  FieldTextHeightLimit for a field, there are, as you might suspect, 
  no overt or direct error messages. The only indication that you have 
  exceeded the fieldTextHeightLimit is that the gray area of the 
  scroll bar goes white, the same as when there are not enough lines 
  in the field to make scrolling necessary. 
        [When playing with this 'feature,' I did get the following
         This field contains text whose total height is greater
         than 32000 pixels. You may encounter problems while 
         scrolling or editing it. Try cutting or deleting several 
         lines of text.
         However, I didn't get it consistently. PF]
  Note: To exceed the FieldTextHeightLimit requires a great number of 
  text lines and/or a large font with a moderate number of text lines 
  be put into a field. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that any 
  field where this problem is likely to occur will be a scrolling 
  field. The limit exists for non-scrolling fields as well, but none 
  of the discussion leading up the writing of this FAQ document has 
  focused on non-scrolling fields. The only time that the problem 
  would be likely to arise for non-scrolling fields would be when text 
  is put into the field from a script and the solution to the problem 
  would be the same no matter what style of field is used (see below). 
  When the FieldTextHeightLimit has been exceeded, the scroll bar will 
  not work properly. It's behavior is sufficiently bizarre to defy 
  succinct description. Since it is a situation to be avoided or 
  corrected as soon as possible, there is little need to dwell on it 
  For those of you who yearn for complete understanding and the full 
  experience of life and want to experiment with this odd behavior, 
    1. Type a few short lines into a field. [Increasing the font 
       size to something outlandish like 72 points will produce 
       the effect more quickly. PF]
    2. Assuming the field is a card field named "Notes", type 
       the following into the message box:
         put cd fld "Notes" after cd field "Notes"
    3. Press the Return key repeatedly until the scroll bar 
       goes white
   4.  Play.
  After the scroll bar has turned white you can apparently continue to 
  put text into the field but I've observed some strange cursor 
  behavior while doing this and I don't think it's prudent to rely on 
  being able to store additional text in such a 
  To restore the scroll bar to it's normal functioning, you must 
  delete some number of lines from the field so as to reduce the total 
  number to or below maximumNumberOfLines or, stated another 
  way, reduce the TotalTextHeight to less than 32,768. 
  [_The Complete HyperCard Handbook 2.2_ (Goodman) says: These 
  limits are imposed by the TextEdit routines in the Macintosh 
  Toolbox, upon which HyperCard must rely for localization 
  purposes. PF] 

How can I get more than 30K in a field?

  by Geoff Duncan <gaduncan@halcyon.com>
  HyperCard fields are limited to 32K (30,000 characters or 32,786 
  total height, in pixels, of the text) and there's no way to increase 
  that limit. However, there are several workarounds that let you 
  manipulate more than 32K worth of data, or even make a field "seem" 
  like it holds more than 32K: 
  1) Use multiple fields. You can either split the information into 
  chunks and store each chunk in a different field, or else have a 
  single "master" field in which information is displayed from many 
  different source fields. While an individual field is limited to 
  32K, the number of fields in a stack is limited only by disk space. 
  2) HyperTalk containers (variables) can hold more than 32K of 
  information. (The actual capacity of a HyperTalk container 
  is limited only by the amount of RAM available to HyperCard.) If you 
  are simply using fields as a place to store information for your 
  scripts, you can keep them in global variables--just remember to put 
  empty into them when your stack closes! 
  3) Oftentimes large chunks of information (particularly text) 
  is best stored in external files, separate from the stack itself. 
  This information can then be read in by a HyperCard script, 
  processed, and displayed for a user. This method is often used for 
  data obtained from external sources (text files off the Internet, 
  for example). 
  Using these methods, any number of workarounds for the 32K limit 
  have been implemented by HyperCard developers. 

What are resources?

  by Jay L. Cross <by303@cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
  Macintosh applications (and often the documents they create 
  [and HyperCard stacks are documents]) are composed of 
  numerous "building blocks". These building blocks are things 
  like icons, sounds, fonts, patterns, program code, dialog and alert 
  boxes and their messages, and many others. In general, all the 
  familiar Macintosh interface elements are resources. 
  Building applications as collections of resources has 
  many advantages, including (but not limited to): 
  Customization - by adding to or altering the resources of a document 
  or application, you can change things like beep sounds, colors, menu 
  contents, and command keys, icons, etc. 
  Shared resources - many resources, like mouse pointers, 
  fonts, sounds, desktop colors/patterns, icons, etc. are the 
  same across many applications. Much of this stuff is stored in the 
  System, so it doesn't have to be duplicated many times over in the 
  applications available for your Mac. At the very least, this saves 
  disk space. It also results in the consistency we find across many 
  Mac applications. 
  Other benefits are (somewhat) easier translation of 
  applications into non-English languages, and improved 
  memory management. 
  When you create a palette with the Palette Maker, you are adding to 
  your stack a PICT and a PLTE resource. When you record a sound into 
  a stack with the Audio palette, you are adding a snd resource. When 
  you create an icon with the icon editor, your are adding an ICON 
  resource. And, of course, all XCMDs and XFCNs are resources, many of 
  which contain other resources. 

How do I install resources in my stacks?

  1) If you purchased HyperCard, use the Resource Mover in the Power 
  Tools stack. Click the light bulb icon for documentation. 
  2) Use the ResCopy stack, free, and available by ftp.
  3) Use ResEdit.

How do I create a PICT resource?

  [This description is extracted from the HyperTint
  documentation stack.  It is copyright 1992 Symplex Systems
  and may only be reproduced if it is unaltered and if this
  notice is included.]
  Creating and Installing Picture Resources
  HyperTint can access pictures stored as PICT resources
  inside the stack or as external PICT files.
  Many color graphic programs allow saving an image as a PICT
  file. Sometimes the program will refer to color PICT files
  as "PICT 2": this refers to the version of Apple's PICT
  format that supports color images.
  It may be less obvious how to create a PICT resource that
  can be copied into a HyperCard stack.
  Some programs may provide a menu option for creating a PICT
  resource, but most do not.  It is still possible to create a
  PICT resource from almost any graphic program, using the
  standard Macintosh copy-and-paste sequence.
  Stage 1:  Copy the image into the Scrapbook
  While most graphic programs don't have a "Save as PICT
  Resource" menu item, they will allow copying a picture to
  the clipboard.  Most programs will transfer a PICT resource
  to the clipboard when the user selects the "Copy" menu item.
  The steps are:
  1) Select the graphic image to copy.  For paint programs,
  this will usually be done using the rectangular "selection"
  2) Use the "Copy" menu item to put the picture onto the
  3) Open the Scrapbook and use the "Paste" menu item to save
  the picture in the Scrapbook.  This allows us to retrieve
  the picture resource using ResEdit, ResCopy, or Resource
  This stage can be repeated several times, storing several
  pictures in the Scrapbook before proceeding to the next
  The Scrapbook should be closed before proceeding to the next
  stage, so that the Scrapbook file can be opened by the
  resource copying tools.
  Stage 2: Copy the PICT resources into the stack
  The Scrapbook stores pictures as PICT resources in a file
  called (not surprising) "Scrapbook File" that resides in the
  System Folder. Your favorite resource copying tool --
  ResEdit, ResCopy 2.0, or the "Resource Mover" card in the
  "Power Tools" stack -- can be used to copy the resources into
  the stack.  These are the same tools that can be used to
  install the HyperTint externals into a stack.
  Check the user documentation for these tools for details.
  Some notes:
  * In order to open the Scrapbook File from the Resource
  Mover card, you must hold the Option key when clicking the
  "Open" button.  To open the Scrapbook file from ResCopy
  2.0,  click the "Open" button and then select the "All
  resource files (read only)" radio button.
  * If you forgot to close the Scrapbook before proceeding to
  this stage, you will not be successful in opening the
  Scrapbook File. The exact problem depends on the tool you
  are using:
    - ResEdit will display an error message:  "File already
  open from another application."
    - ResCopy 2.0 will not show it at all in the list of files in
  the "Open File" dialog box.
    - The Resource Mover card appears to open the Scrapbook
  File, but no resources are shown in the scrolling list.
  If any of these problems occur, simply close the Scrapbook
  and try again.
  * Resources can be referred to be either name or ID number. 
  The Scrapbook uses ID numbers to keep track of picture
  resources. Scripts will usually be more readable if pictures
  are referred to by name.  After copying the picture
  resource, the copy of the resource in the stack can be
  assigned a name.  The resource ID should also be changed to
  a positive number (1000-32767 is the suggested range):  the
  Scrapbook uses negative ID numbers which are reserved for
  use by the system software.
    - To change a resource's name or ID using ResEdit, select
  the resource and then choose the "Get Resource Info" menu
    - To change a resource's name or ID using ResCopy 2.0,
  select the resource in the scrolling list and then choose
  the "Rename" or "Renumber" menu item from the "ResCopy"
    - To change a resource's name or ID using the "Resource
  Mover" card, select the resource in the scrolling list and
  then click the "Edit" button.
  * If the scrapbook contains many pictures, it can be
  difficult to tell which picture corresponds to which ID.
    - If using ResEdit, there's no problem:  the latest
  versions of ResEdit display miniaturized pictures
    - If using ResCopy 2.0, again there's no problem:

  double-clicking a PICT resource in the scrolling list will
  display a window containing that picture.  (For this to
  work, you either have  to invoke the ResCopy XCMD from the
  ResCopy 2.0 stack or use the command start using stack
  "ResCopy 2.0".  The picture display feature depends on a
  handler in the ResCopy stack script.
    - If using the "Resource Mover" in the "Power Tools" stack,
  unfortunately, there is a problem.  The Resource Mover does
  not provide a way to preview PICT resources.  The only thing
  to do is to copy all the PICT resources into the destination
  stack and then use HyperCard's picture command (or
  HTChangePict or HTAddPict) to determine which picture is
  which before renaming and renumbering the desired pictures. 
  Any unwanted pictures can be eliminated by using the
  Resource Mover's "Remove" button. Life is easier if you've
  started the whole PICT creating process with an empty
  scrapbook file:  that way, you know that all the PICTs in
  the scrapbook are ones that have to be transferred.
  * If using ResEdit, "Copy" the PICT resource from the
  Scrapbook File rather than using "Cut". Modifying the
  Scrapbook File could confuse the Scrapbook desk accessory.
  Bypassing the ScrapBook
  If using either ResEdit or ResCopy 2.0, copying the pictures
  into the scrapbook is an unnecessary step.  If a picture has
  been copied to the clipboard, both ResEdit and ResCopy 2.0
  allow the using the "Paste" menu item to create a new PICT
  resource in a stack. See their user documentation for

Can I auto-compact my stacks?

  Place one of these handlers in your Home Stack script to 
  automatically compact stacks when the free size reaches 
  certain limits. 
    on closeStack
      if the freeSize of this stack > .25 * the size of this stack
      then doMenu "Compact Stack"
      pass closeStack
    end closeStack
  You can change the percentage (.25) in the script to suit your sense 
  of "how much is enough". However, as the size of the stack becomes 
  larger, any given percentage value allows larger and larger amounts 
  of free space to build up before the stack is compacted. For 
  example, if you have a stack that is 100K in size, using a .25 
  compaction threshold will cause the stack to be compacted when the 
  free space reaches 25K. If you have a 1000K stack, it won't be 
  compacted until free space reaches 250K. 
  If this is a problem for you, one solution is to decide on an 
  absolute value (say 100K) for the amount of free space you want to 
  allow to accumulate and change the above handler to: 
    on closeStack
      if the freeSize of this stack > 100
      then doMenu "Compact Stack"
      pass closeStack
    end closeStack 
  Or you can have the best of both worlds:
  ["~" = line continuation] 
    on closeStack
      if the freeSize of this stack > .10 * the size of this stack~
      or the freeSize of this stack > 100
      then doMenu "Compact Stack"
      pass closeStack
    end closeStack 

How can I create stand-alone applications with HyperCard?

  HyperCard 2.2 has the ability of creating stand-alone 
  applications by choosing Save a Copy from the File menu. Choose 
  Application from the File Type menu. 
  Other methods of creating a stand-alone include: 
    Double-XX from Royal Software. There is reportedly a stack compiler 
    included for fairly simple stacks. It's not an official 
    part of the package.
    SuperCard creates standalones and HyperCard stacks can 
    be converted to SuperCard projects. You will probably have
    to do some rescripting. [Converting HyperCard stacks to 
    SuperCard is becoming more difficult as the two programs 
    are following different paths.]

Save As Application Not Available

  If the Save as Application (or Custom File Type) is not available 
  when you choose Save a Copy from the File menu, you probably don't 
  have the StackToApp extension correctly installed or you're 
  using System 6 (the HyperCard Reference Manual says you need System 
  7.x to create applications). 
  On my system, when I did a standard HyperCard install, the 
  StackToApp extension ended up in a Stack Translators folder within 
  the HyperCard folder itself and it works fine. Danny Goodman's _The 
  Complete HyperCard Handbook 2.2 says it should go in the Extensions 
  folder in your System Folder. I tried this and it also works just 
  You don't need AppleScript installed to Save As an application. (I 
  mention this only because I saw a message on the Internet saying you 

Standalones as HOME

  When you create a stand-alone application, the stack embedded within 
  the stand-alone application becomes the Home stack for 
  the application. Therefore, it inherits all of the 
  responsibilities of the Home stack, including that of storing search 
  paths for stacks, applications, and documents. 
  In order to support the search paths for stacks, applications, and 
  documents in a stand-alone application, the embedded stack needs to 
  have three cards named "Stacks", "Applications", and "Documents". 
  Each of these three cards needs to have a background field named 
  "paths". This is where the search path information will be stored. 

What is Hypertext?

  Hypertext is non-sequential writing or branched text that allows the 
  reader to choose their own pathway through the material, following 
  their interests or a current line of thought. The writer, 
  unrestricted by sequence, may create new forms of writing which 
  better reflect the content of the writing. 
  At a very basic level, we're talking about interactive footnotes. 
  You click on the footnote, and there's the note. And since we're in 
  a multimedia environment if the footnote refers to a city in Spain, 
  you can bring up a map of Spain. Clicking on the city could then 
  give you the option of either getting statistical info about the 
  city or a street map. Soon you're lost in the back alleys of Madrid. 
  In a hypertext system, it's very important to make the reader feel 
  comfortable and oriented. The reader has to have a sense of location 
  and a way to get back where they started. 
  HyperCard is a natural for exploring hypertext concepts.
  One of the challenges in any hypertext systems is how to indicate 
  the active (or clickable) text and many solutions have been toyed 
  with. Apple responded to this challenge with version 2.0 of 
  HyperCard with new functions -- clickChunk, clickLine, clickText, 
  -- and with a new text style called group which places an two pixel 
  gray line under the grouped text. 
  Any text can be scripted as active but using the group style does 
  have some advantages. It allows you to group a phrase so when you 
  call one of the new click functions, you get the phrase and not just 
  a word or character. The gray-line grouped text indicator can also 
  be turned on and off with the <show groups> and <hide groups> 
  commands. (Issuing these commands changes ALL stacks. Be careful and 
  reset the group visibility if you change it.) 
  The following handler, placed in a locked field, provides a simple 
  link between a text chunk in that field and a hidden card field with 
  the name of that text chunk. 
    on mouseUp
      if the textStyle of the clickChunk = "group"
      then show card field the clickText
    end mouseUp


Are there programs like HyperCard for ...?

  ToolBook from Asymetrix is not entirely compatible with 
  HyperCard but with ConvertIt from Royal Software, you can convert 
  HyperCard stacks to ToolBook applications, with a minimum of 
  effort. [ConvertIt is no longer supported by Royal.]
  Asymetrix 206-637-1500
  ObjectPlus Corporation makes HyperPlus which converts HyperCard stacks
  so they are able to run under Windows in the company's WinPlus
  authoring environment which is supposed to be similar to HyperCard.
  Pricy alternative.
  WWW: http://www.objectplus.com/
  email: 75702.727@compuserve.com
  Phone: 617-491-7575
  FAX: 617-491-1964

  MetaCard is a cross-platform multimedia authoring tool and GUI
  development environment for Unix/X11 workstations and Microsoft
  Windows 95 and NT. There is a convertor ap to convert Mac HyperCard
  stacks to MetaCard. Somewhat pricy but you get Unix and Windows 
  MetaCard Corporation
  4710 Shoup Pl.
  Boulder, CO  80303
  303-499-9855 (fax)
  email: info@metacard.com
  Web: http://www.metacard.com
  Oracle Media Objects 
  Oracle Corporation 
  500 Oracle Parkway 
  Redwood Shores, CA 94065 
  Web: http://www.oracle.com/
  HyperCard IIGS is a version of HyperCard that runs on Apple IIGS
  computers. It is substantially identical to HyperCard Mac 1.2.5, with
  the addition of color and some additional HyperTalk commands. It is
  classified as system software and is available for free download from
  Apple ftp sites and Apple software areas on AOL, CIS and Genie.
  HyperMover is a pair of stacks that converts stacks (excluding XCMDs
  and XFCNs) between the Macintosh and IIGS platforms.

  [WindowCraft is no longer sold or supported.]
  WindowCraft from WindowCraft Corporation is a true HyperCard 
  1 superset! You receive a product to automatically convert HyperCard 
  stacks to WindowCraft applications. It's good but with many 
  Windowcraft Corporation 
  1000 Main Street 
  Acton, MA 01720-9859 
  fax 800-828-2268 orders
  [Plus is no longer sold or supported.]
  Plus, from Spinnaker, runs in the two environments (MacOS and 
  Windows). On the Mac side, Plus can open HyperCard stacks and 
  convert them to Plus format. Spinnaker Software 
  201 Broadway 
  Cambridge, MA 82139 
  Linkway, which may or may not be for Windows [more info, anyone?]
  HyperSense runs on NeXTStep. 
  Thoughtful Software
  616 East Locus 
  Fort Collins, CO 80524 

Where can I get the Power Tools stack?

  It's not freeware or shareware. It's part of the retail version of 
  HyperCard and to the best of my knowledge, was never released to the 

How do I use QuickTime in HyperCard?

  Claris released a QuickTime Tools stack in 1992 that allows you to 
  play and control QuickTime movies in HyperCard. The stack is now 
  part of the retail HyperCard 2.2 package. It contains the necessary 
  externals and online documentation. [Other external commands 
  are available for working with movies. I hope to report on these in 
  future versions of the FAQ.] 
  Exploring the QuickTime Tools stack will teach you how to use the 
  various commands and properties. But you may somehow have access to 
  the externals without having access to the Tools stack so here's the 
  basic command for getting a movie displayed. 
    movie <file name>,<window style>,<location>,<visible>,<layering>
  File Name
  The name of the movie file. Use a full path name if the movie is not 
  in the same folder as the stack. 
  Window Style
  Optional. One of the following: windoid, tallWindoid, plain, 
  zoom, dialog, shadow, rect, borderless. Default: windoid. 
  Optional. Determines where the movie window is displayed. 
  Acceptable values are a point, a rectangle, or one of these four 
  literals: "card", "largest", "deepest", "main". Default: "card". 
    Point: Movie at default size with top-left at point specified.
    Rectangle: Movie sized to fit. Top-left is coordinate 
    within the card window.
    Card: Centered on screen with current card.
    Largest: On the screen with the largest viewing area.
    Deepest: Centered on the screen with greatest bit depth.
    Main: Centered on the "main" screen.
  Optional. Options are "visible" and "invisible". By creating an 
  invisible movie, you can then set properties of the window before 
  showing it. Default: "visible". 
  Optional. Options are "floating" and "nonFloating". 
  "Floating" places the movie window in the same layer as the palette 
  windows. "NonFloating" places the movie window in the same layer as 
  the card and script windows. Default: Determined by window style. 
  Plain and zoom styles open in the card layer, the rest open in the 
  floating area. 

How do I refer to a QuickTime movie window?

  Once a movie is displayed with the <movie> command, you refer to it 
  as a window as in: 
    close window "myMovie"
  Windows also have numbers and ids so the following will work if you 
  know the id or number: 
    close window 1
    close window id 98760
  As with cards, buttons, fields, etc., the number can change but the 
  id can't. 

Is it OK to install fonts in stacks?

  Apple Developer's Technical Support (DTS) and the HyperCard 
  team recommend against it. It causes certain problems with printing 
  and heap fragmentation. On the other hand, lots of people do it, so 
  weigh the options yourself. It's safer to send along a suitcase. 

I'm going to try installing the fonts anyway, do I use ResEdit?

  No. Use Font/DA Mover. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, 
  you can easily mess up the installation with ResEdit. Use Font/DA 
  Mover and hold down the option key when opening the destination. 
  That will allow you to open any file, not just another suitcase. 
  Font/DA Mover will make sure the font is installed 

What are the correct parameters for the picture command?

  The picture command allows you to display a color or greyscale
  PICT in HyperCard.  Documentation is in the Power Tools stack
  (Picture XCMD).  The parameters are:
  picture <name of PICT>,<type>,<window
   o name of PICT = the name that the PICT file or resource 
     has been assigned 
   o type = file, clipboard or resource 
   o window style = plain, rect, zoom, document, windoid, 
     roundrect, shadow etc.
   o visible = true or false
   o bitdepth = 0,8,16,32
  In conjunction with this command you can set many properties of
  picture windows:  set <property> of window "pict_name"
  Below is a sample script to display a PICT file in a
  rectangular window on a card, 36 pixels from left edge and top.
  PICT file is 160 pixels wide by 230 pixels high.
      on displayPicture
        picture "picture",file,rect,false
        set the loc of window "picture" to 36,36
        set the visible of window "picture" to true
      end displayPicture

SuperCard vs. HyperCard 1

  by Martin Hill <M.B.Hill@info.curtin.edu.au>
  Some of the reasons I like SuperCard:
  Having color object-oriented draw and bitmap graphics and 
  easy animation compared to a gross b/w bitmap or cludgy color XCMDs 
  is a godsend. 
  Seeing a listing of all your windows, cards and resources and being 
  able to select and edit whole groups is bliss compared to stupid HC. 
  And then there's the ability to select and edit multiple buttons, 
  fields and graphics at the same time without having to recourse to 
  silly things like SuperGrouper and the other Power Tools. The list 
  goes on... 
  Now if only Aldus was able to find a buyer for SC who could develop 
  it further and fix the problems. 
  [SuperCard was purchased by Allegiant in early 1994. Allegiant is 
  made up of several of the original SuperCard developers.] 
  The popular perception is that SuperCard is slowwww. This is true, 
  but I've found that all the authoring environments around tend to be 
  slow, particularly when working with color. HyperCard, 
  Authorware and ToolBook all have proved to be pretty abysmal on 
  lower end Macs and PCs. MacroMedia Director is perhaps an exception, 
  but it's memory requirements, frustrating programming language 
  and lack of the card metaphor limit it. (not to mention its price!) 
  I've run some benchmarks and found that SC was quicker card to card 
  than HyperCard when both had simple black and white bitmaps and a 
  few buttons and fields on each of the sample cards. When the bitmaps 
  were replaced by simple draw graphics in SC, it was even faster than 
  In color, SC was also faster than HC with the latter using any of 
  the common color XCMDs like QTPict etc. 
  SC slowed down when multiple draw graphics were grouped together to 
  make more complex graphics, but turning the grouped graphics into 
  paint objects sped things up again. 

SuperCard vs. HyperCard 2

  by Bob McBurney, <mcburney@memex.weeg.uiowa.edu>
  Most people focus on colors when they talk about SuperCard's 
  advantages. So I'm going to be very long winded and talk about its 
  other advantages. 
  SuperCard supports multiple windows. Each window is the 
  equivalent of a stack in that it can contain an unlimited number of 
  cards contained within an unlimited number of backgrounds. 
  Any number of windows can be open at a time, and it is easy to 
  communicate between windows within the same project. 
  SuperCard supports all standard Mac window styles. You can have 
  windows that are dialog boxes, or tool palettes, or even scrolling 
  windows of huge dimensions. 
  Menus are a clearly defined part of SuperCard. Each menu and 
  menuItem have a script container, and these scripts are available to 
  any other object as if they were in the stack script of a stack. 
  This support for menus allows a developer a nearly infinite amount 
  of space for storing scripts, where in HyperCard, once you have used 
  up space in the stack, background and card script, very indirect 
  methods must be used to continue adding scripts. 
  SuperCard also allows hierarchical or submenus for menus inserted into 
  the menubar as a standard interface feature . Popup menus for 
  buttons are also supported. 
  SuperCard cursors are editable in the same way as HyperCard's (and 
  SuperCard's) icons. 
  Graphics (either draw or bitmap) are movable, scriptable 
  objects just like a HyperCard button or field. 
  When selecting objects, HyperCard only lets you select a single 
  button or field and you must have the correct tool for the 
  operation. SuperCard supports a Pointer tool with which you can 
  select any number of objects, of any type. In addition, both button 
  and graphic tools support the creation of transparent 
  polygon objects of any size or dimensions. 
  Animation Support
  SuperCard can playback and record both PICs and STEP format 
  animations. It also has a <move> command with which you can animate 
  objects with this command. You can specify a path or destination or 
  link it to the points of another graphic. 

How close are HyperTalk and SuperTalk?

  by Martin Hill <M.B.Hill@info.curtin.edu.au>
  SuperCard is a superset of HyperCard in terms of the language so 
  your HyperCard experience will stand you in good stead. There are a 
  few differences that can be annoying but generally, the extra 
  features that SuperCard provides more than make up for it. Here's a 
  few of the irritating differences that I've encountered: 
    There is no clickChunk function in SC 
    X-windows are not supported in SC so some of the more 
    important HC XCMDs will fall over. The QTRecord XCMD is 
    one I need desperately to show live video from a videodisc 
    for example, but it won't work. :-( It is however, a piece 
    of cake to create custom windows for your own purposes. 
    There are slight differences in some commands e.g. launch 
    instead of open, because SC uses the open command for 
    opening windows which makes sense. 
    Resource usage can be a pain as they are stored in the 
    data fork in SC projects.
    Memory management in SC is braindead. Projects with lots 
    of color-intensive cards choke unless SC has ridiculous 
    amounts of RAM allocated to it. If there was a command to 
    flush the RAM I'd be very grateful.
  There are other problems with SC as well, but don't get me wrong, I 
  still prefer it over HC any day. 


Why scripts don't work.

  Simple reasons why scripts don't work:
  Typographical Errors
  You're typing commands (properties, functions, system messages) 
  as two words. It's mouseUp, not mouse Up; userLevel, not user level; 
  doMenu, not Do menu. 
  William J. Brown-Stone, <brownw@ibm.cl.msu.edu>, says:
    One of my most common problems is typographical errors while 
    writing and editing scripts. For example, there was a span 
    of time, for months, when I regularly typed "emtpy" for "empty" 
    and at this writing I'm on a binge of "fiel" for "file". The 
    latter doesn't cause nearly as many scripting problems as the 
    former, but typos eat up a lot of debugging time. The primary 
    place that script typos cause me problems is in mistyping 
    variable names. I tend to use lots of longVariableNames, which 
    adds to the likelihood of making typing mistakes. And, as is 
    the case with proofreading my own written text, I can stare at 
    a mistyped variable name for half an hour and not see the 
    problem. To combat this problem, I've finally resorted to 
    doing a lot of copying and pasting variable names rather than 
    typing them.
  Un-quoted Text Literals (by William J. Brown-Stone)
  HyperTalk is pretty forgiving when you type single-word 
  text literals without putting them in quotes. For example, the 
  following two command lines both accomplish the same thing: 
    put text into theVariable 
    put "text" into theVariable
  That is, unless you have a variable named "text". In which case the 
  first command line will put the contents of the variable 'text' into 
  theVariable and the second will put the word "text" into 
  Another instance when un-quoted text literals become ambiguous 
  is when the text you type is a HyperTalk 
  put one into theVariable 
  put "one" into theVariable
  The first of these will put the number 1 into theVariable and the 
  second will put the word "one" into theVariable. 
  While you may get along fine for a lot of script writing without 
  putting quotes around single-word text literals, when you 
  do introduce a program bug in this fashion, it can be a long 
  debugging session. 
  Having said all that, I think the best argument for always putting 
  quotes around single-word text literals is program 
  readability, particularly if someone else is likely to be reading 
  your code. When I see an un-quoted text literal, my first 
  interpretation, always, is that it is a variable name. When it is in 
  quotes there is never any doubt. 
  Not Enough Memory
  HyperCard has not been allocated enough memory. To check this or 
  increase the allocation, make sure HyperCard is not open, select the 
  application icon in the Finder, choose Get Info from the File menu 
  and check Memory Requirements - Preferred Size. For 
  black&white development, try 2000K. If you're working in color, you 
  may need more. 
  From Juan Ingles <ou90392@deere.com>:
  Here's an obscure one that had me going for a while. We all know 
  that the characters "--" designate a comment. The catch is that even 
  if the "--" is in quotes, HyperCard still considers it a comment. 
  This code will not work: 
    if char 1 to 2 of line 2 of Hold is "--" then next repeat
  instead, write: 
    if char 1 to 2 of line 2 of Hold is "-"&"-" then next repeat

My visual effect commands don't work.

  Your monitor is probably set for Thousands or Millions of colors. 
  Visual effects work only at 256 colors (8 bit) or less. They also do 
  not work when the card picture crosses more than one monitor, or 
  when the obscure debugging command "debug pureQuickdraw true" 
  is active. The following will also cause problems: Going between two 
  stacks with different card sizes (or any 2 stacks prior to HyperCard 
  2.1) or Lock screen is in effect. 
  With HyperCard 2.2, visual effects work at all bit depths.

My userLevel won't stay at 5 (scripting).

  Your changing the userLevel from within a stack but not on the 
  Preferences card of the home stack (last card in the stack). 
  HyperCard gets the default user level from a hidden field on that 

Selecting text from a script doesn't work.

  You lose the chance to get the selection (or selectedLine, 
  selectedField, selectedText, selectedChunk) if any of the 
  following occurs: 
    - a find, enterInField, enterKey, returnInField, returnKey, 
      tabKey, or sort command executes.
    - the hilite or cantModify property changes (so clicking 
      an autohilite button, loses your selection).
    - the lockScreen property is set to true. (This also affects 
      the <select after text of field "foo"> command when you 
      follow the command with <unlock screen>)
    - A new tool is chosen.
    - HyperCard moves to another card.
    - HyperCard redraws the card.
    - The Enter or Return key is pressed.

The text insertion point disappears when opening.

  You have a data entry stack of some sort and you want the insertion 
  point blinking in the first field when you open the stack or go to a 
  certain card. The following command will accomplish this 
  (according to the manual): 
    select after text of fld "article"
  but the insertion point only flashes briefly (if <lockScreen> is 
  false), then disappears. Why? 
  If just about any other command is issued after the above command, 
  the insertion point is going to go into hiding. The <select> command 
  HAS to be the very last command issued. 
  Use the Message Watcher to see if other commands are being issued 
  after the <select> command. (To access the Message Watcher, type 
  <mw> in the message box.) 

What does the padlock in the menubar mean?

  by Cory Doctorow <Cory_Doctorow@magic-bbs.corp.apple.com>
  The stack is a HyperCard 1.x stack.
  This stack isn't really locked at all, it just needs to be 
  converted.  Select "Convert Stack" from the file menu.  You 
  might want to make a copy first.  You can tell if a stack comes 
  from an outmoded version of HC, if the CONVERT STACK menu item 
  is not greyed-out.
  The stack is protected, but without a password.
  Your userlevel is way down, and "set the userlevel" commands 
  don't work.  The File menu doesn't even show a protect stack 
  item.  Argh.  Hold down the command key while pulling down the 
  File menu, and the protect stack item reappears.  You can now 
  up the userlevel or remove protection altogether.
  The stack is protected with a password.
  You try to do the above, and get "What's the Password?"  Use the
  Unprotect or DeProtect XCMD to remove the password protection.  [I 
  had much luck with UnProtect and prefer the DeProtect stack by
  Ned Horvath and Allan Foster.]
  There are startup/openStack/openCard/openBackground handlers 
  that reset the userlevel or disable menuItems.
  You can edit stack scripts from other stacks. Try this from 
  the message box when in the Home Stack: 
       edit the script of stack <problem stack>
  The stack script editor for the problem stack will appear and 
  you can edit out any offensive lines (i.e. set the userlevel to 
  If the offensive instructions are not in the stack script, you 
  can use the following handler to extract card, background, and 
  stack scripts from the stack:
    on mouseUp
      answer file "Get scripts of what stack:" of type STAK
      put it into targetName
      push cd
      set the lockMessages to true
      go cd 1 of stack targetName
      put "Stack script"&return&return into data
      put the script of this stack after data
      repeat with x = 1 to the number of bgs
      go bg x
      put "Bg "&x&&"script"&return&return after data
      put the script of this bg after data
      end repeat
      repeat with x = 1 to the number of cds
      go cd x
      put "Cd "&x&&"script"&return&return after data
      put the script of this cd after data
      end repeat
      pop cd
      ask file "Save text file as:" with "Script Text"
      open file it
      write data to file it
      close file it
    end mouseUp
  You can now work with that text file, looking for the offending 
  script.  After you edit the file and bring the modified script 
  into a field in HyperCard, you can use a handler such as the 
  following to change the scripts in the offending stack:
    on mouseUp
      get fld "new script"
      push card
      set lockMessages to true
      go to stack "offending stack"
      set the script of background 1 to it
      pop card
    end mouseUp
  However, this won't work if the offending stack has the 
  cantModify set to true.

What does "Error XXXX" mean? Error on compacting?

  Either a card is fatally corrupted (XXXX = 5454) or you are out of 
  memory (most other errors). Error 5454 can only be repaired by 
  creating a new stack with all the cards except the one that bombs, 
  then deleting the old stack. Otherwise, try allocating more memory 
  to HyperCard in the Finder Get Info window. 
  The Recover stack by Greg Jorgenson automates the copying process 
  necessary to create a new stack out of a corrupted stack. 
  An error message when compacting means there's a very good chance 
  that the stack is corrupted. 

How can I script the polygon tool?

  From _HyperTalk 2.2: The Book_ (by Winkler-Kamins-Devoto) p. 193
  You can choose the polygon tool using <choose>, but you can't draw 
  with it using the <drag> command; you can only use the polygon tool 
  manually. You can work around this limitation by using <drag> with 
  the line tool to draw the sides of the desired shape, then filling 
  it in with the bucket tool. 


What's the difference between an XCMD and an XFCN?

  [by Brian Molyneaux <BMolyneau@aol.com>]
  An XCMD is the equivalent of an "on" handler while an XFCN is like a 
  "Function" handler. Once these resources are installed in 
  your stack, you call them using the same syntax you would use for 
  the handlers they are like. Hence, an XFCN that returned the system 
  version and was called "SysVersion" would be called like 
    put SysVersion() into x
  An XCMD that deleted a file and required a pathname as it's sole 
  parameter would be called like this: 
    deleteFile pathname
  An XFCN returns a value (in general) and any error is generally 
  returned instead of the value. An XCMD on the other hand performs an 
  action (like deleting a file) and may also return information in 
  "the result", for example: 
    deleteFile pathName 
    if the result is not empty 
    then answer "Sorry, that file could not be deleted"

Where can I find an XCMD/XFCN to do such-and-such?

  Many FTP servers have directories loaded with them. A few very 
  prolific authors have compiled all their XCMDs into 
  collections, while others are stand-alone stacks. Some 
  must-have collections include the Rinaldi and Dartmouth collections. 
  The Developer Stack 1.3r comes with several externals and lots of 
  scripting info. However, the stack has not been updated for quite a 
  while (pre-HyperCard 2.0). 

How can I get Balloon Help in my stacks?

  There are external commands which do this. One is included in the 
  Rinaldi collection. 
  There is a Balloons XFCN that comes with CompileIt!. Registered 
  users are authorized to use the XFCN found in that stack in their 
  own work with no additional licensing. Source code for Balloons can 
  be found at the very end of the source code listing in the Resource 
  Mover stack included with CompileIt!. Many CompileIt! users are not 
  aware of this. 

Can I test the state of a specific pixel?

  Look for an external called GetPixel or thePixel (they may both 
  exist). thePixel is in the Developer's Stack. Be careful to give two 
  numbers, though (horiz. & vert.) or your Mac may 
  [I could not find either of these externals at the University of 
  Michigan archive (umich). Does anyone have an ftp site or an 

How can I create a custom palette?

  [William J. Brown-Stone (aka Bill Brown) <brownw@ibm.cl.msu.edu>]
  Palette Maker in the Power Tools stack: The Power Tools stack that 
  is distributed with the full version of HyperCard has a Palette 
  Maker card. There is a Light Bulb button on the card that provides 
  documentation. With that and a bit of reading between the lines and 
  some experimentation, it's fairly easy to create your own palettes. 
  In a nutshell, to create a palette: 
  1. You place artwork that will give the palette it visual appearance 
  (including what the buttons will look like) in the card layer of the 
  Palette Maker card. The artwork can include text. 
  2. You overlay the artwork with transparent buttons that let the 
  artwork show through and that define the size of each button you 
  want to have active on the palette. 
  3. You define a one-word script for each button. This word is the 
  name of a handler that will be in the background or stack scripts of 
  the stack where the palette will be used. When you click on a button 
  in the palette, that handler name is sent as a message into the 
  HyperCard message hierarchy and the handler in your stack traps the 
  message and carries out the script in the handler. The buttons in 
  Palette Maker palettes respond only to mouseUp. 
  Once you have the palette defined in this way on the Palette Maker 
  card, you use a button on the card to have the palette installed in 
  the stack of your choice. Actually a set of resources along with an 
  XCMD is installed in the resource fork of your stack. You show and 
  hide the palette using HyperTalk's 'palette' command. 
  Once the palette is installed in your stack it is a relatively 
  static entity. The only thing that changes about it are the hilites 

  of the buttons when you click them. You can't modify the palette 
  definition in any way from your stack. However, the Palette Maker 
  facility allows you to create new Palette Maker cards in the Power 
  Tools stack and your palette definition is kept on that card in the 
  Power Tools stack. This means you can go back to the card and make 
  changes to the palette and reinstall it in your 
  Chiclette, a maker of dynamic palettes
  The only other palette making facility I've used is Chiclette. You 
  use the Chiclette stack (available via anonymous ftp from many fine 
  ftp sites) to define the artwork and buttons for you palette in a 
  somewhat similar fashion to that described for Palette Maker above, 
  but you can go much farther and do much more with Chiclette, and end 
  up with a more flexible palette that you can modify under in your 
  own stack, including modifications made from executing handlers. 
  The price you pay for this extended capability and flexibility is an 
  acute and lofty learning curve. To be fair, if you limit yourself to 
  creating a fairly static palette definition, with buttons 
  that respond only to mouseUp, use just the Chiclette stack to define 
  and install it in your stack and don't tamper with the palette 
  definition in your stack, what you need to know is not that much 
  greater than for Palette Maker. If you have more sophisticated needs 
  for functionality in your palettes (and the tenacity to ride the 
  curve) the rewards can be worth the effort. The documentation that 
  comes with the stack is medium-good plus a little, but there is a 
  lot between the lines and that is backed up by assumptions about 
  what you already know. On the up-side, the e-mail address of 
  Chiclette's author is included in the stack and I've found him 
  responsive. Chiclette's use is free in non-commercial stacks. 
  In the space that is reasonable to use here, it is difficult to do 
  justice to Chiclette's features. I'll see how brief I can make it. 
  1. Both Chiclette and Palette Maker install XCMDs into your stack. 
  And, whereas Palette Maker installs static resources to define the 
  palette, Chiclette installs a scripted button in your stack. This 
  button contains the Chiclette commands that define and activate the 
  palette. You can modify the script of that button to change the 
  definition of the palette after it is installed in your stack. You 
  can also move that script out of the button into other handlers. 
  2. The Chiclette commands that define the palette generally and the 
  buttons in the palette work by setting characteristics 
  and properties of the palette and the buttons. After the palette has 
  been defined and while it is active on the screen, it is possible to 
  change the properties, on the fly from any executing handler. You 
  can not only set the properties but you can also get the properties. 
  Allowing you to make decisions about changing the definition of the 
  palette or about general script execution based on that 
  3. Chiclette buttons have many of the same properties that standard 
  HyperCard buttons have: Name, Rectangle, Location, Icon, 
  ShowName, AutoHilite, Hilite, Visible, Style, TextFont, 
  TextSize, TextStyle. In addition there are properties of 
  GrayedOut and Disable that allow you to make a button inactive and 
  display it as such. 
  4. The fact that buttons can have names and the names can be changed 
  and displayed on the fly, enables you to simulate having changeable 
  text fields on the palettes. 
  5. Palette Maker buttons are limited to responding to mouseUp events 
  only. Chiclette buttons can respond to mouseUp, 
  mouseDown, mouseStillDown, mouseEnter, mouseWithin and mouseLeave. 
  Much more can be said, but that should give you enough perspective 
  to allow you to extrapolate the general range of possibilities. With 
  all that hype, let me emphasize once more that when you start 
  pushing Chiclette palettes to the edge of the envelope you are in 
  for a good deal of frustration and will need a tenacious 
  power-tongue to lick the stamps. A full discussion of the 
  idiosyncrasies of debugging scripts connected with Chiclette 
  palettes is definitely not contained in the Chiclette 
  documentation and is in itself worthy of a fairly lengthy discussion; 
  you get a few clues and then you have to write your own book. Still, 
  in my estimation, the effort was worth it. And will be again when, 
  after a long period of not working with Chiclette, I have to go back 
  and learn it all again. 
  Chiclette Info
  The external command "Chiclette" has been written by Jean- Marc 
  The use of this stack and of the XCMD Chiclette (release 1.0) is 
  free in any non-commercial product. 
  All rights are reserved. (c)1991 hyperSOLutions.
  170, rue de Lourmel 75015 
  PhoneJ: J(33)J(1)J40J59J98J86 
  FaxJ: JJJ(33)J(1)J45J78J64J58 
  AppleLink: HYPERSOL

Palette TIP

  by Juan Ingles <ou90392@deere.com>
  Palettes can be in color. Create a PICT resource with your favorite 
  Paint/Draw program. [see "How do I create a PICT resource?"] 
  Open your stack with ResEdit, and find the PICT resource for your 
  palette. (You did remember ResEdit Rule #1 -- Always work on a copy 
  -- didn't you?) Write the id number of the resource down. Delete 
  that PICT. Paste in your new color PICT and "get info" for it. 
  Change the resource ID number to the number that you wrote down. 
  Quit ResEdit, saving changes, and enjoy! 



  Many are they who have contributed to this FAQ and I thank you all.  
  A few are mentioned in the articles. Special thanks to the  
  Dave Lorand <davel@earlham.edu>,ex FAQ Archivist. Dave posted the  
  FAQ to comp.sys.mac.hypercard and archived it at ftp.earlham.edu.  
  Dave has the distinction of posting the first HC FAQ. He beat  
  me by a few days.  
  Bruce Carter and John Pinto for some of the early data collection 
  that got the FAQ going. John has a text version of the FAQ on the web.
  Brian Molyneux for version data and info on Royal Software products.
  Editing and proofing: Bill Brown, Bruce Carter, Bill Karle  
  Book List: Originally compiled by Asif Taiyabi
  HyperCard 2.2 Review: Paul Foraker
  Peter Brigham for taking the FAQ and making it a stack and getting it
  done really fast after a text release.  The stack is available on 
  my AOL ftp site (or will be RSN). 
  The following list submitted answers or suggestions that 
  were helpful in the FAQ preparation. 
  Jay Cross
  Dave Blackburn
  Cory Doctorow
  Geoff Duncan
  Jacque Gay
  Mark G. Gillingham
  Christopher J.  Henrich
  Scott Raney
  Jeffrey D. Wurtz 

Who's Peter Fleck?

  He is president of PF Hyper, a Mac consulting company
  that uses HyperCard (and Director and SuperCard) for 
  making training programs and interactive multimedia for 
  both the Mac and Windows.  Check out his web page at

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