HyperCard may be a commercial failure, but it certainly hasn't failed to generate a myriad of add-ons. Although stacks are seldom sold outright, utilities for creating stacks are quite popular. Several new utilities ought to garner a bit of interest from stack designers, most notably HyperSpeller from Foundation Publishing, Sticky Notes+ from Survivor Software, and ConvertIt! from Heizer Software.
HyperSpeller is an XCMD that allows users to check text fields for spelling mistakes. Not an unreasonable thing to want, certainly. We now write all of the TidBITS articles in Nisus because of Nisus's excellent macro facilities and decent spell checking (we wish it didn't catch all the phone numbers :-)). A few of the early issues were written partly in HyperCard, which resulted in a few embarrassing typos. HyperSpeller will list for $49.95 and will work with the Microlytics 100,000 word dictionary that comes with MacWrite II from Claris. We hope that words added to the dictionary will be present for spell checks done in MacWrite II and any other applications that use the same dictionary.
Those little yellow PostIt Notes are ubiquitous because they are so valuable. Deneba Software brought the concept to the Mac several years ago with their product Comment, an INIT that allows users to attach notes to Mac documents. The program hasn't become extremely popular because it is somewhat difficult to use and suffers from compatibility problems (ironically, one of them is with Survivor Software's MacMoney). Now Survivor Software had brought PostIt Notes to HyperCard, which is much more suited to them than many other types of Mac documents (as Comment users soon found). Sticky Notes+ allows users to attach notes to scrolling text fields. It too lists for $49.95.
We've mentioned ConvertIt! in a previous issue of TidBITS, but more news has arrived since then. ConvertIt! is a utility that converts HyperCard stacks into ToolBook (the HyperCard clone for Windows 3.0) books. Evidently, ConvertIt! will sidestep any legal problems by creating an ASCII description of a stack in a new HyperMedia Interchange File Format (HIFF-at least it's not HUFF, as in "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down.") The beauty of HIFF is that it could theoretically be applied to any sort of document so long as translators were available at the destination. ConvertIt! should also help ToolBook become established more quickly since there will be relatively few ToolBook developers in comparison to HyperCard developers if only because the full version of ToolBook costs almost $500.
Foundation Publishing -- 612/445-8860
Survivor Software -- 213/410-9527
Deneba Software -- 800/622-6827 -- 305/594-6965
Heizer Software -- 415/943-7667 -- 800/888-7667
Survivor Software Technical Support
MacWEEK -- 22-May-90, Vol. 4 #20, pg. 9
InfoWorld -- 21-May-90, Vol. 12 #21, pg. 101
MacWEEK -- 19-Jun-90, Vol. 4 #23, pg. 10
MacWEEK -- 19-Jun-90, Vol. 4 #23, pg. 18
MacWEEK -- 19-Jun-90, Vol. 4 #23, pg. 23