TileStack: HyperCard comes back from the dead and onto the Web

HyperCard makes a comeback, on the Web that is.

Back in days of yore I took a two-week course in HyperCard, the long lost Mac-only application creator that is now looked back on as one of the precursors to the modern Web. While our use of the application was mainly to create small animations with sounds and interactive buttons, it was fun, and if I really knew what I was doing, it likely would have led me down a different path.

So when I heard about a project called TileStack my ears perked up. The idea behind it is to bring old HyperCard stacks back to life by putting them on the Web, meaning you can take some of those long lost creations from the late '80s and early '90s and make them working Web apps. You simply upload them to TileStack's servers and they'll be converted and hosted for just you or the entire world to use once again--sans the software that is.

What makes the app especially cool is that you can make edits to public stacks, or just the ones you've uploaded from the past. You can also make entirely new ones with a Web-based editor that's a step up from the one in the old days.

So far, the mix of stacks goes from rehashes of modernday Widget files to honest-to-goodness early 1990s HyperCard test programs. There are also some newer creations that blend in special effects like fades, wipes, and transitions--some of the polishes that come with a decade of technological advancement. Co-founder and CEO Joshua Gertzen tells me future plans entail an iPhone-centric interface and more focus on widgetized content. Since the service runs without Flash, Gertzen says, TileStack is perfect for the iPhone and other devices that run on the Web without all of the latest technologies that are found on the desktop.

TileStack is in private beta with plans to launch at the end of summer. It originally demoed at the MacWorld Expo back in January. You can sign up on this page in the meantime. I've also embedded a demo of it in action after the break.

Kind of related: AniBOOM's ShapeShifter: easy user-generated animation creation

Does this look old to you? It is. This record collection organizer app comes from Claris--the ancestor of FileMaker, which now works on TileStack. CNET Networks

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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