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Volume Number:4
Issue Number:9
Column Tag:HyperChat®


By Fred Stauder, HyperCard Editor, Zurich, Switzerland

on HyperChat

-- HyperEditorial

When to HyperTalk

People say that Hypercard is not a real programing language. Well what is a program? A program is a series of instructions that are processed by a computer to yield a result. We have established that Hypercard is a programing language; now people say it is not powerful. What is meant by a powerful programing language? Does it mean flexible, or easy to use, or even the fastest way to get a result?

The most flexible language is of course binary because that is the native language of the computer. I don’t think anyone would call binary a powerful language, it would take too long to do anything really useful with it. Hypercard can do some graphic manipulations easier than Pascal or C. There are many things that can be done in Pascal and C that are too cumbersome in Hypertalk or even impossible. In the past I have shown things that have been thought to be impossible in Hypertalk. The effort was greater than doing them with external commands, but it could be done.

I believe we are entering an Era of what I call “Russian Doll” programing environments. A Russian Doll is a large wooden doll which you can open up to find a smaller doll. This process goes on many times. The analogy serves programing well. The first level is very simple we can, for instance, change command key equivalents (like QuickKeys). The next level we can move objects around (like buttons in Hypercard); the next level we can program the objects with scripts. We then get to the next level where we can add external code (C or Pascal). We should also be able to change the properties of the level above i.e. Hypercard objects. Unfortunately we can’t. We are however at the point where we might soon be able to use one script or piece of code in different applications.

Now I come to my definition of a powerful programing environment: “A programing environment is powerful if it lets you have the flexibility to communicate to other environments and utilize routines that have been developed for other purposes.” This is why MPW is regarded as a powerful programing tool. The developer still has to choose when it is best to use Assembly or Pascal or C. If the developer does not have the experience necessary in Assembly he can get some other person to do it. A similar thing happens in Hypertalk with external commands. Wouldn’t it be nice to use some of your great scripts and buttons you have developed in Hypercard, in MacWrite?

This month we look at the similarities and differences between Hypertalk and Pascal in an article by Paul Merrill. Don Koscheka in XCMD Cookbook shows you an example when it is best to use Hypertalk and when to use XCMD’S.


Last month I brought you AutoHyperEdit the response has been great and I am glad to hear that it is finding uses especially for the handicapped. Using AutoScriptEdit a person can edit scripts quickly one handed. This month I had a request how to make buttons 1 or two pixels high. That was easy, you just type in the command set the height of btn x to 2 . I wanted an easy way, so I added the following italic text to my arrowkey handler in AutoHyperEdit. So all you have to do is to shift select the button or field, then double click outside an object to get into the action mode and hold down the shiftkey and use the arrow keys to make the button or field smaller or larger. I could have made it act on groups of objects but I wanted to make it modular. I leave it to you, to make it work on groups, as an exercise.

on arrowkey whichkey-**AutoHyperEdit**--
  global CWSList
 if the shiftkey is down then
      put item 1 of cwslist into T
    put the width of T into TW
      put the height of T into TH
      if whichkey is “down” then set the height of  T to TH - 1
      if whichkey is “up” then set the height of  T to TH + 1
      if whichkey is “left” then set the width of  T to TW - 1
      if whichkey is “right” then set the width of  T to TW + 1
  end if
  if the mouse is down then
    if whichkey = “left” then
      put the mouseH into L
      repeat with i = 1 to the number of items in CWSList
        put the width of item i of Cwslist into w
        set the left of item i of Cwslist to L
        set the width of item i of Cwslist to w
      end repeat
    end if
    if whichkey = “right” then
      put the mouseH into R
      repeat with i = 1 to the number of items in CWSList
        put the width of item i of Cwslist into w
        set the right of item i of Cwslist to R
        set the width of item i of Cwslist to w
      end repeat
    end if
    if whichkey = “up” then
      put the mouseV into T
      repeat with i = 1 to the number of items in CWSList
        put the height of item i of Cwslist into h
        set the top of item i of Cwslist to T
        set the height of item i of Cwslist to h
      end repeat
    end if
    if whichkey = “down” then
      put the MouseV into B
      repeat with i = 1 to the number of items in CWSList
        put the height of item i of Cwslist into h
        set the bottom of item i of Cwslist to B
        set the height of item i of Cwslist to h
      end repeat
    end if
    exit arrowkey
  end if
  pass arrowkey
end arrowkey --**AutoHyperEdit**--

The second script tip deals with searching in large numbers of cards for a checked item. If you have to check for the hilite of a button in 2000 cards, it takes a while. If you use a field with a check mark and search for the character in the field it is much, much faster because it uses Hypercards fast search algorithms. Simply lock the field and put this script into it. You could also use an “X” mark.

on mouseup
  if me is empty
  then put “ ”  into me
  else put empty into me
end mouseUp

on HyperChat


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