|Column Tag:||Tools of the Trade
StackRunner and Updates
By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Editorial Board
Double-Clickable HyperCard Stacks!
What is StackRunner!? StackRunner from Symmetry Software claims to let you install an engine into a HyperCard stack, making it into a Run-time stack. This deserves a closer look to determine its true usefulness.
Installing StackRunner! into a stack is easy. Select Install from the StackRunner! installer then select the HyperCard stack that you want to install to from the standard getfile dialog. StackRunner! can be de-installed with the installer application too. The stack can be converted back later without the installer if you check the Enable Auto-convert option to allow it. Once converted back to a HyperCard document, you must use StackRunner! Installer to re-install the run time engine.
On the surface, StackRunner appears to be a great way to create double-clickable applications from HyperCard Stacks. It has its usefulness, but dont expect to be able to convert every stack you own. StackRunner doesnt support the full set of HyperTalk commands.
The small subset of commands, handlers, and functions are ideal for simple stacks. For example, you could use commands like:
Go to first card
Go to fourth card
Go to recent
openStack StackRunner! Manual
Push next card
Since StackRunner! does not understand all of the HyperTalk vocabulary, unsupported HyperTalk are simply ignored. This wont cause problems for you as long as your stack only includes HyperTalk that is supported by StackRunner! A list of HyperTalk features implemented in StackRunner includes:
beep go play set xcmd dial global
pop show domenu hide print unlock find
if push wait get lock put visual
closeBackground mouseUp mouseDown
openBackground openCard closeCard
mouseStillDown idle enterKey
openStack closeStack returnKey
the clickText field
the hilite button
the left button, field
the name button, field, stack
the number button, field
the scroll field
the short name button, field
the textHeight field
the top button, field
Mathematical and Conditional Operators:
DIV integer division
= equal to
<> not equal to
< less than
<= less than or equal to
> greater than
>= greater than or equal to
& concatenate two stings with no space between
&& concatenate two strings with a space between
Global Variables and Containers:
Global and local variables can be defined and used just as they are in HyperCard.
The limitations of StackRunner!s HyperTalk support determine the kind of HyperCard stacks that should be converted. Stacks that just display information (card by card) are ideal candidates to be converted. It may even work well when creating non-functional demos of stacks you have created, especially since your stack will probably not work once converted anyway. Before building a stack for StackRunner!, it is strongly advised that you read section 3 of the StackRunner! manual for a list of hints, tips, etc. to make sure that StackRunner! will understand the HyperTalk syntax that you use. There are also helpful techniques presented too.
StackRunner! requires an average of 200K of free memory to run. Because of this, some stacks will be able to run with StackRunner! that didnt have enough memory to run with HyperCard. StackRunner! should also run faster than HyperCard since not as many functions are included in StackRunner!
Symmetry Software has a licensing policy. The suggested retail list price is $99 (introductory special is $79). This includes license to install the StackRunner! run-time into unlimited stacks and distribute up to 250 run-time copies, world-wide. Distribution for quantities more than 250 units require a yearly $150 annual license fee.
StackRunner! works with System 7.0, however, I experienced some INIT conflicts that were remedied by update to the latest versions of INITs. Anytime you run into INIT conflicts you should be sure that you have the latest version.
StackRunner! is distributed by:
Symmetry Software Corporation
8603 East Royal Palm Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
America Online: Symmetry1
Price: $99; special introductory special $79; Annual license fee to distribute unlimited run-time copies is $150.
Requires: Any Macintosh that can run HyperCard. Supports all versions of HyperCard, including 2.0, A moderate level of programming ability is required.
Not copy protected.
More Now Utilities
Now Utilities is better than ever and works with 7.0 too. A quick summary of the changes:
AlarmsClock now can be positioned anyplace in the menu bar. It also yields to menus if the running application installs menus that fill the entire menu bar. With System 7.0 the clock wont interfere with the Balloon help icon at the right edge of the menu bar. In addition, AlarmsClock now supports ascending and descending stopwatch functions, multiple alarm recurrences, custom sounds, color and other preferences.
DeskPicture now lets you put multiple pictures on multiple screens. You can even scale, position and resize PICT and MacPaint files to display on your desktop.
MultiMaster lets you launch files and applications, adjust memory allocation on the fly, vary sound level and video bit depth on an application-by-application basis, and automatically Hide background applications (a feature already provided by System 7.0).
NowMenus is a favorite of mine. It will create submenus up to 5 levels deep for anything you put in your Apple Menu Folder (System 7.0 only). I create a folder alias and put it in the Apple Menu Folder and NowMenus displays submenus for all of the folders up to 5 levels deep.
NowSave is a new init that automatically saves work after a specified number of minutes, keystrokes, or mouse clicks on an application-by-application basis.
SuperBoomerang, Profiler, SuperBoomerang and WYSIWYG Menus now support System 7.0
Startup Manager controls which extensions and control panels will load and in what order they will load when you start up your Macintosh. It automatically adjusts the System heap to prevent system crashes (System 7.0 already does this). You can now create exclusion lists to keep conflicting inits from loading at the same time. You can link extensions that require each others presence (example: AppleShare and QuickMail). Under System 7.0 it can provide remove extension management across a network.
Now Utilities is still very highly recommended.
Now Utilities 3.0 is distributed by:
Now Software, Inc.
520 S. W. Harrison Street, Suite 435
Portland, OR 97209
AppleLink: NOW SOFTWARE
Price: $129; upgrades are $29. Until Oct. 31, 1991 owners of On-Cue, INIT Picker, Adobe Type Reunion can get Now Utilities for $69.
Not copy protected.
More After Dark
Berkeley Systems has just announced More After Dark at the Boston Macworld. This package includes more than 25 new screen savers that were the results of the module programming contest sponsored by Berkeley Systems. You may want to check this one out and get busy writing more modules and submitting them to Berkeley Systems.
M.A.D. contains 4 new fish for the Aquarium and an updater to After Dark 2.0v (v is the latest revision as of this writing). The updater will also update any of your older modules to the latest and greatest. My favorite is the new Lunatic Fringe module written by Ben Haller of Solarian II fame. Who would have thought that you could play a game as an After Dark module?
OTHER NEW UPDATES
Dont wait to get your THINK Pascal and THINK C updates. A friend of mine just finished upgrading to THINK C 4.0 and THINK C 5.0 is now available. THINK Pascal has been upgraded to version 4.0. Included in these upgrades is support for System 7.0 and 32-bit addressing compatibility.
Be sure to get the new version (1.6.2) of CETools (for QuicKeys II). Its available on several systems including America Online. SuitCase II has a new updater to update to version 1.2.11. It may not seem like much, but one small update can sometimes make the difference between crashing or not.