SuperCard Followup

Voice Card  -  Volume 8  -  John Card Number 3  -  Tue, Aug 1, 1989 5:52 PM

This is a response to Vol 7 John 15 ("SuperCard")...

In the last few weeks I've had a chance to play with SuperCard a little bit, and my review is mixed.

The good news is that SuperCard is an extremely elegant and sophisticated package. With SuperCard you can design programs that push the Macintosh user interface to its limits and achieve effects that make HyperCard seem quaint by comparison. I didn't fully appreciate how confining the single sized HyperCard format was until I saw SuperCard's full window support in action! And the object oriented graphics opens up whole new horizons.

The bad news is that this sucker is SLOW! I recently won a contract to do a computerized billing package for a social services agency and I had hoped to use SuperCard. But after only a few minutes I abandoned all hope. The thing is so slow that there is often a delay of several seconds when you push a next card arrow button! In its current form, SuperCard is simply too slow to be useful for most applications.

It's also a memory hog. Although the documentation claims that SuperCard can run in one megabyte, I was frequently zapped by memory errors, even when running one of the demos that came with the program. The first "deck" I tried to create was vaporized by a bomb.

I also didn't have much luck converting existing HyperCard stacks. Most of my stacks use the painting tools at one point or another; SuperCard does not like this AT ALL. Also, the converted stacks looked slightly different because some of the arrow icons were changed. Many of the things that went wrong during the conversion could eventually be fixed, but in general, I fear, the process of converting stacks will be far from effortless.

Finally, the editing environment is much less friendly than HyperCard and will take some getting used to. After the simplicity of HyperCard, SuperCard seems rather intimidating.

I have a few small projects in mind that might be appropriate for SuperCard; if I can get any of them to run I'll pass them along. But until Silicon Beach comes out with an updated version that quadruples the speed, I'm going to stick with HyperCard.