HyperCard Reborn?

Does the Web need another language? Runtime Revolution thinks it has one worth considering.

Runtime Revolution Ltd. (RunRev) has introduced Revolution 4.0, the latest version of its natural language development environment that has its roots in HyperCard, the old scripting language used on Macintoshes back in the 1980s.

HyperCard for Mac has long since been consigned to history along with the early 680×0 and PowerPC processors. RunRev acquired MetaCard, the maker of a Unix version of HyperCard, and has absolutely no entanglements or legal issues with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), according to Kevin Miller, CEO of RunRev.

RunRev allows for real natural language coding. If you want the last line on a Web page, then that’s literally your code, “What is the last line on [URL]” and that data is retrieved. A similar function in Microsoft C# would be 42 lines of code, 69 lines of code in Java and 87 lines in C++.

It this kind of functionality RunRev focused on as it evolved the language. “We took what was good about HyperCard and added things like data retrieval and database access,” Miller told InternetNews.com. “The actual implementation of HyperCard was very good but it was never developed or able to do the things it could have done.”

While inspired by HyperCard, RunRev is based on the revTalk language, which looks and acts like HyperCard. The plain English syntax means apps can be written using up to 90 percent less code. Code is compiled into bytecode and executed, and Miller said it has the scalability to handle high volume applications.

Server-side applications and enterprise support

The main feature of version 4.0 is Web-enablement. It can run as a server-side application, which requires no plug-in for the browser to view the application, or as a browser plug-in. Server-side code is executed much like PHP code is executed, while the plug-in plays back the application like an Adobe Flash application.

Also new in 4.0 is an update to the revStudio development environment. RunRev has added 100 additional commands and keywords for professional functionality in developing applications.

revEnterprise is the high-end version of the software with a high-performance internal database engine for building mission critical apps. A license for revEnterprise also comes with access to the RunRev development team support.

Rev 4.0 can be downloaded from the RunRev home page.

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