Hypercard scripting like Python

abulka at netspace.net.au abulka at netspace.net.au
Wed May 9 08:28:17 EDT 2001

In the world of computer languages there is a distinction between statically 
typed systems programming languages, VS. the loosely typed late-binding 
scripting languages.  C++, Java, Delphi are examples of the former and Python, 
Hypercard, FORTH, Lisp, Smalltalk examples of the latter.  Each paradigm has 
its strengths and weaknesses.

I've always used both styles of language, and have even grown to love a systems 
programming language - Delphi.  But I remember FORTH rocked (in its day) and 
Python certainly rocks now (be still my heart :-).  I've also have a lot of 
time for hypercard style scripting languages esp. the more pure and orthogonal 
Toolbook Openscript (which unfortunately is now expensive and become a niche 

(Remember when Windows 3.1 came out - Toolbook was bundled with it, to match 
the bundling of Apple's Hypercard with Macs - the "programming languages for 
the rest of us".  Not sure why all that fizzled out - better open source 
alternatives evolved I guess.)

My questions are:

 1. Where does Python fit into the history of scripting languages. How 
important is it in grand scheme of things, and specifically in the context of 
the scripting 'movement'?  I mean, is Python state of the art in the scripting 
world - something that history will look upon with fondness, the way we look 
upon Smalltalk with a certain fondness? 

 2. Can anybody tell me who begat Toolbook/Openscript/Hypercard/Metacard - were 
these just variations of well known established scripting systems from the 
50's - or was there new innovation involved there.  Perhaps the merging of an 
easy GUI metpahor with scripting was their contribution... Thoughts?

-Andy Bulka
abulka at netspace.net.au

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