The Electronic Labyrinth


Brightbill-Roberts' HyperPad 2.2 is an inexpensive ($100) HyperCard clone for DOS text systems. The extensive installation (3.7 MB) includes 830 pages of documentation and an excellent on-line tutorial. Many sample scripts, clip art, and mini-applications are included. HyperPad is designed to be used out of the box as a DOS desktop utility kit. It is distributed as shareware so you can "try before you buy."

As a hypertext system, HyperPad is minimal. It supports no additional media, has no navigation tools, and does not allow scrolling or multiple window screens. Reference and command links may be scripted using the extensive PadTalk language, a thorough clone of HyperTalk. C and Assembler extensions are possible, and well-documented. Supposedly, DBF and ASCII files may be imported (but see below).

HyperPad is unique amongst HyperCard clones in its complete lack of support for graphics. However, the program makes effective use of colour and ASCII characters to implement an attractive text-only display. The collection of ASCII clip art is a fine example of what can be accomplished with limited resources.

We experienced some unusual behaviour in our sessions with the sample pads. An innocuous action would occasionally send HyperPad into apparent convulsions, flashing from screen to screen as if driven by an internal demon. In his review, Stepno noted other problems, such as weak error detection and poor importing (190). Unlimited runtimes are available. These are priced according to the prominence of the copyright notice.

Unless graphics are needed, HyperPad is a superior alternative to LinkWay.

2000 update: Brightbill-Roberts is no longer operating.

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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