It’s always difficult if you’re a pioneer, and more so if you’re a Scottish one, which is the position Owl International Inc, the US end of Office Workstations Ltd of Edinburgh, finds itself with the launch of Apple’s HyperCard. But it looks to the Apple move to legitimise the market, and says that it will […]
It’s always difficult if you’re a pioneer, and more so if you’re a Scottish one, which is the position Owl International Inc, the US end of Office Workstations Ltd of Edinburgh, finds itself with the launch of Apple’s HyperCard. But it looks to the Apple move to legitimise the market, and says that it will bring out a version of its hypertext system, Guide, for IBM Personal Computers. Alan Boyd, president of Owl International, said that the program, currently called William Tell, will bring both Apple HyperCard and hypertext capabilities to a wide variety of non-Mac personal computer users and is being written for PS/2s and ATs. It will run under Microsoft Windows 2.0 and will provide all the functions of Guide 2.0 plus the ability to do randomly-shaped windows and documents, full-motion video inside windows, and hook to SQL-type databases – and use Guide or HyperCard files. It’s planned to be ready by the end of the year. Version 2.0 of Guide for the Macintosh, to ship in September, will have improved formatting, network support, and command buttons. Command buttons permit any Mac program to be integrated into or driven from Guide 2.0. Industrial strength Boyd said version 2.0 will make Guide the industrial-strength hypertext product. Asked by Microbytes Daily what advantages Guide 2.0 will offer over Apple’s soon-to-be-bundled HyperCard program, Boyd pointed out that a HyperCard application requires the 380Kb HyperCard engine, while Guide 2.0 applications can be run from the 40Kb Guide desk accessory, Guidance. We have a two-year technology lead over Apple in hypertext, Boyd claimed. We plan to use this lead, in conjuction with Apple’s endorsement of the concept, to create new markets on other hardware. When we released Guide for the Mac and included the envelope program to enable non-Guide owners to read hypertext, we really released the first stackware, Boyd said. We couldn’t assume, like Apple, that everyone would have a run-time version of our program. And that’s going well for us, especially in publishing. We’ve released a version of Ted Nelson’s book ‘Literary Machines’ as an envelope. We also have a read-only version of Guide that is a way for software developers to attach hypertext features to their product. An obvious one would be a hypertext help system, as Aldus did with PageMaker 2.0. Boyd’s comments on Apple’s recently released hyper-Rolodex program were, says Microbytes, those of the pioneer looking at the new homesteader. I think we did more research on Guide than they did on HyperCard. If you look at the amount of overlap between the two products – if they had copied our idea of having the cursor change over a button – well, there would be a 100% overlap. But Apple may bring enough people over that initial hump of using hypertext that they may create a market for Guide for us. Apple has a history of not updating their stuff well. If someone is looking longterm and seriously at this, I dont think I’d lock myself into HyperCard. And in Guide 2 you can shape the document any way you want and save it. If you want a card, you can have it. Boyd is particulaly enthusiastic about the possibilities of Compact Disk Read Only Memories. I tell people not to think about it as a disk drive hanging out there. Forget the CD part. Think of it as a ROM. 600Mb of ROM. You get this whole different perspective of what your computer can do for you. Owl’s Guide 2.0 will be available in September for $200; and 1.0 owners will be able to get the upgrade for $40. The Scottish company also plans versions of its products for Unix and MS-OS/2 and for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, and Apple IIgs computers.