Friday, July 8, 2022

CompileIt for HyperCard

Tom Pittman in 2007 (via David Kopec):

When HyperCard came out, Bill Atkinson said there would never be a HyperCard compiler. Strictly, he was right, because you can write self-modifying scripts in HyperCard, and that just can’t be compiled in any reasonable way. But I figured that most of what people do can be compiled, and I could punt the rest. Besides, it would be fun to prove Atkinson wrong.

Pundits were also saying that HyperCard was too limited to do useful things. I decided to prove them wrong at the same time by writing my compiler entirely in HyperCard. I did that. I never used any other programming tool besides ResEdit (and a text editor) for any version of CompileIt, not even the first one, which I wrote completely in HyperTalk. It was incredibly slow, but it worked. Then I compiled it in itself, and it got much faster.

Tom Pittman:

The commercial version of CompileIt has full access to all (68K) ToolBox calls and can generate just about any (again 68K) code resource. I have done INITs and whole programs strictly in CompileIt. In fact, after CompileIt was working (1994) everything I ever did on the Mac (including CompileIt itself) was compiled in CompileIt -- until 2004, when I started migrating my tool base to the new language I call Turkish Demitasse (T2). Most of the tools I used in the transition to T2 were still running in HyperCard and/or CompileIt.


I see that both CompileIt and Double-XX are also available on the MacintoshGarden archive site.

When HyperCard was converted to PPC I tried converting CompileIt to generate PPC native code, but it got too messy and I gave up.

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