Sunday, November 16, 2008

HyperStudio's Back!

And you might be wondering why that's a good thing(tm) as far as promoting Revolution is concerned, but it really is.

Roger Wagner is back as well, which will probably reassure those veteran educators who were fond of Hyperstudio and despaired of ever using it again.

Near as I can tell, it's still no Hypercard, much less Revolution, but boasts features that neither of the other two ever had or have yet, including kerning, web deployment (sure to delight the web-ueber-alles crowd, although the required plug-in appears to be Safari-specific), podcasting and webcam support, etc. And while the company's motto is "We know where your Mac wants to go,"  there are both Mac as well as Windows versions of the software. You can download a free stack Player for OS X versions of stacks created with the current version as well as an OS X player for legacy stacks made in versions 3 and 4. Mac OS 9 and Windows Players are also available, which is good news for those educators operating in legacy environments or using Windows.

HyperStudio seems to still utilize the stack-card metaphor, which is why its release is a good thing for Revolution, which also utilizes the stack-card metaphor; this could make it easier for HyperStudio users to feel comfortable investigating Revolution.

And why might they want to investigate Revolution? Because HyperStudio still lacks a scripting language, which means that, despite its wonderful new features, it is still a cross between PowerPoint and KidPix (the latter of which the company also sells). Revolution still wins hands-down for its natural-language scripting language which allows educators to easily create custom applications, including interactive fiction, testing software, and other media-rich software.

HyperStudio-loving educators who use Windows might want to make a foray into the Mac side, as the Macintosh version of HyperStudio is considerably beefier in terms of the out-of-the-box experience. The Mac version boasts more than 1,300 included clipart images as opposed to the 500 or so images included in the Windows version, and nearly double the number of animations as well (the number of included sounds and movies for both versions is the same; however, the Mac version includes what the company calls "semi-3D QTVR" movies).

The Mac "side" also boasts a greater number of export formats, including JPG, MOV, M4V (movie clips for iPod and iPhone), HTML, while the Windows side only exports to BMP, HTML and the standalone player that both can utilize.

Requirements. The Mac version can run on either PPC G4 or Intel processors, and requires 256 MB RAM and Mac OS 10.4.11 or newer. For Windows, you will Windows XP or later, a 600 MHz Intel-based processor and 256 MB of RAM.

A single license costs US$89.95. On the basis of the price point, however, Revolution still wins out, with RevMedia, which also requires a player (as opposed to being able to compile a standalone, which later versions of HyperCard and all versions of Revolution Studio or higher can do) costing a mere US$49.00.

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