Bill Atkinson and Andy Herzfeld reflect on the missed potential of Hypercard:
Bill Atkinson: They (Apple) didn't quite get normal people could create their own software. I found a lot of really ingenious creative things came up out of it. Someone that had a passion about some area and was newly empowered to express that in a piece of software that they could make themselves will come up with all kinds of really wonderful stuff. [...] I always thought it was easier to take someone who already had a pent up passion and provide them a way to express themselves through code than it was to take someone who was a good programmer and try to instill a passion into them. Hypercard was definitely a populist program, it was designed to open up programming to the masses and make the barrier to entry a lot less.
Andy Herzfeld: The industry is missing that to some extent today even though the tools are an order of magnitude more powerful. I would love to see the analogous of Hypercard on the iPhone for example to allow an iPhone or iPad user to create their own applications.
Bill Atkinson: I'd love to see the same thing on the web. Forget the iPhone and the iPad and the Mac and the Windows. It's the Web. That's the platform today.
Andy Herzfeld: I met with Alan Kay a little after I started at Google and Alan Kay told me what you should work on at Google is Hypercard for the web. And I didn't listen to him...
Bill Atkinson: It was a generative tool, an authoring environment, whereas the web browser that we got was sort of read only - only certain elite people could make a website. And now we've got kind of an in-between where at least you can type text into a blog - a sort of pre-made website where you fill in the blanks.
Andy Herzfeld: But we don't have the end-user scripting which I think is the essence.
"Knowledge, it seemed to me, consists of the “How” connections between pieces of information, the cause and effect relationships. How does this action bring about that result. Science is a systematic attempt to discover the “How” connections. Wisdom, it seemed to me, was a step further removed, the bigger perspective of the “Why” connections between pieces of knowledge. Why, for reasons ethical and aesthetic, should we choose one future over another?
I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop. Sort of a trickle-up theory of information leading to knowledge leading to wisdom.
This was the underlying inspiration for HyperCard, a multimedia authoring environment that empowered non-programmers to share ideas using new interactive media called HyperCard stacks."
— Bill Atkinson