SuperCard 4.5, has dramatically improved performance as well as a number of new features that will help to keep SuperCard in the toolkit of developers and multimedia creators.
The speed of script performance has been improved, particularly in Mac OS X. According to Fourth World’s HyperBench utility, SuperCard 4.5 running natively in OS X improves raw script execution speed by a factor of up to ten or more, SuperCard 4.5 introduces new text field features that include paragraph-level formatting, inline graphics and support for tabs. It’s now possible to align text left, right, centre, indent paragraphs, set tabs and determine the line spacing.
SuperCard’s graphic technology is based upon a concept known as PictureData. PictureData lets you put the contents of draw primitives or images to any standard image file, allowing for manipulations such as resizing.
SuperCard 4.5 introduces Alpha channel graphic support If you set the ink of a pictureData graphic with alpha-channel information to the appropriate alpha flavour for the image, it will be displayed using alpha compositing. If no alpha channel information is contained in the image, the resulting behavior is undefined. What that means is that if SuperCard is able to detect this condition then the object generally behaves as if the ink were set to transparent.
Other improvements include a translucent windows property. The opacity of the backdrop can also be set to fade the view of the desktop instead of completely hiding it. Printing from within Supercard has been improved with the introduction of a number of new properties and functions. There is now a preview and file option to the print command to print jobs directly to preview or to a PDF file on disk.
SuperCard has a new modular Help system that is very intuitive and very quick. Since using the new Help system, I have not missed the printed manuals like I usually do when using online help.
SuperCard is now running alongside its competition as far as multimedia development is concerned, it is probably the best choice for making standalone applications that will run only on the Mac, when cross-platform use is not an issue. But to keep up with the likes of Runtime’s Revolution it still needs to address database connectivity and cross-platform compilation.