The 2.5 release of MetaCard Corporation's award-winning GUI application and hypermedia environment for UNIX/X11 workstations, Windows 3.1/95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP, MacOS, and Mac OS X now helps developers be even more productive. Not just another expensive and complex application development environment that requires extensive programming with a third generation language, MetaCard's Very High Level Language (VHLL) and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) make producing high quality, high functionality applications faster and easier than ever before.
MetaCard can also be used to prepare on-line help and computer-based training (CBT) packages. The multiple-card metaphor and hypertext-linking capability makes it natural for producing on-line reference manuals. As an example, the complete documentation for the MetaCard environment itself is available on-line in MetaCard stacks.
Press and end-user response to the product has been highly favorable. UNIXWorld magazine named MetaCard one of the 10 Best Products of 1992, and MetaCard was a finalist in SCO's Product of the Year contest in 1993. SunWorld magazine says "... once users have come up to speed with the package, it becomes a must-have UNIX utility, allowing fast prototyping, easy interactive presentations, and simple custom apps." MetaCard 2.0 was one of SCO World Magazines Hot Products for 1996, and MetaCard 2.1 was selected as one of the Top 10 Software Products of 1997 by IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (Jan/Feb 1998 issue).
Through the use of reusable software components that reside in MetaCard "stacks," this rapid application development environment allows even inexperienced computer users to develop applications in a fraction of the time required by other development tools. The interface layout tools are all WYSIWYG and will feel familiar to anyone who has used a drawing or painting program. Building an aesthetically pleasing and functional interface requires none of the esoteric knowledge of attribute and callback names required by other Motif based development systems.
When compared with application development tools that require the use of a third-generation language such as C/C++/Java, far fewer lines of code must be written to complete an application with the MetaTalk language. This results in higher developer productivity, higher product reliability, and reduced maintenance costs. The power and wealth of built-in capabilities of the language also means that you won't "hit the wall" and have to cut important product features late in development, a common occurrence when using "no scripting required" presentation tools and icon-based multimedia development environments.
Another benefit of the MetaCard environment is true application portability: applications developed on any platform can be run on any other supported platform without recompiling or other preprocessing.
Since MetaCard engines are freely distributable (the Home stack is the licensed unit), no special licensing arrangements or royalties are necessary to take advantage of this portability or distribute applications built with MetaCard. This flexibility will make multiplatform environments much more convenient for developers and users alike.
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