Using the "Scripter's Tools" Stack (ABC94.05)

by Gareth Jones

One of the stacks included with HyperCard IIGS is Scripter's Tools. A "scripter" is anybody who writes instructions in HyperCard's built-in programming language. The stack organizes sounds, scripts, XCMDs (External Commands) and XFCNs (External Functions) so that they can be located quickly and copied to other stacks.

Scripter's Tools seems intimidating because it holds so much. It initially contains 19 XCMDs, 7 XFCNs, 18 sounds and 7 scripts. For anyone who wants to master HyperCard, however, the contents of this stack are indispensible.

As every worker knows, it is handy to have all your tools organized and in one place. There is no reason not to achieve this by adding more tools to the Scripter's Tools stack as you acquire them. As there is no documentation on how to add tools to the stack, this article will describe how I did it. The procedure for attaching sounds is the simplest, so I'll begin with that. I'll show how to add XCMDs and XFCNs next and, finally, scripts.

Adding Sounds

First, you have to attach the sound to the Scripter's Tools stack. Some stacks, like Scripter's Tools itself, provide buttons for exporting their resources. If you can't find such a button, use the shareware stack HyperUtility to copy resources from any stack to any other. Or use the application RMover from the HyperCard IIGS Developers' Disk. Your final option, if none of these is available, is to write your own script to perform the move, using the tools in Scripter's Tools.

You can copy a resource sound to Scripter's Tools from another stack in the same way that you copy an XCMD or XFCN, by using HyperUtility or a similar stack. Once you have done that, just open Scripter's Tools and click the "Update Tool List" button. That's all: It will find any new resources and add them to its lists of sounds, XCMDs and XFCNs. Double clicking the name of a sound will play it for you.

Adding XCMDs And XFCNs

You can copy an XCMD or XFCN to Scripter's Tools from another stack in the same way that you copy a sound, by using HyperUtility or a similar stack. After you copy the resources to Scripter's Tools, open the stack and click its "Update Tool List" button. Each new XCMD and XFCN will have its name added to the appropriate list of resourses with an asterisk displayed in front of it, indicating that the stack does not have a card that describes it. The next task, obviously, is to add these cards. Do this by simply clicking the tool name with the asterisk. The stack will present you with a dialogue box that gives you a choice to cancel or continue. If you choose to continue, it will create the card.

Adding Scripts

You do not add a script the same way that you add the other tools. Instead, open Scripter's Tools, click on the "Scripts" button, then click on the name of any script. Once HyperCard has taken you to the card describing that script, follow these steps:

  1. Select "New Card" from the Edit menu.
  2. Press Option-left arrow to return to the previous card
  3. Select "Copy Card" from the Edit menu
  4. Press Option-right arrow to return to the new card
  5. Select "Paste Card" from the Edit menu.
  6. Type in the name of the script you want to add and a description of its syntax and use in the appropriate fields.
  7. Click the bent arrow icon on the card to return to the first card in the stack.
  8. Click the "Update Tool List" button. The new card will automatically be added to the list of scripts.

The script itself can be copied from whatever stack or word processing document it is in and pasted onto the appropriate card. Alternatively, it can be typed in directly. When you have finished, click the "Description" button on the card and type in a description of what the script does, what variables it needs, and anything else you want to remember about it.

Another Tip

Since there are a number of sounds already attached to this stack, why not drag the stack into the Sounds folder in your System folder? Every sound in the stack will be automatically available to the Sounds Control Panel when you reboot your computer, so that you can use them as beep or warning or "task accomplished" sounds. In addition, any sound you add to the stack is available to be attached to your other HyperCard stacks. The sounds are loaded into memory during the boot process, and take up some of your computer's memory, so it isn't a great idea to add every sound you create or encounter!


HyperCard IIGS is meant to be customized to fit your needs and personality. That is why it was designed so that the scripts, sounds, artwork and icons in a stack could be altered by a user. This article discussed how to alter the contents of just one stack: Scripter's Tools. I hope that it encourages people to add to, subtract from, and generally customize other stacks.

Gareth Jones is the former Editor of Apples B.C. News and a Contributing Editor of Hyper Quarterly, a new magazine-on-disk devoted to HyperCard IIGS stacks.

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