Introducing the AppleWideWeb!

Posted 2024-03-14 | Back to blog index

Introducing the AppleWideWeb!

Most of you may already know that HyperCard was a big influence on Tim Berners-Lee when he created the WWW. We are told that HyperCard missed its chance since it wasn't networked. Without support for connecting up a global network of HyperCard Stacks, it had no chance against the WWW.

Well that was then and this is now. In 2024 we DO have a global AppleTalk network to publish HyperCard Stacks on - GlobalTalk! The dream is finally a reality!

How do I do this?

You start with a template copy of the AppleWideWeb stack. Open it up, and create your content and create links between local pages in your own stack. It basically acts like a local HyperCard Wiki.

Now it's time to link to a page on one of your GlobalTalk pals pages. Choose to add an external link, then select their stack over a public AppleTalk mount. Pick what page to link to, and there you go! Clicking the link mounts the share, opens the stack, and goes to the page!

How does this voodoo work?


System 7 added a feature called aliases, which lives on in macOS to this day.

System 7 aliases are smart enough to remember the AppleShare credentials and mount the drive automatically when opened. What AWW does is simply create an alias (stored in the resource fork of the stack) and then open it up when it's time to link. Super simple!

Get started!

The AppleWideWeb stack is available on the Blackbird share on BaroNet.

Please copy it locally and then disconnect and work locally, the built in file sharing in System 7 has a limit of 10 connected clients which may fill up quickly if people leave things mounted in the background.

This was all done in a day today after an idea I had last night, so the code is jank, the error handling is barely there and it's not at all tested. I just had to get it done and out of my mind so I'm amazed it works at all

AppleTalk likes to just hang when it can't find something it thinks should be there so keep that in mind

Read the help before using

Even if the networking part falls on its rear due to AppleShare being unhappy maybe people can make little wikis on their shares or something

I have made a change to creating your own web. Instead of having to find a special blank template on my share, you can now use any copy of AWW 1.1 to create a new, blank web on your own disk, directly from the Help screen.

It's self-replicating!

A MacOS screenshot showing a “Create a blank web” button

@siracusa Since this post is starting to see some traction outside of folks familiar with GlobalTalk, let me explain what that is

For MARCHintosh this year, enthusiasts of classic Mac computers have dug up some Apple software from the early 90's that lets you bridge their proprietary AppleTalk LAN protocol over the Internet, creating a global LAN for retro Mac machines of the 80s and 90s. People are sharing files and ImageWriters, exchanging messages

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