MacOS Dinosaurs…Survival of the Fittest

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MacOS Dinosaurs…Survival of the Fittest

Postby vinnie-bob » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:33 am

Supercard is pretty ancient in terms of software, since it launched in '89 (I think). But there are older programs that still survive. One is Helix, a visually programmed relational database, which continues to be updated but is expensive and remains a real niche product.

Another is this: Provue's Panorama - a database program. (link at end of post)
This program is older than Supercard, having been released in 1988. Over the last several years, it has been totally rewritten, discarding its ancient antiquated code base. I've played with the beta and it retains a lot of its old charm, and updates the interface. Some of the programming is less glossy and slick than rivals, like Filemaker, but there are some things you can do with Panorama that are difficult to accomplish in Filemaker. It doesn't have an iOS app (yet), but there are workarounds if you need to collect data with your phone or iPad. They are using a "pay if you use it" model which is interesting… if you use it more than an hour over 30 days, you pay (somewhere between $6-10 depending on how many months you prepay for). If you only use it to enter a bit of data now and then and don't use it more than an hour, then no charge for the month. This is in line with Filemaker update charges which seem to be around $170 (regular version) to $350 (FMPro Advanced) every 1-2 years. And this can be cheaper if you don't use Panorama more than an hour/month a few times...

Interestingly, a lot of the database description programming is done in plain text with tags. Thus, one can set up a database (naming fields, specify the field type, field width, capitalization, date formats, alignment, formulas) outside the Panorama program itself using something like…Supercard. You can specify all these things within the program using a nice GUI too, but the Supercard option might decrease your monthly usage. :P

I used to need to track my car mileage for work (now my car automatically sends me a report!) and to streamline the process, I used Workflow on the iPhone (, which is now a free program. Using Workflow, I could run a program which would let me verbally input my destination and mileage and it would save that data to a comma-delimited txt file on Dropbox, timestamping the entry with the creation date. Then I'd just import the data into Filemaker (or Panorama).

Panorama is great for manipulating data - rearranging fields, splitting, merging columns, setting up complex form letters which use formulas in the text to personalize them and avoid grammatical compromises which look crummy.

More info here:
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