Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 9th Oct 2005 11:16 UTC, submitted by Saad
Apple The Lisa, started in 1979 to provide an inexpensive business computer to Apple's line-up, enjoyed little success. With its advanced object oriented UI and powerful office suite, the computer was priced well above the means of most businesses. Despite its failure, the Lisa influenced most user interfaces, and introduced many features unheard of in earlier systems (like the Xerox Star or VisiOn). Read the story of the development and demise of the Apple Lisa here.
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Way ahead of it's time
by on Mon 10th Oct 2005 00:16 UTC

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When it was released the Mac was a crippled version of the Lisa and it's amazing how long the Mac OS took to completely catch up with the Lisa's UI.

One example of the inferiority of Mac OS is the horrible modal file dialogs that hung around until Mac OS 8. IIRC the whole idea of file dialogs to open and save documents was created because of the lack of multitasking in Mac OS. They integrated a mini-filemanager into applications because the Mac OS wasn't capable of switching to the Finder when running another app. The Lisa's document centric UI didn't need anything like that, you used the main file manager for all those file operations. Unlike the Mac it was designed to allow efficient multitasking from the very start.

Probably the most ridiculous thing is that other companies like Microsoft copied Mac compromises rather than the more elegant Lisa. RISC OS is one of the only other OSes I can think of that's close to being as document centric, which is one of the things that makes it a very elegant OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Way ahead of it's time
by rhyder on Mon 10th Oct 2005 01:55 in reply to "Way ahead of it's time"
rhyder Member since:

Actually, OS/2 was also (object) document orientated in some of of its operations.

For example, to create a new text file, you could drag from a 'blank text file' icon. You then rename the blank text file and then double click on it to open it in an ascociated application.

OS/2's WPS took the idea even further as you could make nearly any type of object into a 'template'. Create an empty .zip file. Call it '' and then check the 'template' flag in its properies. By way of further example, you might create a directory with a few files and some sub directories and then use that as a 'new website' template.

RISCOS drag and drop saving is also a very neat feature which promotes a logical way of interacting with documents. No doubt MS will 'invent' it soon.

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RE: Way ahead of it's time
by bogomipz on Mon 10th Oct 2005 07:13 in reply to "Way ahead of it's time"
bogomipz Member since:

This is a very interesting point. Everybody knows that the file dialogs you find in just about every OS on the planet really is a PITA. If the reason why we have to deal with them is because of a limitation in the Macintosh System Software that was eliminated ca 1988, it just shows how little UI designs have changed over the years and how we accept what we are used to as "the right way", even when it's not.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Way ahead of it's time
by hobgoblin on Mon 10th Oct 2005 12:12 in reply to "RE: Way ahead of it's time"
hobgoblin Member since:

so maybe its time for the open source community to pick up the banner and implement these features into their favorite desktop system?

hey, why not stuff it into gnome? its as if they are trying to clone everything else apple so...

ok, that was inflamatory, sorry...

anyways, eliminating the need for a save dialog (i dont recall the last time i used a load dialog) would be great.

hmm, there is the new document submenu in windows tho if you right click inside a folder. dont know how many actualy use it as they may be to used to think in app terms. fire upp the app, create the stuff that needs creating, hit save as a browse to the place it should be saved...

Reply Parent Score: 3