The Seybold Report on Professional Computing
A report published on January 28th, 1983, containing 32 pages, of which
26 pages are dedicated to Apple Lisa and reprinted below.
Last week at its annual stockholders meeting, Apple unveiled its long-awaited Lisa
“personal office system.” Everyone is now free to speculate about what this new
desk-top computer will mean for Apple, for the office, and
for the future of desk-top computers.
Even before it was announced, Lisa had proved to be one of the most controversial new computers
in many years. Everyone seems to have an opinion – including a great many people who have
not even seen the machine yet. On one hand Lisa has been hailed as a miracle machine which instantly
obsoletes every other desk-top computer. More commonly it has been damned by critics who say that
it will never work, that is over-priced, that Apple does not know how to sell to the office market
for which this machine is so clearly intended, or simply that people do not need it and will not buy it.
The harsher critics have gone so far as to dismiss Apple as a “one product company” which has
never known how to follow up its success with the Apple II.
We do not agree with either point of view. Lisa may not be a miracle, but it is certainly a
milestone “event” of great importance. It may not instantly obsolete everything else on
the market, but we believe that after Lisa the professional computing world will never be the same again.
Why is Lisa important? Why do we consider Lisa to be a milestone event?
- It provides a common user environment for six key functions: text processing, spreadsheet
calculation, business graphics, a drawing program, a personal data base program, and a PERT chart project
scheduling capability. It gives the user the ability to copy files or portions of files between
applications (so as to include business graphics in a written presentation, for example).
- It provides what for most people is a new way of relating to a computer. After a user has become
acclimated to the Lisa “culture” he will find it both seductive and easy to use. The
combination of this superior “user interface” and the single environment for all application
programs is likely to spoil people for anything less.
- With the LisaProject PERT chart capabilities it introduces what could turn out to be one of
the most important new personal computer tools since VisiCalc.
- It has the potential of changing the way in which people communicate information. Lisa will encourage much
more visual communication (business graphics, drawings, diagrams, PERT charts, etc.) rather than
simply written communications.
- It clearly moves Apple right into the office systems marketplace.
Other key features of Lisa include: inexpensive local area network capability, communication links to
mainframe computers, inexpensive graphic output printers, and a very nicely executed modular construction
which should make the machine easy to repair.
The questions: But Lisa costs $10,000 ($9,995 to be precise). What does it really offer to justify
that price? Is it an expensive toy for “techies,” or is it a productive office machine? No
matter how good Lisa is, will business users be willing to pay a considerable premium for
“professional computing” over the cost of personal computing? Will Lisa turn out like
the Xerox Star to be a “jack of all trades” which does none really well? Does it achieve
the slick user interface at the expense of performance? How quickly can one really learn to use it?
And, do the things which make
life easy for the novice user slow down the more experienced operator?
To answer questions like these we embarked on an extensive test program with a “pre-announcement”
Lisa. We have had a lot of fun, and we have learned a lot – which we would now like to share with you.
Lisa is clearly a system of the next generation. In fact, Apple vows that Lisa is the first
of a family of products it will bring to the market over the next decade. This, more than
anything else, helps explain the $50 million investment and two hundred man-years (!) that have
gone into its development. But what exactly is a Lisa?
|The configuration. Lisa is a desk-top computer of fairly compact dimensions. The Apple Profile hard disk, here shown at the far right alongside the system, is often placed on top of the Lisa cabinet or on the floor under the desk to reduce space requirements. The dual floppy disk drives (code-named “twiggies”) are easily visible beside the display.|
Less obvious, but very important, is the ease with which Lisa can be serviced. Apple has paid careful attention to the physical packaging of Lisa. You can access any component without tools in no more than one to twominutes. New modules snap easily into place.
First of all Lisa uses a Motorola 68000 microprocessor. A number of other new desk-top computers
also use this 16-bit super microcomputer, but few start with nearly as much memory as Lisa.
Because the sophistication of Lisa’s operating system and office application software (all developed
by Apple) result in programs that range from 200,000 to 400,000 characters in size, and because of
the memory required to support its bit-map display, Lisa is configured with 1 million characters
of RAM. This is generous by anyone’s standards for a single-user computer! All this memory means
faster performance because it reduces the need to swap software from disk, even when running
The display, your viewing portal into the world created by Lisa, is a high-resolution,
black-and-white monitor with a resolution of 720 pixels across by 364 down, each of which can be
independently manipulated. With this 12” bit-mapped display, which is adequate for viewing
one-half page of material in actual size, Lisa directly challenges the notion of using a large
display as espoused by the Xerox Star, Apollo Domain, and Three Rivers PERQ. Lisa does not have
a large screen for numerous reasons: for one thing Apple wanted to avoid the higher cost of a
larger monitor and expensive supporting electronics. Above all, Lisa is designed to be a desk-top
system, without a floor-standing cabinet to house electronics, disk drives and the like.
The keyboard contains 76 keys formed into two clusters. One cluster is the main keybank, which
resembles a typewriter keyboard, but its 58 keys include some extras for symbols used more frequently
in data processing or program development applications. On both sides of the space bar are some
special keys, including the “Apple” key used in fast-path command execution.
The second cluster is a numeric keypad with the Up,
Down, Left and Right cursor keys
superimposed on four non-numeric keys. These are only used to make spreadsheet
applications (e.g., LisaCalc and LisaGraph) easier as you progress from one cell to another after
entering each number.
If you want to increase your desk space when you are not using Lisa, the keyboard can be tucked away
by sliding it into a cavity in the Lisa cabinet – a particularly nice feature in our opinion.
The mouse, however, is the main instrument for pointing at objects on the screen. Not
surprisingly, Apple has chosen to design its own mouse rather than use one of the commercial alternatives
appearing with increasing frequency (see The Seybold Report on Office Systems, Vol, 6, No. 1,
pp. 19-20). The Lisa mouse is a mechanical device with a rotating ball on the underside for
conveying motions of the hand on the desk surface. Unlike previous mouse designs, it has
only one(!) button on top for indicating selections. People have complained that it is difficult to
remember which button to press on a two or three button mouse. Apple decided that one
button is sufficient.
|The mouse. Apple designed its own mouse for pointing at objects on the screen. It is comfortable to use, is shaped and sized to minimize fatigue even with prolonged use, and rolls around the desktop without the “skating” problem that sometimes plagues mechanical mice (i.e., those with a rotating ball on the underside).|
Contained within the Lisa cabinet, just to the right of the display monitor, are two 5¼
floppy diskette drives. They are double-density, double-sided units which store about 860,000(!)
characters each. The diskette jacket is shaped with special cut-outs to ensure that it must be
inserted into the disk drive correctly (one way of making it idiot-proof). The unique
pattern of cut-outs, on the other hand, will cause alternate sources of compatible diskettes
There is also a 5¼ non-removable Winchester disk drive with slightly less than 5 million
characters of capacity, called “ProFile,” which Apple originally developed for the Apple
III. The Lisa software takes up something over 2 million characters of the available storage, leaving
approximately 2¾ million characters for user files. The unit is relatively quiet and does
not consume desk space as it typically sits on top of the Lisa cabinet, but we would prefer to
exchange one of the integral floppy diskettes for a 10-million-character mini-
Winchester disk drive and eliminate the separate ProFile disk drive altogether.
Finally, Lisa provides two RS-232 serial interface ports for interfacing to communication modems or
serial printers and one parallel port for connecting the hard disk. There are three expansion
slots in the chassis for incorporating other circuit boards to interface to various kinds of
peripherals, the dot-matrix printer or the Apple cluster network being examples.
In an effort to make Lisa easy to learn and use, almost all of the screen is used to portray
a “desk-top” environment on which are placed icons representing various familiar objects.
Interestingly, the idea of the desk-top image, which underwent extensive development at the Xerox Palo
Alto Research Center and now appears elsewhere, is creating considerable debate.1
|The desktop. Lisa employs a highly visual user interface to portray an “electronic” desk-top. The menu bar can be seen at the top. Note that the “view” command list has been pulled down and the “pictorial” command selected.|
The large window in the middle of the screen shows icons representing the various file folders contained on the ProFile hard disk. (Alphabetical & chronological listings of files on the disk appear in the window looking like conventional directory listings.) Icons at the bottom of the screen represent various devices (ProFile), desk-top tools (calculator) & resources (clipboard). All objects can be rearranged on the screen according to your own sense of space and placement.
Different icons are used to represent the Lisa computer, the hard disk, loaded floppy diskettes, the
clock, the multi-function calculator, filing folders, a box of empty folders, individual documents or
files, pads of paper of varying kinds, and programs. It is likely that only some of these icons
might appear on the display at any given time, but that is purely the result of actions taken by
the user. Since all instances of a particular type of icon look the same, a name tag is placed
underneath each to differentiate one from another.
To select an object, you point at its icon with the mouse and click the button. Visually, the
white icon is highlighted by inverting it to become a black one with white lettering. To select a group
of objects at the same time, position the mouse at one corner of a flickering box, press and hold
the button while you stretch the box to its diagonally opposite corner,
and then release the button. All objects located within this box are selected and highlighted.
To rename an object, select it and type a new name. To move an object or group of objects
to another location, first select it with the mouse. Then, while pointing at the highlighted icon, press
and hold the button while you slide the mouse (and icon) to its new location. Releasing the button
places the object on the desk-top once more, where it will stay while you proceed with other
activities. Or to delete an object, select it and move it to the wastebasket icon! As you
can see, there is no need for commands to accomplish these particular operations, but Lisa does use
commands for other operations as you will see later.
The window frame. Assuming that your screen is showing various icons and you want to see what
is contained within one of them, you select the icon, sweep the mouse to the command menu bar
displayed across the top of the screen, hold the button while pointing at the “file/print” tag
(which drops a list of related commands on the screen), and then slide the mouse down the list until
the “open ...” command is highlighted before releasing the button. What follows is the
projection of the selected icon into a rectangular window displaying the object’s
contents. The more experienced user finds that pointing at this icon and clicking the button twice
in rapid succession also opens it into a window.
The window has a precise organization which is fairly independent of whatever is being shown in it.
The bar spanning the top of the window contains an icon of this object and its name tag. Down the
right side and bottom edge of the window are the scrolling column and bar respectively.
The lower right-hand corner of the window contains a box with a “corner” icon. This can be
tugged down and to the right to expand the size of the window to reveal more information. As a more
general statement, you are completely free to adjust the window to any size the screen permits, whether to
make the window tall and narrow, shallow and wide, or tall and wide.
The entire window can be moved around as a unit by moving the mouse to the icon title bar at the top,
pressing and holding the button while moving the window to the desired location, and then releasing the
button to “drop” the window on the desk-top. If the window is displaying other icons (which
would be the case if it were showing the contents of a file storage device or file folder), the revealed
icons can themselves be selected and opened into still other windows.
|Tailoring Lisa. When you open the “preferences” icon (as opposed to the “profile” icon), you can personalize Lisa by setting various options. Shown here are the different convenience settings. The black boxes indicate current choices. New choices are made by using the mouse to point at the desired box (see “check mark”) and clicking the button to choose that setting.|
Commands. Across the top of the screen is a command bar which shows the names of the different groups
of commands which can be executed at any given moment. Only those command groups which are relevent to
the current situation or current application are displayed. When the user places the mouse pointer on
one of the command groups and presses the mouse button, he will “pull down” a list of available
commands for that group. Still holding the button down, he may slide up and down the list of commands
to select the one he wishes to execute. Commands which he may execute under the current situation are
listed in black type. Commands which are incompatible with the current status are listed in gray. It
is not possible to “select” a command in gray.
We soon learned to point to a command group, slide down the list of commands and release the mouse button
on the command we wished to execute in one easy, quick motion.
Overlapping windows. With the revelation that Lisa permits multiple windows on the screen
simultaneously, it is important to point out the way in which this is implemented. As a means for
comparison, the Xerox Star professional workstation never overlaps one document window with another
(although an exception is made in the case of a property sheet window overlapping its parent window). But
the considerably smaller screen of Lisa suggested to Apple that a different approach had to be
found. As a consequence, the convention of overlapping windows is used throughout the design of Lisa, an
idea we first saw implemented in the mid-’70s on the Xerox Smalltalk system running on Alto
|Overlapping windows. Opening the file folder called “Ehardt’s Tests” (which was shown in icon form in the ProFile window) reveals that it contains a number of documents. Furthermore, the graphic on each icon reveals the office application tool that created it (i.e., LisaCalc, LisaGraph, LisaDraw, LisaProject, LisaList and LisaWrite, from left to right). The fact that “Ehardt’s Tests” is the active window is confirmed by the highlighted title bar and the visible horizontal and vertical scrolling bars along the right and bottom edges of the window. (Note how it differs from the inactive and mostly hidden window labeled “ProFile.”)|
The scrolling bars contain various graphic buttons for positioning information within the window, and the mouse is used to “click” one or another of them for the desired effect. The “arrow” buttons cause small changes of position (e.g., one line), while the nearby “view page” buttons cause the majority of the displayed information to be erased and new information shifted in (e.g., next screen with some carryover). The “elevator box” button at the top of the vertical shaft (and at the left of the horizontal shaft) causes “thumb indexed” jumps to positions within the viewed object. To perform this jump, simply slide the appropriate box vertically or horizontally within the respective shaft, and information located at that relative location will be displayed when you release the mouse button.
With the potential for all these overlapping windows on the screen, Apple had to provide some
means for the user to switch from one to the other. Moving the mouse to a window and clicking the button
makes it the “active” window.2
Furthermore, when several windows overlap one another, only the contents of the active window appear
unobstructed on the screen with absolute certainty. Just like numerous overlapping sheets of paper
lying on the desk, those that are “on top” may obscure portions of the ones below. Selecting
the bottom or middle of three overlapping windows causes the obstructed portion of the selected window
to be “painted in” so that it can be seen as though it had been moved to the
top of the stack.
With LisaCalc, LisaGraph and LisaWrite, all of which will be individually discussed later in this
article, each window can be further sub-divided to permit simultaneously different views of the same material.
The double helix. Given the environment of the electronic desk-top, icons representing “tangible”
objects and overlapping windows, how do you choose the appropriate office application tool to go
with the document? The question, as it turns out, points out a major difference in the way Lisa
works when compared to more “traditional” systems.
Those of you who are familiar with general-purpose computing systems which provide a variety of
applications programs know that you first tell the operating system the name of the application you wish
to run and then the name of the document it is to process. Thus you might say, run the electronic
spreadsheet program, and then you tell this program, in a language that it alone understands, that you want
a certain data file loaded.
Lisa shuns this traditional approach for a more unusual (and superior) approach – one that should
increasingly gain favor during the next few years. With Lisa, opening a particular icon into a
window automatically loads the software tool especially designed to manipulate that object.
|A folder automatically is processed by the Desk-top Manager.
|An electronic spreadsheet, portrayed as a sheet of paper with the horizontal and vertical rules of
an accounting scratchpad, is automatically processed by LisaCalc.
|A business graphics document, portrayed as a sheet of paper with a lined graph, is automatically
processed by LisaGraph.
|A drawing document, useful for making other forms of presentation materials and portrayed as a sheet
with objects of various shapes, is automatically processed by LisaDraw.
|A scheduling document, portrayed as a sheet with interconnected tasks and milestones, is automatically
processed by LisaProject.
|A personal data base document, portrayed as a sheet with ruled columns delineating fields of information,
is automatically processed by LisaList.
|A written document, portrayed as a sheet with scribbled text, is automatically processed by LisaWrite.
|Pads3 (or stacks) of folders and documents are automatically processed by the Desk-top Manager.
Thus our reference to the double helix or tight intertwining of the information with the application
that manipulates it.
|Sub-windows. To illustrate that the current window can be divided into a number of sub-windows, we introduced five vertical windows and three horizontal ones as delineated by the lines you see here. If we wanted to scroll the horizontal group of five windows in the lower row, we would use the scroll buttons to its immediate right. The other windows in the middle and upper rows would remain as they are. On the other hand, if we wanted to scroll the vertical group of three windows in the middle column, we would use the scroll buttons below it. This approach to scrolling is rare but very useful.|
The clipboard. Yet another icon, the “clipboard,” is used to pass information from one
location to another in the same document, or to pass information between documents. Any information which
is “cut” or “copied” is automatically placed on the clipboard and is
respectively removed or remains in the original document. The contents of the clipboard then can be
pasted in identical form into another place so long as the receiving document (and its underlying
program) is compatible.
Lest you go overboard and conclude that anything can be pasted anywhere, transferring information from
one application to another sometimes can be only partially completed (e.g., pasting the values
of a spreadsheet into a word processing document dispenses with any underlying formulæ) or sometimes
it cannot be accomplished at all. This situation, though unfortunate, should improve as Lisa’s
software becomes even more sophisticated than it is currently.
Application programs. Although there are some limitations, the real power of Lisa lies in the fact
that it provides a relatively complete set of applications programs all of which operate within the same
user environment and all of which combine remarkable power with seductive simplicity. We will look next
at six key office application programs one at a time. Please bear in mind, however, that in the
context of a multi-function system such as Lisa, we do not ask that each individual application package
be the best of its kind, only that all be good enough to do the job intended, and that all operate
in a completely consistent fashion.
This is Lisa’s version of the ubiquitous electronic spreadsheet program, a tool which is changing the
way so many of us work. The size of each spreadsheet may be as large as 255 rows of 255 columns
of information, which is large enough to assuage all but the most insatiable users of spreadsheets.
In most respects LisaCalc functionally resembles many of the spreadsheet programs (e.g.,
VisiCalc, SuperCalc and Multiplan) available for various brands of microcomputers.
Creating a new spreadsheet. Assume that you have conveniently placed pads of paper for each application on
your desk-top (as we have). These pads are normally contained in appropriate folders stored on the hard
disk. Two techniques may be used to create a new spreadsheet file:
(1) Move the mouse to the LisaCalc paper icon, click the button to select it, move the mouse
to File/Print within the menu bar at the top of the screen and select the
Tear Off Stationery command in that list.
(2) Move the mouse to the pad icon labeled LisaCalc paper and click the button twice in rapid succession.
Lisa now warns you to wait while it creates a new spreadsheet document, an operation that takes a
little over ten seconds(!). The new document bears the name “Untitled,” but you can change
it to whatever you wish by typing a new name whenever its icon is selected. In all other respects,
the new document is an exact clone or duplicate of its parent forms. Naturally, you can have many
kinds of LisaCalc pads, with appropriate fields of information filled in beforehand, just as you
have many pre-printed forms in your office.
Working with an existing spreadsheet. It makes no difference whether the spreadsheet you want to access
is one that you have just created or one that has been used many times before. And because Lisa tries to
make things simple to remember, the technique for opening a document is very similar to the one for creating
a new document:
(1) Move the mouse to the desired document icon, click the button to select it, move the mouse to
File/Print within the menu bar at the top of the screen and select the Open command in that
(2) Move the mouse to the LisaCalc paper icon and click the button twice in rapid succession.
The fact that the second technique is identical for both operations is not an accident. Lisa always tries
to infer correctly what you wish done on the basis of the limited alternatives that are legitimate at
any given moment. At the same time, Lisa always provides an absolutely clear way for you to specify what
you wish done via the menu bar commands.
The selected icon expands into the actual spreadsheet – an operation which is quite dramatic
visually. The window thus created shows a considerable amount of status information besides the actual
tabular data. And because the spread-sheet is now the “active” window, the command bar at the
top of the display screen is changed from Desk-top to LisaCalc commands.
Selecting information. You can select an entire row of information by moving the mouse to the
left-most column of the spreadsheet and clicking the button while pointing at one of the boxes
containing a row number. Similarly, an entire column can be selected by clicking the button
while pointing at one of the column letters shown in boxes above the spreadsheet entries.
|Spreadsheet organization. The row numbers and column letters of a spreadsheet are shown along the left edge and immediately above the data cells of the spreadsheet. The cell currently selected is highlighted with white characters on a black background. Three fields located at the top of the spreadsheet window display important information about this cell.|
The field labeled “Cells” located in the upper left, displays the selected cell’s row and column coordinates (B15). The “Value” field shows the cell’s value calculated to extreme fractional significance, temporarily hidden by the “Format” command list. The “Formula” field on the second line displays the mathematical expression (B13/B16) used to compute the cell’s value.
Selecting an individual cell is simply a matter of moving the mouse to the desired
item (i.e., a column and row coordinate) and clicking the button, while selecting a contiguous group
of cells involves pressing the button while positioned in one corner and then sliding the
mouse to the diagonally opposite corner before releasing the button. If appropriate, you can
select the entire spreadsheet by selecting the “Select all of document” command
in the “Edit” list. In all of these cases, the selected area is highlighted.
These methods, however, are inappropriate for inserting another row between two existing rows or another
column between two columns on a spreadsheet. To insert a new row,
for example, move the mouse left of the spreadsheet body onto the list of row numbers, followed by
a more accurate positioning of the mouse on the horizontal rule separating two rows. Now click the
button, and the single rule is changed into a double rule, which tells you that you have indeed selected between
two rows. If you see a highlighted row, you know that you have selected the row itself rather
than space between rows. Inserting a new column involves comparable actions along the opposite or
column-lettered axis of the spreadsheet. After the selection, you initiate the correct command, which
we will now discuss.
Operating on a selection. After you have selected the item(s) you want, you must specify the desired
action. Lisa always follows a “define/operate” convention: first you “define”
or “select” an object, then perform some operation on that object. As with other
Lisa application programs, the LisaCalc menu bar at the top of the screen shows the names of the
various command groups which are appropriate for that particular application. For LisaCalc, these
include: file/print, edit, type style, page layout, format, protect, and calculate. Within
each group are individual commands for accomplishing various operations, some of which
may be “de-activated” if they are incompatible with the item you have selected.
Let us say, however, that you wish to enter some fresh information. Just select the cell and type its
contents. LisaCalc automatically formats numbers flush-right with a floating decimal point and text
flush-left in the cell unless you have previously instructed LisaCalc to format information according to
other rules. Naturally you can change the format of any or all information whenever you wish.
To alter an existing entry completely, select it and type the new data. Or if only a minor change
is needed, select the cell and then click the button a second time after pointing at a precise
position within the cell. The typing cursor will appear and you can insert and backspace characters as
you need. Higher-level editing operations include:
|Clear||Reset spreadsheet cell(s) to blank.|
|Cut||Delete selected information from the spreadsheet and place it on the Clipboard.|
|Copy||Copy selected information from the spreadsheet onto the Clipboard.|
|Paste||Copy all information from the Clipboard to the selected place in the spreadsheet. Embedded formulæ are pasted without changing either the row or column references.|
|Paste adjusting||Copy all information from the Clipboard to the selected place in the spreadsheet and ask the user how to adjust the row or column references wherever they appear.|
|Paste values||Copy all data (e.g., ignore embedded formulæ) from the clipboard to the spreadsheet.|
|Insert blank||Insert a blank row or column depending upon the orientation of the selection.|
To prevent the accidental alteration of information, LisaCalc allows you to protect both formulæ and data
values or to protect only the formulæ. Typically you would protect information integral to a standardized
form, but you can subsequently unprotect anything (default) if it is imperative that it be modified.
We particularly like the feature of LisaCalc that encircles any cell where data is “missing”
by virtue of being referenced in formulæ stored in other cells. LisaCalc even provides a command
to skip from one missing entry to the next so that you can easily enter this information.
And finally, those of you who are familiar with other spreadsheet programs know that all values are
normally recalculated after each change, which can lead to considerable delay if you are working with a
large spreadsheet. You can let Lisa recalculate after each change on small spreadsheets because it is
so fast, but you also can instruct it not to recalculate unless you specifically request it – a
very nice feature when you are dealing with spreadsheets.
Formatting a spreadsheet. There are also formatting functions which will operate on any
“selected” information. For example, you can instruct LisaCalc to position information
flush left, centered or flush right within the cell.
|Showing formulæ. Asking LisaCalc to show both formulæ and values of spreadsheet cells has resulted in the expansion of rows 10 and 15 to reveal the normally hidden formulæ as well as the values derived from these formulæ. The other rows in this spreadsheet contain no formulæ whatsoever, so the values alone are shown.|
Furthermore, you can define the way in which information should be “masked:” with or without
a decimal point, with a fixed decimal (e.g., 10.1) or a floating decimal with a variable number
of fractional digits, in scientific notation, as well as conventional forms of numbers with or without
dollar signs, commas and cents of dollars.
At a somewhat higher level, you can instruct LisaCalc to format a particular column according to a
specified width, insert a page break between two rows or remove an existing page break. And finally,
LisaCalc has implemented a small number of type faces for displaying information:
|10-pitch Modern||12-pitch Modern||15-pitch Gothic|
|10-pitch Gourier||12 Pitch Prestige Elite|
The ability actually to see these different type faces on the display in their actual size is
a very unusual and note-worthy feature. If the entire screen width is used, spreadsheets up to 106
characters in width can be displayed without horizontal scrolling. Spreadsheets of about 150 characters in
width can be printed by Lisa assuming 15-pitch Gothic in conjunction with landscape orientation of the page.
How does it compare? In the functional sense, LisaCalc is comparable to the VisiCalc and SuperCalc programs
that are so prominent today. It does lack the “consolidation” feature (referencing data in other
spreadsheet documents) found in Multiplan and recent enhancements of these other programs.
If, however, you use the “consolidate” function primarily because your current system cannot
cope with very large spreadsheets (which is certainly not the only reason to use consolidate), you may
not miss this function on Lisa. Its exceptionally large working memory gives it the ability to handle
exceptionally large spreadsheets as a routine matter.
To check the amount of time required to recalculate numbers, we copied one spreadsheet we had entered until it
formed a matrix of 150 rows of 20 columns each, and then clocked the recalculation time after we changed
a number in one cell. It took less than 9 seconds. Naturally the number of formulæ embedded in a
spreadsheet is a critical factor affecting the time to recalculate, but 9 seconds strikes us as quite
fast for scanning 3,000 cells.
And finally, we found the mouse made LisaCalc very easy to use, and yet spreadsheet cursor keys are
provided for heavy entry of numbers into a small viewing area.
This program automatically produces popular styles of business graphics from data entered into a
spreadsheet which resembles that of LisaCalc. After you enter LisaGraph, you see a multi-column spreadsheet
on the left and its graphic representation on the right. The visual resemblance to LisaCalc, however, is
slighdy misleading. LisaGraph does allow text labels or simple numbers to be entered into its
spreadsheet cells, but it prohibits the use of mathematical formulæ in the generation of any
numbers, which is an important departure from LisaCalc facilities.
Entering information. One way you can create a business graphic is by typing information via the keyboard.
For a new document, you select the first row and column (e.g., A1) and type the information label and
press the Tab or Return key4 to proceed across or down the spreadsheet entering information in other
cells. While you are entering information, LisaGraph is generating the new graphic at every step
with remarkable speed, thereby providing immediate feedback.
Alternatively, data (but not formulæ) contained in a LisaCalc spreadsheet can be pasted into a
LisaGraph spreadsheet. Because both application tools store data in cellular form, entire rows
and columns, as well as individual and groups of cells, can be transferred from one to the other
Greater effort, however, is required to transfer information from a non-spreadsheet program such as
LisaWrite into LisaGraph and LisaCalc. This is because LisaWrite stores information as flowing text
rather than in cells, so the transfer is considered incompatible even when decimally-aligned columns of
numbers are involved. Even though you cannot transfer information en masse, you can transfer each
field individually. But this requires a level of patience which would tax the most meticulous of users.
|Graph forms. In the left sub-window are text labels and numbers used to produce the graph shown in the right sub-window. Each can be scrolled independently, and you can adjust their relative size by pointing at the thin, dark bar in the lower scrolling bar and sliding it horizontally to the desired position.|
Since the bar chart form of presentation has been selected, the values in B1, C1, and D1 are converted into successive vertical bars of appropriate height and placed above the “Net Sales” label (A1), and so forth for all information in the table. Line and scatter charts use the same information but replace bars with the proper artwork. A pie chart, on the other hand, uses the information in columns A and B and ignores the rest.
Double vision. When we first started our discussion of LisaGraph we noted its use of two
sub-windows within the standard viewing window. As you would expect, dividing the document window in this
manner reduces the visual area available to see the numbers as well as the graph, but many other
systems refuse to show you both at the same time, sometimes creating considerable delay as you switch
back and forth between the two.
LisaGraph avoids this by allowing you to increase or decrease the width of the spreadsheet
sub-window, which causes a corresponding decrease or increase in the width of the graphic sub-window. You
also can use one of the smaller character sizes to see this data in a more compact form.
The finishing touch. With a few button clicks you can have LisaGraph add (or remove) grid lines
so that it is easier to interpret the underlying values portrayed by scattergrams, line and bar
charts. And by selecting the various locations where the graph title, subtitle, the legends for each
column of data, X- and Y-axis titles, and the footnote phrases are found, you can type whatever text
you wish to label the final chart.
|Reduce to fit. When you ask LisaGraph to generate a graphic larger than can be completely shown in the chart sub-window, the “Reduce to Fit” command displays a compressed version of the chart until you ask for it in actual size once again. This reduced version is very useful when you are entering and altering data and still wish to see the entire graphic simultaneously.|
To size this graph to fit different page layouts, you can set the basic dimensions of the graph as
being either full page, half page, one-third or one-quarter page. The first three span the width
of the whole page, while the latter occupies only half of that width and depth, making it suitable for
fitting within a single column of double-column pages.
And finally, LisaGraph supports various type styles and sizes for labeling text, not to mention
enhancing such text with attributes like underlining, emboldening, italicizing, and hollowed or shadowed
letters. These facilities should be enough to satisfy most needs.
Pros and cons. What strikes us about LisaGraph is the facility with which it handles the preparation
of business graphics. The fact that both data and graphic are visible at the same time is a
definite advantage because you can enter or change the numbers and see immediate results. With most
systems, you have to switch from one mode to another in the same program or, even worse, between programs.
LisaGraph does not support color graphics at this time, and we do not expect this to be
resolved immediately. We suppose that sooner or later Apple may offer support for some sort of color
output plotter. However, we suspect that for most business applications the nice monochrome graphics produced by
Lisa (especially as embellished with LisaDraw) are really more valuable than color pen plotter
or color dot matrix printer output. The Lisa monochrome graphics reproduce well for overhead projection
and, unlike color graphics, can easily be reproduced for inclusion in hard-copy reports.
For true color presentation graphics, you probably require a color monitor and a much more expensive output
printer or color camera.
People who deal almost exclusively with spreadsheet calculations and business graphics may miss the fact
that LisaGraph is not completely integrated with LisaCalc in the same fashion as, say, the Context
MBA and Lotus 1-2-3 application packages. However, Lisa provides a much more complete “environment”
than do either of these programs, including access to LisaWrite and LisaDraw.
This program helps you create and alter illustrations for presentations or for inclusion in reports.
It also is useful in taking a chart automatically produced by other Lisa application tools and
embellishing it in various ways, or for simply presenting information in visual form. Once you get
used to this way of thinking, it becomes a marvelous way to present not only organizational charts, office
layouts and the like, but production flows, relationships of ideas to each other, and all kinds of
things which might be cumbersome to convey simply with words.
Choosing the paper. Everyone has a personalized way of starting work, but we prefer to choose the
drawing paper immediately. By pointing with the mouse at the “page layout” tag in the menu
bar and pressing the button down, you can see that plain or gridded paper is available. We invariably
select gridded paper because it makes manual alignment of the various graphic objects considerably easier.
Independent of the kind of paper you are using, you can instruct LisaDraw to display rulers along the upper
and left edges of the drawing area, with measurement marks denominated in inches or centimeters. In
the same command list, you can select the size of the sheet of paper to be used for the drawing. The
default size is one sheet measuring 8 inches by 10 inches, or 20 cm. by 25 cm. if metric dimensions are
requested. The largest drawing area is 12 sheets across (96 inches or 240 cm.) by 5 sheets down
(40 inches or 125 cm.).
The drawing elements. Having done all of the above, you are now free to explore LisaDraw’s
capabilities. Along the left edge of the window is a palette with ten boxes portraying the various drawing
elements or shapes from which drawings may be made. You switch from one shape to another by
selecting it with the mouse, causing the box to be highlighted with a gray background.
|Before and after. The chart produced by LisaGraph (on the left) has been copied ana pasted into a LisaDraw document (on the right) and embellished using LisaDraw’s facilities. The time required to make these enhancements was less than five minutes.|
Let us explore the various shapes first. After you have selected the box shape in the
palette, you should move the cursor onto the paper and align it at some point on the grid. Pressing
the button fixes that corner of the box to the paper, permitting you to slide the mouse to the
place where you want the diagonal corner before releasing the button. As you slide the mouse,
LisaDraw interactively draws all horizontal and vertical sides of the box so that you see the
rectangle as you stretch or shrink it.
If you select the rounded-box shape in the palette, precisely the same action is used, but
the box will have rounded, rather than sharp, corners. And the circle shape in the palette is
used to draw circular shapes in the same manner as boxes, which means that you can have a perfect
circle, a wide and squat oval, a tall and slim oval, or whatever other variation you need.
Besides the three closed shapes, there are three controlled forms of lines. If you select the
intersecting crosshairs in the palette, the mouse can be used to draw straight lines perfectly
aligned in the horizontal or vertical plane. Just move the mouse to one end-point of the line,
press the button down and slide the mouse horizontally or vertically to the second end-point
before releasing the button. After you have started to extend the line in a particular plane, LisaDraw
knows which way you are going and you no longer need to maintain precise alignment with the first end-point.
The diagonal line in the palette allows you to draw a line between two arbitrary points on
the drawing paper, and the curved line in the palette draws a curved line between two points.
Two other forms of drawing lines are provided, but these are more free-hand in nature. One is expressed
by the polygon in the palette. After selecting the first end-point of the polygon line sequence, move
the mouse to the end-point of the first line and click the button (which draws a line between these
two points), move the mouse to the end-point of the second line segment and click the button
again (which draws a second line from the end of the last line to the current end-point), and
so forth until you eventually return to the starting point of the polygon.
The second form is expressed by the free-hand shape. With this facility, a continuous, flowing line
is drawn as you move the mouse, holding the button down all the while. When you release the button, it
is the same as lifting the pencil off the paper.
You can also convert your drawings into labeled illustrations. After selecting the text
box, you move the mouse to any location on the paper where you want to type characters and
click the button. This location becomes the mid-point of whatever characters you type, so you
might place the cursor in the middle of a box or circle or in a strategic location outside
of, but near, some shape.
Manipulating an object. The final and uppermost box in the palette is an arrow with the
appearance of the cursor. When it is highlighted (which always occurs after you have completed
any of the other palette operations), you can select objects rather than draw them. Why should
you want to select something already on the paper? Unfortunately, the answers are almost endless, so
we will just have to cover the major points.
|An office layout. The various palette shapes can be combined to produce illustrations of a practical nature, as this suggested floor plan shows.|
Let us suppose that you wish to alter the shape of a box you previously drew on the paper. Move
the mouse near one of the lines, while making sure that it is not outside the box, and then click
the button. LisaDraw then redisplays the box with tiny black boxes in each corner and another in
the middle of each of the four sides, for a total of eight squares. This visually confirms that this
object in particular is selected as opposed to any other.
Once an object has been selected, you can perform any of the commands found in the list under the “edit”
tag in the menu bar such as cut, copy, paste, clear (erase it but don’t put it
on the clipboard), and duplicate.
You may take several other actions:
|If you move the mouse to the center of the object and press down the button, you can slide the
object to a new location before releasing the button, which deposits the object on the paper.
|If you select the middle of the left side, you call pull outward or inward to change the placement of the
left edge and the width of the box. Or if you select the middle of the upper side, you can pull it
upward or downward from its original position. The same applies for the top, right, and lower
sides of the box.
|If you select the upper-left corner of the box, you are selecting simultaneously both the upper and
left sides of the box and re-proportioning the box by sliding the corner around
to new coordinates. Here again similar maneuvers can be performed on the other three corners of the box.
Other objects can be distorted into modified shapes by somewhat comparable means. Closed objects
have many “touch spots,” while the various line forms need only one at each end. All
these operations are accomplished with no fuss whatsoever, which is considerably better than trying to
re-do an illustration completely by conventional means.
Text can be re-positioned in the same manner (though the entire string requires only a single
touch point), but it also can have its properties of type face and size altered. LisaDraw currently
supports the same eleven type styles as LisaWrite:
|15-pitch Gothic||10-pitch Modern||¼-inch Modern|
|12-pitch Modern||10-pitch Courier||¼-inch Classic|
|12-pitch Elite||PS Modern||1/3-inch Modern|
|PS boldface||1/3-inch Classic|
Furthermore, each type face may be used in such variations as bold, italic, outline, shadow (a black double
behind an outlined letter) as well as underline – characteristics contained in the list under
the “type style” tag in the menu bar.
Changing the pen stroke. Still another form of manipulation involves changing the thickness of the lines
used to draw graphics. Once you have selected an object, you simply choose what you want from
the list contained under the “lines” tag in the menu bar. The alternatives include:
|thin line||black line||no arrows|
|medium line||gray line||arrows on one end|
|thick line||white line||arrows on both ends|
You can try one lineform after another as the object remains selected until you “click”
another object or “click” one of the boxes in the palette.
Adding shading. When you get ready to apply the finishing touches to an illustration, it
is the “shades” facility that adds the “professional” touch. Once you
have selected an object of the closed variety, such as a box or circle, you can fill it
with one of 36(!) different patterns, including white (opaque) and a non-fill clear pattern.
|35 patterns. Lisa Draw provides many patterns to fill in different areas. See the various shadings that have been applied to different portions of this chart (which happens to describe the times required to open documents in an early version of the Lisa software).|
White is useful when the whitened object is placed on top of an object filled with a different
pattern. In this case, the white obscures the underlying pattern, as you would hope. Clear is
useful when you want the underlying pattern to show through the object on top.
A second look. Our description of LisaDraw attests to its flexibility, and we found it
remarkably easy to use. As Apple claims, you can learn the basic operations in about 30 minutes. We
spent more than a day with LisaDraw, and our appreciation of it significantly increased once we
had learned its various features. We found ourselves embellishing charts originally created with
LisaGraph and LisaProject (to be discussed next) with considerable flair. LisaDraw clearly improves
the “professional” appearance of such material.
The range of uses goes beyond enumeration. Perhaps most revealing is its use as a “storyboard”
facility for drafting formal presentations or as a way to graphically portray what you want to
accomplish (e.g., physically relocate people in your department) for others to review.
We make the unhedged prediction that you will use LisaDraw more than you expect.
This program schedules and monitors project tasks, milestones, and the allocation of resources within
your organization, and presents the status via several forms of graphic charts.
|A schedule chart. LisaProject is used to generate a schedule of milestones (circles) and tasks (boxes) in a project. This relatively small schedule can be seen in its entirety when the entire screen is used to display it but schedules larger than one-half page can be viewed at 70% reduction (shown on the right) or completely reduced to whatever size is necessary to be seen in the document window.|
Starting a new schedule. After you tear off a sheet from the pad labeled “LisaProject Paper”
and display it in a document window, the template of a new project schedule is revealed. After
replacing the strings “Title” and “SubTitle” with that of the new project, you
are ready to proceed with scheduling the various tasks.
The overall layout of the schedule is fairly intuitive. The project (and time) begins at the left
of the chart and progresses to the right. Tasks to be performed in parallel are placed vertically one
above the other to reinforce the notion that they are proceeding simultaneously. Every new chart has
at least two circles (i.e., project milestones), one to designate the starting of a project and
the other to designate its ending.
To insert the first project task, point the mouse at the empty area between these circles, press the
button down, diagonally slide the mouse to draw a flickering box, and release the button. A typing
cursor (a blinking vertical rule) will appear in the box so that you can type a task name such
as “Do Research,” press Tab to jump to the next field, type the name of the person
who will do this work, press Tab to jump to the effort field, and type the number of days involved.
If more than one person is involved in the same task, press Return and type the next person’s
name and the time they will take, and so on until all are entered. To insert a second task, point at
the area between the first task and the last milestone, and follow the same procedure of filling in
its scheduling information.
Lines to connect one milestone or task to its successor (in time) are easily drawn. You simply move
the mouse pointer inside one of these shapes, press the button and slide the mouse to the next
shape before releasing the button. LisaProject will permanently connect them together, and it will
remember that the finish date of the previous item determines the start date of the next item.
When several parallel tasks converge into a common task (or milestone), the start date of the
common task is governed by the latest completion date of all its preceding parallel tasks.
Altering a chart. During the course of a project, it is likely that you will have to change the project
schedule in any of several ways. One such change involves the creation of an intermediate milestone:
|Follow the procedure to draw a box and make sure to type its label.
|Select this box by clicking the button as you point at it with the mouse. Notice that the shape
acquires eight tiny boxes (just as it does in LisaDraw) so that you can re-shape or move it.
|Convert it from the task shape (a box) to the milestone shape (a circle) by executing the “Change
Task to Milestone” command in the “Customize” command list.
|Select and cut the line connecting the two intervening tasks.
|Connect the previous task to the intermediate milestone, and connect the milestone to the next task.
This sounds somewhat involved, but all this can be accomplished with surprising speed. We tried it ourselves
and accomplished the entire sequence of operations in 25 seconds! You can delete any task by selecting it
and executing the Cut command.
|A resource chart. When you want to see what tasks each person is assigned to complete, you can ask for a resource chart. The shaded portion of a bar shows slack time, which is time that might be spent on the task without causing a delay in the overall project.|
When expanding a project schedule with additional milestones and tasks, additional space may be needed.
LisaProject lets you add a page to the right or to the bottom of the existing chart as circumstances
require. Obviously, this can make the chart so large that it cannot be seen in the document window in
its entirety. To get an overview of the whole project, you can ask LisaProject to reduce the entire chart
so that all tasks and milestones can be seen at once. For less drastic needs, the chart can be
reduced to 70% of the current size, and you can instruct LisaProject to do this repeatedly to achieve ever
smaller pictures. Only when the chart is shown in actual size, however, do text labels, start and
finish dates appear for each task and milestone.
Other things about a schedule may need to be altered as well. To change a task name, point at it with
the mouse, click the button three times to select all words in the task name and type a new entry. (You
also can edit any portion of the field with little effort.) The same applies to the name of
a person assigned to a task, and it is a trivial editing procedure to remove someone from a task
or add someone else to a task.
If you change the amount of time someone spends on a task, LisaProject automatically recalculates the ending
date of this task and all succeeding tasks and milestones. Sometimes you want a given task to begin
on a certain date because of the overall schedule of the people assigned to that task (they might be working
on another project at the same time), and LisaProject provides the “Set Scheduled Dates ...”
command to accomplish this.
Because LisaProject cannot know in advance about special company holidays or the number of days per week
that you are asking people to work (crash efforts are never 5-day working weeks), there is a facility
to customize the calendar that Lisa uses when calculating the various task and milestone dates.
Other charts. Besides the schedule chart just described, LisaProject provides two additional chart forms:
|The resource chart, which shows how each person is allocated to the various tasks in the
project. A horizontal bar reflects the amount of time a person is spending on each task, against
a background calendar delineated into user-assigned intervals of one, two, four or eight weeks.
|The task chart, which presents the same information, but it is organized according to the various
tasks, showing the assignment of people to them, also using the bar format.
Visual management. In spite of the fact that it provides a remarkable array of scheduling facilities,
LisaProject hasn’t provided everything imaginable. For example, it does not maintain a
master data base of all projects and the sub-allocations of people to those projects. Thus you
must do a comparison check of every project chart and its personnel allocations to ensure that
someone is not accidentally scheduled for 100-hour weeks!
Imagine being able to investigate different questions about the timing of a given task or
the influence on timing that the re-allocation of human resources might have on that project. This
capability provides to project management a similar kind of “what-if?” facility that spreadsheet
programs provide to budget analysis and forecasting. Also imagine how quickly you can generate
various LisaProject charts and include them in your next memorandum.
LisaProject, along with LisaCalc, LisaGraph and LisaDraw, will be extensively used by managers
and project leaders, in many cases on a daily basis. In fact, it is such a significant application
tool that it is likely to become another generic program in the Calc-like tradition.
This program creates, maintains and references personal data bases. Each record is displayed as a
row of information organized into columns of fields, producing an image very similar to the
spreadsheet orientation used by LisaCalc and LisaGraph.
Creating a data base. When you tear a sheet from a completely blank list pad and open the
document, LisaList displays a form for you to fill in. Into each column you type the names
of the various fields separated by a tap of the Tab or Right cursor key and concluded by
the Return key.
LisaList then positions the cursor beneath the field name and asks you to define the type
of information to be stored in the field. The default type is text, but number, money, date, time,
telephone, zip code, and social security are alternative forms that LisaList understands.
If the type represents a precise data format, that will be displayed in the third row as
visual reinforcement and you can edit it into another format if you prefer.
What remains is the entry of information into the new data base, a process started by executing
the “show new list” command from the menu bar. This creates the new document, after which
the display window shows a single empty record with field tides above each column. Simply select the
record by selecting the box at the left edge and type information separated by horizontal tabs and
terminated by Return.
Maintaining an existing data base. The procedure we have just described is used both to create a
new data base and to add a new record to an existing data base. To add a new record you simply
jump to the last record of the list, select it and begin typing.
But adding new records to the end of a list almost surely places them in the wrong sequence in the
list. LisaList ignores this temporary situation because the act of reorganizing the data base after
the entry of each new record would create unacceptable delays. Instead, it waits until you invoke
the “Show Entire List” command before sorting the list into ascending order based on
information contained in the first field. (The process of ordering the list into different sequences
will be discussed in a few moments.)
Besides adding new records, you can delete existing ones by selecting one or more contiguous rows and
executing the “Cut” command. Naturally, they can be pasted back into this data base
or into a different data base if appropriate. And a copying command is available if you wish the
original records to remain in the data base.
Records contain fields of variable-length information, so you do not need to be concerned about
establishing the maximum width of the field beforehand. When LisaList displays records, the information
displayed for each field is truncated to fit within the column width you have allocated for
that field. You may increase the width of any column to view the full text of any fields
in that column, then decrease the column width so as to fit more columns into your display
window. To do this, move the cursor to the field tides and point at the vertical rule separating two
columns while holding the button. Slide the rule horizontally to increase or reduce the width
of the left-hand column, and release the button to place the rule until you need to alter it once more.
In a similar vein, new columns (fields) can be added or existing columns removed as your requirements
change. Using the “Add/Remove Columns” command, select from the record template an
empty column to fill or an existing column to cut and proceed accordingly. When finished,
you will have to execute the “Show Modified List” command, and Lisa will reorganize
the data base methodically according to your instructions.
And finally, to revise the contents of a field within a record, you simply select it with the
mouse and type the new information. For minor alteration, a second click of the button (after positioning
the cursor within the field) enables you to backspace over and/or type text between two
characters of that field.
Filtering the data base. From time to time you may wish to view the list in alternative sequences.
To do this, you first select the “What Order & Format?” command from the menu bar and
fill in the template with the necessary information. This includes the sort order for each field involved and
whether any of the fields should be made invisible. The definition phase is concluded when you
execute the “Show List in Order” command, and a temporarily reordered list
will be created.
Another important feature is the ability to select certain records from the list, thereby creating
a sub-list of the original data base. After selecting the “Find What?” command, a template
is displayed with the name of each field and an empty criterion entry beneath it, any of which
can be filled with a filtering expression resembling these:
|Expression||SELECT this RECORD IF the field contains|
|= Western||Information identical to the argument.|
|< 65||Information less than the argument|
|≤ 12/31/82||Information less than or identical to the argument.|
|> 21||Information greater than the argument.|
|≥ $20,000||Information greater than or identical to the argument.|
|≠ Clerk||Information different from the argument.|
|$10,000 THRU $19,999||Information within the range bounded by the first and second arguments.|
If you wish more than one field to be used in the search operation, define those fields as well.
In any case, a sub-list honoring these filtering criteria is displayed when you execute the
“Find and Show” or “Find and Show in Order” commands. The latter command
uses the sorting information in conjunction with the filtering information to produce the
sub-list in the designated order. And, as we have mentioned before, the original list is displayed by
invoking the “Show Entire List” command.
Questions remain. One predictable application for LisaList requires integration with LisaWrite for the
repetitive generation of boilerplate letters. Sadly, the absence of this connection to LisaWrite
(or to anything else at this point) is glaringly evident. As a consequence, LisaList is currently
irrelevant as a list management tool in the secretarial sense.
|Finding specific information. Suppose you want to find those records where monthly sales have exceeded $15,000 per month and show them with the most sales first and least sales last. After choosing the “Find What?” command, you can click the “Monthly Sales” field and define the criteria (first photo) for selecting records. Then choose the “What Order & Format?” command and click the field (or fields) to be sorted and the descending sort sequence (second photo). Finally, execute the “Find and Show in Order” command (third photo) and view the list of retailers with sales in excess of $15,000 per month (fourth photo).|
LisaList remembers previous instructions, so you can alter either the comparison information or the sorting instructions independent of one another.
On the other hand, it is useful as a personal data base manager, which Apple states is the current
objective. And because it runs on a desk-top computer system, LisaList is not designed to handle
sophisticated or large data base applications, which are more suitable for electronic filing systems
available on large minicomputers or mainframe computers in any case.
So LisaList can handle relatively small data bases of 4,000 to 6,000 records with an average
length of 100 characters each, though the maximum number of records and their length is
completely variable. The important thing is that a LisaList document is not so large as to
prevent its being duplicated onto a single floppy diskette for back-up. Furthermore, LisaList
contains a facility for validating information according to simple kinds of type checks that
are included with the data base, which is very helpful in ensuring accuracy.
When all is said and done, it is clear that LisaList does not possess nearly the same degree
of sophistication and maturity as LisaCalc, LisaGraph, LisaDraw and LisaProject. The idea of having and
maintaining personal data bases on a desk-top system is invaluable (though hardly original), and we
hope that LisaList will benefit from continued development.
This program is used for creating and revising text documents such as internal memoranda and
reports as well as conventional correspondence. We think that you will find it is most
appropriate for such “every-day” needs rather than for elaborate word processing
applications (at least at this time).
Editing a document. LisaWrite is a “document-oriented” (as opposed to page-oriented)
system because text is normally presented as a flowing piece of text formatted within left and right
margins. You can preview (and edit) paginated text if necessary, but there is no command
to jump to a specific page within the document. When you open a document into a screen window, the
text of that document flows into the window much as it would on any other word processor.
The cursor reflecting the floating mouse position is “I-beam” shaped to encourage you to
position it between text characters. Clicking the button once places a blinking vertical
rule at that position to mark your current location in the text. As you type additional text,
the blinking vertical rule which marks your position in the text will move with you. The
original mouse cursor marker will stay where it was. You can make minor corrections as you
type by using the Backspace key to delete characters you have just typed. Any more substantial correction
will require fetching the mouse pointer, sweeping it down to the place where you want to make
a change, and selecting a new position in the text by clicking the mouse button.
Typing text causes existing characters in the line to be slid to the right and entire
words are wrapped to the next line if necessary. Tapping the Backspace key deletes previous
characters, and LisaWrite will even “back-wrap”5 words onto the current line if space
permits. Text is always shown in the selected type face and type size (but more on that later),
and the bit-mapped display shows accurate renderings of the text during the editing process.
During our testing, however, two deficiencies cropped up:
|A document-oriented editor. LisaWrite normally shows text as a series of lines following one another (see the check symbol beside the “Don’t Preview Pages” command). If we were to select the preview mode, the white space at the top and bottom of each page would appear along with any header or footer text.|
A distinct advantage of a bit-mapped display is that it can accurately represent different type faces, justified lines, actual spacing between lines as well as many other useful things. The height of the vertical rule following the paragraph ending with “Stereo Sales Representatives” indicates the line spacing separating paragraphs.
(1) Characters appear on the screen about as fast as the casual user keystrokes, but someone
with professional typing skills definitely can get one or more words ahead of the system. Lisa is
no worse in this regard than many other systems with bit-mapped display screens – indeed it
is better than most we have tried. Nevertheless the tendancy [sic!] of the display to lag behind what is
typed is a clear deficiency for those who are reading the display while they type and
not transcribing text from paper (normally with eyes diverted).
(2) Typing beyond the right edge of the document window automatically invokes horizontal scrolling,
which we commend. However, LisaWrite does not return the screen to the left margin after
word wrapping has occurred. As a consequence, if you have set a line length that is approximately
the same width as your display window, you will soon find that LisaWrite has scrolled to the
right and you cannot see the left-most portion of your document without scrolling back to the
left. We found this very annoying.
Replacing text is as simple as inserting it. Again no command need be specified. Simply move the cursor
to the beginning location, press (and hold) the button down while you slide the mouse to the
last location, at which time you can release it. Text is highlighted during the sliding motion, which
can include horizontal and vertical directions. Once you have selected a block of text,
any text you type will automatically replace the highlighted text. If you want to forget your
change and revert to the original wording, you can execute the “Undo Last Change” command.
Besides this fairly manual method of defining text with the mouse, there are several shortcuts. To
select a word, position the mouse anywhere within it and click the button twice in rapid succession.
To select the current paragraph, click the button thrice in rapid succession. There is, however,
no special provision for selecting a line or a sentence other than the “manual” method described above.
The other editing operations of LisaWrite include: cut, copy or paste text – all of
which exist in the other programs provided with Lisa. As we have mentioned elsewhere, you simply define
the desired amount of text and then select one of these commands from the “Edit” list in the menu bar.
Positioning within a document. Naturally you can position within a document via the normal Lisa
scrolling operations. You can scroll up or down (toward the beginning or the end of the document)
by using the mouse to select the Up or Down arrows in the vertical column on the window’s
right. Continuous scrolling simply involves holding the button on the mouse down while pointing at
either of the arrows, but you will find that this is too slow for anything but minor changes in position.
To jump to the next or previous screenful, simply point at the appropriate “page” icons
located in the same column. One line from the previous screen is retained to maintain some
sense of continuity. For more arbitrary jumps through the document, you can slide a “thumb index”
mark up or down the right-hand border of your screen window. LisaWrite will move you to the
position in the document which corresponds to the position of the thumb index. If it is moved
to the top of the area available, LisaWrite will move you to the beginning of the document. If it
is at the bottom, you will be moved to the end of the document. If it is in the middle, you
will be moved to the middle, and so forth.
Horizontal scrolling is restricted to pointing at the Left and Right scrolling arrows in the bar located
at the bottom of the window. There are no special symbols for moving left or right a window at
a time, or “thumb indexes” for setting a relative horizontal position. This is unfortunate since
we are used to seeing these icons in the other Lisa application programs and we feel these should
be provided in LisaWrite as well. Furthermore, horizontal scrolling is a painfully slow process of
inching left or right in small increments. LisaWrite definitely discourages you from preparing documents
which are wider than the screen window you have chosen to use.
Searching for text. Yet another way to move to different parts of the document is to search
by content. The “Find What?” command located in the Search list on the menu bar displays
a dialog box containing both the text to be found and (if appropriate) the text to be substituted.
There are other commands which let you specify whether or not you care about an exact match on upper
and lower case. After defining what it is you want to find, you may execute a search command such
as “Find Next Occurrence.” The search proceeds from the current cursor location (the vertical
rule, not the I-beam character of the mouse) to the next instance of the string.
If you want to substitute text, you enter the new string in the spot provided in the dialog box. To
perform a discretionary search-and-replace operation, execute the “Find Next
Occurrence” command, wait for the text to be found, and
then execute the “Change This Occurrence” command. In many cases, you will want to change
this occurrence and proceed to find the next occurrence. To speed this operation LisaWrite also
provides a “Change & Find Next” command. Naturally, there is also a
“Find & Change All” command which performs global search-and-replace, starting with the
current cursor location and proceeding to the end of the file.
Typography. Text can be shown in any of eleven type faces and type sizes:
|15-pitch Gothic||10-pitch Modern||¼-inch Modern|
|12-pitch Modern||10-pitch Courier||¼-inch Classic|
|12-pitch Elite||PS Modern||1/3 inch Modern|
|PS Boldface||1/3 inch Classic|
Besides the “normal” presentation, you may also specify underlined, italic, emboldened,
superscript (raised above the baseline) or subscript (set below the baseline) versions of each face.
You may specify both type face and presentation before typing new material (in which case text
appears with the correct properties as it is typed), or you can “select” previously typed text
and then specify the type style to be used for that text.
Formatting paragraphs. Lisa provides a single margin and tab ruler for setting left and right
margins, tabstops and indents. The ruler is normally hidden but you may make it visible whenever
you need it. When you select the “Show Margin/Tab Ruler” command from the “Format ¶”
list in the menu bar, LisaWrite automatically places the ruler immediately below the line containing
the cursor. If you then select different positions within text displayed in the window, the margin
and tab settings shown in the ruler will change to indicate the settings in effect at that
point in the text.
You may set or clear margins, indents and tab stops by pointing to a position along the ruler and
clicking the button to temporarily “spot” the cursor there. You then move to
the “Rule” command list and select the appropriate command. Some of the tab
stop commands include: clear tab stop or set normal (flush-left), centered, flush-right or
decimal tab stops. LisaWrite also permits you to fill the space created by the tab jump
with white space, dots, dashes or a horizontal rule.
Other “paragraph format” properties you may select include a choice of flush-left (aligned
to the left margin and ragged on the right), centered, flush-right or justified text (but no
hyphenation). You can specify that the spacing between lines in the paragraph be single,
one-and-a-half, double or triple line spacing. You can also specify that the space separating this paragraph
from the following one to be any of these same vertical increments.
To apply new formatting changes to more than one paragraph, select a group of paragraphs
or the entire document and then define the desired settings. The new ones will supersede
any that existed before.
Formatting pages. Just as LisaWrite provides a horizontal ruler for setting the various width aspects
of the page, there is a vertical ruler for seting page depth information.
The “Show Page Ruler” command (or its inverse counterpart) is selected from
the “Page Layout” list in the menu bar. Activating this command automatically invokes
the “Preview Pages” command, so that you see the document in the form of fully
composed pages rather than an unpaginated stream of formatted text.
|The page ruler. When you want to alter the depth of a page or the placement of headers and footers, simply ask for the page ruler to be shown. The margin/tab ruler (not shown here) is displayed laterally across the screen with similar indications of margin positions and tab settings.|
Like the paragraph ruler, the page ruler can have measurement marks in an inch or metric scale. The
placement of header lines, beginning and ending of page body, and the footer lines are defined
by the position of different triangles placed along the ruler. We were very disappointed, however,
to find that changing the position of these “markers” were immediately propagated to
all pages in the document, not just the current page or the succeeding ones. Similarly, any
header or footer text appeared on all pages – even the first page which often is different from the
succeeding pages. Moreover, you can instruct LisaWrite to place the current page number anywhere you
wish in the page headers and footers, but the fact that the page number always appears in arabic
form makes it impossible to use where you might want roman numerals.
When viewing the document in the preview mode, you can manually define the place where a page
break should be made by pointing with the mouse and executing the “Insert Page Mark”
command. You can also select blocks of text such as numbered or bulleted paragraphs and ask that they
be kept on the same page. Without specific instruction, LisaWrite allows text to flow across page boundaries
without restriction. Unlike many systems that provide a preview mode, you can edit text
without returning to the unpaginated form of the document.
The final word. LisaWrite is probably no more than an “average” word processing program. We certainly
prefer it to most of the word processing packages available for personal computers. And yet LisaWrite must
remain competitive in a marketplace where substantial improvements are being made to enhance the features
of these programs.
We have already noted that scrolling text in both the horizontal and vertical directions is quite slow.
There are, at least, provisions for jumping a screen window at a time or more in the vertical
direction. There are no such provisions for moving in the horizontal direction. Furthermore,
LisaWrite does not have most of the features which we now expect to find on the more advanced office
word processing systems.
Because LisaWrite is not as good as many word processors, we do not view Lisa as appropriate for
someone (such as a secretary) who deals primarily with text. This may be a significant handicap. If
managerial level people in an office have Lisas, you would clearly want assistants and secretaries also
to have Lisas so that they could contribute to preparation of the same documents. Yet LisaWrite is
not as good as many other systems for the other text-oriented jobs which secretaries and typists have
The particular version of LisaWrite we used in researching this article had more than a few idiosyncrasies
that left the screen in surprising states. Undoubtedly, many of these will be removed before
customer shipments begin in late spring. Assuming that these bugs are fixed, LisaWrite is
adequate for many people who will use word processing facilities fairly casually. This does not
excuse its weaknesses. Granted, most people who buy Lisa will buy it because of the other
application tools. But whatever else they do, virtually everyone has to prepare text, and we
think that the word processing side of Lisa deserves some more development work.
Printing a document
Before we describe how Lisa prints documents, we want to take a moment to put some issues into perspective.
|Two printers. The dot matrix printer (above left) is inexpensive and best suited for graphic output while the daisy wheel printer (above right) produces typewriter-like output.|
At one time or another, you want to get a copy of the document onto paper, whether to think about
it away from your desk, to circulate it to others, or whatever. In the world of word processing,
which often is characterized by typewritten text, the document is printed on a daisy wheel
printer or similar typewriter-quality device. Electronic printers also might be used, but their
higher cost ensures their use as a shared device for the time being. In the world of decision
support systems, an inexpensive color plotter or color-dot matrix printer is becoming more evident
for every-day application, while film equipment is used to prepare materials for more formal presentations.
But what if you want to use a single, integrated computer system to produce both graphic and text
output? Electronic spreadsheets, lists of information, and written reports are very character-oriented in
nature, while business graphics, project charts, and other illustrations are clearly graphic in
nature. If a system (capable of handling all these applications) is simultaneously configured with more
than one kind of output device, its cost is sharply increased. So, with the inevitable compromises
that price constraints bring, Lisa tries to accomplish all this with either of two printers.
The print devices. Lisa uses either a dot matrix unit (C. Itoh) or a completely new daisy
wheel printer manufactured by Qume to Applets specifications. Both units produce graphics as well as text.
The dot matrix printer has a standard resolution of 96×72 dots per inch, which
is used for creating quick drafts, and a higher resolution of 160×144 dots per inch for
“finished” output. It uses a 9-wire impact printhead and conventional ribbon to print on
plain paper. Usually you will use fan-fold (continuous form) paper, to avoid feeding sheets by
hand, but the dot matrix printer can print on individual sheets of company letterhead or the like if the
need arises. Its draft mode is rated at 120 characters per second and 70 lines per minute, but
the higher resolution print mode reduces speed considerably.
The daisy wheel printer, by comparison, has a resolution of 120×48 positions per inch (standard for
such devices), and it prints straight text at an average speed of 40 characters per second. A
very low-cost (always an Apple consideration) single-bin sheet feeder will be available soon, but we
have always preferred a dual-bin sheet feeder. What sets this printer apart from other daisy wheel printers
is its use of 130-spoke print wheels, including:
|Apple Modern PS with italics is used to proportionally print this single type face in upright and
|Apple Modern 10/12/proportional is used to print this single type face in the upright style
in any of three pitches.
|Apple Modern 10/12 with additional characters is used to print this single type face in
two pitches. All of Lisa’s 168 symbols can be printed, in some cases by overprinting several
characters to form a composite character.
|The “conventional” typewriter type faces of Courier 10, Prestige Elite 12, Gothic
15, and Executive PS.
As we have already said, both printers can be used to produce text and graphics. Nevertheless, we expect
a large percentage of the installed Lisa base to have the dot matrix printer, because it is considerably
less expensive than the daisy wheel printer ($695 plus $195 for the parallel interface versus
$2,195) and many people will not need typewriter-quality output. The output from the dot matrix
printer is surprisingly good, as our sample shows.
Whenever documents must be printed with fully-formed characters to achieve typewriter-quality,
the daisy wheel printer is the logical choice. This unit also can print charts and larger type
faces by printing dots using its slightly smaller period (30 mm. as opposed to 34 mm.), but we
noticed that the repeated printing of dots causes the ribbon to smudge the paper.
Overall, the dot matrix printer is best as a graphic printer and the daisy wheel printer is
best as a typewriter-like printer, but each does the best it can to produce everything within obvious limitations.
Starting the process. A document can be printed when it is open and its contents are visible
in the “active” window, but not while it remains an icon in a folder or on the
desk-top. To print this document, move the mouse to the “File/Print” tag in the menu bar
and select the “Print...” command from the list. Lisa overlays the upper portion of the
display with a printing menu that outlines the various choices available to you:
|Whether the document is printed in finished quality, with graphics and elaborate type
faces included, or as a quick draft without the graphics and with mosdy surrogate letters. Quick
draft is indeed considerably faster than the finished quality mode. One LisaProject sample which we
timed took 17 seconds to print out on the dot matrix printer in quick draft mode and 77 seconds to
print in the finished quality mode.
|Whether the document is printed in the foreground while you wait or in the background while you work
on other things. Even in the background mode, Lisa will not queue multiple jobs to be printed. That is,
it will not accept a second printing job until the current one is completed. Since we prefer the
slower-speed, higher-quality mode for printing, we would much prefer to be able to queue up several jobs
to be printed so we do not have to wait for one job to finish before submitting the next.
|Whether all pages or a specific group of pages are printed. In the latter case, you can
only specify a contiguous group of
pages, which means that several individual (and non-contiguous) pages must be printed through separate
requests. This can be a problem since only one item can be queued for background printing.
|Whether only one copy or as many as ten copies are to be printed. Lisa implements this
by a series of ten check boxes and you choose the desired number of copies.
Status of printing. If you are printing a job in the foreground mode, Lisa reminds you that it is
occupied with the job at hand. However, we were surprised to find that Lisa ignores the number of requested
copies in foreground mode and only prints a single copy. We admit it is not advisable to
print multiple sets in foreground, but we certainly expected a message alerting us to the fact that it
does not print multiple sets in the foreground or that it has automatically converted the job to
the background mode.
|The dot matrix print sample, shown here at 100% and 400% of actual size, demonstrates the versatility of this unit though the dots are apparent even at a glance.|
If you are printing in the background mode, you can select the “Monitor the Printer ...”
command from the “File/Print” list to check on the progress of the job. A status box
is displayed showing which copy of a numbered set of copies and which page of a numbered set of
pages is being printed at this moment. The job can be terminated or you can proceed with other
work once again. But imagine our surprise, while we were working on other things, when Lisa whistled
at us to let us know that all was not right with the printer (it was powered off)! We wouldn’t have
believed it if we had not heard it ourselves, and it surely brought us out of our deep thought, but
we think the whistle might be a bit too cute for most people’s tastes.
Apple will provide a wide array of communication facilities for Lisa. These include basic forms of
data communication to other systems, a low-cost network for interconnecting any computer systems made by Apple
into a cluster, and an Ethernet network for combining clusters into larger networks.
LisaTerminal. This program will be available when Apple begins first shipments of Lisa to its
customers. It provides complete device protocol emulation of ASCII TTY, DEC VT-52 and DEC VT-100 terminals.
Using one of its two RS-232 interface ports, Lisa can be directly connected to local computers at speeds up
to 19,200 bits per second. When used to communicate with remote computers over telephone circuits, it can
operate at 300 or 1,200 bits per second, and it can automatically dial a previously stored number which
you can change at will.
The user interface of LisaTerminal is strikingly similar to the other Lisa application programs. Opening the
special communication icon into a document window establishes the transmission link and creates an
environment where keystrokes are sent to the other computer system and received characters are shown on
the display. The window, then, behaves in every way as if it were the viewing screen of the specified
type of terminal, completely eliminating the need for an extra terminal on your desk.
Information stored in LisaCalc or LisaWrite documents can be sent to the remote computer by
first copying it to the clipboard and then pasting it into LisaTerminal. And since LisaTerminal keeps a
transcript (in its document) of the information received from the remote computer, this information can be
copied and pasted into LisaWrite documents.
IBM emulation. A number of programs for emulating various IBM device and communication protocols will
be available later in 1983:
|Lisa3780-RJE, emulates the IBM 3780 Remote Job Entry station with card reader and printer unit.
|Lisa3270-BSC, emulates the IBM 3271 Cluster Controller with IBM 3277 interactive display terminal
and 328X printer, and communicating via the binary synchronous (BSC) protocol.
|Lisa3270-SNA, emulates the IBM 3274 Cluster Controller with IBM 3278 interactive display terminal
and 328X printer, and communicating via the SNA/SDLC (System Network Architecture, Synchronous Data
Link Control) protocol.
|Lisa3278, emulates the IBM 3278 interactive display terminal directly connected to an IBM 3274
or 3276 Cluster Controller.
AppleNet. Apple wanted a local area network that was reliable, simple to install, easily extendible, and which
would cost less than S500 per connection. The result is AppleNet, which is scheduled
for general shipments in late 1983.
AppleNet is patterned after the Ethernet standard, with seven layers of network protocol. It
uses a baseband, CSMA/CD convention for transmitting information at a rated speed of 1 million bits
per second. Each AppleNet will support no more than 128 devices. Devices are connected to cluster boxes.
In order to keep the per-device cost down, each cluster box will support up to four devices. These cluster
boxes, in turn, are interconnected by twin-axial cable to form a network of up to 2,000 feet in
length. The restrictions of length, speed and number of nodes makes AppleNet appropriate for several dozen active
systems and inappropriate for large, “campus-style” networks.
Ethernet. As a result of a recent agreement with 3Com Corporation, Apple will also offer
Ethernet-compatible interfaces. These will operate at the full 10 million bits per second Ethernet
transmission speed. All Apple products will use a parallel port to connect with the
3Com Ethernet interface box.
What does Lisa offer?
As you have certainly gathered by this point, we are quite impressed with Lisa. We are impressed with
it both as a technical achievement and as a productive professional tool. It is hard to compare
Lisa with anything else on the market because, at the moment, there is really nothing else like it.
In the first place, the Lisa working environment really is seductive. Once you have gotten acclimated to
it, we think you will find it both natural and easy to use. We have long felt that most of
the operating conventions which personal computer users have had to put up with are terrible. The
industry should not expect people to have to learn to type CP/M commands and continually swap floppy disks in
order to get the benefits of desk-top computing power. Lisa (along with the training materials which
support it) is, in this respect, truly a “new generation system.”
In the second place, Lisa provides an impressively complete collection of application tools – all
of which share a common user environment and all of which are controlled by the same command
procedures. There is no other desk-top system which offers the full range of functions available
on Lisa. In fact, some of the key Lisa capabilities (such as LisaProject) are not available with
the same panache on any other system. Others (such as LisaDraw) are available only on much more expensive
Thirdly, inexpensive graphic printers allow individual users to produce acceptable hard-copy output of
all of the fancy things they have done on Lisa.
Finally, Lisa promises a comprehensive approach to communications: a truly inexpensive local area
network, full Ethernet communications, mainframe data communications capability, and remote transmission
capability. Again, all of these function within the common Lisa user environment. And, the user
can transfer data between the communications program and other Lisa application programs.
Strengths and weaknesses. Among the six basic application programs we tested, we think that LisaCalc,
LisaGraph, LisaDraw and LisaProject are the strongest and represent the real reasons for buying
the machine. Taken together, these programs (and especially LisaDraw and LisaProject) will allow you
to do things you probably could not do before. They will also encourage you to communicate
information in a far more visual form than you had in the past.
We think that LisaWrite and LisaList are the weakest of the programs. We include LisaWrite in
this category because it is still too slow and cumbersome to qualify as a first-rate word processor.
We include LisaWrite and LisaList taken together because they do not even provide a mail merge
facility. Until these programs are improved, it is unlikely that someone is going to buy a
Lisa to use primarily as a writing tool or as an office word processor.
At the moment, therefore, we view Lisa as an excellent tool for people who deal primarily
with numbers, project scheduling, memos and other documents of modest length, and interaction with mainframe
and minicomputer systems. It is less enticing for people who must continue to deal with
large volumes of words. One problem Apple will face is that many offices contain both types of people.
The ideal office machine would be strong in all functions so that everyone could use compatible systems.
Is it worth the price?
The strongest criticisms of Lisa have focused on its $10,000 price tag. In order to decide for
ourselves how this really compares with other desk-top systems, we priced out “comparable”
hardware configurations available from major office systems vendors. We turned up some surprising
information, which we have summarized for you in the accompanying chart.
|IBM PC||DEC 350||Wang PC||Lisa|
|Incl. (other appl.)||No||No||No||4|
Note. The IBM PC prices are extremely difficult to generate because IBM does not manufacture everything
that we required in the configuration or costs too much to include. Many people are configuring IBM
systems with equipment made by independent vendors, a practice that we followed in compiling these prices.
If you examine this table, you will probably decide that these systems are more expensive than most people
appreciate. This is especially true when you consider the additional cost for software. As
you will note, none of the other systems include nearly as much application software as
does Lisa. The least expensive system (the IBM) includes no application software. So, while the
price of the entry-level versions of these system is low, the price of a more
realistically configured system is not low.
In this context, Lisa appears to be very attractively priced indeed. For $10,000 you get a fast
Motorola 68000 processor, 1 million(!) characters of memory, a high resolution bit mapped display
screen, a mouse, two high-capacity floppy disk drives, and a 5 million character Winchester disk drive. On
top of all this hardware you get what must be hundreds of man-years of software in the Lisa operating
environment and the six applications programs – a couple of which have currently no counterpart
at any price on any competitive system.
Will people buy it? OK, so Lisa is a good value. But will anyone pay $10,000 for a system for one
person? As nice as Lisa is, might not companies or individuals decide that they can perform the essential
functions (spreadsheet calculations, text processing etc.) on a $4,000 personal computer, or
even a $2,000 unit?
To be frank, we do not know the answer to this question. There have not really been any previous
products which might give us a clue. On one hand we argue with ourselves that there is not yet much
evidence that companies are willing to spend much money to improve the productivity of professional workers whose
productivity they cannot measure. On the other hand it is entirely possible that many
people may see that Lisa is likely to be used much more extensively than is a less expensive
personal computer, that it can do more things better and faster than can the personal computer, and
that it can be used effectively by people who might never get the hang of a more traditional
personal computer. (All of which we believe to be true.)
What Lisa means
We frankly do not know how many Lisa’s Apple will sell in the coming year. It is,
after all a new vendor (for this market) offering new concepts at a new price level. We
would not be surprised if the machine got off to a somewhat slow start.
However, we think that Lisa is fine machine, worth every penny of its price. It is also,
as we said at the outset, an “event” of the first magnitude. With Lisa Apple has set standards
which other companies are going to have a hard time matching.
1 Some people believe that the physical office environment is in need of significant change, so
they argue that any system which mimicks its current form is in itself suspect. To a certain
extent we agree.
Like these people, we recognize many of the failings of the existing office. But we also object to
the arcane user interfaces typical of most computer systems. Keyboard-oriented and function-key-oriented
systems solve none of these problems, whereas icon-oriented systems designed according to good human factors
tend to improve the situation no matter what the eventual environment. There can be no
doubt that Lisa is different from many systems, and we are convinced that it is better than many
systems because it uses icons.
2 Visually, the “active” window is clearly identified on the screen because only its name
tag (in die tide bar) is highlighted and only its scrolling columns show the various symbols for vertical
and horizontal scrolling and jumping through the visual space.
3 The user creates a new document by tearing off a sheet of paper from any pad of paper available for
that application. A new folder can be created by picking up a new folder from a stack of blank folders.
Or whenever you wish, you can ask that either a selected pad of paper or a stack of empty folders
be duplicated. You can rename the selected item to suit your preference and move it to another spot
according to your immediate needs or your permanent method of filing.
In the opposite vein, an individual object can be made into a pad whenever the occasion warrants. Thus an
electronic spreadsheet (with cost categories labeled and formulæ embedded in the correct locations to
automatically compute totals) can be converted into a common travel form to be repeatedly used
with minimal effort.
4 As in LisaCalc, the spreadsheet cursor keys, which are located in the numeric keypad, also can be
used for advancing the cursor to the next cell.
5 Backwrapping words occurs when enough text is deleted to permit one or more words to be
formatted into the shortened line, with rippling effects through the remainder of the paragraph. In
this way, you always see the paragraph in its finished form.
© 1983 by SEYBOLD PUBLICATIONS, INC., P.O. Box 644, Media, Pennsylvania 19063: (215)
565-2480. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission is prohibited.
Permission will not be granted to suppliers to reproduce any part of The Seybold Report on
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