A sidebar to the article “The Lisa 2: Apple’s ablest computer,”
published in Byte, issue 12/1984, pp. A110-111.
In July 1984, Apple released version 3.0 of all the Lisa software. What used
to be marketed as seven integrated applications is now called Lisa 7/7, a single
application with seven functions. The operating system is included for $695, and
release 2.0 owners can upgrade for $150, even if they do not own all seven
The seven functions available in Lisa 7/7 cover all the common activities in
the business office, with the exception of accounting. The Lisa series of
integrated programs can calculate, draw, graph, sort and maintain lists,
make projection decisions, communicate at 110 to 19,200 bps (bits per second), and
do word processing.
LisaCalc is a spreadsheet calculator that offers you a 255 by 255 matrix,
natural-order evaluation, and up to 126 data digits visible on the screen. The
program locates circular references and each column of the spreadsheet may
have a different width. The spreadsheet also performs calendar-date calculations.
The 3.0 version of LisaCalc adds the natural-order evaluations and circular references
as well as internal rate of return, a display of both storage requirements and
recalculation time, and an option to print with any combination of headings,
grid lines, and row and column titles.
LisaDraw is especially suited to presentation graphics. Its maximum document
size is four feet by eight feet, and it will print along either axis of the
paper. Images are stored in mathematical form and can be easily edited and resized.
Lisa’s 3.0 release of LisaDraw offers color output to Canon’s color
printers for the first time. You can also print up to an 11-inch boundary. Your
images can be rotated, flipped, and reduced up to 25 percent.
LisaList offers users an elementary relational database, eight data types (text,
number, social security, zip code, date, time, telephone, and cost). You can sort
your data on multiple columns in ascending or descending order and can search the
list in any of six ways. Columns can be added or deleted, and any column can
be hidden from display.
Version 3.0 of LisaList offers some increase in integration.
LisaGraph offers the same table of values as LisaCalc, 255 by 255. You can
draw full-page, half-page, and quarter-page and can reduce the document to
fit the display screen. Under LisaGraph, you have seven graph types – point,
line, bar, stacked bar, 3-D bar, pie, and area.
The stacked bar, solid bar, and area graphs are new with version 3.0 and so
is the display of linear regression and line correlation coefficient. You can also
use color output to Canon’s new color printer and add text anywhere on the graph.
LisaProject is a task and cost scheduler performed with Pert-chart-like diagrams.
Resource and task bar charts and task cost charts are derived automatically
from the schedule chart. The critical path is calculated and displayed, as
are early-start/early-finish and late-start/late-finish. Fixed costs may be
specified for each task and a maximum of five labor resources.
The task cost charts are new with version 3.0, as is the ability to specify
resource costs and project those costs onto resource and task charts. You can
also fix task costs in this new iteration of LisaProject.
LisaTerminal supports XON/XOFF protocol and can communicate anywhere from 110
to 19,200 bps. A window contains all transmissions, and you can scroll
backwards. You can maintain multiple connections and switch back and forth
between them. You can also retain custom transmission setups. Version 3.0 of
this program offers very little that is new.
|Figure 1: The paths between modules along which data can be transferred.|
Under LisaWrite your document size is limited only to the amount of hard-disk
storage available. Multiple type sizes and proportional spacing are available
to you. On-screen rulers let you adjust the margins of your copy, and LisaWrite's
search facilities include case and wildcard options.
Add to the above features an 80,000-word spelling checker available in
version 3.0 and a 750-word extension for words of your own.
Using Lisa 7/7
The Lisa programs are integrated in three distinct ways: they each work from
a common user interface: data can be transferred between most, but not all,
of the modules: and you can suspend activity in one program and activate any other.
With its uniform programming conventions, Lisa’s 7/7 really excels.
Text-editing conventions are identical across all modules and in all
circumstances. Whether you are naming a document, entering text in a
document, or supplying a set of characters to search a document, you edit
text in the same way. Also, the pull-down menus of Lisa are used in
all functions and always operate the same way.
The various data-transfer paths are shown in figure 1. Table 1 shows you
the data formats that each of 7/7’s functions can create, receive, and/or send.
Table 1: Types of data that a Lisa 7/7 program may create, receive or send.
Text = one or more multiple paragraphs separated by carriage returns.
A Table = multiple lines of text containing tabs and separated by carriage returns
(tabs indicate columns and carriage returns indicate rows)
Lisa’s ability to switch quickly between programs is a direct consequence
of the multitasking operating system. Under 7/7, your current function is
deactivated when you switch to another program. No matter how long you
stay away or how many other functions you activate in the meantime, returning
to the original program will recapture the state at which it was
This same kind of switching applies if you activate the identical function
on different documents. Thus you could have three or more word-processing documents
in progress and switch back and forth between them without disturbing the states
of any of them. This kind of integration is very difficult to achieve with
conventional microcomputer operating systems.
Photo 1 is a screen display of three windows belonging to three different
functions of Lisa 7/7: LisaDraw, LisaGraph, and LisaWrite. The dark shading
around the name “Floor Plan” indicates that this is the currently
active window created by LisaDraw.
|Photo 1: Three windows in Lisa showing different functions: LisaDraw, LisaWrite, and LisaGraph. LisaDraw is currently active.|
Successively activating the other two functions and returning to “Floor Plan”
takes a total of 14 seconds. This is contrasted with the approximately two
minutes it took to open all three documents initially.
In a similar manner, if one LisaGraph document is closed and another one
is opened, the only time required is that taken to load the new document and
connect LisaGraph to it. The LisaGraph program is already in memory and does
not have to be reloaded. In this case, the new document is displayed
in a new window in just 20 seconds, in contrast to the 43 seconds for the first
document opened by LisaGraph.
Obviously, the megabyte of memory in Lisa will hold only so much; then things
must be moved out to make room for additional documents or functions. Even
with small documents, all seven functions will not fit in memory simultaneously.
I have found that three functions with moderate documents (5 to 10 pages) or
two functions with fairly large documents (15 to 25 pages) will cohabit memory
without requiring significant swapping to the hard disk.
|Photo 2: A sample of figures created by LisaDraw.|
Lisa 7/7 is a powerful package for the price-$695. With a Lisa 2/5, the extra
½-megabyte of memory, and a dot-matrix printer, the total system price
comes to about $7300. If the functions in Lisa 7/7 satisfy your requirements,
there is not a better buy.