Lisa computer retrospective - Part 5 of 7

From: David Craig <dcraig_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 16:26:48 -0700

> PART 5 OF 7
> -------------------------------------------------
> Though the Lisa is now over a decade old, Lisa Technology still
> influences the Macintosh. As the Macintosh product line matures,
> it has in many ways circled back to approach the Lisa of 1983.
> When Apple introduced the Lisa in January 1983, the Macintosh
> was already under development. In January 1984 Apple introduced
> the Macintosh which, at a casual glance, resembled a physically
> smaller Lisa in many ways. But underneath, the Macintosh and the
> Lisa were totally different. The Lisa depended on a multi-
> tasking operating system, the Macintosh only on single-tasking.
> The Lisa's extra memory (8 times that of the original Macintosh
> 128) and hard drive allowed use of comparatively sophisticated
> Lisa programs and larger data files. The Lisa's Desktop Manager
> and its distinctive user interface were drawn on by the
> Macintosh developers as a foundation for the Macintosh Finder.
> A short list of Lisa legacy items from Mr. Larry Tesler's
> article "The Legacy of the Lisa" (MacWorld magazine, Sep. 1985)
> appears below (I've added the Software development list):
> * User interface
> - Menubar, pull-down menus, keyboard-activated menu commands
> - Printing dialog boxes
> - Appearance, structure, and operation of windows and scroll
> bars
> - Ability to move windows and icons by dragging with the mouse
> - Windows that zoom to open and close
> - Dialog and alert boxes with buttons and check boxes
> * Applications
> - QuickDraw graphics package
> - LisaDraw converted to MacDraw
> - LisaProject converted to MacProject
> - LisaWrite, LisaCalc, LisaTerminal influenced Macintosh
> applications
> - Lisa Desktop Manager influenced the Macintosh Finder design
> - Lisa printing architecture influenced Macintosh printing
> * Software development
> - Lisa Pascal converted to MPW Pascal
> - Lisa Clascal influenced MPW Object Pascal
> - Lisa Workshop influenced design of Macintosh Programmer's
> Workshop
> - Lisa Workshop editor (LisaEdit) influenced editor design
> - Lisa ToolKit influenced heavily the Macintosh MacApp
> framework
> * Hardware
> - Single-button Mouse design
> - ImageWriter printer
> The Lisa legacy may also be seen in its influence, through the
> Macintosh at least, on environments for non-Apple
> microcomputers, including Microsoft Windows, Digital Research's
> GEM, and Commodore's AmigaDOS. Close examination of these
> systems will show a superficial resemblance to the Lisa (and
> Macintosh) environments. But many times below the surface one
> finds behavior that is reminiscent of the PC-DOS and CP/M
> systems from (relatively) long ago.
> Other Macintosh technical areas influenced by the Lisa were:
> * System 7 Stationery
> * System 7 Apple Events
> * Finder's Print Monitor
> When I work with the Macintosh (e. g. a Macintosh II series
> machine) in 1993, I notice two prominent differences from the
> Lisa of 1984.
> First, the Macintosh is much faster than the Lisa. Editing
> complicated images in LisaDraw is almost an exercise in
> futility. Apple has made excellent progress in enhancing the
> speed of its Macintosh series. If Apple had kept the Lisa
> product line one could only assume that hardware speed
> improvements would have followed advancing technology. I've
> heard that Apple developed a prototype Lisa based upon the 68020
> processor, but canceled this project along with the Lisa as a
> whole. This might have made the Lisa a much faster machine.
> Second, the Macintosh seems comparatively incomplete in some
> ways. For example, the Macintosh Finder does not save the
> desktop, open application location, and data states, as did the
> Desktop Manager. I miss being able to press the Lisa's power-off
> button and just walk away from the computer, knowing that the
> computer would save all my application data and turn off
> automatically. Whenever I wished to resume work, I just pressed
> the power-on button and the Lisa showed me a screen matching the
> one I had left.
> I don't mean to criticize the Macintosh unfairly, since it has
> in its own right contributed much to the field of personal
> computing. But the Lisa benefited in general by resulting from a
> total system approach that delivered integrated functions with a
> consistent and high quality user interface. I can only speculate
> how this "total approach" originated, but think it may have
> something to do with the experience and age differences of the
> Lisa and Macintosh development teams. From my readings it
> appears that the Lisa developers were about a decade older than
> their Macintosh counterparts. The Lisa developers came mainly
> from large computer companies like Xerox, HP, and DEC, which had
> created and manufactured minicomputer systems, while the
> Macintosh developers came mainly from within Apple's II and III
> computer divisions. The Lisa developers also appear to have had
> a different programming philosophy than the Macintosh
> developers. The Lisa's core software was primarily written in
> Pascal, a high-level language. Macintosh core software, on the
> other hand, was written in 68000 assembly language.
> I can only hope that Apple will resurrect some Lisa Technology
> that is appropriate for Macintosh (and newer) systems. This hope
> assumes that Apple will preserve the Lisa development materials
> as best it can. Unfortunately, my experiences in this area
> suggest that Apple has lost some Lisa materials already and does
> not put a high priority on saving (what many there may consider)
> the "antiquated" Lisa technology that remains. I see the
> preservation of Lisa design notes and Lisa Office System source
> code files as crucial for the continuation of the Lisa's legacy.
> Hopefully Apple will remove the confidentiality status of its
> Lisa materials in the upcoming years so that outsiders like
> myself may have access to this body of knowledge.
> -------------------------------------------------
> The Lisa was considered by many at Apple to be a failed
> experiment. Even so it appears that some people working there
> understand, and wish to commemorate, the Lisa's legacy to the
> Macintosh. These people provided a short dedication to the Lisa
> Desktop Manager and its designers in the Macintosh System 7
> operating system, which first appeared in 1990, almost a decade
> after the Lisa's debut.
> On a Macintosh running System 7 you may obtain a dialog showing
> a Lisa dedication. Hold down the Option key and select the menu
> item "About the Finder" (this item is called "About this
> Macintosh" if the Option key is not held down). You should see a
> pretty mountain scene with a list of names at the bottom edge.
> Wait about 15 seconds and the bottom names will scroll, showing
> more names of contributors to various versions of the Macintosh
> Finder. Eventually you will see a dialog describing the Lisa
> Desktop Manager.
> Regards,
> David T. Craig
> ###########################################################
> # David T. Craig -- CyberWolf Inc. -- ACI 4D Developer #5
> # Aspen Plaza, 1596 Pacheco, Suite 203
> # Santa Fe, NM 87505 USA
> # voice 505.983.6463 ext 15 -- fax 505.988.2580
> # dcraig_at_email.domain.hidden
> ###########################################################

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