Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Sometimes it happens more quickly?

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:8/30/1999; 7:26:50 AM
Topic:Programming ideas and time to mature
Msg #:10222 (In response to 10216)
Prev/Next:10221 / 10223

And.. Sometimes, when the timing is just right, adoption happens very quickly.


Yes, there were spreadsheets before VisiCalc, but I wonder when the germ of that idea first sprouted? I doubt if it were many years before VisiCalc (1979) because the idea totally depended on CRT interfaces, you couldn't do a recalculating spreadsheet on printouts. the magic wouldn't be there.


And here's another one -- HTML. How far back can you go with that idea? SGML, when did it first come up? And then there's XML. My own call -- this one is so mired in corporatia that it will end up being a minor tweak to HTML in the historic view from 20 years out. It'll be like Oberon and Modula were to Pascal. I could be wrong about that. It's happened before! ;->


Outliners are an area I know more about. Engelbart did the first group idea processing software in the late 60s. Whether they were outliners or not is still unknown to me. I have two rules that determine whether something is an outliner or not. It must be able to control detail (expand/collapse) and must be able to reorganize according to structure (when I move a headline every sub-head moves with it). What was the first program to achieve both these things? And then decide whether outliners have really happened yet. A small minority of people use them. For some things, like program editing, they are totally essential, imho. Yet a tiny fraction of programmers use outliners to write code. This is why I think outliners haven't really happened yet. When programmers adopt them, you'll see a revolution. Now it's considered a feature, not well cared-for, and not a lifestyle. When programmers adopt and understand an idea, it tends to go somewhere.

There are responses to this message:

This page was archived on 6/13/2001; 4:52:15 PM.

© Copyright 1998-2001 UserLand Software, Inc.