spreadsheet (was: BookMorph prompt)
alan.kay at squeakland.org
Thu Apr 6 12:08:47 UTC 2006
Hi Folks --
There's some interesting long ago history wrt Smalltalk and spreadsheets.
The first 100 personal computers sold by Xerox (ca. early 80s) were to the
CIA and they contained what still may be the most comprehensive extension
of the spreadsheet idea (written in Smalltalk of course):
From the web:
A proprietary Smalltalk system called "The Analyst" built for the
intelligence community then leveraged Smalltalk to an incredible degree to
form an integrated information handling suite far beyond Office.
"Why would Xerox develop an incredible spreadsheet that could display
images, conjugate Russian verbs and why did that happen in a strange group
called XSIS located in Los Angeles and Washington? Apparently they had an
important customer with a lot of complex information to analyze. How did
Angela Coppola know that 1000 people would show up for OOPSLA'86 when the
PC committee predicted 100-200? What sort of technology could the National
Security Administration use to print Chinese leaflets circa 1978? The Xerox
Analyst served the CIA as a analytic tool for many years. Even 13 years
later it still offers tools more powerful than MSOffice. The Analyst is
still alive and well and forms a key component in TI ControlWorks Wafer Fab
At 11:06 AM 4/5/2006, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
>John M McIntosh wrote on Mon, 3 Apr 2006 16:49:40 -0700
> > Well Sophie is an electronic book authoring/reader system, it's to
> > replace Powerpoint, Word and most of MS office.
> > (Sorry no spreadsheets, but if someone wants to add that?).
> > Since it's built on top of Tweak & Squeak and completely open-source
> > you can choose to add features as you wish.
>While Excel has been fabulously successful, that is not the way I would
>go for a Tweak/Squeak/Sophie spreadsheet. Instead my first priority
>would be to have the best table layout possible since more people seem
>to use Excel for that than for actual calculations (not counting simple
>sorting of tables). And having several smaller tables floating around in
>a larger document seems nicer to me than a single huge 2D (almost 3D
>with tabbed "pages") array, though I can understand how such a
>structured space can make some people feel more secure (probably more
>veteran users than newbies).
>For the second step it would be interesting to look at The Analyst for
>inspiration and allow arbitrary Smalltalk objects and expressions
>instead of just numbers and strings.
>Third: I would separate the expressions from the actual cells in the
>style of Lotus Improv. This would encourage the users to think in terms
>of collections of data like in APL or FScript instead of individual
>numbers. It would also make doing things across more than one table less
>awkward. The user interface could still present things in terms of per
>cell equations when that is more convenient.
>Lastly, having such a component I would use it in Sophie for things like
>timelines instead of hand coding stuff in Tweak.
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