DWIM / Programmer's Assistant demo video c. 1977 on Youtube

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Josh Dersch

Jul 26, 2023, 11:28:34 PM7/26/23
to Interlisp (Xerox Lisp environment)
CHM's digitized a few PARC videos today, including this one:

(Larry Masinter gets sent a note at ~14:46)

1977 would mean this video predates the Dorado, so this must be on an Alto, but given the speed of the system I'm guessing it must be acting as a remote display to Interlisp running on MAXC.  Any thoughts?

- Josh

Paul McJones

Jul 26, 2023, 11:38:31 PM7/26/23
to Josh Dersch, Interlisp (Xerox Lisp environment)
Wikipedia says a video accompanied this paper at IJCAI ’77:

Warren Teitelman. A Display-Oriented Programmer’s Assistant.
IJCAI ’77.

The paper is kind of cagey (and the OCR is bad: MAXC emulated a PDP-10, not a PDP-11), but says: "The raster-scan display used by the system described in this paper is maintained by a separate 65K 16 bit word mini-computer.” I believe this was Bob Sproull’s software running on the Alto:

Robert F. Sproull. 1979. Raster graphics for interactive programming environments. In Proceedings of the 6th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques (SIGGRAPH '79). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1145/800249.807428


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Nick Briggs

Jul 27, 2023, 2:32:32 AM7/27/23
to Josh Dersch, Interlisp (Xerox Lisp environment)
Nice.  The display and keyboard are Alto-like, we had wider monitors for Dorados (when I arrived in 1984).

The fact that he’s got code with JSYS calls to change the terminal width and height says it’s running on TENEX, so yeah, I’d say MAXC.

I think Larry has referred to this setup as Display Lisp?

— Nick

On Jul 26, 2023, at 8:27 PM, Josh Dersch <ders...@gmail.com> wrote:

Nick Briggs

Jul 27, 2023, 2:44:46 AM7/27/23
to Paul McJones, Josh Dersch, Interlisp (Xerox Lisp environment)
Yes, indeed, the paper says MAXC under TENEX.

I found in another reference: “[some other system…] was built using DLISP which is described in Warren Teitelman. Display Oriented Programmer’s Assistant. Palo Alto: Xerox PARC CSL-77-3 (March 8, 1977)”

and there’s a better copy of the Blue & White CSL-77-3 at http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/xerox/parc/techReports/CSL-77-3_A_Display_Oriented_Programmers_Assistant.pdf which hasn’t been mangled by OCR (there may well be other better copies in other locations).

— Nick

Larry Masinter

Jul 27, 2023, 9:24:08 AM7/27/23
to Nick Briggs, Josh Dersch, Interlisp (Xerox Lisp environment)
From the bibliography:
points to Sproul's description of the display primitives (this is before X) and warren's

This paper continues and extends previous work by the author in developing systems which provide the user with various forms of explicit and implicit assistance, and in general co-operate with the user in the development of his programs. The system described in this paper makes extensive use of a bit map display and pointing device (a mouse) to significantly enrich the user's interactions with the system, and to provide capabilities not possible with terminals that essentially emulate hard copy devices. For example, any text that is displayed on the screen can be pointed at and treated as input, exactly as though it were typed, i.e. the user can say use this expression or that value, and then simply point. The user views his programming environment through a collection of display windows, each of which corresponds to a different task or context. The user can manipulate the windows, or the contents of a particular window, by a combination of keyboard inputs or pointing operations. The technique of using different windows for different tasks makes it easy for the user to manage several simultaneous tasks and contexts, e.g. defining programs, testing programs, editing, asking the system for assistance, sending and receiving messages, etc. and to switch back and forth between these tasks at his convenience.

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