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VisiOn & Old GUIs

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Found a promo video for Visi On:

 

 

 

Thought this might be a good opportunity to talk about old GUIs. Any memories? 

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Makes me wished that GEM did much better on the PC like it was on the Atari ST...and not got gimped by Apple Computer Corporate!

 

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The first GUI I used was the original 128K Mac.  I found it quite limited--the 128Kb of memory and 400kb floppy drives meant a lot of disk swapping which drove me insane.  Of course, when I got my Amiga 500 it was practically the same problem, at first.

 

But yeah, I think I've played with pretty much every GUI that made it to market at this point.  Emulation is fun!

 

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Hadn't heard of Visi On before, thanks for posting. Looks like they were the first GUE on ibm pc.

 

GUIs are overrated; I used Desqview until I switched to windows 95.

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3 hours ago, mr_me said:

GUIs are overrated

I do agree, to some extent. The early ones had plenty of limitations and hardware requirements. In fact, I still use Total Commander for the vast majority of my Windows operations.

 

But I do see how it could be alluring for most of the "casual" users, and of course indispensable for certain type of programs.

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GUIs were going to take over once print preview became a desired feature. WordPerfect wrote their own DOS GUI to handle the needs of WordPerfect 6 for DOS but that had to take a lot of resources that could have been left to the company developing the GUI. If the word processor, spreadsheet, and graphics package all need most of the elements of a GUI, the user will want a GUI. Even databases were pushed into needing a GUI as developers chased the DMV market with the goal of showing driver's license pictures. 

 

I think there were half a dozen full fledged DOS GUI environments designed to launch other programs plus a similar number of DOS GUI toolkits. 

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Don't forget that DOS applications, like Word Perfect 5.1/6.0, also had character based GUIs that used the mouse.  The Common User Access guidelines are used so apps written in DOS, Windows, OS/2 & Unix would have the same interface across different platforms.

 

Wordperfect-5.1-dos.png

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But even in modern gui environments, the best elements are often text based.  Start menu with a list of text items is preferable to a page of icons; same goes for file managers.  Application user interfaces are much easier for casual users if commands are displayed as text rather than icons.  When UIs switched from pull down menus to dashboards, it reminded me of the old lotus 123 dos ui.

Edited by mr_me
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On 2/17/2021 at 8:51 AM, mr_me said:

But even in modern gui environments, the best elements are often text based.  Start menu with a list of text items is preferable to a page of icons; same goes for file managers.  Application user interfaces are much easier for casual users if commands are displayed as text rather than icons.  When UIs switched from pull down menus to dashboards, it reminded me of the old lotus 123 dos ui.

Consider the effects of translations. Certain languages like German can have very long terms that make displaying the entire string without overlaying other text difficult. If the text is cut to fit the space available, multiple commands might have identical strings after truncation. This can get even worse if it is necessary to have a larger font for accessibility reasons. A good icon can be readily distinguished. 

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