Dialog boxes such as "Save As Like system menus, they have some transparency. Instead of simply appearing and disappearing, they are animated to scroll down out of and up into the window's title bar. The readability of messages can be restricted by the window's transparency. Menu-bar The Apple-icon has moved to the center of the menu bar; It represents the new "light source" for the desktop.
Operating system and user interface
It seems to originate in the top center, but some elements on the desktop, such as topmost windows, cast a shadow as though the light source were in its traditional, upper-left position. The centered position appears unusual and disturbing, as all menus have to be arranged around it. It's position restricts the consistency of left-aligning all Apple-Menus.
Instead, all documents are represented in a filing system at the bottom of the screen called the "dock". The finder was a useful tool which provided a spatial orientation for the user, enabling navigation through any amount of files and folders. As a compensation it is now possible to navigate through lists of file-structures in the so-called finder-browser, another familiar tool for MS Windows users.
Indeed the multi-windows mode could cause screen-clatter for the user, but it was always possible to find a way around this problem. Instead of improving this, Apple now decided to allow only one open window at a time. A very radical solution to the problem. The Dock. Dock The Dock is always centered along the bottom of the screen and can accept any window or document. As the Dock grows full, individual "tiles" shrink.
History of the graphical user interface - Wikipedia
A user option called the "genie mode" magnifies tiles as the cursor moves over them. The Dock represents another equivalent to the Microsoft world: It displays a resized version of any open document, and also contains the trash-can. The finder-icon is always the first on the left side, the trash-can is always the last icon at the right end of the dock.
Very detailled Icons illustrate different document-types. The more documents have to be displayed in the dock, the smaller the icons shrink. Because the three buttons looked like eyes and a nose and the cord looked like a tail, the little pointing device was christened the "mouse".
Unfortunately, Engelbart enventually lost funding before he could finish his project. Not wanting to lose out on this new computer revolution Xerox had set the place up for useby the greatest geniuses in the computer industry at the time. They paid them simply to perform research pertaining to the field of computer science to eventually create new advancements in computers, regardless of price. Taking the visions of Engelbart, and their new visionaries like Larry Tesler and Alan Kay, these began work on a new type of computer.
They decided that its operating system would do away with the arcane command-line interface and instead would emulate the simplicity of a user's desktop, where papers overlapped each other and were moved at will while actions were performed on them without complex commands to type.
Mac OS X for Java Geeks by Will Iverson
In only three years, there machine was created. In , the Xerox Alto was born. The Alto, shown at left, had many familiar features but contained totally absent to the computer industry at the time. The most shocking thing about the Alto is that it was design to be used by only one person, the first personal computer. In the days where huge mainframes used by several people at a time this was unheard of.
Another radical new feature was the way it displayed information. The screen redrew everything, including text, as pictures. The whole screen was one big graphical display that used pixels, like a TV, each separately controlled using a process called "bit-mapping".
University of Helsinki – orientation (2 sp)
The PARC team figured that it would be more aesthetically pleasing to the user if the display was just like a normal piece of paper. Instead of using the old phosphorous green-on-black display they used a black-on-white display. To accomplish this task they needed a bit-mapped display that consisted of pixels controlled by bits in memory. If the bit was turned on the pixel was white, if turned off the pixel was black.
They succeeded in creating a black and white display that could show pictures and text with unprecedented accuracy. The display, which had a resolution of x pixels, was greater than the average resolutions today. Go to the Image Gallery for more pictures of the Alto.
Another interesting feature about the display is that it employed different squares that could be moved and overlapped with each other, again just like paper, and performed different tasks. These squares were known as "windows" and were controlled using a cursor that would move by changing its position every time the screen redrew. Engelbart's mouse, now ten years old, was used to control the cursor ont he screen. The tasks were performed using a contextual menu that would pop-up allowing you to perform different actions with a click of the mouse.
The Alto included many other accessories that was way ahead of its time. It was networked using "Ethernet" technology, a standard created at PARC, and used a "laser printer" which was developed there as well. Now as you can see these were all incredible breakthroughs, so Xerox should've become the leading power in the computer industry, righ?
Well, all this technology came at a price. The bitmapped display used a lot of memory, every feature that was added upped the already high price of the machine. Xerox did eventually make computers that sold a little, but it was too little too late. By that time niches had already been set and there was no room for the company.
I always wonder what would've happened if they had released it when they did, seeing as how much more primitive computers released much later became such a success. Later that decade several "hackers" began meeting to discuss microcomputing at the Homebrew Computer Club, just minutes away from PARC.
Larry Tesler of PARC attended some of these meetings and was appalled by their amazement of small graphics routines on the screen. How could they be so awed by such primitive computing? To everybody but PARC engineers what the club was showing was the future. Another person attending these meetings was Steve Wozniak. Not being able to afford the Altair systems on display, he began work on his own computer to show off, the Apple After building the machine, founding Apple Computer with Steve Jobs, selling it with moderate success, and working with future Apple employees, he began work on the Apple II.
Needless to say it became an instant success with its color display, Disk ][ drive, and other neat features. It wasn't until Bill Atkinson, a resident Apple genius working on the graphics routines for another project called Lisa, also suggested he should go that Jobs began to become curious about what lay at the Xerox facility. His first visit was in November where he saw the future of personal computing in the Alto. He began to scream and shout how revolutionary it was, and brought a handful of Apple VP's and engineers a month later to check it out.
Bill Atkinson, working for the Lisa group, suped up LisaGraf, responsible for the machine's graphics routines. The Lisa project team members worked furiously for years. They decided to make a application bundle to be included with the computer, and to make it incompatible with the Mac. This would prove deadly for the Lisa project.
Very few embraced the Lisa, and like the Alto it was inevitably doomed to failure. The Lisa team had added extra features not included in the Alto including the dragging, double-clicking of icons, pull-down menus, a menubar at the top, and the famous trash can. The Lisa OS also had preemptive multitasking.