Mac os was the first os to use a graphical user interface

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". 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.

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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.

Xerox Star User Interface (1982) 1 of 2

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?

How do you pronounce GUI?

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.

History of the graphical user interface

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.

Windows operating systems throughout the years have relied on the Start Menu, which was first introduced with the release of Windows 95 in Microsoft launched the Start Button and Start Menu with a star-studded advertising campaign in order to convert users to the new program-launching process. When Windows 8 was released in , Microsoft made big changes to the Start Menu by switching over to a full Start screen that was specifically designed to be compatible with new touch-screen machines.

In , Windows 10 reintroduced the beloved Start Button and Start Menu , probably for the sake of familiarity and ease after investing so much in conditioning customers to use the Start system. Meanwhile, the Dock that Apple users are familiar with today was initially introduced in with the release of Mac OS X , affectionately referred to as Cheetah. Until , Apple OS users relied on the menu bar to launch and select programs and to make changes to applications already running.

When OS X They were originally designed by Susan Kare , and their 8-bit likenesses are often used today as a friendly pop culture reference to the early days of computer interfacing. Aqua came with a series of blue icons, many of which are still in use today albeit in updated versions. The fundamental Finder icon has kept its basic shape over the years, as has the Trash icon.

The stylized icons were settled into a tiled, uniform design format that aligned with increasingly popular touch-screen capabilities and the Windows 8 Start screen release. But by the time Windows 10 was released in , Microsoft had returned to the more defined, purpose-inspired icons to represent its system features and various programs. Version 1. Microsoft later imitated much of this look in Windows 95 [ citation needed ].

It used Display PostScript for its graphical underpinning. NeXTSTEP's GUI was the first to feature opaque dragging of windows in its user interface, on a comparatively weak machine by today's standards, ideally aided by high performance graphics hardware. BeOS was later ported to Intel hardware. Much effort was spent by the developers to make it an efficient platform for multimedia applications. Be Inc. Palm Inc. In with the iPhone [34] and later in with the introduction of the iPad , [35] Apple popularized the post-WIMP style of interaction for multi-touch screens, with those devices considered to be milestones in the development of mobile devices.

Other portable devices such as MP3 players and cell phones have been a burgeoning area of deployment for GUIs in recent years. Since the mids, a vast majority of portable devices have advanced to having high-screen resolutions and sizes. Because of this, these devices have their own famed user interfaces and operating systems that have large homebrew communities dedicated to creating their own visual elements, such as icons, menus, wallpapers, and more. Post-WIMP interfaces are often used in these mobile devices, where the traditional pointing devices required by the desktop metaphor are not practical.

As high-powered graphics hardware draws considerable power and generates significant heat, many of the 3D effects developed between and are not practical on this class of device. This has led to the development of simpler interfaces making a design feature of two dimensionality such as exhibited by the Metro Modern UI first used in Windows 8 and the Gmail redesign.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the rapid development of GPUs led to a trend for the inclusion of 3D effects in window management. It is based in experimental research [ citation needed ] in User Interface Design trying to expand the expressive power of the existing toolkits in order to enhance the physical cues that allow for direct manipulation.


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New effects common to several projects are scale resizing and zooming, several windows transformations and animations wobbly windows, smooth minimization to system tray The proof-of-concept BumpTop desktop combines a physical representation of documents with tools for document classification possible only in the simulated environment, like instant reordering and automated grouping of related documents. These effects are popularized thanks to the widespread use of 3D video cards mainly due to gaming which allow for complex visual processing with low CPU use, using the 3D acceleration in most modern graphics cards to render the application clients in a 3D scene.


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The application window is drawn off-screen in a pixel buffer, and the graphics card renders it into the 3D scene. This can have the advantage of moving some of the window rendering to the GPU on the graphics card and thus reducing the load on the main CPU , but the facilities that allow this must be available on the graphics card to be able to take advantage of this. Introduced in with the release of Wolfram Mathematica , and then Maple a few years later, the notebook interface has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its widespread use in data science and other areas of research.

Notebooks allow users to mix text, calculations, and graphs in the same interface which was previously impossible with a command-line interface. Virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift and Sony's PlayStation VR formerly Project Morpheus [38] aim to provide users with presence , a perception of full immersion into a virtual environment.

What is a GUI (Graphical User Interface)?

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Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. January Main article: Classic Mac OS. Main article: Graphics Environment Manager. Main article: DeskMate. Main article: MSX-View. Main article: BBC Master. See also: History of Microsoft Windows. Main article: GEOS 8-bit operating system. Main article: X Window System. Main article: NeWS. Main articles: Windows 95 and Windows NT. Main article: 3D interaction. Main article: Notebook interface. See also: Head-up display. This section needs expansion.

You can help by adding to it. March Retrieved June 12, Archived from the original on August 16, Archived from the original on October 5, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture. New York University Press. Archived from the original on November 7, Retrieved January 24, Retrieved March 7, Computer Graphics. June 7, — via Internet Archive. Retrieved June 13, The Icon Bar. Retrieved September 27, Admittedly it wasn't until RISC OS Select was released, almost 10 years later, that the standard Acorn applications Draw, Edit, and Paint implemented the style guide's clipboard recommendations, but most products followed it with care.

Retrieved May 12, Many of the UI concepts that we take for granted were first pioneered in RISC OS, for instance: scalable anti-aliased fonts and an operating system extendable by 'modules', while most of the PC world was still on Windows 3. Only with Mac OS X did any mainstream graphical interface provide the smoothly rendered, fractionally spaced type that Acorn accomplished in or earlier. Retrieved May 25, Personal Computer World. Retrieved January 14, Retrieved October 3, Washington Post. Retrieved November 8,