Language peer sets for QDGS:
Designed 1967 ↑
1960s languages ↑
High Cold War↑
Genus 2d shape ↑
Specialised Languages ↑
2d shape/United States↑
2d Construct-related/United States↑
Specialised Languages ↑
Specialised Languages/us ↑
Graphics extensions to FORTRAN
alternate simple view
Country: United States
Genus: 2d shape
Sammet category: Specialised Languages
for Quick Draw Graphics system
Jeff Raskin's FORTRAN extensions for plotter and screen output of grpahics.
This is the origin of the Macintosh GUI (independent of the XParc work)
Raskin, Jeff (1967) Raskin, Jeff "Quick-Draw Graphics System", PhD Penn State 1967
Squires, B. (1968) Squires, B. "OS/360 EULER and QUICK DRAW Graphic System at Penn State"
in (1968) "More on Force-III from Honig"
Mac Lore pt. 2 by Jeff Raskin My thesis in Computer Science, published in 1967, argued that computers should be all-graphic, that we should eliminate character generators and create characters graphically and in various fonts, that what you see on the screen should be what you get, and that the human interface was more important than mere considerations of algorithmic efficiency and compactness. This was heretical in 1967, half a decade before PARC started. Many of the basic principles of the Mac were firmly entrenched in my psyche. By the way, the name of my thesis was the "Quick-Draw Graphics System", which became the name of (and part of the inspiration for) Atkinson's graphics package for the Mac.
More historical facts With regard to my thesis, its formal title was, "A Hardware-Independent Computer Drawing System Using List-Structured Modeling: The Quick-Draw Graphics System" Pennsylvania State University, 1967. All the material in quotes in the next few paragraphs is from the thesis.
Some things I probably should put into their chronological context, otherwise they may seem strange after thirty years of bit-loss. First, I did not have access to an interactive graphics terminal, which I thought would "excite images of a new era in man-machine communications as the more visionary proponents of the interactive console rightly put forth...". Surprisingly, the utility of interactivity was not apparent to all computer scientists at the time; A section of my thesis (6.23) on Interactive Graphics was snuck in nonetheless. For example, when the system had to ask the user something I proposed that small menus could appear right on the display and that the user could "detect on" (now we would say, "click on" as we don't use light pens) the appropriate element in the menu. Now we would call this a dialog box.
I was "providing a common programming system for diverse output media" based on their shared basic abilities, at that time the ability to create a vector. Bit-mapped systems were not available at Penn State. At a time when the existing graphics packages at Penn State drew only "charts, graphs, and tables," I spoke in terms of creating a system for "Architects, electronics engineers, musicians, computer scientists, artists, meteorologists, linguists, chemists, and indeed the entire academic and professional community."
The real need, I wrote, was to "have the ability to define arbitrary symbols and manipulate them into complex pictures. Such symbols could be representations of furniture and fixtures in floor plans, resistors, transistors, and the like in schematic diagrams, notes and clef signs in music, the individual shapes in flow charts, symbols for atoms and molecular structures, sentence structure diagrams, and so on without limit." I saw using images hierarchically, "The fixtures are arranged into rooms, the rooms, now treated as units are arranged into buildings, and the buildings, as units, become developments, urban centers, and cities." The Quick Draw Graphics System (QDGS) provided all affine transformations of objects, and a few others (such as perspective) as well.
For portability it was written in s higher-level language. In this case FORTRAN was chosen, since it was the one scientific language almost universally available at any computer center in the U.S. at the time. True to what I would later do in the industry, I provided a plain-English "QDGS Primer" to get people started, and included it as an appendix to my thesis. Another section of the thesis discussed three-dimensional representation, as the QDGS could do perspective drawings; we made a few short films such as one showing a cube with writing on its faces rotating in space. This is trivial now, of course, but few people were doing 3-D computer-generated animation prior to 1970.
A lot of the thesis was standard computer science / math stuff, with matrix calculations and formal grammars. E.g. "As a grammar... it is context-free, and since it is self-embedding, it is clearly not regular." But I will skip all that formal stuff.
More important from today's perspective is the observation that "with character generators one has a limited choice of lettering sizes... There is one orientation, horizontal, and no ability to introduce new characters." Over the objection that I was sacrificing efficiency I decided that "Within the QDGS no provision is made for the use of character generators, although special programs could be devised. If such provision were made what would be lost, aside from hardware independence, is the ability to have annotations in various sizes, styles, and proportions, at any angle and position. What also would be lost is the ability to treat characters with a full range of transformations available to other geometric shapes, to create arbitrary characters as the need arises, to make annotations part of a figure and thus moved about with the picture it annotates, and the ability to squeeze, justify, fit, and creatively use characters as picture elements in every way."