Gypsy (software)

Gypsy (software)

Gypsy was the first modern document preparation system, using the modern style of graphical user interface (in which the mouse was used to initiate commands), and would be familiar to any user of a modern personal computer. It was the second WYSIWYG document preparation program, a successor to the ground-breaking Bravo on the seminal Xerox Alto personal computer.

It was produced at Xerox PARC by Larry Tesler and Timothy Mott, along with Butler Lampson, Charles Simonyi, and other colleagues in 1975, starting with Bravo as a base. It was produced for use at Ginn & Co., a Xerox subsidiary in Boston which published textbooks. (The term "cut and paste" comes from the editors at Ginn, who were the first to indicate that such a capability would be useful.)

Although similar in capabilities to Bravo, the user interface of Gypsy was radically different. Rather than require the user to memorize an extensive command set (which would have been activated by typing various characters on the keyboard), as in Bravo, Gypsy instead used the mouse to initiate commands. (Gypsy was the first program to make use of the mouse for commands; all previous uses of the mouse had simply been for marking locations in the text, as well as selecting areas of the text.)

This meant that unlike Bravo, Gypsy could avoid being a so-called "moded" program, making it harder for novices to get confused. In Gypsy, all characters typed on the keyboard were usually entered into the buffer.

Gypsy was tremendously successful - new users could learn to work with it in only several hours, and organizations that used it quickly came to employ it widely. Xerox used a descendant in the Xerox Star office system, from where the Gypsy paradigm spread to all modern document preparation systems.

Further reading

*cite book
first = Michael A.
last = Hiltzik
year = 1999
title = Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age
pages = 201-210
publisher = HarperCollins
location = New York

*cite book
first = Douglas K.
last = Smith
coauthors = Robert C. Alexander
year = 1988
title = Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer
pages = 105-112
publisher = William Morrow
location = New York

External links

* [ "Gypsy" an investigation of the Ginn computer-assisted editing system]

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