Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Visi On

The early days of personal computing saw a number of competing early graphical user interfaces (GUIs), in fact the first i ever used was GEM Desktop on an Amstrad PC but pre-dating that was Visi On by VisiCorp which was the first GUI for the IBM PC back in 1983. The excellent GUI Gallery site has a tour of the system as well as some of the original files and how to get them to run nowadays.
Visi On was quite different to later GUIs with its menu bar at the bottom, though this was in some ways similar to early Apple Lisa prototypes. Although it may look quite primitive these days, compared to contemporary GUIs it wasn't that bad and indeed was superior in some ways to Microsoft Windows' early versions (which was not to arrive for a couple more years anyway).

Aimed mostly at businesses Visi On was never a success. It was rather slow and pricy and Microsoft promised that Windows was just around the corner in order to deter people from buying Visi On. By the mid-80s VisiCorp had merged with other companies and Visi On faded away.

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