Jef Raskin

Designer of the Apple Macintosh. And the CanonCat.

Wild CV:

notes on the FolkLore site

a 1995 newsletter including his 20-page article "15 Years of Life with the Macintosh"

Review of his Humane Interface book.

Don Norman on Raskin and his Archy Zooming interface model. The philosophy of Archy, among other things, is to eliminate the artificial distinction between the Operating System and applications (just as in Jef's pioneering (modeless) Canon Cat, where he eliminated the notion of files and documents). Why not make it that any command can be invoked at any time? In other words, to add a different capability to the system, we don't need to write a specialized application, with its specialized command structure, but rather leverage the commands that already exist and add any news ones that might be required. Among other things, this guarantees a consistency of operation not otherwise possible when each application has to rebuild many of the functions already existing in other applications. Archy borrows from the pioneering work of Ken Perlin's Pad system, so that moving around material is done by zooming and panning (see the Pad system initially developed by Perlin and Fox and then by Hollan and colleagues...

  • 2009 post by Jef's son Aza Raskin, then at Mozilla building the Ubiquity extension (coming from Enso). You can think about it as a pragmatic stepping stone to the universal canvas of the Cat, with the web as the platform. The goal is to finally switch the way the world thinks about computing, from page/application centric to task centric. If we succeed, then I think we've together accomplished the goal of implementing a large part of Jef's vision.... Our new project attempts to alleviate all of these problems by allowing end-users to apply textual commands, or verbs, to whatever they’re looking at.

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