Jef started the Macintosh project at Apple. Much of the personal empowerment philosophy was his. He explored his own ideas about usability in the CanonCat
. Jef and the Cat drew a standing ovation when they demoed at the already jaded BayArea
Jef Raskin died February 26, 2005, of cancer. He was 61.
Jef wrote reviews for the Fetish
section of WiredMagazine?
He worked on an implementation of his UI paradigm, TheHumaneEnvironment
. He has also written a book about the underlying principles called TheHumaneInterface
His son AzaRaskin
continued his work at HumanizedIncorporated
. As of 2008 he now works for TheMozillaProject
alongside some other ex-Humanized coders.
JefRaskin and ChuckMoore need to meet. ColorForth embodies many of the principles of TheHumaneInterface already, and reminds me a lot of the CanonCat.
- I dunno about that. Jef was pretty critical of other people's thinking.
- So is Chuck. :) They both think there is too much cruft between the user and the computer. Chuck steers more toward computational and programming efficiency whereas Jef was more concerned with the user's task efficiency.
- I was talking about social style, not beliefs.
- From personal communications I've had with JefRaskin, he respected ChuckMoore quite well, and thought very highly of Forth in general. We never got around to discussing ColorForth, but nothing at all leads me to believe he'd be overly critical of it. In fact, architecturally speaking, ColorForth and the OS inside the CanonCat are, for all intents and purposes, identical -- Jef was a huge fan of ForthLanguage, for precisely the reasons stated in TheHumaneInterface. Note also that the CanonCat software was written entirely in ForthLanguage. --SamuelFalvo?
"Whatever idea that you came up with, Jef Raskin had a tendency to claim that he invented it at some earlier point" -- AndyHertzfeld? http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=I_Invented_Burrell.txt&characters=Jef%20Raskin&sortOrder=Sort%20by%20Date&detail=medium
"There's no doubt that Jef was the creator of the Macintosh project at Apple...But there is also no escaping the fact that the Macintosh that we know and love is very different from the computer that Jef wanted to build, so much so that he is much more like an eccentric great uncle than the Macintosh's father." -- AndyHertzfeld? http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=The_Father_of_The_Macintosh.txt&sortOrder=Sort+by+Date
Jef always was a fan of text interfaces, and considered his text-based CanonCat
design to be the ultimate in user interfaces. He was disappointed that the Mac used a WIMP interface rather than a textual interface. This point of view says something about what about the Mac Jef took credit for: its existence, not its nature.
For a vision of what to come also have a look at http://rchi.raskincenter.org/demos/zoomdemo.swf
I must say that the zoomdemo represents in my view one of the coolest ideas since I saw a demo of OpenCroquet
Some of his UI suggestions trigger skepticism in me:
- Icons "bad" - People identify with icons and often recognize them faster than text. He makes the error of confusing initial understanding to quick re-identification. Some of the problems he identifies are reduced by roll-over text. An option key that turns them into text, either temporarily or as an option, is a variation to consider. Different people identify better with different things. His eyes alone shouldn't be the reference WetWare.
- Files and objects allegedly don't need titles because their content is sufficient. If one is looking for something in big pile, titles are a lot quicker than reading into the content. Outlines and StepwiseRefinement are powerful abstraction communication techniques. (And nobody is against doing away with content search engines.)