of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces

Master Thesis by Matthias Müller-Prove

What happened to the original vision of a personal dynamic medium for creative thought? Retrospect reveals insights that help to reconcile the desktop environment with the Web in order to design a consistent and powerful way to interact with the computer. [Abstract]

Matthias Müller-Prove's MSc thesis (2002) is a thing of beauty.
He is one of the few computing scientists who understands the importance of Alan Kay's, Douglas Engelbart's and Ted Nelson's visionary works for the future of human civilization.
Tony Rodrigues, 19-Sep-2023:

Master Thesis

by Matthias Müller-Prove, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Horst Oberquelle and Prof. Dr. Christopher Habel.
Published as report of the Department of Informatics, University of Hamburg: FBI-HH-B-237/02, February 2002.
Kempelen Prize 2005 – Special Award in Category Science

Table of Contents

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 For a free PDF version of Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces (122 pages), send an e-mail to:   I’ll usually respond within 12 hours. [privacy policy]


2024 internal updates external news
May Smalltalk Demos by Dan Ingalls and Computer History Museum Live with Adele Goldberg and Dan Ingalls
  • Bill Atkinson interview for InfoWorld on HyperCard
  • Jan

    Insanely Great: The Apple Mac at 40 event at Computer History Museum

    2023 internal updates external news

    ChronoLink to IIIF book at Internet Archive

    Seven Hypertexts by Mark W. R. Anderson & David E. Millard


    #hypertext at Brown University


    ACM HT Proceedings 1987–onwards: visualising the data dataset


    Computer History Museum – Oral History: Annette Wagner on Apple Lisa

    Revisiting Apple’s ill-fated Lisa computer, 40 years on

    2022 internal updates external news

    On Real and Virtual Text IN The Future of Text III

    Douglas Engelbart, 1995: Dreaming of the Future

    Nov ARPAnet map 1969 - 1985

    Pictures of ARPANet

    Doug Engelbart: 1994 BBN 25th ARPANET Anniversary Lecture

    SRI report on an Man-Machine Information System »ON-LINE TEXT MANIPULATION SYSTEM«

    Engelbar 1970: Advanced Intellect - Augmentation Techniques :: NLS Screenshots, console

    Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider; A Biographical Memoir by Robert M. Fano

    Feb Block reference mechanisms
    2021 internal updates external news
    Dec A WorldWideWeb emulator
    Nov How the Web was told: Continuity and change in the founding fathers’ narratives on the origins of the World Wide Web (2016)
    Oct Why are there no "standard texts" on designing software interfaces? /a twitter thread
    Sep Still Crazy After All These Years, ACM Hypertext 2021 The Atlantic: The Internet Is Rotting
    July Jonathan Zittrain: The Internet Is Rotting, The Atlantic, 30-Jun2021
    Feb Jony Ive: The Future of Design
    Some Reflections on Early History by J.C.R. Licklider (VPRI 0093)
    1995 JCN Profiles: Visionary Leaders of the Information Age - Doug Engelbart
    2020 internal updates external news
    September The Augmentation of Douglas Engelbart (64')
    Douglas Engelbart | Talks at Google 2007
    The Whole Earth Catalog as a Hypercard stack /via | tv
    June Boris Müller, Frank Rausch: Menus, Metaphors and Materials: Milestones of User Interface Design
    May Frode Hegland (ed.) The Future of Text Book : A 2020 Vision
    Mar The Evolution of the Web - interactive timeline for 1990-2012

    a copyright free photo of Alan Turing

    2019 internal updates external news
    Dec Engelbart's Role in Early Computer Networking

    Accelerating Change 2004: Doug Engelbart Keynote Address (full video)

    Today Show, 1994: "What is internet, anyway?"
    July ARPANET and the Development of the Internet, 50 Years Later by Zoë Jackson | May 14, 2019

    Touring the recreated 1969 birthplace of the internet at UCLA

    April Chrono Research Lab

    "The Thinking Machine" (1961) - MIT Centennial Film
    incl TX-0 and TX-2 experiments on A.I.

    General Magic – The Movie


    12-Mar-2019: The Web at 30 - 30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web | agenda

    January BYTE 8/1981 - special issue on Smalltalk
    2018 internal updates external news

    Niels Brügger, Ian Milligan (eds): The SAGE Handbook of Web History

    Chapter 15 by Belinda Barnet: Hypertext before the Web – or, What the Web Could Have Been | ie. sections on NLS, Xanadu, HES/FRESS

  • Our People-Centred Digital Future, 10-Dec-2018 | OurDigitalFuture
  • Oktober
    August Chris Novello: Computer Utopias
    July liquid thoughts by frode hegland
    February Doug Engelbart Institute Videos
    January The Augmentation of Douglas Engelbart. farcebook announcement | trailer on utube | trailer on vimeo
    2017 internal updates external news
    October Il Rinascimento Digitale, 1997 with Derrick de Kerkhove
    Larry Tesler and Chris Espinosa: Origins of the Apple Human Interface, 1997
    June Ivan Sutherland: The TX-2 Computer and Sketchpad, 2012

    Michael Wesch: We Shape Our Tools and then Our Tools Shape Us

    April John Markoff: Robert Taylor, Innovator Who Shaped Modern Computing, Dies at 85, NY Times 14-Apr-2017

    Scott Rosenberg: How Google Book Search Got Lost

    March Tim Berners-Lee: I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it. The Guardian March 2017
    Februray David Weinberger: The Internet That Was (and Still Could Be) The Atlantic 22-Jun-2015
    2016 internal updates external news
    December Several updates at Alan Kay Media Center Creation Myth - Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation.
    by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker May 2011

    NLS 1968 Demo Interactive

    October Introducing HyperCard /flyer
    September New navigation and header design

    full version of Alan Kay’s The Reactive Engine [1969]

    The Freedom to Associate by Jimmy Mahler –– w/ insights on WildCard shared by Alan Kay in the comments

    Check out Bret Victor | portrait | Stop Drawing Dead Fish | Inventing on Principle :: w/ a story on Larry Tesler | A Teaching UI That "Kills Math"

    August Context menu in main menu bar The lost infrastructure of social media /by Anil Dash 8/16
    July History of the hashtag /99% invisible 2014
    June Apple Preisliste März 1985 / Transcription
    April Happy Hacker remastered Max Allen and Ted Nelson discuss the future of computers (radio feature 1979), also on youtube | more at Ted Nelson Media Center
    March Susan Kare at Layers 2015
    2015 internal updates external news
    Computing timetables
    November Bill Atkinson took a leave of absence to invent HyperCard.
    On 16 Nov 2015, at 13:18, Bill Atkinson wrote: “True. Bill”
    Alan Kay: Enlightened Imagination For Citizens /more at Alan Kay’s Bibliography & Videography

    Don Norman, Bruce Tognazzini: How Apple is giving Design a bad name. fastcodesign 11/2015 /via TidBITS

    October J. Yellowless Douglas: Something from Nothing: The Paradoxes and Challenges of Communicating Innovation
    April photo set: Informatik Museum Hamburg
    March 22 new entries to Alan Kay's Bibliography Yeni Ürün Tasarım, Geliştirme, CAD/CAM/CAE ve İmalat Teknolojileri
    with yet unseen images of TX-0

    The History of the Drop-Shadow

    "The Demo" – Doug Engelbart's Mother of all Demos as musical on stage

    2014 internal updates external news
    November Alto/Smalltalk videos via Software Pioneers: Contributions to Software Engineering:

    15 yrs celebrations keynote: We were standing on the shoulders of giants

    Pictures from a Revolution by Doug Menuez

    The Hypercard Legacy

    As we may understand – A constructionist approach to ‘behaviour change’ and the Internet of Things by Dan Lockton

    October Herzliche Grüße ans Seminar zur Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftlichen Informationsverarbeitung an der Uni Köln The Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium 1995 – Video Archive with
    • Alan Kay: Simex: the neglected part of Bush's Vision
    • Ted Nelson: Where the Trail Leads
    • and Doug Engelbart, Paul Kahn, Tim Berners-Lee among others…
    May Ted Nelson's Computer Lib is being republished + Ted at Homebrew Computer Club
    April Turing Complete User by Olia Lialina, October 2012 – Video at 30c3

    Author by Frode Hegland – a text editor project influenced by NLS/Augment

    March Ted Nelson's Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart at Ted Nelson Media Center

    All the Widgets by Brad Myers (ed)

    Window Cooling at Xerox Star

    January All chapters are published on the web.
    Vision and Reality of Hypertext and GUIs - Chapter 2.1 History of Hypertext Systems
    Vision and Reality of Hypertext and GUIs - Chapter 2.2 Theory of Hypertext
    Vision and Reality of Hypertext and GUIs - Chapter 3.1 History of Graphical User Interfaces
    Vision and Reality of Hypertext and GUIs - Chapter 3.2 Human Factors
    Rainer Joswig gives a demo of the Symbolics Document Examiner

    Animated demo of Vannevar Bush’s Memex

    Referenziert in Kitsch im Zeitalter des iPads, Simon Schmidt, GRIN 2011

    Referenced by Researching and Applying Metaphor in the Real World, Graham Low (ed. et al.), 2010

    2013 internal updates external news
    November Ted Nelson References: Video interview with Ted Nelson on The Future of Text
    October The History of the Computer - Overview 1936-2013 by itr
    Hyperland republished /by Douglas Adams with Ted Nelson
    July Ivan Sutherland: What Things Look Like. 2012 Kyoto Prize Commemorable Lecutre
    May Codex - Memex - Genex, Ben Shneiderman at CHI ’98 Oral History: The Web Project by NetAffair
    April new entry on Alan Kay’s bibliography: An Interview with Computing Pioneer Alan Kay. Interview by David Greelish, Time Tech, 2-Apr-2013
    The Deep Insights of Alan Kay
    January Anil Dash: The Web We Lost and Rebuilding the Web We Lost
    2012 internal updates external news
    September Photos of Zuse’s Computers
    August Chapter 2.1.2 Xanadu

    Chapter 2.1.10 HyperCard – 25 years of HyperCard

    The Verge: The very first www page and Tim Berners-Lee's page from HyperText '91 via Paul Jones

    Ted Nelson's movie from 1959 The Epiphany of Slocum Furlow

    Online University - History of the Internet

    May Ted Nelson: Computer for Cynics, series of videocasts
    2011 internal updates external news
    Nov Frank Ludolph‘s last working day, and his presentation at CHI ’98
    Oct Dan Ingalls on the History of Smalltalk and the Lively Kernel, 2010
    Aug Photo of HES (Hypertext Editing System), 1969

    Zurück in die Kindheit – Infantilisierung im UI Design

    Back to Childhood – Infantilisation of UI Design

    Ivan Sutherland on The Art of Engineering and the Engineering of Art, Hyperkult XX

    Alan Kay: Programming and Scaling. Hasso Plattner Institute, 21-July-2011, 57'

    Ivan Sutherland at Oral history database, Charles Babbage Institute

    The Buxton Collection

    Apr >Bill Verplank’s Opening Keynote at Interaction 11
    2010 internal updates external news

    Ted Nelson at ACM Hypertext 2001

    New community for the history of informatics at LinkedIn

    Sep Über das Verhältnis von OO-Programmierung und GUI-Design, Korrespondenz mit Ines aus Wien
    Juli iPAD’s Natural User Interface
    March Engelbart and the Dawn of Interactive Computing – A 40th Year Celebration
    January Ivan Sutherland on Leadership, Sun 2006
    2009 internal updates external news
    November link from OSnews: Common Usability Terms: pt. IX: the Menu

    referenced by Reformation Bibles and the Personal Computer, Kaoru Yamazaki, 2002

    October section 2.1.14 World Wide Web is online link from Synthèse d'images

    link from Sourcebits Blog: Handy Resources for Those Who Like to Doodle

    link from Hypertext – Links from the past
    June Kapitel 5 online: Vom Persönlichen Computer zum Sozialen Medium. Paradigmenwechsel der Mensch-Computer-Interaktion The Future of the Desktop by Nova Spivack ReadWriteWeb, Aug 2008

    Aurora concept video, Adaptive Path

    May Chapter 2.1.15 Hyper-G/Hyperwave
    March links to Department of Informatics Hamburg fixed
    2008 internal updates external news
    December Chapter 2.1.3 NLS/Augment
    Chapter 3.1.3 NLS/Augment
    40 year anniversary of the mothe of all demos
    October referenced by Peter Friedrich Stephan: Cognitive Design – Eine Perspektive der Designforschung, 2005

    linked at History of Pen Computing: Annotated Bibliography in On-line Character Recognition and Pen Computing

    July new section online: Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointing Device
    February Fixed links to Bruce Horn and his iFile project
    January Interface Culture (blog)
    2007 internal updates external news
    October linked by Jon Berry's Essay #1 - Literary Website Critique - Sam Hughes' "Ed"
    September Philipp Dennert's diploma: Enabling the User. Zu den historischen Möglichkeitsbedingungen des Computer-Benutzers. 105 pages, 4.8 MB

    Alan Kay 1972: A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages

    Dr. h.c. to Alan Kay

    A Duel Between Desktop and Web – presentation at reboot9

    referenced by


    MEDICHI 2007


    Dueling Interaction Models of Personal-Computing and Web-Computing – presentation at MEDICHI

    referenced by velasquez: Il Futuro del Desktop, Oct 2006 (Italian)

    2006 internal updates external news

    Chapter 3.1.2 Sketchpad is online

    Got mail from Ivan Sutherland

    History of the Button

    Reference from Alan Blackwell: The reification of metaphor as a design tool


    Douglas Adams’ Hyperland film (1990) features Ted Nelson

    I like the reference to my chapter Three Stages of Human Development on


    bookmarks on


    article on Ted Nelson and Xanadu with a special focus on the incorporated copyright issues

    Mac UI Ain't All That: The Future & History of the User Interface by John Kheit

    Alan Kay at EuroPython 2006

    Alan Kay at U of Utah (2 lectures in Feb 2006)

    HyperScope 1.0 by Engelbart et al.

    referenced by


    referenced by

    cited in

    May updated links to Engelbart's papers in References and in Friedewald's Resources
    Mar Ted Nelson 1999: Way Out Of The Box

    CHI 98 recording of Lisa presentation

    referenced by
    Feb referenced by iqnaut: Hypertext
    Jan referenced by VIS242. Theories of Media and New Media, University of California, San Diego
    2005 internal updates external news
    Dec Ted Nelson lecture at U of Oxford, 2005 (webcast)
    Nov cited in Evolución y tendencias en la interacción persona–ordenador por Mireia Ribera Turró, profesora en la Facultad de Biblioteconomía y Documentación de la Universidad de Barcelona.
    Oct A lecure and 3 new articles by Alan Kay (watch out for the stars)

    An Evening with Ivan Sutherland at the Computer History Museum

    Computer History Museum: Software Collection Commitee is preserving NLS/Augment

    referenced by

    Kay 69 is referenced by:

    Aug Kempelen Prize 2005
    Jul 60 Jahre nach Memex: Über die Unvereinbarkeit von Desktop- und Web-Paradigma Memex Simulator – an open source project in progress

    A Personal Information and Knowledge Infrastructure Integrator by K. Andrew Edmonds, James Blustein and Don Turnbull



    SiliconValleyWatcher June 9: A tribute to one of Silicon Valley's most influential and forgotten researchers at Xerox Parc event

    SiliconValleyWatcher June 10: Exclusive interview with seminal 1960s computer visionary Doug Engelbart – he's still here and looking for funding reboot7

    Referenced on delicious by smi and acer


      Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad - A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System is online as pdf: [Sutherland 63a]

      Related Reports and Articels: Alan Blackwell’s publications

      Correspondence with Alan Blackwell

      Mar In Memoriam: Jef Raskin cited in Evolution der Neuen Medien in der Lehre 19 Seiten, 544kB by Marc-Oliver Pahl, entstanden zum eLearning-Seminar von Frank Hanisch am Institut für graphisch interaktive Systeme der Universität Tübingen, 2003

      referenced by ->douglas_c_engelbart /Mirago

      Feb Kay/Goldberg 77: Personal Dynamic Media The New Media Reader

      referenced by Advanced Concepts in Document Processing, Seminar at U of Magdeburg, Germany


      section 3.2.2 Three Stages of Human Development online

      Alan Kay 2002: The Computer Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet - Grand Challenge: Make It Happen In The Best Possible Way

      Interview wiith Kay, Papert, and Minsky, ACM Communications 2005

      Designing the Star User Interface [Smith et al. 82] online

      The AskTog Bug House

      2004 internal updates external news
      Dec Resources on the concept of Learning referenced by Tom Kindig on tokind
      Nov referenced by Jörg Richter on DeepaMehta: Human-Computer Interaction
      Jul Alan Kay 1977: Microelectronics and the Personal Computer referenced by Jochen Denzinger on designing ubicomp_weblog; designing ubiquitous computing
      Jun historical overviews of chapter 2 Hypertext and chapter 3 Graphical User Interfaces are now online

      Robert Cailliau's personal Web site

      Apr Polaroids of the early Lisa UI by Andy Hertzfeld squeak news: Turing Award goes to Alan Kay

      heise ticker: Alan Kay erhält den Turing Award 2003

      Jan 38 pages of Ted Nelson's Computer Lib/Dream Machines transcripted
      2003 internal updates external news
      Dec reference on understanding interface (in deutsch) by Sascha Kirschgens
      Nov 50 minutes video of Ted Nelson at ACM Hypertext 01
      Oct More than 100 people have requested a copy of my work. Time to say thank you!

      5 new reference to this page on

      Sep Related Articles: The Commercial Feasibility of a Next-Generation User Interface by Jared White

      Ted Nelson's keynote at HT03 in Nottingham

      papers citing my thesis:

      Drag & Drop Scripting: How To Do Hypermedia Right by F. Hanisch and W. Straßer, University of Tübingen, Sep 2003

      Multiple Links im World Wide Web von Volkert Buchmann, Studienarbeit an der Uni Hamburg. Nov 2002

      Jun new references to Alan Kay’s thoughts new references on, and by Stefan, and on the Wiki pages at Reflection in Action

      History: DigiBarn Computer Museum

      Past Projects: 30th anniversary of the Xerox Alto

      This site is references by DigiBarn Computer Museum’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines Retrospective and by Wikipedia on Alan Kay
      Feb Alan Kay joins HP Labs

      Link maintenance on Web References

      Jan Current Projects: Abora Hypertext Systems

      related thesis: hypertextual criticism. MA by Jill Walker

      This site is references by - links

      thesis announced at the CHI Recently Completed Theses List

      referenced in Hypertexte im Unterricht: Begriffsbestimmung und didaktische Funktion - Manfred Overmann 2003

      2002 internal updates external news
      Dec Current Research Teams: Frode Hegland’s Liquid Information is back on air. He is also working on a documentary “Invisible Revolution - The Doug Engelbart Story” for TV/DVD.


      Bruce Horn is working on a new Finder: iFile

      Michael McGuffin's work on Fitt's Law: thesis and paper for CHI 2002

      This Site is referenced by and the surf*mind*web collection.


      Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad - A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System is online as facsimile: [Sutherland 63a]

      This Site is referenced by Marcus Denker’s Wiki pages at the keyword Computer History.
      It is also refernced by Thomas Madsen-Mygdal’s


      Interview with David Curbow on OpenDoc

      Historical Documents of the Star

      Eine kurze Geschichte der Softwareergonomie – Eine Ausstellung anläßlich der Mensch & Computer 2002 in Hamburg

      met with Alan Kay – delightful!


      Mail from David Curbow on Xerox Star/ViewPoint

      second printing of FBI-HH-B-237/02


      Past Projects: Apple Lisa – original documentation


      updates on the the page Unfinished Revolution (contents for session III and session IV).

      And a bunch of new publications by Alan Kay (References)


      the thesis is published as a report of the Department of Informatics: Bericht des Fachbereichs Informatik, Universität Hamburg: FBI-HH-B-237/02

      Jan 2002

      thesis rated 1.3 (magna cum laude)
      2001 internal updates external news
      The Making Of: Seminar Studien- und Diplomarbeiten

      12 Nov 2001 : filed the final version today

      Oberseminarvortrag: Vision und Wirklichkeit des Hypertexts und der Grafischen Benutzungsschnittstellen Abstract


      Related Reports and Articles: Beyond the Browser: Rediscovering the Role of the Desktop in a Net-centric World


      Augmented Books

      Negroponte’s Dataland

      New title: Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces (was: Vision and Reality of Hypertext and the Graphical User Interface);
      mostly because of [Nelson 99b] «this so-called GUI - I would rather call it the PUI (PARC User Interface) {{laughter}} because there are so many millions of graphical user interfaces possible»


      Ted Nelson on Xanalogical Structure

      Nelson’s Canons: A Bill of Information Rights taken from Dream Machines, 74

      Post von Ludger Humbert: Alan Kay verläßt Disney
      Kommentar dazu von Markus Denker

      Ted Nelson’s and Alan Kay’s bibliography


      Post von Marcus Denker zu Dynabook und Squeak

      Mail from Alan Kay on Dynabook

      Mail from Alan Kay on early days at Parc

      Mail from Jeff Johnson on consistency of Xerox Star


      Alan Kay’s Ph.D. thesis: The Reactive Engine


      Thesis on Hyper-G

      IZHD: International Bibliography of Hypermedia

      Fitts’ Law

      Jan 2001

      German correspondence

      [Friedewald 99] References and Resources

      2000 internal updates external news



      met with Tog and Jakob Nielsen


      Alan Kay on his Ph.D. thesis (e-mail)

      day 1 of my thesis: 13-Nov


      Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution – Video


      Past Projects: Xerox Bravo by Charles Simonyi

      e-mail correspondence

      Past Projects: Xerox Alto & Xerox Star

      Past Projects: Symbolics Document Examiner/Concordia
      Current Projects: CLIM

      Current Projects: Semantic Web

      History: RWTH Aachen - Lehrstuhl für Geschichte der Technik

      Past Projects: Taligent, HotJava Views

      Current Projects: Alan Kay - Smalltalk, Ben Shneiderman - PAD++


      Current Research Teams: Links to Bootstrap Institute & Liquid Information Organization

      Related Thesis

      Google search on ontological drift, Semiotisches Dreieck

      Current Projects: Ted Nelson - Xanadu

      Current Research Teams: Robert Cailliau

      Launch of this web site

      History: Nerds

      Current Projects: Eazel

      Current Research Teams:Pliant, AskTog, Byteburg

      Jul 2000

      ontological drift, information

       For a free PDF version of Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces (122 pages), send an e-mail to:   I’ll usually respond within 12 hours. [privacy policy]