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]

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

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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:   [privacy policy]


2019 internal updates external news
March 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

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




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:   [privacy policy]