The Viewpoint Thesis

This is a visualraccoon Perspective on Scott Kim‘s very graphic and revolutionary exploration,

Viewpoint: Toward a Computer for Visual Thinkers

What would it be like to go back to visual first principles and take a fresh look at graphic user interfaces?

The Viewpoint Thesis is that a small number of pixel manipulation primitives can be defined such that if they are bound to keyboard and mouse actions it is then possible to build a simple text-graphic editor by drawing it, and that that editor can be used to draw-build itself.*

The Viewpoint Thesis & Editor is part of a larger project founded on the hypothesis that:

“Only by treating the screen itself as a first class citizen will we be able to build computers that are truly for visual thinkers.” Scott, 1987.

This project includes building visual programming languages for such thinkers.

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* Full disclosure: “The Viewpoint Thesis” phrase and definition were made up by the raccoon and are not necessarily endorsed by Dr. Kim; the contents of this page have not been reviewed nor approved by Dr. Kim.

Here is Scott’s own introduction to Viewpoint, with historical context and a link to his PhD dissertation.

And let me repeat: this work is not merely disruptive, it’s revolutionary. When you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken was disrupted, but the pig was revolutionized.

Oh, a little too graphic for ya? Exactly!

“Graphic: Precisely and clearly expressed, leaving nothing to implication. Opposite of {implicit}.” from The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (gcide)

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If you think that Logic, Graphics, and Computing should not play together, let alone be intimate, then this aggressively interdisciplinary dissertation may not be for you.

However, if you find LGC — the Long Glorious Cord — to be inherently interesting, then read on and enjoy.

“It’s graphics, Jim, but not as we know it.”

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