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.


* 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)



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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