Origins of the term 'WYSIWYG?
cisin at xenosoft.com
Mon Jan 16 14:13:33 CST 2017
On Mon, 16 Jan 2017, Al Kossow wrote:
> In mid-1975, John W. Seybold, the founder of Seybold Publications, and researchers at PARC, incorporated Gypsy
> software into Bravo to create Bravo 3, which allowed text to be printed as displayed. Charles Simonyi and the other
> engineers appropriated Flip Wilson's popular phrase around that time.
OK, so use for computers, it was an appropriation of Flip Wilson's use.
Flip Wilson's use of the phrase as a comedic social/vaguely sexual
catchphrase was an appropriation of an earlier phrase in other uses.
It was not "never heard before"! (Just as "You Asked For It, You Got It"
existed long before and after the TV show of the same name)
One of those uses in mid-sixties (and apparently earlier) was in
photography for single lens reflex, intending to point out its advantage
over rangefinder (Leica, etc.) As such, it was not uncommonly used,
although never with as much intensity or silliness as when Flip Wilson
picked it up. The alternative rangefinder systems did not have a
catchphrase, just a thinner registration distance permitting much smaller
cameras until the development of mirrorless DSLR (M4/3, Nex, etc. which
can use Leica lenses on adapters)
The alternative to WYSIWYG in computers, of embedding format codes visible
to the author (such as "raw" HTML) was sometimes called YAFIYGI ("You
Asked For It, You Got It"). That name never really caught on, as
amateurs, such as ourselves, needed WYSIWYG. A professional typesetter
scoffed at it, "I know what 36 point Helvetica looks like, I don't need it
in my way to set a line of it." Although I did my early XenoCopy manuals
with embedded Cordata codes and XenoFont screen captures, without his
level of experience, I have difficulty justifying a line of text without
WYSIWYG. And, contrary to the ads, WYSIWYG does NOT give me the
capability of producing output comparable to his.
Which brings up another ATTRIBUTION question. I think that it was Douglas
Adams who said that DeskTop Publishing permits "justification of lines of
text that previously would have had no possible justification". Anyone
know the correct attribution details?
Grumpy Ol' Fred cisin at xenosoft.com
More information about the cctalk