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Encyclopedia > VisiCalc
VisiCalc

An example VisiCalc spreadsheet on an Apple II.
Developer: VisiCorp
Latest release: VisiCalc Advanced Version / 1983
OS: Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore PET, MS-DOS and PC-DOS
Use: Spreadsheet
License: Proprietary EULA
Website: www.danbricklin.com

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers. It is generally considered to be the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool. Image File history File links VisiCalc_Logo. ... Image File history File links Visicalc. ... The Apple II was one of the most popular personal computers of the 1980s. ... Software development is the translation of a user need or marketing goal into a software product. ... VisiCorp was an early personal computer software publisher. ... A software release refers to the creation and availability of a new version of a computer software product. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... An operating system (OS) is a computer program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. ... The Apple II was one of the most popular personal computers of the 1980s. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... The PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was a home-/personal computer produced by Commodore starting in the late 1970s. ... Microsofts disk operating system, MS-DOS, was Microsofts implementation of DOS, which was the first popular operating system for the IBM PC, and until recently, was widely used on the PC compatible platform. ... IBM PC-DOS was one of the three major operating systems that dominated the personal computer market from about 1985 to 1995. ... Screenshot of a spreadsheet made with OpenOffice. ... A software license is a legal agreement which may take the form of a proprietary or gratuitous license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software. ... Proprietary software is software that has restrictions on using and copying it, usually enforced by a proprietor. ... A software license is a type of proprietary or gratiuitious license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software — sometimes called an End User License Agreement (EULA) — that specifies the perimeters of the permission granted by the owner to the... A website (or Web site) is a collection of web pages, typically common to a particular domain name or subdomain on the World Wide Web on the Internet. ... Screenshot of a spreadsheet made with OpenOffice. ... The Commodore 64 was one of the most popular microcomputers of its era, and is the best selling home computer of all time. ... A BlueGene supercomputer cabinet. ... A hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit. ... Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of business. ...


Origins

Conceived by Dan Bricklin, refined by Bob Frankston, developed by their company Software Arts, and distributed by Personal Software in 1979 (later named VisiCorp) for the Apple II computer, it propelled the Apple from being a hobbyist's toy to being a much-desired, useful financial tool for business. This likely motivated IBM to enter the PC market which they had been ignoring until then. After the Apple II version, VisiCalc was also released for the Atari 8-bit family, the Commodore PET (both based on the MOS Technology 6502 processor, like the Apple), TRS-80 (based on the Zilog Z80 processor) and the IBM PC. Daniel S. Bricklin (born 16 July 1951) is the co-creator, with Bob Frankston, of the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. ... Robert (Bob) M. Frankston (born in 1949) is the co-creator with Dan Bricklin of the VisiCalc spreadsheet program and the co-founder of Software Arts, the company that developed it. ... Software Arts was a software company founded by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston in 1979 to develop VisiCalc, which was published by a separate company, Personal Software Inc. ... VisiCorp was an early personal computer software publisher. ... For the Smashing Pumpkins song, see 1979 (song). ... VisiCorp was an early personal computer software publisher. ... The 1977 Apple II, complete with integrated keyboard, color graphics, sound, a plastic case and eight expansion slots. ... Big Blue redirects here. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... The PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was a home-/personal computer produced by Commodore starting in the late 1970s. ... The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed by MOS Technology in 1975. ... TRS-80 Model I. TRS-80 was Tandy Corporations desktop microcomputer model line, and sold through Tandys RadioShack stores, in the late-1970s and 1980s. ... One of the first Z80 microprocessors manufactured; the date stamp says well before July 1976. ... IBM PC (IBM 5150) with keyboard and green screen monochrome monitor (IBM 5151), running MS-DOS 5. ...


According to Bricklin, he was watching his university professor at Harvard Business School create a financial model on a blackboard. When the professor found an error or wanted to change a parameter, he had to tediously erase and rewrite a number of sequential entries in the table, triggering Bricklin to realize that he could replicate the process on a computer using an 'electronic spreadsheet' to view results of underlying formulae. Harvard Business School, officially named the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration: George F. Baker Foundation, and also known as HBS, is one of the graduate schools of Harvard University. ...


The successors

Though the electronic spreadsheet was a revolutionary idea, Bricklin was advised that he would be unlikely to be granted a patent, so he failed to profit significantly from his invention. At the time, patents were not available for software in the United States, so it was thought that the product could only be copyrighted, and as copyright deals with form rather than idea, competitors could quickly copy the concept and just present the result in a different layout without infringing the copyright. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a patentee (the inventor or assignee) for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which... This article relates to the patentability of software and computer programs, or in other words software patents, under United States patent law. ... Copyright symbol Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. ...


Charles Babcock of InformationWeek argues that in perspective, "[VisiCalc] was flawed and clunky, and couldn't do many things users wanted it to do." [1] Soon, more powerful clones of VisiCalc were released, including SuperCalc (1980), Microsoft's MultiPlan (1982), Lotus 1-2-3 (1983), and the spreadsheet module in AppleWorks (1984). With Microsoft Excel (introduced for the Mac OS in 1985 and for Windows 2.0 in 1987), a new generation of spreadsheets was born. Due to the lack of a patent, none of the developers of the VisiCalc clones had to pay any royalties to VisiCorp. InformationWeek is a weekly technology magazine published by CMP Media. ... SuperCalc was a spreadsheet application published by Sorcim, orginally bundled (along with WordStar) with the Osborne 1 portable computer. ... Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual revenue of US$44. ... Categories: Computer stubs | Spreadsheets | Domain-specific programming languages | Numerical programming languages ... Lotus 1-2-3 is a spreadsheet program from Lotus Software (now part of IBM). ... AppleWorks is an office suite of software applications sold by Apple Computer. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Windows 2. ... VisiCorp was an early personal computer software publisher. ...


External links

  • Dan Bricklin's Own VisiCalc Website – With history information as well as downloadable PC version
  • Implementing VisiCalc – By Bob Frankston, on his website
  • Three Minutes: Godfathers Of The Spreadsheet – PC World  interview with the creators of VisiCalc
  • Techdirt: What If VisiCalc Had Been Patented?

  Results from FactBites:
 
VisiCalc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (418 words)
VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers.
After the Apple II version, VisiCalc was also released for the Atari 8-bit family, the Commodore PET (both based on the MOS Technology 6502 processor, like the Apple), and the IBM PC.
The first clone of VisiCalc to become very successful in the market was Lotus 1-2-3, for the IBM PC.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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