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by adam mathes
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Design To Iterate

So, for a couple of days, Chris would incorporate Steve’s suggestions from the previous day, but Steve would continue to find new faults each time he was shown it. Finally, Chris got a flash of inspiration. The next afternoon, instead of a new iteration of the calculator, Chris unveiled his new approach, which he called “the Steve Jobs Roll Your Own Calculator Construction Set”. Every decision regarding graphical attributes of the calculator were parameterized by pull-down menus. You could select line thicknesses, button sizes, background patterns, etc.

Steve took a look at the new program, and immediately started fiddling with the parameters. After trying out alternatives for ten minutes or so, he settled on something that he liked. When I implemented the calculator UI (Donn Denman did the math semantics) for real a few months later, I used Steve’s design, and it remained the standard calculator on the Macintosh for many years, all the way up through OS 9.

Andy Hertzfeld, Calculator Construction Set, Folklore.org

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