Next: OS History =>
20 Jan 2003
(c) Copyright 2003 Howard Gilbert
There are some stylistic differences between the Windows, Macintosh, and Unix systems, but the basic operating of the user interface is the same in all three systems. All have buttons that the user "presses" by positioning the mouse pointer over the button and clicking. All have scroll bars that the user can drag. Check boxes and radio buttons do the same thing in about the same way.
How does the Graphic User Interface really work? What is the basic set of operations provided by the operating system? How are the applications designed? What support is provided by the programming languages? These questions are surprisingly easy to answer, even for a reader with no technical or programming expertise, but they tend to be ignored. Some books try to "train" the user about every button and option in Excel. Others train programmers to create a simple application in some programming language. Nobody stops to explain how it really works.
This set of Web pages will explain, and demonstrate, the small number of relatively simple tricks that are used to generate and manage the user interface. The reader need only have an interest in the subject; no technical background is assumed.
The author has neither the interest nor an incentive to support Netscape 4 or any other six year old browser. You can certainly read the text in any Browser. The examples work in any current browser that supports current standards. Upgrade to the current release of IE, Netscape, or Mozilla. If you are forced to keep an old version of an obsolete browser because some corporate bean counter decided to establish "standards" for all workers, then install one of the other browsers on your machine. All three can coexist on the same computer and they do not interfere with each other.