One way or another I came upon an article about Twitter via a blog I had never been to before. Scripting.com is written by an 80’s software developer and gives insight into tech subjects from that point of view. As I began to explore his other articles, I found one titled “Microsoft rejection letter, 1987” which piqued my interest.
I learned that Dave had created a piece of desktop presentation software called MORE in the mid 80’s that was quite successful as well as very popular to its loyal fanboys. So successful that Bill Gates offered to purchase the software in 1987 to add to his upcoming office suite but instead deciding to go with a competitor’s product which was called PowerPoint.
Think about that. Think about what kind of household name PowerPoint is to all of us. PowerPoint is to presentations as Google is to search. If a different decision had been made a little over 20 years ago, you could be giving a MORE presentation tomorrow.
But I haven’t gotten to the interesting part yet…the real fascinating part to geeks like me is the Rules dialog box from MORE pictured here
This dialog box allows the user to create a ‘blueprint’ that your presentation must live by. With it you could tell MORE that all headlines needed to be blue with a bold font size of 14pt. Or that all bullet points should be indented exactly a half an inch from the relative text it was bulleted from.
Every single person that has designed every single page you have viewed on the internet for the last decade, that’s who. For those who don’t know, web pages are broken into two pieces. HTML(HyperText Markup Language) and CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) or content and presentation. CSS like MORE’s Rules dialog box allows web designers to create a blueprint just like an architect will define how the raw materials (whether words or wood) shall be constructed together. So without CSS, every page you viewed would look like this
The difference is that MORE came out about twelve years before CSS was released in 1998. Talk about being before your time….
Though perhaps it was this added complexity that made PowerPoint attractive to the brass at Microsoft. Today, 24 years after MORE was released and 12 years after CSS, most internet users would probably stare blankly at you if you asked them why CSS is important or worse how to write it.