Mona's Eyes: Classic NeWS Hack Rewritten in Open Laszlo

Pat Lashley wrote the legendary "monaeyes" hack for NeWS, which Sun shipped with Open Windows, and Anne Dianna wrote about in her story "Mona's Eyes".

I couldn't resist the impulse to recreate Mona's Eyes in OpenLaszlo.

OPML Site Map Based on Drupal Taxonomy

I've just implemented a Drupal module that renders an OPML site map, based on the sitemenu taxonomy tree.

Each taxonomy term has an outline node, which contains child nodes. The first child shows the term's description, and has a link to the term's web page. Subsequent children are links to articles directly related to that term, followed by recursive outlines of sub-terms.

Dave Winer put my OPML site map feed into his OPML World Outline, where you can browse it as html, and OPML Search has automatically indexed the content on my site! That's quite cool, and it's just the tip of the iceberg -- many interesting applications are possible!

Applying XML to Describing User Interface Layouts and Behavior and Constraints.

This is a message I sent to Paul Haberli a several years ago, brainstorming some ideas for an XML based scripting language. More recently, after discovering OpenLaszlo, I ran across this email, and it made me realize why I was so happy to find Laszlo, which embodies many of these ideas!

From: Hopkins, Don [mailto:Hopkins, Don]
Sent: Sunday, November 08, 1998 3:06 AM
Subject: RE:

I think something cool to do, would be to apply XML to describing user interface layouts and behavior and constraints.

It would have to describe the interfaces and connections between the components, as well as the graphical layout and properties.

It should have a general purpose message passing model that is independant of any scripting language, and you could also embed scripts in the xml in different language like is currently done with html.

But you should be able to do a lot without even resorting to scripts, just hooking components together.

And then if course I want to design a visual programming language in XML.

The October Surprise: The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission, and the 1980 Presidential Election

The October Surprise:
The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission, and the 1980 Presidential Election

By Don Hopkins, December 1988.

I. Iran under the Shah

The Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, came to power in 1953, thanks to a CIA-supported coup. The Shah's friendship and cooperation was extremely important for American foreign policy -- it gave the U.S. much influence in the region.

Iran is in extremely strategic position, adjacent to the Soviet Union and Persian Gulf countries. It also has enormous amounts of oil and money.

In accordance with the Nixon Doctrine, the United States sold weapons to the Shah, who used them to maintain the stability of his regime, and protect US interests. Arms were an extremely important part of Iranian-American relationship.

Pushy Bounce Window Mixin

;;; -*- Mode: LISP -*-
;;; Pushy bounce window mixin
;;; Implemented for the Lisp Machine with Flavors
;;; By Don Hopkins

(defflavor pushy-bounce-window-mixin (x-vel y-vel gravity friction proc delay)
  (:required-flavors tv:window))

(defflavor pushy-bounce-lisp-listener
        (pushy-bounce-window-mixin tv:lisp-listener))

Designing to Facilitate Browsing: A Look Back at the Hyperties Workstation Browser

Designing to Facilitate Browsing: A Look Back at the Hyperties Workstation Browser

By Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Rodrigo Botafogo, Don Hopkins, William Weiland.

Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
A.V. Williams Bldg., University of Maryland
College Park MD 20742, U.S.A.


Since browsing hypertext can present a formidable cognitive challenge, user interface design plays a major role in determining acceptability. In the Unix workstation version of Hyperties, a research-oriented prototype, we focussed on design features that facilitate browsing. We first give a general overview of Hyperties and its markup language. Customizable documents can be generated by the conditional text feature that enables dynamic and selective display of text and graphics. In addition we present:

  • an innovative solution to link identification: pop-out graphical buttons of arbitrary shape.
  • application of pie menus to permit low cognitive load actions that reduce the distraction of common actions, such as page turning or window selection.
  • multiple window selection strategies that reduce clutter and housekeeping effort. We preferred piles-of-tiles, in which standard-sized windows were arranged in a consistent pattern on the display and actions could be done rapidly, allowing users to concentrate on the contents.

HyperTIES Hypermedia Browser and Emacs Authoring Tool for NeWS

HyperTIES is an early hypermedia browser developed under the direction of Dr. Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Lab.

HyperTIES Browser (right) and UniPress Emacs Multi Window Text Editor Authoring Tool (left), tab windows and pie menus, running under the NeWS Window System.

HyperTIES Browser NeWS Client/Server Software Architecture.

An Empirical Comparison of Pie vs. Linear Menus

An Empirical Comparison of Pie vs. Linear Menus

Jack Callahan, Don Hopkins, Mark Weiser (*) and Ben Shneiderman.
Computer Science Department University of Maryland College Park, Maryland 20742
(*) Computer Science Laboratory, Xerox PARC, Palo Alto, Calif. 94303.
Presented at ACM CHI'88 Conference, Washington DC, 1988.


Pie Menu -vs- Linear Menu Experiment

This is a re-creation in OpenLaszlo of the experiment comparing pie menus and linear menus, described in the paper "A Comparative Analysis of Pie Menu Performance", by Jack Callahan, Don Hopkins, Mark Weiser and Ben Shneiderman. It administers and times the same sequences of pie menus and linear menus as the experiment.

This version measures the selection time and error rate, but doesn't collect or display the information. If I can find the time, I'll extend this to consentually collect usage statistics on the server, and plot graphs of selection time and error rate, as shown in the paper.

The Design and Implementation of Pie Menus -- Dr. Dobb's Journal, Dec. 1991

The Design and Implementation of Pie Menus

There're Fast, Easy, and Self-Revealing.

Copyright (C) 1991 by Don Hopkins.
Originally published in Dr. Dobb's Journal, Dec. 1991, lead cover story, user interface issue.


Although the computer screen is two-dimensional, today most users of windowing environments control their systems with a one-dimensional list of choices -- the standard pull-down or drop-down menus such as those found on Microsoft Windows, Presentation Manager, or the Macintosh.

This article describes an alternative user-interface technique I call "pie" menus, which is two-dimensional, circular, and in many ways easier to use and faster than conventional linear menus. Pie menus also work well with alternative pointing devices such as those found in stylus or pen-based systems. I developed pie menus at the University of Maryland in 1986 and have been studying and improving them over the last five years.

During that time, pie menus have been implemented by myself and my colleagues on four different platforms: X10 with the uwm window manager, SunView, NeWS with the Lite Toolkit, and OpenWindows with the NeWS Toolkit. Fellow researchers have conducted both comparison tests between pie menus and linear menus, and also tests with different kinds of pointing devices, including mice, pens, and trackballs.

Included with this article are relevant code excerpts from the most recent NeWS implementation, written in Sun's object-oriented PostScript dialect.

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