A Conversation with Doug Engelbart : Augment      


"I confess that I am a dreamer. Someone once called me "just a dreamer." That offended me, the "just" part; being a real dreamer is hard work. It really gets hard when you start believing your dreams." - Douglas Engelbart

Background Q & A Interviewes Locations Visuals

 What we need to convey: The basic logic of how the system works. Showing how powerful it is.

Mood: The mood of this section should be one of 'hey, this is pretty cool!'.

Background: Augment:

  • Features of Doug's system Augment:
  • Full sentence interaction which means being able to give commands to the computer as we would while speaking; in full sentences such as ' scroll down to the third paragraph and follow the link in that paragraph'. Full sentence interaction includes verbs (actions) and nouns (which to do the actions to/with) as well as modifiers and even timing. These sentences can then be saved and used in conjunction with others in the future.
    • demo -Actual and enhanced screen grabs of Augment with commentary will be shown.
  • Addressing & Jumping will be demonstrated with an analogy of current HyperText and real world mail.
    • 'walk through' -A person following the hypertext way is shown posting a packet. When using Augment style relative addressing, the person is shown able to give relative, impromptu directions such as; "Turn left at the white building and walk to blocks".
  • Reader-driven dynamic hypertext will be demonstrated, where the reader may navigate text in much freer ways than we can today, jumping around based on any criteria, not just pre-programmed links.
    • demo - Hypertext with the visual quality of a newspaper will be shown manipulated dynamically.
  • Issues which we regard as relatively new in our Internet-networked world: version control and being able to ascertain the authority of documents has also been solved by Doug from the very beginning. His world has always been a networked one. An example of this is his 'Journal' which is simply a repository, a database, which users may add to, but never modify. So if you have 'published' a document to the 'Journal' you many update it, but not change the original. This way other users will always be able to refer to a specific version of the document.
    • simple mention - This may not need a larger demo than being mentioned by the by.
    • multi-level UI - Supporting the rise of skilled users will be multiple levels of user Interface. This concept will be shown to support users comfortable entry into using a system, as many 'ease-of-use' advocates work for, but also allowing users to achieve a much higher level of skill.


Interviewee's: Same as last two sections.

Visuals: Screen captures. Showing Doug demoing to Fleur.

Q:   How does Augment work?
A:   Well...

Q:   How do links work in Augment?
A:   The issue is how the user can move around. To allow movement, we rely on addressing and jumping.

Q:   Tell me about how the command language works?
A:   It's not tricky. It's not like UNIX or even DOS. You only need to remember a small set of initial commands to use the system proficiently. It is much more powerful though. With icons on the screen you can only request a single command at a time. With the command language you can write more involved commands....

>> Add examples!!!

Q:   What's my email address?
A:   [Doug doesn't even look at the screen while clicking away] It's fleur@invisible
Q:   How did you find it out so quickly?
A:   Well I did this and that.