Posted in Technology

This demonstration of NeXTSTEP, recorded in 1992, sent me on a stream‐of‐consciousness romp through the web. I stumbled upon this overview of NeXTSTEP, written around the time Windows 95 was released. As a UI dork, I find the nuts‐and‐bolts behavior stuff oddly fascinating:

One section talks about the difference in scrollbar behavior between NeXTSTEP and Windows 95. On Windows, if you click on the scrollbar track, it moves the document up or down one screen‐length. On NeXTSTEP, clicking on the scrollbar track instead repositions the scroller under your pointer. To replicate the Windows behavior, it says, you can “alternate‐click” on one of the scroll arrows.

Reading this on my iBook, I had an impulse to try it. I option‐clicked on the bottom scrollbar arrow; sure enough, it scrolled down one screen‐length.

A huge amount has changed about NeXTSTEP in between then and now — hell, it’s owned by another company and goes by a different name. But as much as has changed is minuscule when compared to how large and broad an operating system is. Nowadays the scrollbar‐track behavior in OS X behaves the Windows way, but option‐clicking still works. Wicked.