Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What was old is new again: Google Wave and NLS

Finally got a Google Wave account and have been messing with it some...and I was sure that it felt somehow familiar. Then I realized it: Wave is Engelbart's NLS as built by someone who had only heard an oral description of NLS.

Both are structured document/outline editors with realtime updates and generous options to discover the history of the document creation. There are differences: Wave doesn't have the integration with video conferencing (sorta, there is a 3rd party extension to embed video chat), the development and extension environment is not as integrated as NLS, Wave obeys modern editing and UI conventions as opposed to the faster and more difficult to learn NLS conventions, Wave does not have the various view control related commands, and of course Wave is built using distributed web/XMPP technologies instead of being based around a mainframe.

Update: After poking around in my memories some more, it also is very strongly flavoured with elements of IBIS decision and augumentation support systems.