Dan Bricklin's Web Site: www.bricklin.com
VisiCalc: Information from its creators, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston
If you're looking for material about VisiCalc, this is the place!
This web site, www.bricklin.com, includes lots of information about VisiCalc, the first computer spreadsheet program as we know them today. It has material directly from Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, the co-creators of VisiCalc, including scans of original photographs from VisiCalc's development days, a working copy of the program, and other things from Software Arts, Inc., Dan and Bob's company. Additional material is constantly being added, so researchers, computer historians, and teachers should check back periodically.
VisiCalc material on this web site includes:
The History section: Photos and narrative about the development of VisiCalc and other products from Dan Bricklin. Includes pictures of the attic where much of VisiCalc was written in 1979, early ads and reviews, pictures of the packaging and screenshots, and more.
A copy of VisiCalc you can run: Lotus has given permission to post a working copy of the original IBM PC VisiCalc spreadsheet program from 1981 on this web site. You can download it and run it on a PC under MSDOS under Windows.
Patenting VisiCalc: An essay about why VisiCalc was not patented.
Adam Osborne Recording: A recording of Adam Osborne giving Dan and Bob the first award for creating VisiCalc and making a computer program that was worth buying a personal computer for.
Was VisiCalc the "first" spreadsheet?: An essay that explains what people mean when they say VisiCalc was the "first spreadsheet".
Pictures of Dan and Bob: There are publicity pictures of Dan and Bob in the Background Information section and on Bob's web site, and recent pictures in the Albums section (along with other computer industry people like Ray Ozzie, Tim Berners-Lee, and Bill Gates).
Review of Michael Schrage's book, Serious Play: This book, about rapid prototyping and its role in innovation, includes an entire chapter entitled "A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge". Michael claims that "...low-cost spreadsheet software effectively launched the largest and most significant experiment in rapid prototyping and simulation in the history of business." (You can find the book on Amazon.com here.)
Why should a product want to be "the next VisiCalc"?: Reaction by Dan Bricklin to an article saying "Will a shakeout in the hosted application space happen, and if so, how do you keep yourself from picking tomorrow's VisiCalc today?".
IBM PC Announcement 1981: Transcript of the Software Arts staff meeting the day the IBM PC was announced, giving a feel for that time, including how VisiCalc was portrayed.
Bricklin on Technology book: Dan's book has an entire chapter on the development of VisiCalc, including photos and scans of various documents and a transcript of the Adam Osborne recording.
Dan and Bob's Videos About the VisiCalc Announcement in 1979: Videos of Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston relating to the June 1979 announcement of VisiCalc at the Personal Computing Festival at the National Computer Conference, including Bob reading the paper he delivered there.
Steve Jobs talking about VisiCalc in 1996: A short excerpt from a documentary where Steve Jobs talks about the importance of the spreadsheet VisiCalc to the success of the Apple II.
(Unlike most of this web site, I wrote this VisiCalc Info page in the third person, since you most likely will come to it from a search engine if you are looking for information about VisiCalc. It has the word "VisiCalc" more times than most any other non-framed page on this web site.)
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