by Information Applicance Inc.
The following image and prototype was generously contributed by Jef Raskin, who was instrumental in its design. This system has possibly never been depicted on the web before. A few more words on SwyftWare and the SwyftCard from Jef next:
At Information Appliance Inc., we decided to use the Apple II, as a development environment. Running our own Forth (tForth), we developed and tested the software until it was our own major tool for every task at hand. These tasks included word processing, spreadsheet, software development, communications (then over phone lines) and data storage and retrieval -- we were strong believers in the maxim that if the product isn't good enough for us, it's not good enough for our customers. Of course, we were aware that the converse was not true. If it was good enough for us, that didn't prove that it was good enough for our customers.
To assure that it was good enough for our customers, we did a lot of testing, and one of the results was that the testees nearly always wanted to know when they could get the software. After you've heard such a request repeatedly, the idea arises that perhaps we had an Apple II software product. First we supplied it as a ROM on a plug-in card, which was called "SwyftCard". This had the advantage of being a piece of uncorruptible and uncrashable software. A lower-cost alternative was then developed, with the software being delivered on a 5 1/4 inch floppy. This was called "SwyftWare".
We sold the rights to market SwyftWare to a company run by a friend in San Diego.
The code was extraordinarily well-documented and there was a test word for every word in the program, as well as a word that ran all the tests as an automatic suite so that we could check for side-effects whenever we made a change. It is to these methods I attribute the nearly unique accomplishment of Information Appliance: a piece of commercial general-purpose software in which no bugs were ever discovered. We had the same splendid results in designing the Canon Cat.
Photos of Swyft prototype donated by Jef Raskin
Prototypes before the Swyft production version
The DigiBarn's Swyft card in a modified Apple IIe
Digibarn pages on the Canon Cat
ISDA awards page for the Swyft
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