Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The invention of the first spreadsheet VisiCalc

The first spreadsheet on a personal computer was called VisiCalc (short for visible calculator) and was created by Daniel Bricklin and Bob Frankston in 1978.

Bricklin, first year student at Harvard Business School, had to perform some analytical tasks as part of his case study. He had two options to do it, either do it by hand or use an awkward mainframe program.

Bricklin wondered how much easier the task would be with the aid of his Apple II computer.

It was while Bricklin was sitting on room 108 in Aldrich Hall at Harvard in 1978 that he dreamed of an easier way to calculate financial projections for multiple different business scenarios. He had managed to create the first working prototype model of his concept, which named VisiCalc. It is a program for Apple II computer which he introduced rows and columns and some arithmetic operations. He recruited Frankston to help him write the code.

At the time, Frankston was a partner in Personal Software, a company he founded with another student, Daniel Fylstar, with an initial investment of $500. They agreed to implement and armlet Bricklin’s ideas.

VisiCalc was a huge success. More than 700,000 copies of the program were sold. It was almost single handedly responsible for the success of the Apple II personal computer. By early 1980s, Lotus 1-2-3 was the leading spreadsheet. Lotus had bought and then discontinued VisiCalc. Borland’s Quattro Pro was another well-known product at that time.
The invention of the first spreadsheet VisiCalc 

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