Author could not be developed without help from the community. This is what is included with the Author application, in the Acknowledgements section, in the Help menu:
Author is inspired by the work of my friend and mentor Doug Engelbart who pioneered richly interactive computing. As he said on the morning of the 9th of December 1968, when he presented interactive computing to the world for the very first time:
The research program I am going to describe to you, is quickly characterisable by saying: If you in your office, you as an intellectual worker, were supplied with a computer display backed up by a computer that would be alive for you all day and was instantly responsive to every action you had - how much value could you derive from that?
This is a powerful question and one we need to continually ask ourselves - how can we keep improving the usefulness of computers? Author aims to continue this work but it’s quite clear that there is still a lot of Doug’s work which has not been realised in Author or anywhere else, including high resolution linking. This release of Author is just a start, there is a lot left to do to implement his legacy and to move as far beyond his work as we can in his spirit, not just by looking at what he actually implemented almost 50 years ago: Doug was not interested in computers, he was passionately interested in how we work together to solve urgent, complex problems collectively by using the power of networked computers.
The name Author has the same etymological roots as his system which was named Augment and that is why I chose it. Previous to Author I built Liquid to only later realise that it is basically copied from Augment’s command bar, with all potential commands listed hierarchically. Hopefully you will get to be so fast using Liquid that you won’t need to use the menus just the keyboard shortcuts, as Doug Preferred. You can see Doug discussing an early version of Liquid, when it was called Hyperwords: https://vimeo.com/115256391
I miss you Doug.
I would also like to thank my father for his invaluable reality checks when the philosophical side of my work went a bit, well, vague, Sarah Walton for the co-development of the Liquid philosophy in the first place, Vint Cerf for his continued support, Ted Nelson for friendship and dialogue and my former teacher Ed Leahy who helped me learn how to question, think and focus and has been a tremendous influence and support over they years. I would also like to point out, with gratitude, that the work I do would not have happened without Howard Rheingold and his Tools for Thought. Thank you for your writings and for walks along the North Bay.
I am currently working on my PhD at the University of Southampton, under the watchful eyes of two of my prime inspirations; Dame Wendy Hall and Les Carr, and alongside Mark Anderson and Christopher Gutteridge, whose support and insights makes my life magical. The work I am doing is an extension of Author, building a ‘Dynamic View’.
Lastly, and most fundamentally, the crowning jewel of my life, my wife Emily Maki Ballard Hegland who not only supports my work with love but also with hard work.
The goal of continued investment in Author is to continue to improve it until it becomes financially self-sustaining, with a focus on continued polish, Advanced Features and building an advanced Dynamic View for macOS and also for iOS since the Dynamic View seems a natural fit for tablet work and thinking. What you can download from the macOS App Store today is only the beginning.
Author is the product of years of personal effort turned into software by the support of the community, without whom Author would not be possible. There was some thought about starting a crowd-funding campaign but I decided this would take too much marketing effort in itself and the cut the crowd-funding websites takes is quite high (5% + Card Processing Fees!). My personal contribution and that of my family over the years is not sustainable so I have therefore accepted the support of user-investors from the community.
Benefits of Investment
In addition to supporting what I hope they really believe in, investors receive the following thanks and benefits:
I am not a programmer, I am a designer with a passionate focus on driving forward the vision of designing ever more powerful knowledge systems, particularly as related to text, resulting in an ever deeper literacy. Jacob Hazelgrove is the very competent and dedicated head-coder of Author who makes it all happen and he works considerably more than what I can afford to pay him, so all community contributions go directly to him for his fantastic work. The finances are very simple: Jacob charges $5,000 for part time work per month, for which I would need to sell 1250 In-App-Upgrades at $6 each to break even with. Until this happens, I am relying on your support. Your support is therefore measured in paid-for coding time, which I think is a nice and relevant metric:
Month : Investment in one month of coding is $5,000
Week : Investment in one week of coding is $1,250
Day : Investment in one day of coding (week/5) is $250
This software is dedicated to our son Edgar Kazu Ballard Hegland, born the 8th of May 2017 and is in memory of my mother-in-law Kazuko Ballard.