Taking stock of user interface history
The user interface is coming of age and papers adressing UI history have appeared in fair amounts in the last 25 years. Most of them address particular aspects such as an innovative interface paradigm or the contribution of a visionary or a research lab. Contrasting this, papers addressing UI history at large have been sparse -- and they primarily address the predominant GUI and Web interface paradigms and their forerunners. However, a small spate of publications have appeared recently so we now have a reasonable number of papers. Hence this work-in-progress takes stock of the current history of user interfaces at large. The paper first describes a theoretical framework drawn from history. Next the paper analyses a selected sample of papers on UI history at large. The analysis shows that the current state-of-art is featured by three aspects: Firstly internalism, in that the papers adress the technologies in their own right with little contextualization, secondly whiggism in that they largely address prevailing UI technologies, and thirdly history from above in that they focus on the great deeds of the visionaries. The paper then compares this state-of-art in UI history to the much more mature fields history of computing and history of technology. Based hereon, some speculations regarding the future of UI history are offered.