The father of WYSIWYG

The father of WYSIWYG
: I was there the day John Seybold coined WYSIWYG.

I was at an early publishing-industry seminar in California run by Seybold and he kept hearing us say we didn’t want to have to enter all kinds of codes and not know what became of them until type spat out of a big photocompositor (now there’s a word you don’t hear every decade). We wanted to see it on our screens.

The gentle and brilliant Mr. Seybold got up and said that what he heard everybody demanding was “what you see is what you get.” He looked skyward as he calculated the acronym. W-Y-S-I-W-Y-G. He smiled an impish smile. And then he carefully prounounced it: “whiz-zee-wig.”

And more than jargon was born. A way of creating and looking at content was given birth. I say this led to new ways to publish content in print and that led to computerized mark-up codes and it led to Quark and it led to the idea that anybody could create content and it led to HTML and it led to the browser and it led to the weblog, with a few detours and scenic stops inbetween.

WYSIWYG changed the world in its own way. And John Seybold said it first.

John Seybold died this week at 88. He is survived by some brilliant children and an industry and a new way of looking at the world.