History of Computers/Applications Development History

Early 'Utility' Systems




Printer Spooling

  • FIDO - for IBM DOS, original author Simon Wheaton-Smith
  • PATCHES - for IBM DOS and replaced FIDO, original author Simon Wheaton-Smith
  • GRASP - for IBM DOS, original author Boyd Munro
  • JES2 - for IBM MVS
  • JES3 - for IBM MVS
  • HASP - for O.S. (MFT and MVT) was the fore runner of JES2
  • ASP - like HASP but supported attached processors, a fore runner of JES3

On the IBM 360, core memory was very limited, and as systems were rather slow, separating input and output from application programs became critical, and had to be transparent. The IBM offering was, for DOS systems, POWER, an unwieldy system that consumed a lot of resources. That created an opportunity for GRASP (designed by Boyd Munro, an Australian) and shortly after, FIDO (Fast Increase in Device Output) (designed by Simon Wheaton-Smith). FIDO and GRASP were very small, but with larger IBM systems, more options were needed. PATCHES (Powerful ATtached Checking on Enlarged Systems) used the SHADOW teleprocessing control program and replaced FIDO. FIDO and PATCHES, as well as SHADOW were named after the author's dogs.

Access Methods

  • BTAM - Basic telecommunications access method
  • BATS - Basic additional teleprocessing system
  • TCAM - Telecommunications Access Method
  • QTAM - Queued Telecommunications Access Method
  • VTAM - Virtual Telecommunications Access Method

Teleprocessing Systems

  • GENA -
  • FASTER - First Automated Teleprocessing Environment Reponder
  • CICS - Customer Information Control System
  • SHADOW - Semi Heuristic Approach to Devices Online (woof), original author Simon Wheaton-Smith
  • Intercom -
  • Browns Operating System -

On the IBM 360, core memory was very limited. Using crt and vdu devices required very careful programming to conserve space. The IBM access method BTAM was very difficult to use when writing programs for multiple terminals. Hence the control programs sprung up. BATS was one such attempt. CICS was IBM's adopted system, however it was large and complex to use, albeit transaction oriented. SHADOW was conversational as opposed to transaction oriented, small, easy to use, and very reliable. When the IBM 370 came into fruition, memory was at less of a premium, and the basic access methods (BTAM) declined while the more advanced methods such as VTAM took over the role of not only BTAM, but also TCAM and QTAM.

The Database History

  • DL/1
  • DB2

The Spreadsheet History

  • "Works Records System " - a multi-user interactive spreadsheet application - produced at ICI Mond Division in Northwich, Cheshire, UK c1974

In the early 1970s, Cliff Myers of CAPEX promulgated an early and effective spreadsheet for the IBM 360 world. It evolved into FLEXIGRAPH managed by Roger Sprava when CAPEX was merged with Computer Associates.