ClarisWorks User Stories

Back to A Brief History of ClarisWorks
Subject: Re: A brief history of ClarisWorks.

> Those who are excessively nosy or observant might have noticed
> that the ClarisWorks file creator ID is BOBO. Why BOBO?

Mr. Hearn,

I found much interest (and nostalgia) in reading your brief history of the development of ClarisWorks. I grew up with the Apple/Macintosh (my father having purchased an Apple II days before I was born) and, as a boy of 10 started out online in 1990. By early 1992, we had bought ClarisWorks 1.0, and I was dialing in, via the communications module, to my fathers office and exploring the textual world of the 'net (and, to a lesser extent, local BBSes. I recall that year, demonstrating CW (and several other features of the Macintosh and the high-storage of CD-ROMs) to the assembled staff of my elementary school: if I, then a sixth grader, could figure it out, so could they. Ease of use prevailed, and eventually my school had purchased 60 LCIIs, edging out Commodore 64/128s in the "new" labs.

I also recall my growing interest in how these applications worked, and spent much time learning Applescript, as a started, and poking around in ResEdit. After ten years, it didn't take much to remember the names/terms Bob Hearn, Scott Holdaway, and 'BOBO'.

After five years away from Apple use, I'm slowly being drawn back in. I'm looking to purchase a new portable in the next few months. Now, I'm 21-- and while my career objectives have shifted away from the world of IT and software production (as my father was also involved in, when I was young)-- I'm a 12 year veteran of the Internet-- and live a truly connected life via cellular, WiFi, handlelds and multiple servers running on the racks in my closet. I've met my partner of 3 years through means facilitated by software built upon the cornerstones you and Scott laid.

I wanted to thank you for providing the background of what happened at Claris and Spartacus and for making possible a lifestyle I could not imagine then, and couldn't imagine being without today.

At 10, I had wide eyes for the future, and an unmeasurable optimism for the future of personal technology. Not much has changed.

Thank you, sir,

Subject: Re: A Brief History of ClarisWorks


Gosh, what a great read! I have been a most enthusiastic, die-hard user of ClarisWorks since v1. You did a great job. I loved your concept of frames. When I first encountered the program, it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. You want a spreadsheet inside your word processing document - OK - here it is! To this day, it is my most used application [aside from FileMaker Pro] and the one I grab to quickly solve a variety of problems.

Though very 'small potatoes' on the screen of what you have accomplished, I filmed all [with the exception of one set] of the training videos MacAcademy produced for ClarisWorks. ClarisWorks gave me the opportunity to meet and get to know Steve Wozniak, another ClarisWorks enthusiast. In '92, I was hired by him to teach ClarisWorks to 70 1st, 2nd & 3rd graders at [ name removed ] School. An Apple enthusiast since 1980, I was thrilled to have him sitting in the back of the classroom as I taught. When asked by other instructors if I was intimidated by his being there, I had to truthfully answer 'No, I was more worried about the 70 kids!' I returned many, many times over the next several years to teach your program to the kids he supported in that school district. He attended everyone of my classes. When I asked how could he sit through the same class so many times, he said the program was such he always learned something new. He was/and still is/ one of your program's most enthusiastic supporters.

And now you are at MIT in the AI Lab. How cool can than be! Best to you always and thanks so much for your vision and efforts over the years.

A big fan,

Subject: Thank you from a reader of your ClarisWorks history

Dear Mr. Hearn,

I have just finished reading your article "A Brief History of ClarisWorks" and want to thank you for writing this interesting piece, and to express my admiration of ClarisWorks itself.

My introduction to ClarisWorks was using ClarisWorks 3 which came pre-installed on my incredibly expensive PowerBook 190cs running Mac OS 7.5.2. I later bought ClarisWorks 4, and continue to use AppleWorks 6 on Mac OS X today.

What an incredibly useful, fast, stable and intuitive program (I'm thinking more of versions 3 and 4 here). My efforts to help my septuagenarian father get the most out of his computer (he is a retired journalist who still has an IBM Selectric typewriter lurking in the attic) have been greatly advanced, I believe, by the elegance of ClarisWorks. And when I've really needed to fix a misbehaving router, ClarisWorks' serial communications module has saved my bacon.

Hoping your head doesn't swell too much...

Yours sincerely,

Subject: ClarisWorks


I enjoyed reading your history of ClarisWorks. I thought you might enjoy reading a little history of a ClarisWorks user.

In 1983, I was completely captivated by a new Apple //e which I bought along with AppleWriter, a major word processor for the time. I bought AppleWorks (for the Apple IIe) when it first came out and used it through 1987, the last year or so along with MultiScribe, which I used for making up pages.

I got my first Mac (an SE) when I went back to being a pastor of a church in 1987 and we bought MS Works, which I used at first. I always hated it. The program never really integrated things and I missed Appleworks.

Then ClarisWorks came out. Wow! You have no idea how much that program meant to me. I don't know how other people used it but to me it was everything. Ministers write sermons (5 pages or so in my case), they need little databases of members, contributions, etc., they do little budgets, they make up lots and lots of flyers and all the stuff gets put together into reports. I can't imagine any better software for doing exactly what ministers and churches of most small to medium sized churches do.

The only problem with ClarisWorks was that by that time we were using Adobe Pagemaker (2.0a) which didn't have a translator. But even without the translator, it was easier to use CW, save everything as text or graphic objects and import them than to use Microsoft things. So that's what I did.

I came here to be the pastor of [ name removed ] Church in 1995 and immediately convinced the church to buy Macs and of course ClarisWorks, later Appleworks. Appleworks is still what we use for 99% of our work, literally everything from newsletter layout to databases to writing. The only major application we have that uses its own software is the web (we use Macromedia products for that). We have literally thousands of Clarisworks/Appleworks documents around here: sermons, newsletters, reports, pictures. Kids use it in our Sunday School, even our Nursery School kids use it (the paint module).

I've been a long time evangelist for Macs (not professional, I just think they are the best for church work). And the program I always use to demonstrate how a church can get going fast is Appleworks. People are generally amazed one program can do so much. I imagine you are used to people who are technically very sophisticated. One thing you may not appreciate is how many people out here are still just getting their first taste of a computer. Appleworks is wonderful for them.

So this is really a thank you letter. I used to be a real programmer when I was young; that's a long time ago but I still remember the thrill of writing something really good. I know you must have felt that about the program. But I just wanted you to know that your work has been a great help to me and I know to lots of others.

I don't know if you made as much money as you deserved from writing Appleworks. I sure do know you did all of us who work with Macs a huge favor.


Subject: Many, many thanks for your hard work...

Dear Bob,

It was with great excitement that I read your article about the history of ClarisWorks. ClarisWorks 2 is the one piece of software that I could not have done without. It is the most intuitive and powerful software tool I've ever had the pleasure of using. Though now I am a full-time video editor working with Final Cut Pro the fastest desktops and Powerbooks Apple makes, I still have my 25mHz Quadra 605 sitting on a desk near me that gets used every day for all work involving data bases, finances and correspondence. Why do I still use a 10 year old computer? ClarisWorks 2 and OS 7. It works. It never crashes. It starts up in an instant. It's clean, nimble and has no unnecessary eye candy. I've never needed to open the manual. I was able to use the publisher and subscriber features to make a spreadsheet accounting system that I prefer over any of the pre-packaged, bloated book-keeping software available today. And creating it was fun. That was 10 years ago.

Many, many thanks for making my life a little easier. Your hard work is highly appreciated every day.

Subject: ClarisWorks

Hi, I'm an old crone whose use of Claris only dates back to '94, but it is the backbone of my computer usage. (I'm a writer). I get mad at things I consider gimicky in the most recent updates. Things I used to do more simply. However integration is the operative word. I hope that I never have to change. Although Jaguar is breathing down my neck!

Thanks for the history lesson. I read every word!

Subject: ClarisWorks

Dear Bob,

Thanks for writing up the history of ClarisWorks. As a die hard Mac user since 1984, I bought CW as soon as it came out, and have continued buying each new version within a week of its release.

It's fair to say that I built my career on this program. Over the years, this has included raising a million dollars for a joint venture with Betty Ford Center and Hazelden, writing scripts, proposals, and business plans, creating personal artwork, and writing the manuscript for a book which is now on the shelves.

I have only now reluctantly switched to Office because AW doesn't display as well under OS X for written work. But nothing, in my estimation, stacks up to your fine product. Office is bloated, buggy, and obtuse. CW/AW has always been elegant, intuitive, and effortless.

Good luck and God bless you in all you do.

Subject: Thank you for ClarisWorks!

Dear Mr Hearn

I have always used ClarisWorks / AppleWorks with pride, as it has let me do things exactly as I want so efficiently. I have consequently grown to loathe using MS Office because it presumes to know what I am trying to do.

Thank you for labouring so long and hard on ClarisWorks. There are so many things that I like about it. AppleWorks is still my preferred productivity app.

I believe Apple is going the way of Keynote in terms of productivity apps and I think it is a good strategy, particularly if they can make them like Keynote - based on what I've seen.

Thanks again.

Kind regards

Subject: Your history of ClarisWorks


I just finished reading your history of ClarisWorks page and felt compelled to thank you, but somehow that seems insufficient. I started using CW before I left the Army in '92 and continued to use it afterward while I finished Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Psychology. I've always described CW as the Swiss Army knife of applications. Alas, the feature set/integration issues you describe in the post v4 versions, and translator/compatibility issues, forced me to move to Word for my dissertation (Applied-Experimental Psychology).

Let me just briefly say that ClarisWorks was more than a handy application. For me, it served as a reliable productivity application and a gold standard for clear, simple interface design atop a full set of tightly integrated features. Everything I've done since has had as its goal that same Zen-like philosophy: be productive.

Thanks again and best of luck on your dissertation!

Subject: Appleworks


Have been reading your "A Brief History" of Claris/Appleworks.

Would just like to say that I am still an avid user of Appleworks, mainly the Word Processor & Graphics modules. I find it interesting to see how such great software is often developed with such low budgets, but determination.

Even with the lack of development it has seen over the past few year, I find it my first port of call whenever I want to type a document or draw a diagram. I find the Microsoft equilivant a dog to use and clumbersome, something which Appleworks never is.

I do confess I use Filemaker Pro on a dialy basis, and (quietly) Excel. Simply because of the lack of development on these two modules. The wordprocessor and draw/paint modules were so well integrated however, they they have stood the test of time.

Apple need to be reminded that developers such as yourself need to be supported/encouraged to develop as they see fit. To be forced down another persons path always leads to poor implementation and lack of enthusiam to make a product stand out.

All the best. I'm hoping the rumours that a new, "better than MS", version of Appleworks is true.


Subject: Claris History


I very much enjoyed reading your article on the history of ClarisWorks.

We're a small Macintosh-only software company based, in all places, in Portland, OR. :) We've been around for nearly seven years now (which I still find hard to believe) and have grown from 2 people in an apartment to.. well, actually only 5 people in an office. But hey, better than nothing. Reading your story was fascinating, and reminds me of the twists and turns of our own history.

I always knew there was a Apple-related development team up in Vancouver -- we know at least one person doing some high-end research up there -- and it was really nice to finally know the reasons on how that happened.

Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to put together that history -- it was enlightening. If you find yourself in Portland again, drop us a line!

Subject: ClarisWorks history

Hi Robert!!! My name is [ name removed ] and I'm a soon 30 year old Swede :) I've just read ur history about ClarisWorks and I really liked it :) I've been a user of CW since version 1.0 that was bundled with my first Mac, a Classic II. When I bought my first Mac I was a student of construction engineering, and all my classmates was always surprised that my schoolwork that I produced on that tiny computer always looked better than what they could do on their top-of-the-line 386:s with MS Office :) I still use AW 6 on my iMac. It's still a good product and I really hope it don't fade away like HyperCard did.

Good luck on ur thesis!!!


Subject: Claris

Dear Robert,

I just read your "Brief History of Clarisworks". Interesting and entertaining! For me Clarisworks was the prototypical example of a cleanly designed and hence effective program. My wife's first (positive!!!) impression of a Mac was through using Clarisworks 4.0. She still uses Appleworks 6, but obviously Apple had no interest in developing the program further.

I wonder what you think about Staroffice/Openoffice? After Apple's introduction of Keynote and Safari I do think it's possible they come up with an Aqua version of Staroffice. Do you think Staroffice is strong enough, cleanly programmed, easily modifiable, etc?

Good luck with your thesis! I received a Ph.D in Mathematics a couple of years ago and did some further mathematical research since then. Now I am planning to leave University and start a tiny little software company. Your thesis is not concerned with text classification, is it? I'm considering using Bayesian classifiers or Support Vector Machines in a new small and lean note taking application.

Best wishes,
[ name removed ]

PS. Thanks for having had the vision to create Clarisworks.

Subject: Claris/Apple-Works and Gobe Productive :-)


Hello. I read your history of Claris and ClarisWorks itself. I was a great read and finally clears any confusion I had with ClarisWorks and AppleWorks (including Gobe Productive). I currently have AppleWorks installed on both my home machine and my work laptop (TiBook G4) and I use it all the time for just about everything I can think of. My girlfriend/fiancee (future wife of course) who is a 1st grade school teacher also uses AppleWorks daily and loves it! I also own a copy of Gobe Productive for BeOS (runs on my BeBox) and it's also a great application. You done a wonderful job with it and I also hope that Apple keeps the application moving in the right direction. It certainly beats the pants off MS Works and almost the same against MS Office (which I also have on my work laptop... Office v. X). Good luck to you and your future adventures :-)

Best Regards...

Subject: ClarisWorks Rocked Dude!

Hey Bob

I found that link to your ClarisWorks page and I thought id just say thanks!

I've been using macs since about 89 and I speced ClarisWorks against Microsloth works for a company purchase at one point

you people did a fantastic job !


Subject: Thanks


Thanks for you website on claris - I am a switcher (they call us) for the past 3 years. Love the Mac and totally agree with you on the AppleWorks issue.

I was asked to be on the new AppleWorks beta team, have not got the software yet but am hoping and really looking forward to them making some strides forward.

Thanks for Claris - I love the simplicity and the power. Very under rates, as you know.

Subject: Great History

Mr. Hearn,

I am delighted to have read the history of Clarisworks.

I was a user of the original Appleworks on an Apple IIC.

Then having moved up the the new Mac LCIII. My first serious program that I purchased was MacWrite Pro 1.5 which I still have and still use. I am now using a G3 B&W and still have MacWrite Pro loaded on my Mac. Much of my data is still in the MacWrite formate.

Purchased Clarisworks 4.0 and upgraded to 5.0 (my favorite) and then upgraded it to Appleworks 6.0 for the Mac OSX.

I have been in the process of converting some of my old MacWrite Pro files now, due to Apple going to the OSX and I do not want to loose my old data.

I'm still investigating OSX and have it installed, but still not used to it yet.

Your work is still my most used and favorite application that I have. My boy (age 9) uses it for his homework now.

I've tried Nisus, MarinerWrite, WordPerfect, Word 4.0, and one shareware that I cannot think of, but I still keep coming back to Appleworks.

Thank you for such a great product. I've used it for many years and will continue to do so.


Subject: BOBO!

> Those who are excessively nosy or observant might have noticed that the
> ClarisWorks file creator ID is BOBO. Why BOBO?


Yes, thanks, I _have_ wondered about the CW/AW creator code. Now I know. Thanks for explaining it. And, thanks for creating the great application with the funny creator code that needs explaining in the first place.

Subject: Re: A Brief History of ClarisWorks


A friend of mine directed me to what you wrote about the history of ClarisWorks.. thanks for writing down the story of what is the best piece of software arguably ever written! Okay... in my opinion. See.... I still use ClarisWorks 4.0 (well, with some minor .somesuch upgrade to it) simply because of how incredibly powerful it is, and how quickly and wonderfully it does everything I want. And it's a four meg application? Unheard of. :)

I really hope someday you can create a version ClarisWorks for Mac OS X.... AppleWorks is nice, and I do use it... but it really isn't the same thing anymore.

Thanks! For everything you did. Your work paid off, here is one person who is incredibly thankful for it.

Subject: A Brief History of ClarisWorks

Mr. Bob Hearn,

Interesting read. Thanks for putting this up. When I read that at MacNN that the co-author of ClarisWorks had written up a history of it, I immediately clicked on the link and checked your page out. I must admit that I have a great respect for programmers such as yourself who have created the many useful and innovative applications one uses often.

I know that ClarisWorks was a labor of love, in addition to any economical reasons, and not simply another chunk of code spewed by some corporate machinery (such as Microsoft). This is a big part of the reason (which goes with my loathing of Microsoft) why I use AppleWorks 6.2.3 just about everyday from everything to college papers to my stories (I fancy myself a writer).

I actually remember reading your letter on MacInTouch when you apologized for not making ClarisWorks more competitive to MS Office. Well, if you'll allow it, please let me tell you that I believe that that weakness is Apple's, not ClarisWork's. This was an Apple blunder, not yours. (For another example of Apple incompetence, look no further than the great, and now very outdated, HyperCard.) It is Apple who is responsible for this ridiculous dependance on Microsoft.

Finally, though, I think Apple is breaking the ties and working up the guts to fight the Dark Empire. Examples: Apple's new Safari web browser and Keynote Presentation program. Perhaps a big AppleWorks update will be next.


Daily AppleWorks user,

Subject: Clarisworks


I just read your 'history of Clarisworks'. Very good. I've always liked this program, although I only started using it with version 3 in the early 1990s. It's interesting to see my suspicions confirmed - that AW6 really is a lacklustre iteration with many things removed - although at least the Applescript implementation has improved. I loved Gobe, and BeOS too.

I could ramble, but I just wanted to say thanks for helping make a really solid piece of software which I and my girlfriend use every day in technical and ideological preference to MS Office.

Thanks also for sharing your story. I'm a programmer too. It's wonderful to hear these personal real-world accounts, which are excellent antidotes to the marketing material which otherwise forms the core of our historical understanding of software development which is, after all, one of the most human vocations, not that anyone else sees it that way.

Subject: MacWorks ;-) story

thank you for your inside story of one of the programs I've known and loved for so long.
Being an end-user, it thrills me to hear how the behind-the-scenes works.

You are right also as far as the disappointment of latest developments. I Do think ther is more coming up, there has to be! What would seem obvious is a serious compatibility with MS office (you probably disagree, thoughroughly...). One thing you did'nt mention, is the comparison between OSs. I'm never switched to BE, so I know nothing about its qualities. What I know is that AT LAST, a few people I know (working with UNIX), are indeed swithing to Mac OSX. I doubt they would have done that otherwise.

Thank you again.
BTW, did you ever get yourself a Porsche?
What's next? (as far as sw, after your thesis?)

Subject: ClarisWorks history


I have just finished reading your "Brief History of ClarisWorks" web page. What wonderful memories it brought back! Back at the time of CW 1.0, I was writing software for a small Irish Apple hardware/software vendor. We were also resellers of both Apple and Claris products and also worked with the Claris folks at their European headquarters in Dublin.

I have fond memories of the first version of ClarisWorks. To this day I still regard it was one of the most elegant and user friendly applications I have ever seen. It changed the landscape in terms of what a truly integrated suite should be in the same way Photoshop changed the idea of what a digital image editing package was. It still ranks on my list as one of the most unique and useful pieces of software ever created. Kudos to you and your buddies for all that work.

Thanks also for the "brief history" which brings back fond memories of my early days of working with the Mac platform, back in the days when we still thought Multi-Finder was cool and we were stunned to finally have color in our behemoth Mac Iis!

Congratulations on being such an integral part of what is a classic and important part of Macintosh history.


Mr. Hearn,
I just finished reading your web page; 'A Brief History of ClarisWorks.' I briefly used the original AppleWorks on a IIe. When I bought my first Apple IIGS I also purchased GSWorks. I remember how much GSWorks impressed and intrigued me. I loved that program. It allowed me to do things I hadn't imagined with the old AppleWorks. Through the years, I stayed with all incarnations of your work; GSWorks-AppleWorks GS, and I use AppleWorks to this day on my Macs. You can see the effect you've had on integrated software to this day in AppleWorks.

Thanks for all the great work.

Subject: ClarisWorks Web Page


Thanks for taking the time to write your take on this very important element of Apple and Mac history.

I am the biggest and perhaps only supporter of AppleWorks I know and I think as you do, that it is really sad that such an incredible program and interface has gone the way that it has. Both Myself and My Parents use AppleWorks under OS 8.6 - OSX 10.2 for all of our Word Processing, Invoicing, Quotes, Newsletters, Technical Flowcharts, Set Visualizations for Clients, Client Databases, etc. I imagine that you have received a few letters like this over the years. But I wanted to add my name to those who are truly grateful for all of your hard work in the past to create one of the most useful pieces of productivity software ever created. And hopefully someday Apple will return to providing the elegance that embodied ClarisWorks 4.

Thanks Again,

Subject: AppleWorks

Thanks for all the documentation about the AppleWorks project. I always thought that AppleWorks/ClarisWorks to be great in terms of implimentation and stability. I only wanted for more features and scripting... Beautiful and elegant!

Hope to see you at the MacGeek cruise in Hawaii ( Sal (Mr. AppleScript evangelist) will be there as well...

See ya,

Subject: Enjoyed your Claris history article

I have just read your article on the history of Claris and wanted to let you know that I enjoyed it. Having been a frequent user of AppleWorks for two years now and a light user of ClarisWorks previously, I have tried to understand the relationship, if any existed at all. (Using MS Word or Office is, of course, totally unacceptable, for many reasons.) The current version of AppleWorks is 99% of what I - and probably most computer users - need for work and for home. The other 1% generally involves some MS Word/Office compatibility which is lacking and, therefore, unfortunate for the product's greater acceptability in the marketplace.

Now that Mac is Unix with a superb user interface, I wonder if much of your work regarding ClarisWorks/AppleWorks design and coding structure has remained. I have been a Unix professional (programming, sys admin, etc.) for over 16 years now and was glad to see the Mac move to that foundation because of the stability, security and openness that FreeBSD Unix offers. But during my Unix career I have seen much bone-headed, error prone software design and development, as is likely with any system I suppose. It would be comforting to know that Apple still values quality and that much of your code has survived the "rush to market" philosophy, a philosohpy driven to extremes by a certain Redmond company.

[ personal information removed ]

Thanks for the good article.



Thanks for the background on one of my FAVORITE and most highly recommended apps. I started working with ClarisWorks 2.0, it was my first experience with a computer, and I was amazed with what I was able to do with it. I assisted my wife with all of her Projects/Reports through graduate school; (I) she constantly received compliments from her professors and classmates on her projects. I continued with the upgrade path and (no ass kissing here) was not as impressed much after V4.0.

I became so comfortable using a computer due to the Mac and ClarisWorks that I became a demonstrator for Apple since OS 8, until the Apple stores opened, and constantly requested ŇDemo DaysÓ for CW/AW. Unfortunately it fell on deaf ears. So I just did my own when I was sent to the stores for demo days.

After a long absence I eventually went back to school and recently completed my B.S. in Information Decision Systems / Business Administration at San Diego State University. The degree program should have been called BS in Microsoft Studies. But, I did it all on my Mac sometimes using Virtual PC and opened a few eyes and minds along the way. I now am a full time stay at home dad and part-time Mac consultant and trainer. I constantly preach AW as an alterative to Office.

I still prefer AW to Office (I was given a free copy) but I find myself using Office more often specifically for easy compatibility with all PC owners, grammar check (Thank God for this) and irregular text wraps around objects. There is very little else that I personally canŐt do as well and faster using AppleWorks.

Thanks again for writing a program that played a significant part in changing my life. If you ever need a Beta tester please keep me in mind.

-- Thanks,

Subject: Thank you

I was pointed to your online story of ClarisWorks history by an article on MacNN. Thank you for taking the time to write it, I found it fascinating. I remember ClarisWorks 2 with great fondness, it and Filemaker Pro were the mainstays of a small Courier Service my wife and I operated for several years in the early 90's.

Thank you again,

Subject: re: A Brief History of ClarisWorks

Mr. Hearn,

I enjoyed reading about the history of ClarisWorks (, finding it interesting even from 'afar.' Working at a private school in MA for LD students, I started using Appleworks on a //e and then //c, eventually used MouseWorks on the //c, and finally got onto the Mac in 1989 and started with MSWorks. I moved to MD in 1991, and working at a small non-profit, I eventually started using ClarisWorks. I bought a Performa in 1995, bundled with ClarisWorks (v4, I guess), and now use AW 6.2.4 for X on my iMac.

The only MS software I use is Explorer (even though I can get Office X for $10!! through my college [working on my Master's in Ed.]), though it is not my default browser (iCab and, increasingly, Mozilla...when I get Jaguar I guess it will be Safari). I do anything to avoid using MS products, and am grateful that ClarisWorks/Appleworks has been a great alternative all these years. I am hopeful that it will continue to thrive and improve appropriately.

Good luck with your education and pursuits.


Subject: ClarisKickedButt

Greetings from Oregon, Robert...

Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your History Of ClarisWorks site, this from a longtime ClarisWorks and Mac user. It was particularly interesting to read about the Oregon links (or what might have been) in this history.

I created an annual statewide Mac Users Groups event ("You Don't Know Mac!") almost 5 years ago, one that floats from MUG town to MUG town around Oregon. This past November, Guy Kawasaki was cool enough to come up to Bend to be our master of ceremonies; in 2000, The Woz himself blew us away by coming to Newport for YDKM.

With your permission, I would like to use little snippets from your history content for our trivia contest. We've done our contest entirely in HyperCard to date (yeah, we are romantics) but will most likely transition this year to different software that will be OSX capable. If we can fit in an image here or there, we will surely credit where due, of course.

I'm still a big pro-AppleWorks fighter, in the spirit of what ClarisWorks was and for what it laid a foundation for (although I'm sure watered down compared to what you and your team might have created) today's program.

From the Great Northwest, my best,

Subject: Bob - Claris/AppleWorks question

Hello Bob,

Thanks for a nice piece on the history of Claris/AppleWorks. I too have enjoyed using ClarisWorks over the years and have found it to be more useful in many ways than MS Office (the drawing mode is especially useful as a basic page layout program - Word just cannot duplicate that ease of use.)

My question is this - given Apple's recent intro of Safari and Keynote, do you think it's possible that Apple is building the parts of a renewed Apple suite of tools? Do you hear any rumors of such? Would you want to work on something like that?

I admire the Mac Business Unit at MS for doing a good job of keeping the Mac platform alive in Redmond, but I'm also all for good alternatives that can input/output MS file formats for compatibility.

Imagine... a 100% MS-free modern Mac!


Subject: Response to your "A Brief History of Clarisworks"


As a long time user of ClarisWorks and now AppleWorks, I just want to thank you for your touching article (which was linked from the latest edition of TidBits).

Perhaps partly because I grew up with ClarisWorks and got to know it intimately, I have not come across another office package with the elegance and efficiency of ClarisWorks. When I finally became familiar with Microsoft Office, I could not believe they would claim that their package is 'integrated' or 'seemless'. I imagine a great majority of its users have not used anything else, and happily, if naively, swallow the marketing rhetoric. I know however that I can never believe it. I've written some large documents in Word (at work or other times it is not reasonable to use another word processor) and continue to be flabbergasted that people devote so much time to putting up with it. Simply a painful and damaging experience, and a great example of how the power of a computer, when poorly applied, can work against a user.

Enough MS bashing though, the point is that the ClarisWorks experience is one that I cherish, and one that I will continue to seek out as long as I can. From the tone of my email, you could correctly guess that I am a developer, and it is with that background that I say, "job well done". ClarisWorks is what a office package should be, and, in fashion with computing on the Macintosh in general, a seemless, intuitive tool which lets you get your work done without fuss.

Hope your thesis is going well, I am actually at work where I am developing AI technology for use in the diagnosis of machine condition from vibration data. I'm finding AI, and Neural Nets in particular to be fascinating, but very frustrating at the same time! I also run a young, very small software development company for OS X, so I enjoy reading the stories of the early years of software companies, especially those formed in the late 80's early 90's. I'm 20, so I was busy with preschool and so forth when it was all going on!


Subject: fan mail for Clarisworks user

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hi Bob,

You don't know me but I have been a long time user of Claris and now Appleworks. I started probably with ver 2 and am now onto v6.2.4 on OS X. Works well, fast, got sufficient features.

Came across yr article via TidBits and thought I'll drop you a note of appreciation.

I've always been impressed by the seamless way which it works together , and find that it serves all my needs, hence I do not pollute my Mac environ with any MS bloatware.

Strangely enuff, I used MSWord on DOS as soon as it came out, and even used that on Mac. Then it started getting bigger and bigger and integration with Excel was just bad, thats when I switched to ClarisWorks. Strangely I never tried MS Works, as I already had ClarisWorks.

Last few years, have been spending more time on Linux/Unix. Got back into Unix because of 'Rhapsody' and also since the dark days of Apple just before Steve Jobs return, thought if Apple were not to survive, better learn another skills. Of course it did, and OS X is great.

I think OLE for Mac was crappy. I used to use Macromind's stuff for web- authoring (Fireworks, Dreamweaver, etc..) and they use OLE as the inter- app framework, always used to hang my Mac bad. Got rid of it and no more problm.

Just can't trust MS. OfficeX for OSX looked really cool and had gotten good reviews. Was tempted to switched to OfficeX. then someone I knew who was using OffceX Word kept crashing, and had to kill the application - it was OSX so rest of apps keep running... Then did a search on the newsgroups and found that a possible problem was MS VBScript componet.... that was causing the crash!

That's MS, you don't know what you are getting, never will. Too much crap hidden in that code bloat! It still impresses me, Appleworks (carbon) footprint of about 15Mb vs MS Office's 500Mb ?!! I'll continue to use AppleWorks 6 with MacLink translators to exchange files with 'others' and be happy with an app that just does it job, efficiently and without fuss.

Would like to see a cocoa version of AppleWorks - who knows....

Thanks, and best of luck with whatever you do...


Subject: Comment!

Thank you for this history lesson about ClarisWorks. Absolutely fascinating. I stated out in the early 80's with AppleWorks V.2 (perhaps 1?) on my old Apple II and used that at home. Unfortunately we had to use windows based machines at the office which required that I use a program called Crossworks to be able to use AW at home and WordPerfect at the office. CW/AW are so much easier to use than the IBM programs.
When you developed ClarisWorks, I eventually bought ClarisWorks for Windows to facilitate my using AW/CW at home. I still have the original box/disks/manual it came in - I purchased it in '94-'95. That made life for me so much easier. I had to give it up though when the office went to MS Word and I was threatened with some form of computer violence if I did not conform.
Thank you for the years of making the putting the words to paper easy to do, easy to manipulate, easy to transfer from WP, to SS, to Drawing etc.
I still use ClarisWorks - now AppleWorks - at home. Thank you.

Bryan Davis

Subject: ClarisWorks


Just read your very interesting article about ClarisWorks. I have been a ClarisWorks user since version 1 (now using AW 6.2.4 daily). It's truly a great program -- many thanks.

It seems to me that CW 5 was the high-water mark, but I have heard others say CW 4 v6 was tops. What do you think?

Many thanks

Subject: ClarisWorks

I just read your story at

For myself, I'd just like to thank you for your efforts in making ClarisWorks/AppleWorks what it is even today. I still, like you, use it on a daily basis and genuinely appreciate it's cleanness and simplicity.

So thanks!

Subject: In appreciation for ClarisWorks


Thanks for the inside scoop on the history of ClarisWorks at , I found it fascinating.

I use ClarisWorks 4 at school on a Color Classic II (a zippy and cute computer!) as I tend to use mail merge to make personalized handouts for students and am very comfortable with the ClarisWorks way of doing things. On my more modern Macs I use AppleWorks, which is OK, but from reading your article it is clear why version 4 is so much more enjoyable to use.

Thanks for your great work in developing ClarisWorks!


Subject: ClarisWorks/AppleWorks

Saw your web page on the History of ClarisWorks and thought I would write you a thank you note for your programming efforts. I'm sorry to say that vers 6 really is not as good as vrs 4 & 5, and that Apple seems intent on letting this great product fall by the wayside. You and your team did a great job of providing a rock solid application that was elegantly simple to use, a model for how software should be written. When I first started using ver 3, I told people that it was the greatest general purpose application program written, an opinion only reinforced by vers 4. I still believe this to be true. Again, thanks for your efforts.

Subject: History of Claris Works

Hi Bob

I've just read your history of Claris Works. Very interesting story! I just wanted to tell you that I'm still using a copy of CW 2.1 for my daily work. It runs fast on all of my Macs, from an SE to a PowerMac 8100. Thanks for your hard work!

best regards

Subject: A Brief History of ClarisWorks


Thank you for putting up this page,

It was linked from the LowEndMac web site, and I found it very interesting because I was once an Apple IIgs user. I owned a copy of both TopDraw and MutliScribe GS and followed the news as GSWorks at StyleWare became AppleWorks GS at Claris. AppleWorks GS allowed me to keep my ol' (but substantially upgraded) Apple IIgs productive as my main home computer for far longer than it would have been reasonable otherwise. I'm sure it saved me a ton of money on some early Mac hardware/software purchases; purchases that I DID NOT have to make because I already owned a computer that did everything I needed (thanks largely to AppleWorks GS). Even as recently as about two years ago, I still used an AppleWorks GS spreadsheet (on a Mac using the "Bernie" Apple IIgs emulator) to balance my checkbook because I had been too lazy to convert to something else. [I miss the 'control-click to copy/paste in one step' feature of the spreadsheet module.]

The first time I saw ClarisWorks in action, I knew it had descended from AppleWorks GS. Reading the credits in the 'About...' window confirmed it, as I saw some familiar names. Although I've read some other accounts describing how ClarisWorks came to be, it's great to hear the story from "the source." It's a great story.

Best of luck on your studies...

Subject: The History of Clarisworks


I just read your work on the history of Clarisworks. I found it to be interesting and informative. In the early 90's I took a job with a school district in [ name removed ] as the technology coordinator. We had money to spend on technology and I was looking for an integrated package that was cross platform. My only two choices were Microsoft Works and ClarisWorks. I still remember wanting Clarisworks, but due to internal pressure I had to consider the Microsoft product. While our order wasn't going to be huge, 200 license or so in 1994, it seemed large to me. I called both Microsoft and Claris and left details of what I wanted. Claris returned my call while Microsoft didn't. Today we are still using the product that you breathed life into...thanks for your vision.

Subject: Claris works is amazing.

Dear Bob,

I'm one of the recent switchers to the mac os x, and I find your software very easy and good to use, even though it is very dated and it still manages to win Microsoft Works, and I'm glad to say that your software can even match up to todays Microsoft Office. Also your software is still very popular as every new mac comes with appleworks.

[ name removed ],
Some geek in China, sorry for my bad english.

Subject: ClarisWorks


Thanks for ClarisWorks. It is better than the computers that run it, a rare distinction shared only by Deluxe Paint II for the Amiga in my opinion. Simplicity, functionality, elegance of design and economy are its hallmarks. Sometimes "less is more". ClairWorks is the best software I have ever used.

Subject: ClarisWorks

I want to thank you for writing ClarisWorks. I used every version, from 1.0 till today's Appleworks. I have written grant applications, journal articles, course syllabi, and many other things that supposedly need a "full-featured" word processor. The tight integration of the various modules of ClarisWorks was magnificent. The stability was astonishing - crashes were quite rare. The ability to import and export documents was terrific. Appleworks isn't quite what it should be, as some of the QA isn't as rigorous as it once was, but that is what I still use for most of my document creation.

If you get back in the software game, let me know what you come up with. I'll buy a copy of whatever MacOSX-based software you produce.