Apparently today is the 33 year anniversary of NeXTstep's release.

Whenever I look at screen shots of NeXTstep, I realize that Steve Jobs can't have been the one with the great taste.

Seems like the aesthetic sensibilities didn't arrive until he met Jony Ive on his return to Apple.

I mean, just look at those margins … all over the place.

(Image from

@uliwitness jony ive didn’t do any interface design at apple until after jobs died, and he was terrible at it. flat design’s popularity is his fault

@zens I was more thinking he made Jobs aware of that aspect of product design and got him thinking about applying those standards more to the UIs.

Though I guess whoever did the UI design at Apple could have influenced that too. The Copland "Platinum" UI design language is definitely more aesthetically pleasing and better laid out. Can't be Forstall, he came with Jobs from NeXT.


@uliwitness where it comes to specifically margins- apple has always had those specified in the HIG which i believe were mostly written by Bruce Tog. however, as he left apple in 1992 i don’t know who took over maintenance of this document, but a rule of thumb is apple apps are at their best when they follow this document and at their worst when scott forestall and jobs decides apps need green velvet.

so maybe not so much a singular person is responsible as a document is

@uliwitness plus whatever institutional will to actually heed the document exists- usually inversely proportional to marketing’s involvement

@zens Right, Tognazzini again :D On Twitter someone asked whether it could be related to Interface Builder adding automatic snapping to guides, and I'm now wondering if that's the secret: Someone from NeXT reading the Apple HIG and implementing tool support for margins.

@uliwitness @zens *coughs, points out to `SwiftUI.View.padding()` without arguments*

@zens @uliwitness you did, it was just Interface Builder guides snapping things in place.

(My point is that we keep making tools so that you can work within the HIG even — especially — as metrics change, which happened multiple times even recently [IIRC Big Sur AppKit changed a bunch of control sizes subtly, for example]).

@zens @uliwitness Disclaimer that I don’t remember if NS IB specifically had snap alignment guides. (Mac IB obviously did.)

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