Museum Releases Source Code for the Original Photoshop

Friday Feb 15th 2013 by Developer.com Staff
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Programmers say Photoshop 1.0 is like an object lesson in how to write elegant code.

The Computer History Museum has a new exhibit that only a programmer could love. With Adobe's blessing, it's offering the source code for the original version of Photoshop, which debuted in 1990.

Experts say the 185,000 lines of Pascal and Motorola 68000 assembly language are remarkable for their clarity and elegance. IBM's Grady Booch said, "There are only a few comments in the version 1.0 source code, most of which are associated with assembly language snippets. That said, the lack of comments is simply not an issue. This code is so literate, so easy to read, that comments might even have gotten in the way....This is the kind of code I aspire to write."

The source code is available for download, but it isn't really functional because some Mac libraries are missing and because modern hardware and operating systems can no longer run applications from this era. Instead, the files are there to be read by those who can understand them and appreciate their beauty.

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