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Lotus Improv

Lotus Improv for NeXTI realized on my drive to work this morning that I’d let an anniversary slip by without comment. Ten years ago last month Lotus Improv was cancelled. I was a developer on the project so obviously I wasn’t too happy. Improv was the reason I joined Lotus in the first place. And customers missed out on a great product. Improv 3.0 had a lot of new features and was on a 32-bit platform again. (Improv 1.0 was on NeXT, 2.0 and 2.1 were on Windows 3.1).

Ten years later not much has changed in the spreadsheet world. Microsoft Excel dominates the market (although OpenOffice Calc is quite nice and free too). Excel has more bells and whistles than it had back in 1994 but it’s fundamentally the same application. There are fancier financial modeling tools but the average spreadsheet user is stuck with the same old two-dimensional grid of cells that Dan Bricklin first conceived for VisiCalc. This is fine for simple models but it starts to break down as things get more complex. This where Improv really shines. Even now, more than ten years since the last release, it’s easy to find praise for Improv.

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4 Responses

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  1. Maury Markowitz says

    This is an older post, so I’m curious if you’ve tried Numbers since you wrote this?

    Numbers is “interesting”. It’s a mix of concepts from Improv with the actual workings of Excel, and all the performance of Boeing Calc. Definite possibilities, but seems to get little or no development effort.

  2. Jeff says

    One of the best pieces of software I have ever seen. I have been a Mac user for years now, and without Improv. I am hoping that I will be able to install my old version of it on my new Windows 8 tablet.

  3. Gerardo says

    Lotus Improv for me was also the best financial modeler ever.
    I wanted to start using it again and tried to install it and my floppy disk 1 is corrupted
    I was goin to install it on a virtual machine runing win 3.1 as guest OS, because a read that it does not run on earlier windows ver

  4. Terence Phillips says

    Ever thought about porting all the old Lotus Apps? to Android Apps?

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