The history of Programma International is checkered with a lot of bits and pieces about the company from a number of sources and has a historical variety nearly matching its software varieties and titles.

Main history Page

Programma International was a software company which was founded in the 1970's by David Gordon.  The company was famous for their tapes and the quality programs they provided.  Everything from a Clowns & Ballonons clone to Space Invaders to programming tools for Forth.

In 1980, the company was sold to Hayden Publishing.  While David Gordon went on to do other things including starting Datamost, another software / manual publishing company.

In 1983, Hayden Publishing went out of business, leaving the entire Programma International in the black void that is abandon-ware.  

The TRS-80 Section of Programma International

From: http://www.directadmin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29102

When I sold my company to Programma International I became a product manager of that company, in charge of their division of (you guessed it ) practical applications.

Starting with only programs for the Apple ][, Programma International, with me aboard, offered applications for the Radio Shack products as well, including Pencil Point for the TRS-80 Model 1 (it added lower-case and formatting capable to Michael Shrayer's early word processor, Electric Pencil), and various programs for the CoCo (the affectionate nickname for Radio Shack's Color Computer.

While I didn't know Michael Shrayer at the time, years later my wife and I ran into him (with his lady friend) at a membership resort we belonged to in Southern California.

Personally, I soon abandoned Electric Pencil for MicroPro's WordStar, as MicroPro founder Seymour Rubenstein and I met at an early computer show and I developed some software for his (then about 7-year-old) son to use to program his TRS-80 Model 1. At the time the Rubinstein family lived near us in San Francisco; I remember my wife and I ran into them once at a movie theater in San Francisco's Richmond District one year on Christmas day, but I don't remember the movie. It was probably 1979.

If you read the Rubenstein article (link above) you'll note that he was successful at marketing micro-computer word processing, eventually used by many universities. Several years previously, when I brought out Pencil Point, Arthur Schawlow and I had tried to get Stanford University to make the switch, but in spite of Art's renown at Stanford, we were spectacularly unsuccessful.


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LISA v2.6

Courtesy of Randy Hyde

Lazerware's Interactive Symbolic Assembler (LISA) v2.6 was a 6502 assembler written for the Apple II. The LISA assembler had two outstanding features: first of all it was interactive. It would immediately report syntax errors while editing the source file, a feat no other assembler before or after has totally accomplished (the INCRA assembler for the PC tried to do this, but it was very buggy and never worked properly). The other amazing thing about the LISA assembler was its speed. LISA v2.6 was able to assemble code in excess of 30,000 lines of assembly per minute. This might not seem impressive today, but keep in mind that this program was running on a 1 MHz (yes, one) 8-bit 6502 microprocessor. That CPU runs about 1,000 times slower (or more) than today's high-end processors. To put things in perspective, if LISA were running on a DEC ALPHA or even a fast Pentium Pro system, it would compile programs at about 30 million lines per minute.

LISA was originally sold by Programma International. When they went out of business in 1980, Sierra On-Line took over the product. Sierra sold it for a while and then I started selling it through my own company, Lazer Microsystems/Lazerware. Finally, Brian Fitzgerald at Hal Labs updated the product to LISA/816 for the Apple IIgs system. LISA/816 was a major overhaul adding macros, an interactive screen editor, and lots of performance enhancements. On a 2.5 MHz 65816 processor, LISA/816 was assembling code in excess of 150,000 lines/minute. 

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