MAGPIE - my first intranet

In the late 1980s I was in charge of a PC support team in a company of almost 500 staff. I felt that for PCs to have wider appeal we needed a way of putting a user-friendly face onto all the DOS based applications.

MAGPIE was the result and it works a bit like teletext on your TV. Key in a page number and it either took you to a submenu or a page of information or it launched an application, such as a Lotus 123 spreadsheet.

This grew rapidly and at its peak had some 500 PCs linked together.

Amusingly, the IT manager felt that this should have been developed on a "real computer" and insisted that I redevelop it to run on "his" IBM 3090, which I did using REXX (but, of course, without the ability to launch PC applications).

At the "Winning with Technology" exhibition we showed a bank of screens all showing different parts of MAGPIE.