David Rutten on Explicit History

APRIL 24, 2024

In July 2013, Alex Webb asked whether Grasshopper was initially developed as a teaching tool to show how information flowed through commands.

David Rutten denied this.

[Grasshopper] was developed for Rhino customers as a way to automate tasks without the need to write textual code. We expected that some of our users who were interested in RhinoScript or C# or VB.NET would be interested, but we certainly didn't think that it would be taught (at gunpoint apparently in some universities) to the masses.

Originally, the product was called Explicit History1, because it was a different approach to Rhino's native (implicit) history feature. Rhino history is recorded while you model and can then be played back, Grasshopper history is defined from scratch while the model is created as an afterthought.

I found this while putting together the episode notes for a conversation with Andy Payne on the Getting Simple podcast, where he shares curiosities of Grasshopper's origins and its transition from Explicit History to the initial Grasshopper release, Grasshopper 1, and Grasshopper 2.

  1. In the publication, David Rutten adds that Explicit History was initially called Semantic Modeling, "but that never even made it out of the building."