Hello World

Convention dictates that anything a software developer creates should start with a “Hello World” post of some sort. I’ve written variations of “Hello World” in everything from Pascal, to Visual Basic, C, C++, Java, Javascript, Perl, Python, and more. I suppose in this case a “Hello World” post should also tell you a little about me. I would argue that I’m not that interesting, but people tend to be inherently nosy, so I’ll do my best.

I’m something of an “old school” software developer. I started out with Microsoft Basic on an MSX in 1983 —I think my first ever program probably went something along the lines of …

10 PRINT “Hello”
20 GOTO 10

It was still programming though, right? From the MSX I moved on to the Atari ST, various further dialects of BASIC, and a first experience of C. Later I went to college and and learned Pascal — I still remember being horrified when the lecturer informed us with some considerable glee that Pascal had no “GOTO” command.

In the real world I cut my teeth on Borland Delphi, Microsoft Visual Basic (which was vastly inferior to Delphi, but that’s another argument for another day), and Microsoft Access. I spent my days inventing systems for a growing manufacturing company, teaching myself SQL, and realising that I should have paid more attention during those college classes about data normalisation. After that I freelanced for a year, churning out websites with HTML and Perl, before “meeting a girl” and getting a job near her — for a systems integrator. I’ve been there ever since.

In the early days we wrote Visual Basic applications to migrate data between corporate systems, but then the world of .NET slowly appeared, and I ended up learning all about C#, XML, PowerShell, WebServices, and so on. Outside of work Linux also appeared, and I found myself tinkering with Apache, MySQL, Python, PHP, and Ruby. I wrote one of the early blogging scripts of note, and a web content management system — all before WordPress appeared and swept all before it. I was quite accidentally “somebody” on the internet for a short time.

In recent years I have morphed into “the workflow guy”. I spend most of my time travelling around the country either building, or teaching business people how to use business automation technology sold by the likes of Microsoft, Nintex and K2. I regularly find myself standing in front of rooms full of not-so-eager students, pretending to be a teacher. I’m so not a teacher, but at the same time I’m the teacher than can open a text editor and start writing raw HTML,CSS and JavaScript to explain what’s going on — usually to open mouths around the room. The traditional software development experience still comes in useful though — usually to deliver “impossible” functionality. It turns out pretty much anything is possible if you’re willing to throw enough time, money, and skill at a given requirement.


At this point I have no idea what this blog will contain. I would like to think I will use it as a notepad for issues I have faced (and hopefully) solved — but there is always a line in the sand between “things I have done that have commercial value”, and “things I have done that I don’t mind giving away”. I have no idea where that line lies — which might pose a problem.

We’ll have to wait and see.

p.s. if you made it all the way through this post, you probably deserve a medal, or a cake. Certainly a cup of coffee.

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