Skip to main content

Software Development Meme

Called out by Jeff Blankenburg (isn't this like a chain letter from the 80's? ;-)...

How old were you when you started programming?
Trying to remember...I think about 11. Somehow, my Dad had this premonition prediction that computers would become important and bought a Timex-Sinclair 1000 for me--with a whopping 2KB of memory. Reviewing the manual on how to program with BASIC (not sure about those semi-colons...):

10 Print "Hello";
20 Goto 10;
Run

I had written my first program! I tried saving it to the cassette tape (huh?) drive but that never seemed to work quite right.

About the same time, my neighbor acquired a Commodore 64--with a 5 1/4" floppy! (they were loaded ;-). He also subscribed to some Commodore magazine where they listed (yes, this was before the Internet...and before including disks with magazines) 1,000+ line programs which one could type in. Well, we actually did this. That's where I learned to type without looking and when I first "learned" programming constructs. (Wow, that's sad.) One can learn a lot from reading and typing in code.

How did you get started in programming?
I started off in engineering in college (OSU) but quickly washed out of freshman physics. A 1.8 didn't sit well with the family (or me). I flipped to MIS and started making the dean's list. Unfortunately, [curse them] the MIS program at OSU in 1992 still taught COBOL. I'd had FORTRAN with engineering but COBOL was my first pragmatic language. MacPascal was a quick third.

What was your first language?
BASIC.

What was the first real program you wrote?
Technically, see question #1. However, the first program I wrote from scratch was in BASIC on a TI-99 that featured a rudimentary, blocked out face that blinked. For some reason, the school district embraced TI-99's and I got to use them after school and during summer programs [geek].

What languages have you used since you started programming?
(In quasi-chronological order...) BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, MacPascal, JCL, HTML, VB3-6, SQL, VBScript, C#, Javascript, ActionScript, PHP, VB.NET, CSS, ...and some Spanish ;-)

What was your first professional programming gig?

I landed an internship with Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, OH on the Integrated Customer Account Record (ICAR) group as a sophomore (or was it junior?). It was an early data warehouse. Revolutionary...at the time. I think they let me edit a single line the entire quarter and then hack together some JCL to execute it on the mainframe. Scary.

When I graduated, my first full time code came at Crowe Chizek in Indianapolis, IN writing in some 4GL. Fortunately, I quickly graduated to VB3 and Oracle 6.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
I think Blankenburg responded "Absolutely." I'm likely more a "probably". I've always had a certain "vibe" with software and systems...but I think I could have just as easily become an attorney or an entrepreneur. I like to be the guy to figure out the hard stuff and then let the team refine it. Most of my programming nowadays comes in the form of "figure it out" or "make it better/faster/higher quality" as opposed to "implement it from end-to-end".

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
Don't be a primadona. There's something to learn with every language and every experience. Some wise person said (roughly), "Go with the experience...the money will come". Oh, and don't participate in language wars. All languages posses benefits (hell, it all seems to go back to 1979 and SmallTalk anyway ;-)..."your" language isn't better than any other language. Right tool for the right job.

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?
I have to say that programming has gotten pretty darn fun lately with the innovations coming from Redmond with .Net and the OSS community. But, reaching back in history, I had the opportunity to lead a team building the Art.com e-commerce site on ASP/VB6 back in 1999...the heart of the Dot Com Boom. It looks like they're still using some of the original platform. Cool...maybe those 18 months made a difference.

Comments

Joe Wirtley said…
I agree with your "Right tool for the right job." line, unless of course you're talking about TFS ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

Get Your Team Foundation Server Hate On!

[Google ranking skyrockets... ;-)] I'm a big fan of TFS/VSTS. However, there are a good pocket of folks who take issue with the way TFS handles or implements a certain feature. Well this is your chance to vent! I'm planning a presentation around the "Top 10 TFS/VSTS Hates and How to Alleviate Them"...or something along those lines. But I need your help. Post a comment below detailing your dislike. If it's legitimate, I'll highlight it in the presentation and [hopefully] provide an alternative, resolution, or work-around. Thanks in advance! Update 7/19/2008: Version Control and Microsoft

Rollback a Ooops in TFS with TFPT Rollback

Rhut roe, Raggie. You just checked in a merge operation affecting 100's of files in TFS against the wrong branch. Ooops. Well, you can simply roll it back, right? Select the folder in Source Control Explorer and...hey, where's the Rollback? Rollback isn't supported in TFS natively. However, it is supported within the Power Tools leveraging the command-line TFPT.exe utility. It's fairly straightforward to revert back to a previous version--with one caveot. First, download and install the Team Foundation Power Tools 2008 on your workstation. Before proceeding, let's create a workspace dedicated to the rollback. To "true up" the workspace, the rollback operation will peform a Get Latest for every file in your current workspace. This can consume hours (and many GB) with a broad workspace mapping. To work around this, I create a temporary workspace targeted at just the area of source I need to roll back. So let's drill down on our scenario... I'm worki

Shrinking WSS (Sharepoint) SQL Server Log Files

Yesterday, while migrating a source repository from StarTeam to TFS, I received the following error: "TF30042: The database is full. Contact your Team Foundation Server administrator." Excuse you? Sure enough, my 100+ GB drive was full on the server. But I'd only migrated around 1000 items. Surely SQL wasn't consuming 100MB per file. Turns out (yes, there was a lot of crud on the drive but...) the majority of the space, almost 40GB was being consumed by the Windows Sharepoint Services WSS Content data and log SQL Server files. Huh? I still need to investigate and understand why this portal, which is 100% unused, grew so large. Regardless, here's what I did to resolve: Since this is not yet a production database, I flipped the SQL recovery option from Full to Simple for WSS Content and several other databases. Detail here and here . Executed the maintenance plan for all the databases to get backups and clear out some of these files. That didn't help much. T