Software Development Meme

Looks like I've been

- so here goes.

How old were you when you first started programming?

Apple II e when I was like 7, Vic20 when I was like 8... but
really my start was about 10 with GW-Basic on a 286 AT 16mhz.

How did you get started in programming?

I was interested in programming from about age 6 or 7.. though
I think I was 12 when I taught myselfTurbo C++ (And the object
oriented concepts that went with it) - so I've spent over half my
life in object oriented languages - not sure if that's good or

I owe my parents a large amount of gratitude as they recognized my
interests early on, and though we had little money they spent a lot
trying to encourage my interests (computers were not so cheap in
the 80's).

What was your first language?

Basic on the Apple II e and Vic20 - but really I think it
wasn't until GW-Basic in Dos4 (and later quick basic) that I became
fluent at writing programs and starting to break problems out into
a series of functions. After basic came C++ (and in-line
assembler), Tcl/Tk and Visual Basic 3 or 4 - then once I started
tertiary study I added Pascal, Delphi, Jade, bash, java and perl to
the list.

What was the first real program you wrote?

A "real" program ... I'm going to take "real" as something
commercial with "users" ... hmm.. I had a part-time job when I was
like 14 helping to add functionality to a C based DOS accounting
system used around New Zealand - That'd be the first "real" program
I added code to.  Around 17 I started writing a lot of code
for open source projects [same time I started studying at Unitec]
(I think all the projects are dead and gone now) and had a keen
interest in writing libraries for game development prior to the
advent of hardware accelerated 3D, later transferring that interest
to OpenGL once Voodoo and NVidia hardware started getting

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Basic (at least 4 or 5 variants), C, C++, Tcl/tk, Bash,
Pascal, Jade, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, ASP, T-SQL, Visual
Basic 3 and above, VB.Net, F#, VBA, Lisp, Perl, Boo and a few
others - though C# has been my language of choice since the early
beta's of the .Net Framework v1.

What was your first professional programming gig?

I think probably working as a Junior at Terabyte Interactive (when they
were based in Newmarket) on a rowing machine C++/OpenGl
visualization app (the infamous RowPro project).

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started

Without a doubt - I was passionate about it when I was 8...
I'm still passionate about it after 20 years. It scratches 2 itches
I've had my entire life, a need to create and a need to
debate/discuss/analyze problems/challenges.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell
new developers, what would it be?

Learn to learn, and if you don't like learning find a new
profession.  I almost feel like learning is my job, and
developing solutions is a side-effect of trying to achieve my
primary objective of learning.

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?

Hmm... I couldn't pick any one project - most fun
environment-wise would be my early days a Terabyte, it had a
wonderful dot-com feel, and we didn't have much work on (at times),
so we got to pursue our own pet projects and take long team
breakfasts in the local cafe - A fun environment, albeit a doomed

Probably since then I would say the "Syzmk Rich Media Processor" -
an application which had a wonderful variety of requirements and an
interesting suite of technologies (it was developed with early
releases of the Castle project and betas of the .Net Framework 2.0)
and was one of the first projects I approached in a TDD

Who's next?

Written on July 13, 2008