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Hi, I’m Dave and I am a programmer. It says so on my passport, and to save hastle, its what I give my job as whenever I have to put it on a form.

In reality, I haven’t had the job title of programmer for many years, and haven’t programmed commercially for about 4 years, though I did some web programming for my last employer as a sideline.

But when you have programmed for 37 years, and it is 41 years since the first program you wrote, it doesn’t feel right not calling yourself a programmer.

I have programmed in so many languages, flavours of languages, development packages etc I really have lost count and forgotten quite a few of their names, never mind how they worked! It all started with Fortran, back in 1972, when I attended a 4 afternoon course at Carlett Park college in Ellesmere Port as a science student at Helsby Grammar School for Boys! Four years later, I did a “TOPS”  course (training opportunities scheme) at Kelsterton College in Connah’s Quay, where I learnt the City and Guilds programming language, Cobol 68 and Southhampton basic. A few months after that, I signed up for an HND at Kelsterton College, where I used PLAN (Programming LANguage, an assembler  for ICL1900 machines), Cobol again, Fortran again, and some more Southhampton Basic, as well as learning the GEORGE iii operating system.

My first job at Littlewoods saw me learn Cobol yet again (on a Honeywell Level 66 mainframe this time), along with TDS and IDS for transaction processing and database. We then moved on to Cobol74, TP and DMIV as the next generation of development tools. I toyed with a non structural language called Easitrieve, and an online Cobol interpreter on the mainframe. We took a look at JSP (Jackson Structured Programming) while I was working as an IT lecturer for Littlewoods, and an early mainframe based spreadsheet.

My next job continued with Cobol 74, TP and DMIV on Honeywell mainframes, as well as more extensive use of the interactive cobol and an online language called Tex. I also did some research into 4GL languages (this was 1985ish!), looked at DB2 for the first time, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

My next move was to an IBM site, where I started looking at IBM Cobol and CICS prgramming, but left fairly sharpish and moved to New Zealand, where for 5 years I used “Hogan” a banking development package, based on Cobol and CICS.

By now (1996)  I was moving in Business Analysis and Test Analysis and away from programming, so I continued working on basic and other languages at home, including Borland Turbo Pascal for Windows and Delphi. While working as a team leader at BNZ bank, I took the opportunity to try out a RAD tool called ObjectStar from Amdahl.

Around about 2005, I started to move into web development, using ColdFusion and Javascript, as well as Microsoft Sequel Server. In 2007 I started a contract as a Cold Fusion developer, but also did some Visual Basic development. I also buit up a lot of expertise in Microsoft Access.

My home website was moved to PHP code with MSSQL databases, and later to WordPress.

While I was working for the LVVTA between 2011 and 2012, I developed a small application in ASP using SQL Server, as well as supporting the MS Access databases used as their primary IT system

Recently I felt the need to start coding again, and with the help of my daughter Victoria, discovered the Lazarus RAD tool, which uses Free Pascal as its base language. This is an excellent clone of Delphi, and after developing two small projects in it (Prime Number Calculator and Sudoku Solver), it looks like it may be my development tool of choice from now on! My next steps are to port both projects over to Linux, then android and then IOS! It’s good to have something to aim for!

 

 

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