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When people ask why I became a programmer, I answer: because I am lazy. As a freshly qualified architect in 1984, I found myself working on the simple CAD software of the time. There were no onscreen menus (for that matter, the screens were monochrome), and every action involved typing. After a few weeks of hitting the same eight keys a dozen times per minute, I said to myself "There must be a better way to do this". Reading the manuals showed me how to write function-key macros that did the typing for me.

Suddenly having time on my hands, I began to wonder what the computer actually did when it was working, so I spent half a year of lunchbreaks reading the VAX-VMS operating system manuals. That inspired me to learn the C programming language* and write my own programs. In 1988 I went to work for Intergraph, and learned database programming on Informix 4GL (embedded SQL). I enjoyed database work, so I bought a computer and learned dBase and later FileMaker.

Five years ago I started working with 4th Dimension, and am very pleased to have found such a fine toolkit.


* This is a computer geek in-joke: VAX-VMS was written in Fortran.
Copyright © John Skinner, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2002.11.12