My History

Me starting University in 1973
Me starting University in 1973

My name is Jon Smith and I started programming in 1973 when I started at Loughborough University of Technology in the UK . Back then it was punch cards and paper tape. My final year were a compiler-complier written in Algol-68R, a brilliant language for its day, and consisted of one and a half boxes of cards, (about 3000 lines) which was a big program in those days. I could get in three runs a day if I got up early.

My first job was looking after Electronics Department’s computers at Loughborough University’s. I did everything from keep the computer room tidy, order printer paper, write a new operating system in assembler for the department’s mini-computer and design and build a bit-slice computer. Fun times with a great boss, Dr Dave Quarmby.

In 1988 I moved out of programming
In 1988 I moved out of programming

I then joined a company called Micro Consultants working on data logging but soon moved to the spin-out company, Quantel. Quantel builds systems for the TV and film industry, but back in the late ’70 it needed big chunks of hardware to handle TV signals. I worked on various projects as a software designer and project managers. We used Pascal and a bit of assembler, which worked pretty well.

In 1988 I moved into a purely management role as Software Manager for Quantel so stopped hands-on software design and development. I still dabbled at home with ‘small’ projects, like writing a Prolog Compiler, but nothing commercial.

Me in 2013
Me in 2013

Roll forward to 2009 where my wife, Dr Honora Smith, asked me to help with a project for Derbyshire NHS (UK healthcare). Honora is a lecturer as the University of Southampton and specialises in geographic location optimisation for healthcare. This got me back into commercial programming and that is where my journey into the new world of programming started.

Why the reformed programmer? Well, its about leaving the old way of designing and programming and entering the new world of programming with design patterns, frameworks, agile and all the rest. Read the blogs for my experiences.