Even though many of you may already know me from my postings on the Net, I think a short introduction is in order. Like Jim, I have had only one profession since I graduated from college – that of a computer programmer. Although I have done other kinds of work, things like, managing projects, supporting production systems, and teaching, one way or another I always return to programming. In fact I believe that not a week has gone by since I left college, during which I didn’t write some code. I am thoroughly addicted.
When I first met Jim I was surprized that to find that our path through programming languages was very similar, despite the fact that Jim works in the “ivory towers” of academia and I in the “trenches” of commercial software development. I started programming in FORTRAN and PL/I in school, next I survived a brief stint as a COBOL and 360-Assembler programmer, then moved to PASCAL and finally to Modula-2. I was writing telecommunication programs in Modula-2 and Jim was teaching software engineering, also using Modula-2, when we independently discovered Eiffel.
I read “Object Oriented Software Construction” (OOSC) and became a convert. To me Eiffel seemed a logical extension of Modula-2, unlike Oberon – the successor proposed by Niklaus Wirth. It was the assertions that impressed me most about Eiffel – here was a language that took correctness seriously. Of course I also learned about object oriented programming from OOSC and for the first time I found the answer to the question that troubled me every since I began using Modula-2: “How do you divide programs into modules?”
My enthusiasm for Eiffel was infectious and together with a group of colleagues we started an Eiffel project at the Bank of New York. Unfortunately, after two years of experimentation this project was cancelled. The lack of success can be attributed to many factors, but the main one were our overly ambitious goals and limited commitment from our managers.
After programming in Eiffel for two years – even if only part time – I realized that I could not got back to Modula-2 or to C++. Therefore, last September, I left the Bank of New York and joined CAL FP to work in Eiffel. Now I am happy again.
I am pleased to bring you some exciting news in this issue of “Eiffel Outlook”. First, there is the news of the EON Eiffel compiler – the first shareware Eiffel compiler for MS/DOS machines. Next, we have excerpts from “Object Success” – a new book by Bertrand Meyer. Finally, with this issue of “Eiffel Outlook” we debut a new feature, something often found in more serious language journals, a puzzle for Eiffel programmers.
Well, that’s it for today, I’ll see you on the net.
Richie Bielak (November 1994)