Ex-Smallworld Bloggers – Brian and Robert Join the Fun

Its fun watching your friends start blogging.

I’ve written a few times about the work I did at GE/Smallworld developing the Smallworld Internet Application Server (SIAS). We started off with three people, Peter, Robert and myself, in early 2000, and released the first version in September. Three major releases quickly followed in succession, roughly once every 10 months. At the same time, the team rapidly grew to over 10 people. It was quite a couple of years.

Peter was the first to start blogging, and he finally goaded me into it a bit over a year ago. More recently Robert joined the fun, and last week Brian (the fourth member on the team) did too. Which makes four ex-SIAS bloggers. Which, as far as I know, is more than the combined number of other ex-Smallworld/GE bloggers (at least in the US). Looks like we were on the right team!

Of course teams only function as well as the team members work together. We had a good mix. Peter was the purist (we must do xyz this way – anything else is wrong!), Robert was the doer (stop screwing around on the whiteboard and let’s get this thing built) and I was the one who had the joy of making sure we delivered something that worked on time.

When Brian joined, he assumed responsibility of our HTML client – including the design and implementation. Looking back, the client was way ahead of its time. You could drag maps around (although not nearly as nicely in Google Maps), select features, perform queries, etc., all the while supporting Navigator 4.5 and IE 5 and 5.5. The javascript was advanced even for today. To give you a feel, we had a framework for communicating back to the server using the strategy pattern. One strategy for a regular HTTP form request, one for using an IFrame and one for using XmlHttpRequest.

Its amazing how much has changed since then. IE 6 was gold back then – it was superior in every way to the Netscape products. And Mozilla was deep in the throes of its winter. However, we picked up Mozilla as soon as we could, I think at the 0.7 release (long before Firefox existed), although everyone thought we were nuts.

So welcome to Robert and Brian!

FYI, the other Smallworld bloggers I know about are:

Peter Batty – as I mentioned earlier.

Carl Myhill – by far the most prolific – and clearly having the most fun – check out his Pacific Coast Trail pictures

Alfred Sawatzky – A great source of Magik/Smallworld programming tips

Brad Sileo – Brad and Chrissy have a great family blog – I particularly like the excellent youth hockey pictures

Derek Knight – Long ago and far away, Derek was part of the Core Smallworld development team and implemented COM support amongst other things. Derek just started blogging a few months ago, and it looks like he’s focusing on Vista and local New Zealand goings-ons.

I’m sure there are many others that I don’t know about. Drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *