What happened to those old projects?

A couple of weeks ago I was out on a lunchtime walk around the Business Park and bumped into someone I used to work with a few years ago at Severn Trent Systems (about 200m from where I work now).    It seems that the project we both used to work on is still alive and well and it made me start wondering about other projects I've worked on; how long they lived for in these fast-changing times and how many still have traces of them being used today. The project in question was an asset inventory system for Severn Trent Water.  It was written in PowerBuilder (I wonder how many people still use that?!) and, horribly, used Tuxedo as a middleware component rather than do traditional 2-tier client/server, which PowerBuilder was brilliant at. So, going from memory, here's a potted history of projects I've worked on.  I wonder what happened to them all… 1989-1991ish – Mainframe COBOL stock systems that had been around for years and years for Kay & Co (Worcester), part of the Great Universal Stores group at the time.  Anyone for Decision Table COBOL ? 1991-1992ish – Model204 stock systems, again for Kay & Co.  I've still never come across anyone from other companies who had ever used this although it was a pretty neat language. 1992-1995 – Various DOS-based systems, again for Kay & Co.  Varying hardware from twin-5.25 floppy Apricot machines to PC's with and without hard drives, then onto more standard Windows PCs.   All written in Clipper / dBase. 1995-1996 – Windows GUI development with PowerBuilder, again for Kay & Co – writing applications for the Catalogue Bargain Shops. 1996-1997 – More PowerBuilder stuff at Fame Computers – what a crap move that was after many good years at Kays… 1997-2003 – A couple of PowerBuilder and then Java J2EE applications for Severn Trent Systems.  The AIMS project was probably written in around 1999/2000 in PowerBuilder and is still apparently being used now. 2003 – A great time at SmartStream Technologies in Bristol working with great people on a great new rich-client project.  Doing AJAX without it being known as AJAX then, it was a voyage of discovery and a great time.   Shame the long commute got too much to bear.  Good times there…. 2004-2006 took me contracting for a few years at about 4 companies and it was a mixture of brilliant new development of AJAX applications just as those technologies were emerging and the usual case of being hired to help out on failing run of the mill J2EE apps…  The companies and projects will remain nameless so the good can't be distinguised from the bad ! 2006 until now brings things up to date at Talis, first as a contractor for 1.5 years, then as a permanent employee. I consider myself pretty lucky over the years with the exposure I've had to different projects, technologies and languages.  It's been a great journey and I hope it continues.

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1 Comment

  1. Like you, I had many happy years at Kays. From 84 to 90 (or so!).

    This morning, for no reason whatsoever, I started to think about Decision Table Cobol.

    I was always impressed with the work Kays did to develop and implement this extension to the workhorse language. I loved it that the DT precompiler was written in DT Cobol.

    There were some really talented people who taught me so much (Rob Fisher for one).

    Anyway, Google threw up your post and it fuelled my memory. Thanks!

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