Wow!! Kerry Nietz has surprised me again! In his later works (The Dark Trench Saga) he blew my mind with great sci-fi material, and now he has done so with his knowledge of software. Most of the time, I didn't know what he was describing at all, but what was necessary, the difficulty or necessity of it, became clear. Nietz rendition of Dave Fulton was quite vivid, and he skillfully conveyed the characteristics of each of the mentioned employees. He wrote this book from the perspective of the "college grad," always showing someone else's work or product to be superior, and for this I admire him.
As a software developer in the 80s myself, I found FoxTales to be a fascinating read about a familiar time in personal computer history. Kerry Nietz provides enough technical details to keep fellow geeks interested, but without overwhelming the casual computer user who is more interested in interpersonal dynamics and challenges faced by a growing tech company. Great little Kindle book--I liked it all, from cover to conclusion!
I initially picked this book up because I have the pleasure of currently working for one of the main "characters" of the story and am always hearing him tell fond stories of his days at Fox. Once I started this book I absolutely could not put it down. It was a genuinely funny and honest look at how a few dedicated and talented people can do incredible things, even if it is "only a piece of software."
I have been around in software development for more than a decade now but honestly I have to admit it is only now that I took the opportunity to read about the history of my used to be primary programming language. In fact, I started with Visual FoxPro 6 back in 1999 and went only down to FoxPro for Windows 2.6 during migration projects - long after the stories described in this title. It is really interesting to see how they actually managed to create a great product with such a small team of developers.
"Create the best Report Writer in the world, out of only sawdust, bubblegum, and dreams." - That's the best sentence I'm going to quote from this title in the future. An inspiration to achieve the impossible, only by taking small steps. Just begin the journey - one step after the next one. If you fall, stand up and continue to walk.
Kerry takes the reader on an amazing trip through almost 4 years working at a small software company in Perrysburg, Ohio. That went from a another 'look-alike' of the mighty Ashton-Tate dBase to the leading force in database development, long before Microsoft Access (project name: Cirrus) was even finished. It survived Borland Paradox and even nowadays Visual FoxPro is still in daily use in thousands of companies world-wide. Actually, I'm glad that I had the chance to foster my programming knowledge with Visual FoxPro.
I stumbled upon this tale looking for a work by Nietzsche. Instantly grabbed Nietz's book and read it to the end with little interruption because, as someone on the outside of the company who presented at Fox conferences and wrote database books, including one about FoxBase+/Mac, I have a personal investment in the story and I treasure the way Nietz brought some precious memories back. I saw the conference demos and the personalities on full display that Kerry so brilliantly bring to life again. I was at the small dinner with Glenn in San Francisco when his head gently hit John's shoulder and his heart stopped forever. Later I was an expert witness in Fox's 9th Circuit defense against Ashton-Tate. I'm thankful for this little gem of a book and recommend it heartily to anyone who wants to hear the amazing tale of a brilliant, quirky little company and its gifted people who shook the whole computer world from their humble shopping-center office in a little Ohio town. Just wonderful!
I picked up this book some time after reading what it was about. I'm not a database guy, nor a software developer, I'm a tester. I loved it because I also came from rural Ohio and lived in Perrysburg for some time while going to U of Toledo and several more years working until I was recruited to work in Silicon Valley. The experiences I read about I could relate to on different levels. The decision to leave my home county where I grew up, had all my family and friends, was almost as tough as how Kerry described his move. It was a great account of how he came to be in the industry and how he survived it too. I could hardly put the book down. I highly recommend it.
An enjoyable story about the personalities and events at a software company in the 80s/90s. As a software developer, this brought back some painful yet nostalgic memories of working with DOS and also reminded me of some bad practices like not backing up code to a server for long periods of time. So many events sound familiar, like the dreaded file that can't be modified without causing errors elsewhere in the code. We've all been there at some point. A fun read.
A great read, esp for folks who have been a part of the computer industry--or would like to get the feel of what it's like to be in it. Although the industry repeatedly reinvents itself, so it has changed a lot since the time in which the book starts...