Julian first touched fingers to keypunch in 1972, punching Fortran code onto cards at Imperial College in London (England, that is) and soon moved onto Macro-11 programming on PDP-11s. This qualifies him as a Real Programmer, and until recently, he even had a PDP-11 in his garage at home to remind him of better times.

He learnt Fortran while becoming a geologist at Imperial College, but he has never practised in the rock business, as he succumbed to the charms of graphics programming during the course of doing his PhD in Igneous Geochemistry (which is almost as interesting as it sounds). Abandoning geology at that point, he headed off into computing, and is so properly titled ‘B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D. (Almost)’.

During the course of a long development career, he’s programmed systems of all types and sizes, from single-chip computers for instrumentation, up to Cray and CDC supercomputers. In the course of these endeavours, he has (he is confident to assert) forgotten more programming languages than most people reading this will ever learn… Snobol, Spitbol, Babbage, Forth, Trac, flavours of Lisp, flavours of Basic (the A$ sort), flavours of Pascal (Turbo FTW), several dialects of JCL (//DD SYSIN * and all that jazz), Watfor, Watfiv, Teco, Macros 11 and 32, Z80 assembler, various other assembers, Icon… the list is, if not endless, then at least reasonably long. Many of those are long gone, and today he mainly programs in C++, C#, Java and Scala, with a bit of Python thrown in for good measure.

Being a Real Programmer, he has (of course) never programmed in Cobol, RPG or any other of those languages beloved by suits and bean-counters, or done anything serious involving SQL (although, sadly, an increasing amount of database-related material is creeping in, and he’s finding he is having to relax his standards somewhat)

Currently his topics of interest include functional programming, teaching and consulting on Scala programming, C++, and development methodologies.

In such spare time as he has, he follows numerous pursuits, chief among which are playing a variety of instruments (acoustic and slide guitars, bass, and mandolin), listening to music, cooking (especially bread-making), brewing, ignoring DIY and refusing to maintain cars.

Photo of julian

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