Working from home over the Internet, I hardly ever see any of my clients face-to-face. Once or twice a year, I’ll go on site. But in more than four years of living in our current home, my office had never been visited by a client — until Wednesday. Roger Andrews of Synergex ventured up to the Great Northwest to visit Microsoft, and he made time to take the ferry over here to Bainbridge for the afternoon.
After the obligatory tour, Roger and I parked ourselves in my office for some technical discussions. Much of what we said is under NDA, but I don’t think I’d be letting any cats out of bags if I mentioned that our topics centered around the future of the Synergy/DE language — focusing on how to better enable the functional model and add more powerful metaprogramming capabilities.
Back in the eighties and nineties, Synergex (then called DISC) wasn’t content to let DIBOL just remain COBOL’s younger, better-looking sister. Ken Lidster added features that were patterned on the Algol family of languages (Pascal and C, specifically). In the late nineties, we experimented with object-orientation, and finally released a fine implementation in the 21st century. But I’m glad to report that we also aren’t content to become just another dialect of C#. Synergy/DE doesn’t force you into using OOP — and we’re exploring ways to make it even more multiparadigmatic.
A little after five, my wife called us to dinner: scallops in a cayenne-cream sauce over fresh spinach. We shared a bottle of Columbia Winery Cabernet and talked about old times. My wife used to work for Synergex, so she’s known Roger for as long as I have — which goes back to about 1992. Roger is a geek’s geek — he used to critique the instructions generated by DEC’s DIBOL compiler, and even wrote a decompiler for that language before moving over to Synergex. When it comes to performance tuning, there’s no one better. He’s intensely practical about language features, but I was pleasantly surprised at his willingness to dream with me for a bit.
Roger travels up to see Microsoft pretty frequently, but this was his first visit across the Sound. Hopefully we’ll see him again soon.