I'm A VB: Blake Pell




Blog: http://www.blakepell.com/Main/Blog.aspx


·        How long have you been using VB?

Since VB1 for DOS (yeah, it still works too, I just fired it up on Windows 7).  After starting Basic on my Commodore 64 and TSR-80 (GWBasic), I found I loved that I could make forms applications easily (even in DOS).  When VB3 came out, I begged my mom to drive me to the nearest Best Buy to get a copy.  I’m not sure if she realizes that set me on my career path.


·        What industry do you work in?

Non-profit / Higher Education


·        How big is your development team?

5 developers in an IT department of about 15.


·        What kind of apps do you most commonly build?

ASP.Net front ends for any number of database operations (data mining, general reporting, data entry, work flow, etc.).  Also rivaling in time spent are interface programs between our various core systems, which range from custom systems to vendor purchased proprietary systems.


·        What’s the most interesting app you’ve ever built?

A sync application that will sync files between multiple computers and a host in “the cloud”.  The host can either be a server running an ASP.Net site with the applications web services or a traditional FTP/SFTP server that can be provided and/or changed by the user.


·        Please tell us about an app that you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently rewriting and enhancing a legacy PowerBuilder application from the mid 90’s in ASP.Net with VB code behinds.  The Ajax features in the .Net Framework have helped to bridge the gap in making web applications that feel more like client applications.


·        What other technologies do you most commonly use?

SQL (SQL Server/MySql/Oracle), ASP.NET, C#, Silverlight, VBA & VbScript, JavaScript, Crystal Reports, Access & C (and whatever else is needed depending on the day).


·        What are some of your favorite VB features?

XML Literals, Error checking before compilation, case insensitivity (which Visual Studio will then format accordingly) and the many included commands that are huge time savers.


·        What do you like most about VB as a programming language?

Readability, the fact that well written VB can be read and understood by business associates who are not programmers & the amount of time I save with the additional functions VB provides.


For other interviews in this series, please visit http://imavb.net.


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