How long have you been working for RR?
Why did you decide to take a job with us?
Compared with typical projects at most software development companies, working on Revolution seemed like something very different and much more exciting. I also wanted to be part of an innovative and fast-moving company.
How has it worked out for you? Do you like it here? Why?
Things have so far worked out very well, working at Runtime Revolution I get a wide range of projects, working on three platforms, with many different languages and different aims. I have also enjoyed seeing the immediate affects of my work on our products, and seeing Revolution grow and improve.
So, what is your official job title?
And what does that really mean in practice?
I am involved in planning, designing, developing and testing Revolution, as well a few other tasks including a little bit of technical support.
Can you tell me a bit about what you have been doing over the last month?
Over the last month my time has been split between quite a few projects, including working on the new Start Centre, overhauling the Revolution database layer and fixing a large number of bugs ready for the next release of Revolution. I have also spent a fair bit of time managing the Revolution Quality Control centre.
Really? how interesting... What project do you enjoy most?
Working on the Revolution database layer is the project I've found most interesting over the last month or so. Its quite different to a lot of the other work I do because it is at a lower level (written in C++) and doesn't involve any user interface work. The biggest challenge of the database layer is to try and provide consistent functionality for our users across all the different databases we support. There are some quite significant differences between what each database allows you to do and it is not always easy to work out how best to translate this to what is available for use in Revolution applications. Recently I have also started to work on Revolution's standalone builder, making the necessary changes to allow it to support Linux again.
Can you tell me a little more about your work with revDB?
The revDB work essentially involved fixing most of the reported database bugs and improving a lot of the code. Many of the results of this work should be immediately visible to users of the library, but there has also been lots of work done "under the hood" so to speak, which will pave the way for more a more radical overhaul in the future. We have been careful to try and ensure that any changes made to revDB will not cause problems in existing applications.
Two of the major areas of improvement in the new version of revDB are database cursor navigation and variable binding. The old cursor navigation functions were reviewed and the reported bugs considered, and we came up with a new set of cursor navigation functions that are more consistent between different databases and we think easier to understand. This was done in such a manner that existing programs should not be affected.
Variable binding in the context of our database library refers to the technique of attaching Revolution variables either to data being retrieved from databases or to data being input into them. Using this method has advantages both in convenience and security. The new version of revDB has greatly improved variable binding for all databases, with better support for arrays and binary values and a number of fairly troublesome bugs removed.
What was the most challenging customer support query you've had to deal with?
Since I started working on the database layer recently, I've dealt with a number of technical support issues involving revDB. One of these involved a customer having problems inputting binary data into a database. I was able to use my understanding of how the database library works internally to suggest a way of working round the problem, which luckily resolved the customer's query. Needless to say the new version of the library solves this problem :)
I hear you love our Quality Control Centre, what's your involvement with that?
The Quality Control Centre is a very useful tool allowing users to report general issues in Revolution and has helped us to conduct some large beta
testing programs recently. Currently, I'm involved mainly in processing incoming bug reports and compiling lists of issues to be fixed.
All incoming bugs must be verified as actual issues in Revolution, this usually means we have to work out how to see the bug happen on one of our
systems. Incoming issues range greatly, from trivial to reproduce to those which take hours of work and long discussions between engineers and the reporter
to track down.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend virtually none of my spare time in front of computers, being very enthusiastic about outdoor sports- in particular mountaineering and rock climbing. Most weekends and some evenings after work I can be found hanging off local cliffs and mountains, or walking through blizzards in the middle of nowhere. I also play soccer and tennis from time to time, listen to heavy metal and progressive rock and read lots of books. I mostly like to read the classics, such as Dickens, and I have a bit of a penchant for Russian works.