Edward G. Nilges - About the Author
(Editor's note: don't miss Edward's prolific software development blogging.)
Edward G. Nilges got into programming in 1971 as part of an elaborate draft-dodging scheme which appears to have gotten out of hand. Commencing in machine language only on an 8K IBM mainframe, he graduated to assembler and thence, by way of debugging the compiler, to Fortran. He developed a crude data base in 1974 in order to avoid work by consolidating 50 programs into one.
He then got married and fathered two great kids, and, given the dearth of opportunities at the time, became a Cobol programmer...who developed application generators and a Cobol program to simulate a telecom switch out of sheer boredom.
Fortunately, he was hired in 1978 by a rather strange consulting firm in Chicago which sent him over to Motorola there to be abused by, and learn from, the team of lawn trolls who were developing the first cell phone. Edward did not invent the cell phone and his table assembler was rejected by the team because they hated the IBM mainframe and guys in suits, but Edward learned alot.
Based on this experience Edward went like so many people before him to California in 1981 there to develop and maintain real compilers for a telecom subsidiary but with family responsibilities continued to play the corporate game.
In 1986 he was hired at a cut in pay by Princeton university as the resident grown-up in the Information Centers, which was very droll and without a second thought Edward drove cross-country to Princeton, where he met far more Remarkable men and women than he'd meant heretofore in the business world, including Ralph Nader, Cornel West, Dave "lcc" Hansen and Brian Kernighan.
When Edward met Brian he was like Wayne and Garth: I'm not worthy.
Edward taught C and developed a lot of rexx software at Princeton, including a rexx parser.
Edward then drove cross-country again to develop a hydrostatic simulator for the nondefense shipbuilding firm of The Glosten Associates in Seattle.
He then returned to the Midwest and became addicted to VB, the crack cocaine of GUIs. While working for several start-ups and teaching at DeVry University, Edward began to code on his own time the utilities basis for his later work and to experiment with object oriented approaches on the release of VB-4.
Engaged to write a book on VB.Net in 2000, Edward experimented with several approaches to object-oriented development and concluded that "objects have a moral life" and as such need a "soul" in the form of self-inspection and a Name.
He used this insight to code rather quickly 26000 lines of compiler code at the request of the great Dan Appleman, the VB maven, and write his first published book, Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler.
In the middle of book development Edward was engaged to work in Shenzen, in the People's Republic of China, for it is written when the going gets weird the weird turn pro (Hunter Thompson).
But it was in the Middle Kingdom that Edward learned that he loves to code free of requirements and in the open source mode, and he there decided to become a teacher, or *guru*, or cautionary tale. So today he lives on Lamma Island, a sort of Western-hippie last stand "where on dune and headland sinks the fire", works in Causeway Bay, and struggles to keep his laptop burning.
Edward is on the phone frequently every week to his Yi, first, former and only Wife and also to his grown children because he has learned that phone cards are dirt cheap.
In addition to Build Your Own, Edward has written a plethora of articles for the computer and general press on computing and on politics, commencing with an article in 1976 on "Virtually Structured Programming".
Edward's current project is the object-oriented language spinoza.