A Brief History of RAD Studio

by Corby Nichols the creator of RAD Studio

In 1999 I was programming in Visual Basic 6.0 and I started creating class objects by hand in an attempt to use object oriented programming in Visual Basic 6.0. The class objects created were based on database tables and I was coding them by hand. About the third or fourth table I started realizing how repetitive this was.

I created an application called Data Class Builder that read the database schema and code generated the class objects for each table in the database. These class objects contained private variables and properties for each field in the table(s). This early version did not have a SQL Generator or object readers but the time savings were so apparent I became instantly attracted to code generation.

In 2001 I started programming in C# because the company I worked at made the decision to migrate from Visual Basic 6.0 to C#. I was given 6 months to play around with C# and learn the language. During this time I rewrote Data Class Builder in C# and thus Data Class Builder.Net was born. This version still did not have a SQL Generator, but it did accomplish the same code generation features that the Visual Basic version of the program performed. During the next few years I continued to use Data Class Builder.Net but working full time I did not devote very much time to the application.

In 2004 unfortunately my grandfather passed away and left me a small inheritance so I could afford to not work for a year so I decided to use the money to turn Data Class Builder.Net into a commercial application. I improved the GUI and created a SQL Generator that code generated the SQL Statements to perform the CRUD methods for read, insert, delete and update the database.

By December of 2004 I had the application, sample programs and website created so I released Data Class Builder.Net and I ran a full page advertisement in Code Magazine for $2,500.

The ad featured a man at a drive thru window speaking into a speaker:

I need an Inventory database created and an application developed that tracks our inventory, orders, shipping and notifies are distributors of any delays or problems in our supply chain. The program also must integrate with our accounting package.

The next frame of the ad read: Thank you, please drive around.

Then the caption read: Until it is this easy, theirs DataClassBuilder.Net!

I added an extra phone line to my home office because I thought I would be receiving so many calls I would have to have extra help to answer all the calls. It turns out I got zero responses from the ad so I was very disappointed. I continued to work on the program and I did eventually sell 1 copy to a person living in Rwanda, Africa. Eventually my inheritance ran out and I had to return to working as an employee, but at least I was getting paid.

In 2005 I took a job that had a requirement that all data access be performed via stored procedures so I discarded the GUI from Data Class Builder.Net but I kept the file DataClassBuilder.Net.Dll that is still included and used in RAD Studio. I created a stored procedure generator, class writers, and class readers and thus RAD Studio was created.

I used RAD Studio for all of my projects in which I was the architect of the program. Some of the places I worked in the last few years I was not the lead developer so I had to use other technologies like NHibernate and later I used LINQ at my last position. I still prefer RAD Studio over these other technologies and I am hoping a major software company (Microsoft ?) will adopt and promote the code to make it available to a widespread audience. I continued to use and improve RAD Studio but since I was the only person using the code I felt like the code was being wasted sitting on my development box.

In November 2009 I found myself unemployed again so I started making some of the improvements that had been on my to do list for years. I finally made the decision to turn RAD Studio into an open source project for a number of reasons, but mostly because looking for a job it is hard to stand out among the thousands of unemployed programmers. All though I did not directly make any money off of RAD Studio, I was hired for two jobs because RAD Studio was listed on my resume and until mid 2009 my web site was still up so movies and code samples were available.

Some of the other reasons for making it open source are listed below:
1. The best way to improve the code was to stop being a one man development team and allow others to contribute to the project.
2. I believe in this technology and I feel like it has the potential to become widely adapted
3. It is a rewarding feeling to know your code is being used
4. If anything happens to me the code would die and all of my efforts would have been for nothing.

Ironically 5 days after I made the project open source my hard drive crashed and I would have lost the code had I not backed the project up here so for that I very thankful. Backup, Backup, Backup;

Corby Nichols

Last edited Jun 22, 2011 at 12:06 AM by CorbyNichols, version 15

Comments

SebastianDotNet Nov 8 at 8:08 PM 
thanks for writing your story -pretty interesting.