Dean Zarras is a computer scientist, software engineer and business entrepreneur.
Today, Dean is CEO and Founder of ClearFactr an online spreadsheet innovation that is just opening its offerings to the public. Lotus founder, Mitch Kapor, who created the company most commonly known for first bringing software to the financial world, gives his take on Dean’s new tool: https://twitter.com/mkapor/status/614556104815542272
In 1990, Lotus 1,2,3 made up a lot of the tools computers used in the financial business. But there was always a need for what’s called “Mission Critical Custom Applications”, these software applications do the things an off the shelf product simply can not.
It was in this mission-critical world, where Dean Zarras had decided upon creating his own Maxim Gun. A weapon so powerful he could win a war of algorithmic trading systems, during a time where the first generation of computers had only just been introduced to the financial industry.
Come join us and enter a world without the world wide web, a world where most industries are still entirely untouched by the growing computer revolution emanating from California’s Silicon Valley.
Now, AppStorey brings you the inside story behind the financial industry’s mission critical computing revolution, and how these very same tools and technologies were responsible for the dot-com boom, and the mobile world we live in today.
Dean was the guy who actually introduced the NeXT Computer and with it, the first modern object oriented tools and concepts to First Chicago.
Dean made a ($25,000) NeXT Computer, a requirement of his employment. That’s twenty five thousand dollars. In 1990.
He got the offer, and he brought one of these revolutionary new computers into the offices at FNBC where he began a kind of rogue development with it.
All the while Dean was breaking software schedule speed records, he also gave extended personal demonstrations of the computer to a continuous parade of curious engineers stopping by his office to see. These new development tools were making a big impact in an industry where software algorithms could leverage big dollars and people were taking notice of Dean’s results.
“Some of the tools and techniques, the solution-approaches and visualization concepts I first used within my NeXTSTEP algo-trading stuff at First Chicago are within ClearFactr. ClearFactr basically incorporates my entire career’s worth of coding and end-user experiences.” —says Zarras
The fevered pitch of interest ultimately led to Steve Jobs, then CEO of NeXT Computer, to personally pitch NeXT Developer tools and technologies to First Chicago.
”It was a spell-binding demo—it led to one of the largest orders of NeXT machines for mission critical software at banking and financial institutions.” says Zarras of the experience, ”First Chicago placed an order for machines, and O’Connor & Associates bought into NeXT thereafter as word got around to them. It was an explosion of interest” — reports Dean Zarras for AppStorey
Poignantly, Dean submits that the “NS” prefix in all iOS developer APIs is due to their direct heritage as NeXTSTEP classes. The fact that Apple could have changed that prefix anytime at all, says something about the reverence for this technology inside Apple today.
it’s certainly incredibly gratifying to know that it basically became OS X (and I laugh at all of the NS* (prefixed) classes that everyone’s still using — that has to be by design/inside-joke as they could have changed all that stuff at some point!). — Dean Zarras for AppStorey
Although object oriented languages existed since the 1960s, the NeXT computer was really the first to fully embrace objects as a foundation for creating Apps.
For all the other graphical user interfaces, the NeXT was the first with the notion of an OO application layer. The whole “View Hierarchy” had never before been incarnated purely in the realm of objects.
The word “App” itself may descend from this architectural notion of a software platform built up from the consistent behaviors of object inheritance.
For Microsoft Windows you write programs; using the NeXT, you write Apps.
From languages to software designs, everything that came after, was influenced by the NeXT. From languages to design patterns to just the way computers interact with their human programmers. NeXT made the future what it is today and few people are even aware it existed at all.
And Objective-C pretty much spawned Java. I have James Gosling’s original Java white-paper where at the end he conveniently leaves Objective-C out of the Consumer-Reports-looking language feature comparison table, after mentioning it throughout the paper. — says Zarras
Some of the industry’s most interesting, most informed and most experienced pioneers were those who worked on Steve Jobs’ NeXT Computer. A computer that made history more than it has been part of history. Until now.
Come join us on a journey of inspiration and transformation. AppStorey brings you the untold history of the greatest computer ever made, and its colossal contribution to the world we live in today.