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Stob's unpublished prequel

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Historic computer documents are often lost in the mists of time. But not always - and it's with great pleasure that we can offer you a manuscript of great antiquity that's never been seen before. It's actually a prequel to Verity Stob's Borland old testament histories we linked to here, and carbon dating has confirmed that it was written in AD 1996, shortly after Anders Heljsberg left to join Microsoft.

The parchment itself was lost in the great Stob tribe's migration, legend would have it, as it escaped the Kingdom of the Centaur (ie, EXE magazine) on its way to its current home at Dr Dobbs Journal.

So it's with great pleasure that we introduce The Book of Anders. Formatting has been preserved to the original manuscript, modelled after the King James' Authorised Bible (writes Verity), in which all words which did not have a one-to-one correspondence with words in the original Greek were italicised.


And it came to pass that the sons of Kahn, who dwelt in the valley of Scotts, in the land of Cali-fornia, fell upon hard times. For they were hard plagued by the Mic-rosoftees who dwelt in the north, yet ruled all the lands around, and forced all to bow down and pay tribute before their god Vi Su-Albahsic. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the valley, and also much careful reading of the Situations Vacant columns.

And then An-ders, an elder in the tribe of the sons of Kahn, dreamed a dream. And he called together all the tribe and spake unto them saying: Brothers - last night I dreamed that everyone in the world paid tribute to the god Vi Su-Albahsic. And the Mic-rosoftees did come down into the valley of Scotts, and forced all men who dwelt there to worship Vi Su-Albahsic. And the sons of Kahn gave in and became programmers like Jerripur-Nel, the scribe of Bytemag, who toileth still upon Roberta’s Basic flash-card program; yea, yet he hath toiled upon it for seven and four-score years or more, as it seemeth to me.

And An-ders spake, saying: Do you want this to happen?

And the sons of Kahn replied as one saying: Indeed, we sodding well do not.

And so the sons of Kahn looked once more upon Tur Bhopas-kal, and into the void which was called Owl. And they saw that, while calling it a void was a tad unfair, there was plenty of scope for improvement. And An-ders and Gar’ee and Zackur-Lockur and Giant I and many others girded up their loins, and toiled long and hard. And together they fashioned TObject.

And TObject conceived, and begat TPersistent. And TPersistent begat TComponent, and TComponent begat TControl, and TControl begat TWinControl, and TWinControl begat TCustomControl, and TCustomControl begat TCustomGrid, and TCustomGrid begat TDrawGrid, and TDrawGrid begat TStringGrid.

And TObject also begat Exception, and Exception begat EMathError, and EMathError [that’s enough begatting - Ed.]

And so it came to pass that the fruit of TObject’s loins were indeed fruitful, and the whole multiplied much. And the tribe of TObject’s children was known as Veesee-ell. And Tur Bhopas-kal was henceforth named by the name of Delphi, by decree of the department of market, who had once spent a happy fortnight in Corfu, and was wise in the ways of the Greeks.

When the sons of Kahn looked upon Veesee-ell and Delphi, and they saw that Delphi micturith upon the head of Vi Su-Albahsic, as though from the top of the mountain of Rockee.

And the sons of Kahn were glad within their hearts, indeed they were well chuffed.

And there was much wining and celebration and slaughtering of fatted calves in the valley of Scotts, with plenty of alcohol-free and meat-free alternatives laid on for those who cannot partake of strong drink or murdered animals for reasons of medication or creed or obstinacy, or because their girlfriends won’t let them.

And by all a good time was had.

And it came to pass that two seasons came and went. And the first season was rich and fruitful for the sons of Kahn, and their bellies grew round and plump with milk and honey.

But the second season was thin and lean, and was a time of famine. For verily the department of market of the sons of Kahn was not unpractised at snatching defeat, yea even from the very jaws of victory. And the sound of weeping and wailing was heard once more in the valley.

And one day An-ders journeyed to the wilderness, and wept and wailed and cried out unto the Lord, saying ‘Shall I spend the rest of my days tinkering with a Pascal compiler I wrote 15 years ago? Couldn’t I have a go at something else? Shall I never have stock options which consistently increase in value? Can I not be on the winning side for a change?’

And it so happened that nearby stood a scout for the tribe of the Mic-rosoftees, disguised as a juniper bush. And he heard An-ders cry out. And he came forward to An-ders, saying, ‘Can I be of assistance?’

And one thing led unto another.

And when the sons of Kahn heard what had happened, they put upon the matter a brave face saying: An-ders hath worked but a little on recent releases, we will be on time with Delphi 3.0, we are sorry to see him go, of course, but this will not impact any of our technology.

But friends of the sons of Kahn remembered the wisdom of M’andee-rice Davis. And such men were sore afraid for the sons of Kahn.

All rights reserved, Verity Stob.

You may contact Ms. Stob at veritystob at ddjeditors.com, remembering to replace the at with a curly sign, to defeat the Sons of Spam.

Parts One and Two, which succeed this prequel, can be found here. Many thanks to Ms Stob, whose most recent work can be found at Dr Dobbs' Journal here.

This includes the best history of computing ever written.

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