Ubercode News Archive (2000)


Reference Manual is finished (1 July 2000)

After Ubercode was modified to include the GUI code, the Reference Manual had to be re-written. This task was done by July 2000. The end result was a detailed manual of about 800 pages. I don't have a picture of the Reference Manual, so here's a picture of something even larger - Cologne Cathedral in Germany. I worked at IBM in Düsseldorf for a while, which is near to Cologne:

Cologne Cathedral from the base

It took the Rhinelanders about 700 years to finish the cathedral, and I admire their persistance! When Napoleon invaded the Rhine states around 1800 he used the cathedral as stables. The cathedral was completed by Kaiser Wilhelm in the late 1800s, after the unification of Germany. The view from the top of the cathedral is outstanding, since the Rhineland is mostly flat. The photo is taken at ground level looking up.

The Reference Manual is now in a format where it can be:

  • Easily printed
  • Converted into an on-line help format
  • Converted into example programs
  • Easily modified when details change

Also a much smaller manual was written, aimed at beginner programmers and consisting of less than 50 pages. It is small enough to be included with the CD in the same packaging.

Ubercode frightens off venture capitalists (1999-2000)

Around mid-1999 a second Ubercode beta release became available. This included event handling code, visual objects, properties and methods, and a basic Developer Environment (IDE).

At this time, two private investors / venture capitalists became interested in Ubercode. After evaluating the beta, they wanted exclusive marketing rights, and in exchange they would handle manufacturing and distribution and pay me royalties. In the end discussions got bogged down and nothing happened.

I think there's a basic problem with investing in software start-ups. A developer needs money before the first release, but at this point there is no product, no sales, no assets and nothing tangible, and investors shy away. If the developer finishes the product and it generates no income, obviously no-one is interested and the product dies or becomes open-source. If the product generates sales, then investors are interested. But at this point the developer doesn't need money. Margins on software are high enough that as long as the business is well run, it can grow from its own income without giving away equity or taking on debt. This is how Microsoft and Oracle started.