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Developer Stories: Frits F.M. de Mul On ALGOL, Neutron Physics & His Montcarl App Suite

Frits F M de Mul EMBT Interviews
Frits F.M. de Mul started programming with ALGOL in 1965. He submitted his showcase entry (Montcarl Application Suite) for the Delphi 26th Showcase Challenge and we had a talk with him about his many years of programming experience. Take a look at his website for more information about the applications and software. frits-de-mul-8045439

When did you start using RAD Studio Delphi and have long have you been using it?

I started with ALGOL, DELPHI’s predecessor, during my M.Sc.-project in 1965/66 on neutron physics, where I got a lot of measurement data. The University’s first computer was a Telefunken TR4 mainframe, to be fed with paper tape an (later) punch cards.  This was one of the very first computers in the country, and I had account nr. 10. For my Ph.D.-work in early 70’s I shifted to FORTRAN, which was more convenient (faster) at that time, although functions and procedures were hard to handle, and the output was cumbersome. No plotters were present in those days. In late 70’s I switched to Pascal, later Turbo Pascal, on writing a lot of (stand-alone) programs; part of those are mentioned on my site (see above). And now, with DELPHI, since I am retired, I also use TMS Web Core for web applications.

What was it like building software before you had RAD Studio Delphi?

ALGOL and FORTRAN were limited in possibilities and cumbersome to handle. First, I had to use punched taper tape and later punch cards. When you had to made corrections, it was possible to manually make extra holes, and even repair holes, but you had to learn and use the 8-bit codes for all characters. Then the tapes or cards had to be delivered manually to the computer building, and a few days later you got your results (provided you did not make punch-typing or syntactic errors). But frequently the computer got stalled…. Nevertheless, all that punchwork made excellent confetti!

How did RAD Studio Delphi help you create your showcase application?

Viewing the history, DELPHI – as successor to TURBO PASCAL – offered lots of improvements; most important of course was it built-in logic and Object Programming. Since I always make Computational-Physics programs, DELPHI offers many possibilities. I tried to use PYTHON, but I found Delphi much more attractive, due to its simple but adequate logical structure and lack of superfluidal options. For instance, the PYTHON world has gone much too far in incorporating a lot of options for arrays. These look nice at first sight, but normally programmers will use a limited set of convenient options only, and the rest is discarded. With DELPHI you can easily make all those options offered by other platforms yourself, in case you need those.

What made RAD Studio Delphi stand out from other options?

As mentioned above, DELPHI remains THE most logical language, with great backward compatibility. There are many built-in options, but no superfluidal ones. Its syntax has a complete WYSIWYG structure. This is a great advantage compared with C++ or PYTHON, which at first sight look handy, but you have to learn what is behind a lot of statements. Therefore my wish to developers: keep it simple and staightforward!

What made you happiest about working with RAD Studio Delphi?

The most happy – I think – is working with Forms, and the option of combination with TMS WEB Core, to write website-based applications.

What have you been able to achieve through using RAD Studio Delphi to create your showcase application?

Since I am retired, I use DELPHI together with TMS WEB Core, for a lot of (free-to-use) applications, either stand-alone (offline) or website-based.  These programs are based on my work in the University on Biomedical Optics. A lot of these programs are still used by colleagues.

What are some future plans for your showcase application?

About future plans, I will see what physics problems will show themselves to be handled numerically. Maybe something in (green) energy calculations
Thank you, Frits! Check out his showcase entry by clicking the link below.


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