Anders Hejlsberg was born in Denmark
, and studied engineering at the Technical University of Denmark
. He was one of the first employees of the software
In the early 1980s, Hejlsberg had written a command-line Pascal compiler called "Compass Pascal", which later became "Poly Pascal". Hejlsberg licensed the compiler to Borland International, where a new user interface and editor were added. Because Hejlsberg was still living in Denmark at the time, Borland shipped him the first available 9600-baud modems, enabling him to transmit builds to the Borland headquarters in Scotts Valley, California. Hejlsberg would develop during his day, when California programmers were catching some sleep. The team members would then talk over the phone at the beginning and end of each of their respective working days, and pick up where the other left off.
The result of this frantic development was Turbo Pascal, which shipped on November 20, 1983. As novel as it seems now, Turbo Pascal 1.0 was distributed on a single floppy disk and the total number of files on the disk was 10. In fact, the total disk space used was 131,297 bytes and the size of TURBO.COM including the integrated development environment with compiler, Wordstar-style editor, and run-time library was 33,280 bytes. When Borland placed its first ads in the November 1983 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal and BYTE magazines, the response was unprecedented. Borland was on its way.
- Dr Dobbs Journal
And the rest, as they say, is history. This cheap ($49,95 – nearest competitor was $500), fast (Delphi still compiles source at an incredible rate, and still produces good object code) and highly usable program was a massive hit, and put Borland on the map. It offered the first Integrated Development Environment (IDE) changed our expectations of software development tools.
Somewhere along the line, Anders moved from Denmark to Borland headquarters in Scotts valley, California.
Borland Pascal, and later it’s successor, Borland Delphi, remains a flagship product for Borland product to this day. Anders Hejlsberg remained in charge of the Turbo Pascal project for all of it’s ten years, and then in the early 1990s, when Turbo Pascal turned into Borland Delphi, he remained the lead, albeit as part of a larger team.
"Back in the old Turbo Pascal days, it was possible for one person to write and maintain an entire product. This is no longer the case. Delphi was built by a team."
- CompuServe message from Anders Hejlsberg
In 1996, he turned to the dark side. Delphi 3 was released afterwards. Delphi has since continued without him.
“As you may have heard, I will be leaving Borland by the end of the month to take a job at Microsoft. This has not been an easy decision to make, but I have now been with Borland for 13 years, and I feel that it is time for me to try some new challenges.”
- Anders Hejlsberg, web/email anouncement, 1996
It was no secret that Microsoft had been actively poaching the best people from their competitors, offering them interesting work that was almost guaranteed to be widely used. Not to mention as much money
as it took to convince them. Borland at one stage took Microsoft to court over this practice.
Anders’ first job with Microsoft was as an architect with Visual J++ and the Windows Foundation classes, a java class library designed to lock java programmers into ... err, allow programmers efficient access to the Windows API in a straightforward object-oriented manner from within Java. The WFC has resemblances to Anders' previous baby, Delphi’s VCL class library, which allow programmers efficient access to the Windows API in a straightforward, object-oriented manner.
In 1999 he was promoted to distinguished engineer, a title held by only 16 people at Microsoft.
His second job was not to embrace and extend java, but to replace it. His next programming language was C#, of which he is the "chief designer".
In early 2002, he heads the C# team, and is a “key participant” in the design of .NET, and has “represented Microsoft in ECMA, where C# and the .NET Framework have been submitted by Microsoft for standardization”
The design of C# shows influences from other languages. Now it is inevitable, and not a bad thing at all that a new language draws upon it’s predecessors and refines their ideas. However C#’s debt to java is great and not publicly acknowledged by Microsoft. Besides this obvious influence on the language, a few Delphi-isms such as object properties with gettor and settor methods) are also found in the language.
Despite .NET's political implications, the Common language runtime and associated technologies are a very cool and important innovation.
Anders Hejlsberg was awarded the Dr. Dobb's Journal's Excellence in Programming Award for 2000
Microsoft Corp. today announced that Anders Hejlsberg, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, has been awarded Dr. Dobb's Journal's Excellence in Programming Award for 2000. Dr. Dobb's Journal presents the award annually to individuals who, in the spirit of innovation and cooperation, have made significant and lasting contributions to the advancement of software development. Hejlsberg was honoured Wednesday evening at an awards ceremony at the Software Development 2001 West trade show for his many contributions to furthering programming language development, including Delphi, Turbo Pascal and, most recently, the C# (pronounced C sharp) programming language.
"I am incredibly proud of Anders' many accomplishments and want to congratulate him on this great award," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft. "Anders' efforts to create C# will change the way software is built and delivered over the next decades."
Hejlsberg joined Microsoft in 1996 and was promoted in 1999 to distinguished engineer, a title held by only 16 people at Microsoft. He is the chief designer of the C# programming language and a key participant in the development of the Microsoft® .NET Framework. Hejlsberg has also represented Microsoft in ECMA, where C# and the .NET Framework have been submitted by Microsoft for standardization. Before his work on C# and the .NET Framework, Hejlsberg was an architect for the Visual J++® development system and the Windows® Foundation Classes. Before joining Microsoft, Hejlsberg was one of the first employees of Borland International Inc. As principal engineer, he was the original author of Turbo Pascal and later worked as the chief architect of the Delphi product line. Anders studied engineering at the Technical University of Denmark.
"Every year, Dr. Dobb's Journal honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to the art and craft of computer programming," said Jonathan Erickson, editor in chief of Dr. Dobb's Journal. "As we were reflecting on the past year, Anders immediately stood out for the significant contributions he has made to C# as well as to the software development industry throughout his career. He was an obvious choice for this year's award."
- Microsoft press release, April 12, 2001
ANDERS HEJLSBERG, DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER, DEVELOPER DIVISION
Since joining Microsoft in 1996, Anders Hejlsberg has played a pivotal role in the development and design of Visual J++ and the Windows Foundation Classes. Hejlsberg currently works on COM+ and Visual Studio 7. He is also making significant contributions to technologies that are still under development. Before he joined Microsoft, Hejlsberg was a principal engineer at Borland International; as one of the company's first employees, he was the original author of Turbo Pascal and later worked as the chief architect of the Delphi product line. Prior to coming to the United States, Hejlsberg studied engineering at the Technical University of Denmark.
- Microsoft web site, Febrary 2002
Material from Microsoft's web site
(www.microsoft.com), Dr Dobbs Journal (http://www.ddj.com/articles/2001/0105/) , other parts of the net, and my misspent adulthood.