Biography for Mirko Kiefer

Briefly about me

I am a 21 year old student at University of Heidelberg and got excited about Smalltalk a year ago. Before that I was hacking with Java and at the time couldn't believe that there would be anything greater. Since I discovered Smalltalk I have not written a single line in Java anymore...

About my study

Currently I'm enrolled in the Bsc Computer Science programme at University of Heidelberg in Germany.

My interests

My interests are relatively broad but I focused for the last years mostly on programming. My main interests at the moment are object-oriented design, information visualization and distributed systems. To get up to speed on the latter one I am currently playing a lot with CouchDB and Erlang in general.

Besides that I love to discuss politics and am an enthusiast martial artist.

My non-Smalltalk experiences so far

Since two months I am heavily working with CouchDB and get everyday more excited about the possibilities with this database.

I am currently getting more and more into advanced Javascript programming (including libraries like jQuery) as these skills match perfectly with CouchDB.

Besides that I have visited a course on development in Objective-C for the iPhone platform, programmed in Java for about two years and am familiar with Scheme, Basic, Python, Progress, HTML and CSS.

I recently started learning Erlang but am still at a very basic level.

Together with a friend I started about a month ago developing a webapplication which allows users to enter semantic information in an intuitive user interface. The data gets displayed in an interactive visualization which makes it easy to browse interrelated information. We mainly started this to improve our skills in CouchDB and Javascript but this currently evolves to a real application we will lunch the next months. I will soon write about this on my blog.

My Smalltalk experiences so far

I got started on Smalltalk during my work as a developer at PROMIS Solutions by Graham McLeod who is a passionate Smalltalker for more than 20 years now. The company has a webbased product developed in VA Smalltalk using Webconnect and ObjectExtender. I am currently working on the existing system and since a few months on the prototype for a new system using Pharo and Seaside.

I am very familiar with Pharo, Seaside, Magma and Glorp. Although I spend some time investigating the Kernel and meta-programming in Squeak/Pharo I never seriously learned about low-level things like the virtual machine. This would certainly interest me as part of a project though, if advanced knowledge of the VM is not a prerequisite.

Why am I interested in Smalltalk?

Initially because it is the development environment used in the company I work for - today it is because I am convinced that Smalltalk or at least a very similar system is still going to play an important role in the future. I strongly believe that as software systems become increasingly complex, distributed and interconnected, more and more concepts promoted by Smalltalk are going to be rediscovered.

Will I stay with Smalltalk after the project is finished?

I certainly will - both at my workplace and in my spare time.

Updated: 2.4.2010