Interview with Martin Schreiber

The creator of the MSEide+MSEgui development environment

After Johann Elsass and Paul Toth, Martin Schreiber had the kindness to answer Roland Chastain's questions. Do you know MSEide+MSEgui ? Martin Schreiber has developed it. Alone. So it's not by chance that the Pascal team has contacted him.

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Interview with Martin Schreiber

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MSEide+MSEgui is a visual programming tool in Pascal, based on the Free Pascal compiler. The development environment is identical on Windows and Linux, and it compiles to both OSes.

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Pascal team : Hello Martin! I am a member of the Pascal team of the F rench forum Developpez.com. If you don't know this website, you can have a look for example to this discussion .

Martin Schreiber: Sadly although I learned French several years in school my knowledge of French is even worse than my English. :-(

We are preparing a series of interviews with important Pascal personalities, a nd we would be glad if you accept ed to contribute.

Sure. :-)

First of all , we would be interested to know something about your background . Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

I am a hard- and software electronics engineer and owner of an ingeneering firm. We develop electronic circuits in a wide range from photo current data acquisition in fA range to complex microcomputer systems and from low cost to high tech. Our speciality is to combine high tech methods with low cost components in order to achieve outstanding results.

When and how did you come to the computer and to software development in particular?

First contact with programming was with the HP25/HP41 pocket calculators where I programmed an assembler for the MC6809. With the availability of microprocessors software development became a big part of my work.

With what language(s) did you start?

Assembler, OS9-Basic, Omegasoft-Pascal from Robert Reimiller, a very nice product by the way, C. I used Pascal from the beginning.

What is your working method?

I make most of the things myself. In the end it is the fastest…

What tools do you use?

MSEide with the gcc toolchain for ARM and AVR32 microcontroller development, MSEide+MSEgui with FPC for user interfaces, building tools and complex database applications. For PIC16xxx uC development I still use assembler.

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About software development in general…

How do you think software development evolved over the past two decades and more recently?

I have an ambivalent attitude towards evolvement of software development of the last decade. I think much of it is hype and marketing. I fear that many young developers never learn the « handicraft » of software development because the modern tools and methods hide the « bare metal » too much.

Have you personally followed this movement?

No.

How do you think all this will evolve in the near future or more distant?

I don't know.

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About Pascal language…

Where do you locate the Pascal in the world of software development?

For me in combination with MSEide+MSEgui or a similar toolkit it is the most productive development environment for universal tasks.

Do you think that investing nowadays in a language like Pascal makes sense?

Sure. Currently I am working on a Pascal compiler with llvm backend for the FPC dialect used in MSEgui. Later it is planned to implement MSElang too.

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About your products…

What led you to develop MSEide and MSEgui?

I used a Pascal product of a well known compiler company in order to build our GUI toolkit for internal use. After a heavy investment on our side the product has been discontinued on Linux…

After that and some similar experiences with other software tools I learned that commercial tool producers are not able to provide what software developers need. Software developers need tools which evolve over decades, a commercial tool producer needs good quarterly statements and often « something completely new » for better sales numbers.

So I decided to build the needed tools myself from scratch without any commercial ballast with productivity and quality as main goals and to go opensource. An important development goal was to double productivity compared with other usual development environments.

This goal has been reached for our projects.

What is your target audience?

Children, retired persons and professionals with high quality expectations who know that mainstream solutions not necessarily are the best solutions and at the first place me and my company.

Is the community around these products active?

It is small but active, see : http://www.mail-archive.com/mseide-msegui-talk@lists.sourceforge.net/ or https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/mseide-msegui-talk.

What are your plans for these products in the short or long term? How do you see their future?

I use them in my daily work, all reproducible bugs are fixed in minutes, hours or days, depending if I am working on MSEide+MSEgui at the moment.

MSElang still needs some years of development until it is production ready.

The results I got with the llvm backend are already very impressive.

As mentioned before I make the tools mainly for my company. I don't know and don't care much if they will be adopted by a broader audience in the future.

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Finally…

H ave you any advice for those who want to invest in the creation of development tools in Pascal language?

Be insistent and don't underestimate the needed effort to build development tools independent of the language. :-)

I invested about 20000 hours into MSEide+MSEgui.

Martin.

Special thanks

Many thanks to xxx for having reread this article.

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