Ralph is an Architect/Principal Developer at Follett Software Company with over 30 years of experience developing commercial software applications using a variety of languages and frameworks. He likes to create tools to make developing software more enjoyable and dabbling with parsers, electronics, and embedded microcontrollers.
His association with widgets has been a long one. As a teen, he developed a keen interest in all kinds of widgets, especially the electronic ones. Holding an amateur radio license, Extra Class, he has always enjoyed tinkering with circuits, and has designed many projects that incorporate all manners of widgets. In the early 1980’s, he was particularity proud of a Z-80 based repeater controller that he designed and built. It featured natural speech synthesis, was able to remotely control 6 transmitters and receivers, and it rivaled anything available commercially. He spent a number of years in the electronics field, first in automated test equipment, and later in two-way radio.
According to Ralph, “My electronic widgets were placed mostly on the back burner, and replaced with software widgets when my focus changed to software development. I began with a retail computer store, which was, for all practical purposes, a very big mistake for me. I wanted to focus on custom software solutions, but needed walk-in revenue to generate cash flow. It is very difficult to stay afloat in the retail electronics business, and everything was stacked against me as a small time operator. Still, amidst the pain and stress on my marriage, I emerged a wiser individual. I closed the retail store, and moved to more steady employment as a software developer for others. Over time, I was able to pay off my business debts. I did a 11 year stint developing software for the health club industry, and my current position is a principal developer for major company that is a leading provider of integrated applications for the management of K-12 resources.”
Over the years, he has designed and created some wonderful software including something called a Zone Integration Server (ZIS), a key component in a data sharing framework for schools and educational institutions.
His mantra is, “Don’t annoy your customers”.