Interview with Benny 'Berikco' Sels  

(done by Owen 'Dare2' LLoyd for PureArea.net in May-June 2006)

 

PureArea: Hello Berikco.

Thank you for giving us some of your time to do this interview.

Everyone except the newest of the new knows "Berikco". But what do we really know about you? Not much. Perhaps you can give us a brief bit of background about you and your lovely family?
Berikco: A brief bit...mmm...how many pages do I have? Okay, Iíll keep it short.
I am almost 38 years old, married to my lovely wife, and have 3 sons, which are identical triplets and are eight years old since March 12. I have a computer company, we install and maintain networks.

PureArea: Outside of computers, what are your interests in life?
Berikco: My biggest interest beside the family is the Philippines. I'm in love with that country; Belgium is my fatherland, so I call the Philippines my motherland :-)
Every year I spend a month there with the family.
PureArea: How did you become involved with the computer industry? What languages and operating systems do you use?
Berikco: I build my first ''computer'' by myself in 1984, actually it was more a PLC with 16 bytes RAM which could be used to control a greenhouse, and used about every popular home computer, Atari 800, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Atari TT, 286, 386,486....
Started programming on Atari 800 Basic, moved to 68000 assembler and GFA Basic on
Atari ST, GFA for MSDOS, GFA for Window 3.1 and was beta tester for GFA Basic 32 and finally found PureBasic on may 15, 2002. And bought version 3.00 on June 1, 2002. Currently use Windows 2000, XP and 2003....and a quick test with Vista. Have Red Hat Linux on a box and a MAC G4 under the desk.
PureArea: How did you become involved with PureBasic originally? Also, how and why did you become a part of the official team?
Berikco: I needed a stable language, not bloated, so VB was never an option, because I mainly coded small utilities to access hardware. But GFA Basic 32 was unstable like hell, and needed a big runtime lib. And the development was very slow...later I learned that GFA died. Luckily, I received a message on the GFA mailing list about a new basic, still have to thank Joe Hurst for this ;-)
I started coding - just for fun - on the Visual Designer in December 2002, based on a source from Fred, today I still find bugs in his old ugly code from 2001 :-D After that, we started working together on it, and this was going very well, because we have the same coding style. And before I knew it I was asked to join the team.
PureArea: You are the man who made the Visual Designer that goes with PureBasic. Just so everyone knows: The designer is written in PureBasic?
Berikco: Yes, it's written completely in PureBasic. After I was coding some months - year 2002 - in PureBasic, a Dutch user Cr0wn had an idea about extracting the gadgets out a PB source, he used an example from a post I made for dragging and resizing gadgets with the mouse. After I saw this, I started to work on an old designer source that Fred wrote ages ago :-), and in 2003, the first Visual Designer was released.
PureArea: The designer has a fair amount of sophisticated handling, everything from rubber-banding through drag-n-drop to maintaining property sheets. Working on the designer must trigger great ideas for innovation but, at the same time, there is a need to get it done rather than going overboard. Do you ever feel a conflict between creative urges and the need to deliver a finished product?
Berikco: Yes, I always get new idea's, that's why I broke with the old source tree, and started a completely new designer in the first PB4 Alpha. It was not possible anymore to change the old source to what I wanted it to be. But coding the VD is just a hobby for me, so there is no rush to release it.  It is a complicated application, the few users who started there own designer will know this.
PureArea: The Visual Designer is a tool that adds a significant amount to the "RAD" of PureBasic's Rapid Application Development capabilities, and it is something you must be proud of. With the release of version 4.00 you have been (and are still) busy with the new version. What can you tell us about the development of the tool - a sort of "behind the scenes" look?
Berikco: The new version is from the start designed to work on all OSes, so it will take much less time to make it work after PB4 Linux and MAC are released, there is only one source for the three OS. In the final version, it should be possible to code a simple application...you will still need the IDE for advanced coding.
PureArea: What other computer projects are you involved with at the moment?
Berikco: I have a dozen applications, coded in PB which we use in my company....These PB projects generate just enough money to go on holiday every year. And Iím always involved in networking projects... Servers, internet, firewalls... the whole computer business... Intel and Microsoft party's etc.
PureArea: Some of us have been lucky enough to see pictures of your boys (I think the link still exists on a post on the English forums). Now I have to ask this: What was your initial reaction when you discovered you were to be the father of triplets?
Berikco: No special reaction...just hoped they would all be fine another 8 month later...and they are 3 healthy boys.
PureArea: One gathers that you are a very family-oriented man. Often being in business for yourself can come between you and your family. How do you manage to get the right balance?
Berikco: Easy, I have set strict working hours, family comes first after work. Btw, mostly I'm the one who drives the kids to school every morning with the bicycle.
PureArea: When did you go into business for yourself, and why? Have you ever, or never, regretted it?
Berikco: My computer business is now almost 2 years, too bad I did not start it 15 years ago.
PureArea:  It takes courage to set up a company. Tell us a bit more about your company. Where is it located, what it does, and maybe some background. Also, do you have a website we can visit?
Berikco: Not really courage, but you need to know yourself very good, what is your knowledge and even more important, you need to know your own limitations. There is always the risk of losing the money you invested...  I'm the CEO (ROFL) of a company which sells and maintain computer networks, I'm in charge of all technical stuff, and my partner does all "boring" paperwork and commercial stuff. So I can play with the Quad Xeon machines while he does the bookkeeping :-) And there are 4 other technicians, so it's a nice group of 6 people. http://www.cenn.be for the guys who can read Nederlands.
PureArea: I have heard that the Philippines are a beautiful and diverse country. How did the Philippines become important in your life? And what are the things that "grab you" the most about the Philippines?
Berikco: My first visit to the Philippines was 9 years ago, and to understand what's so special about that country, you have to go there ;-)
PureArea: A loaded question here! PureBasic users are a volatile and outspoken bunch. From the way Fred handles himself on the boards he seems to be particularly level-headed and easy-going, and he seldom (if ever) loses it. Is this a valid assessment? What is it like working with Fred? Is he a marshmallow or a harsh fellow to work with? :-)
Berikco: No comment :-) (Ever heard of steel enforced boots?)
PureArea:
You are an Administrator on the official boards. Do you ever get frustrated or annoyed with the way that some things evolve? Or do you (as it seems) take it all in stride and actually enjoy the ride? Does your sense of humour ever get dented?
Berikco: Well, the board is mostly self regulating, so there is not so much to do for a mod, luckily! And I never loose my sense of humour, coz there are a bunch of funny Guys in the community, its all about fun for me.
PureArea: Does your sense of humour ever get you into trouble? :-)
Berikco: No, PureBasic is relaxing for me after a days job, its very very difficult to make me angry :-))
PureArea: As users, we can be pretty critical (It is easy to criticise when you don't have to do anything or answer for anything). Do the critical few, and their criticisms, irk you, or do you just brush it off?
Berikco: I don't sleep less for the criticism :-)   I have fun coding the Visual Designer, and it will be ready on..............just wait n see ;-)
PureArea:
Another slightly loaded question. If there was one thing you could change with (or about) PureBasic, what would it be?
Berikco: I want that Auto indenting in the IDE now !! I loved the strict GFA editor for this. (now I must run)
PureArea: The PureBasic team is a multilingual bunch! How many languages do you speak - at least well enough to have a conversation without too much confusion?
Berikco: Dutch is my native language, and I speak English very well, German a little less (difficult to write though), and speak enough Filipino to manage over there. And still some stuff left in my brain from the French lessons in school....oh what did I hated those :D
PureArea:
Berikco, what future do you see for PureBasic? Where will it be in, say, twelve months from now? Two years from now?
Berikco: Twelve months from now, I see PureBasic 4 on MAC and Linux with the Visual Designer on all 3 OSes. I did not coded much on the VD from 2004 until summer 2005, because the company and family needed all my attention. But the Windows version is almost ready for public alpha testing, and will be released before this is published I guess. Two years, PB5, Fred will be married, and have 5 kids.....just kidding...2 years, that's to far away.
PureArea: And what about yourself? What does the ideal future hold for Berikco?
Berikco: Ideal future? That's easy.... retire as fast as possible in the Philippines...with a laptop and PureBasic of course ;-)
PureArea: I had only one more question for you, but your last answer raised another. Do you see that happening? You, your family, your laptop and PureBasic living the life you dream of in the Philippines?
Berikco: I hope one day to stay there in winter and be in Europe during summer.
PureArea: Berikco, thanks for the interview. We all know you are extremely busy right now, especially with the release of PureBasic 4, and appreciate the time you spared for this interview. To wrap up, do you have any advice or inspiration for Pure Coders?
Berikco: Inspiration...Coding in PureBasic is big fun...that's the only reason for me to code... the fun!

I just want to add I made some great friends because of PureBasic, some I have met... some not... and probably will never see in person. So PureBasic brought some things of great value in my life.

PureArea: Thanks and Good Bye!

© June 2006 by PureArea.net - All rights reserved.