This week get to know a new member of My developerWorks in this interview with Brian Benz
. He's an XML enthusiast who's also a blogger, author, and entrepreneur. Learn more about Brian in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: Brian's My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat was your first job?
I started work quite young - my first job was at 14 working in a ski shop installing bindings and lots of maintenance work that ski shops don’t do anymore due to product improvements. Is that far enough off topic? How did you get started in the IT industry?
I always had an interest in computers. My first computer was a commodore 64 with a cassette drive. In 1980/81 I developed a few functions on an Apple II using Applesoft basic, but that was just a hobby. My first real paid tech job was in London, UK, in the early 80’s programming and maintaining business functions on IBM System 32, 34 and 38. In my spare time I started automating some tedious manual tasks on what was an unused novelty in the office at the time - an original IBM PC using Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase. The more I worked on the PC, the faster I could do my job, and the more spare time I had to figure out how to automate more tasks – I was hooked! What are you currently working on?
Several client projects, building some XML, Lotus Notes and Data Analytics products, setting up 2 new companies and Web sites (http://www.benztech.com
), creating a new XML format for sharing unstructured data (http://www.udml.org
), and working on an update to the XML Programming Bible. What's the most fun project you've worked on?
Definitely creating UDML. It’s nice to work with a clean slate and do something that you think could make life easier for a lot of people. What are a few of your favorite development tools and why?
The absolute best tools I’ve ever worked with are the Altova suite of tools, especially XMLSpy (http://www.altova.com
) . Anyone who works with XML, SOA, or even standards-compliant Web content development should try these tools and see why for themselves. Other than that, Eclipse tools are what I work with the most, plus Microsoft Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, and IBM Lotus Domino Designer. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not a gadget person per se, but I love my iPhone. The apps and music functions let me connect to my music library, friends, social networks, and the Web in ways that I haven’t with other phones. It’s actually changed my life in a few ways, all for the positive. How do you use developerWorks?
Mostly to connect with my fellow developers and share tips and advice. Like most geeks these days, I don’t know everything, but I know where I can find everything quickly. developerWorks is definitely one of the resources I use to learn quickly when I need to. Are you a blogger? Author? On Twitter?
My blog is Software Soapbox at http://ww.softwaresoapbox.com
I’ve published three books - one for IBM and two for Wiley. Also many magazine articles and presentations. My full list of publications can be found at my personal Web site at http://brianbenz.com
I’m also on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbenz
, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bbenz
, FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Benz/1412015686
, and FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/bbenz
. What are some of your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
It’s a mix of tech, local news, and fun. Aside from @developerworks, I also follow @craignewmark, @davewiner, @forkflylasvegas, @edbrill, @cnnbrk, @WholeFoods, @jowyang, @dsearls, @TechCrunch, @CaesarsPalace, @happn_in_vegas, @xbrlblog Thanks Brian!