The making of ABC

ABC is written in MS Visual Basic 6 (or Classic VB as it is now called since MS brought out Visual Basic NET). It also uses a few libraries of functions purchased from other companies -- the Excel compatible spreadsheet is an example. The user interface like MS Office is licensed from Microsoft.

The ABC Source Code consists of over 550 thousand lines of code (we wistfully remember the early days of computing when programmers were paid a pound per line).

How do we find our way around all this stuff? Well the internet means we can swap information and send tasks to people anywhere in the world instantly. Support Forums answer our stupid questions (fortunately we can remain anonymous....) and in return we help others with odd programming problems. Bits of ABC were written by people in Australia, America, Holland, Germany, India, and of course Lancashire. Most of these workers we've never met in person.

These days most software tools do not come with any printed documentation -- just a pdf file or web page. I suppose we understand this paperless system, but often the first thing we do after buying some new product is to get onto Amazon and buy a few books. The reason we like Amazon is that you can read genuine user reviews of the items to help decide what to buy. (Incidentally, ABC is now available on Amazon).

After a while the bookshelves are full (and threatening to fall off the wall) so we collect the old books and take them to a local charity shop.

Here is Chris hiding behind some old books.

Picture of Chris Hicks and a pile of programming books used during creation of ABC accounts software.

Chris designed ABC and is still associated with ongoing updates and technical support.