On Wednesday morning I loaded a new version of Equals, entered in a very simple equation (a=b+c) and defined each of its variables, entered a value for ‘b’, a value for ‘c’ and, when autocalc took hold a second later, saw a result for ‘a’. As my development partner, Rick, said in his email alerting me to his progress, “It’s alive (just barely).”
On Thursday it was a little stronger. It could calculate ‘b’ and ‘c’, and I could add a second equation, which if set up correctly, would also calculate. This morning it is smart enough to even add missing variables and perform calculations for alternative forms of the note.
The process of watching this program come to life the last few days is as close as I’ve been to the days and months following the birth of my daughters 8 and 6 years ago. The three months after a baby is born is called the fourth trimester. The baby is too small and weak to do much of anything for itself except cry, eat, poop and sleep, but it is getting stronger. After those additional three months of gestation, the changes start coming fast and steady.
On Wednesday morning the baby was born. Over the next weeks we will work through Equals’ fourth trimester. It will get stronger and more capable, able to support more than just a few of us at the same time, able to perform more complex calculations, ready for new features and capabilities.
Before we know it it will be asking for the car keys and heading off to college.