The Music Maker
IBMer Barbara Morris creates harmony with strings and code
Photo courtesy of Barbara Morris
By 1989, Morris realized that the music business looked “a bit bleak.” With fewer opportunities to work as a musician, she looked for full-time computer work. IBM offered her a job, which she wasn’t sure she’d accept. But accept it she did, and she joined the Toronto lab.
As part of the WebSphere* Development Studio compiler team, Morris works with RPG and sees herself “as defining its future as well as defining its recent past.” Her admiration for RPG has grown over the years. “I used to feel that coding in RPG was like running in sand,” she says. “Now I love coding in RPG. It’s an easier language to program in than when I started at IBM 19 years ago.”
The evolution of RPG is in large part due to Morris and the team. “In the last 10 years, we’ve been trying to make RPG more and more functional, allowing RPG programmers to express their ideas more simply,” she says. She regularly gets together with other members of the RPG team to discuss how to improve functionality. Many of RPG’s enhancements came out of those brainstorming sessions. Morris is justly proud when she hears someone from the IBM i community laud a feature of RPG that she helped develop.
Morris also continued to nurture her musical avocation and played cello in a semi-amateur orchestra for 15 years. When work become more demanding, Morris opted to play in a string quartet rather than continue with the orchestra. The quartet plays pieces by classical and Romantic composers from the 18th through early 20th centuries. “With a string quartet, you’re part of a group yet you get to control one whole part by yourself,” she says. “The interaction with two or three other players is kind of perfect.”
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