Welcome to


Hi there! I'm Steven T. Abell. You can call me Steve. I'm a software designer, with an extensive background in Java, Smalltalk, various flavors of C, and many assembly languages. I can help you design your software or software/hardware system, or help you explain your product to a technical audience, either in print or in person.

Here are some of the things I've done:

After about 25 years of writing software for other people, it was time to bring out a product of my own. brising.com's flagship product is Slamdunk, a Java-based framework for building user interfaces. As you look at the rest of what I've done, you'll see that this is not a new idea, just a very good one. The current implementation is all new code, and far more powerful than its predecessors.

I worked on software for an industrial robot used in semiconductor manufacturing. This was not a happy experience: even in the hands of a team of experts armed with the latest tools, C++ is a death chant.

I built a powerful UI framework in Java for David Taylor's Enterprise Engine project. The conceptual basis for this framework, called Slamdunk, originated several years earlier in the Smalltalk world. I made some significant extensions to it shortly after I learned it, and wrote a very nice implementation of it here, several years later. Once you've seen it in action, you'll never build a UI any other way. Enterprise Engines Inc. was eventually sold to another company.

It is some kind of understatement to say that Jeff Eastman had a lot to do with making distributed objects real. Have you seen his advanced deployment framework? I helped him with this product by rebuilding his user interfaces, using the Smalltalk version of the Slamdunk UI framework. The result is smaller, simpler, and easier to maintain when Jeff has his next great idea.

I was the Java Technology Evangelist at Netscape. You can see some of my work there on the Developer Site under Java TechNotes. These articles have since migrated to many places on the web. Also, I was Netscape's featured presenter for the IBM/Sun/Netscape Java World Tour, in which I told developers around the world about building applications with Java. I even got some fan mail from this. (blush)

I taught and consulted in Smalltalk at ParcPlace, now Cincom, for about three years. While there, I developed several really good objects that you will want, including the seminal Slamdunk framework, ValueInterface. I'll be happy to teach you how to use them. I also built LearningWorks for Adele Goldberg. It is a unique educational framework and Smalltalk development environment that is used at the Open University in England.

I developed a graphical language for building television programs. I have a significant body of demo-ware, implemented in Nextstep (Yes, I own a Black Box). Unfortunately, I ran out of money before I could turn it into a product. This work is still unmatched in the field, and may be of interest to someone who is active in the video business.

I developed techniques for Object Programming in C, without the ++. These techniques are based on a naming algebra similar to Charles Simonyi's "Programming in Hungarian". This kind of programming can have significant benefits for people who are interested in writing reliable C code, and I'll be happy to teach you how to do this.

I redesigned the hardware and wrote realtime software for Dyaxis II, a professional digital audio workstation. The original design had lots of computing power, but it was configured in a way that made it impossible to use that power. I fixed that.

I designed and implemented parts of the ACE-25 Video Editor for AMPEX Corporation. I also did a lot of recruiting work for AMPEX. Building first-class engineering teams is one of my special skills.

I designed the TSP-2800 Digital PBX for Time & Space Processing, Inc. This slightly bizarre product was used in strategic bombers and missile silos. I may be wrong, but I believe the company evaporated along with the Soviet menace.

I designed AARON, a communication aid for the severely disabled. This was one of the first commercial uses of Fuzzy Logic. Although the product is outdated and is no longer for sale, some of its technology might still be of interest to someone working in this field.

I was one of the principal designers of the HP-71 handheld computer, which in some ways is still the world's most powerful calculator. I was with Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, Oregon, from 1979 through 1983.

My technical work is aided and abetted by significant experience in writing, theater, and the mechanics of human language and cognition. I'd love to hear about your favorite book, your favorite play, or your Uncle Harry's speech behavior after his stroke.

If you'd like to get in touch with me, my email address is abell@brising.com