About

jonbho-about-photo

My name is Jon Beltran de Heredia. I love too many areas to go into in detail, ranging from stand-up comedy to running or piano music, but I’ve dedicated most of my career to writing software.

These are the areas where I’m most actively working now:

  • Helping people start programming: I see too much effort that could be better pointed for best results. I helped create and teach at U-TAD’s Master’s Degreee in Games Development, and I help newcomers to programming on this blog.
  • Programming tools: I created ViEmu in 2005 and keep improving it for the thousands of active customers worldwide.
  • Game analytics and monetization: I work with DLE analyzing the behavior of millions of players to try and improve engagement and monetization. Many techniques are general rather than game-specific, and I’m planning to apply them to other fields.
  • New approaches to programming: I think our current approaches to programming are fundamentally limited, and we need new paradigms. Hopefully this conviction will turn into usable tools at some point in the (near) future.

Over the nearly 25 years I’ve been a professional programmer, I’ve done significant work in the following areas, often creating original foundational software:

  • Game development in general
  • 2D and 3D graphics, both realtime and otherwise
  • Artificial Intelligence for games
  • Parsers, compilers and VMs
  • Communication systems
  • Parallel and distributed systems
  • Editing and programming tools
  • Analytics
  • Natural language processing
  • Databases
  • Web application development
  • Development team leadership
  • Large-project development
  • Technical writing
  • Training and teaching
  • Software sales and marketing

I started learning to program around 1986, with an 8-bit Sinclair ZX Spectrum: all Basic and Z80 “machine code,” as it was called back then. I wanted to make my own games. Very soon, I was also learning about other areas of programming.

Over the years I learned a lot a lot about programming. Z80 assembly language, C, C++, 2D and 3D math, statistics, parsing, languages, databases, distributed systems, AI… Attracted by the awesome graphics and the programming between them, I also took part in the PC demoscene as Yann/Iguana. You can still watch some of our productions on Youtube.

I started my first software company in 1994 while in college. In that same year I also wrote a book on x86 assembly language (in Spanish). This was actually the book I would have liked to have when I was learning, always my motivation for teaching. It proved pretty popular in Spanish-speaking colleges and universities for over 10 years.

In 1997, eager to actually make things, I dropped out of college, and became a professional game developer joining the Commandos team at Pyro Studios. I was the lead dev for the Commandos 1 & 2 games on PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox (sharing the dev lead with Javier Arévalo).

After ten full-time years in the games industry, I switched my focus to other types of software products, where it was easier to go fully independent – I started my own company Symnum Systems to host my projects. The best-known product I created is ViEmu, a vi/vim emulator for Visual Studio, Xcode, and more. First released in 2005, I still keep maintaining and improving it almost 10 years later, and it keeps enjoying modest but sustained commercial success. With ViEmu and other technology projects I’ve created and launched, I’ve learned a huge amount about the business of software and software marketing.

The last few years I’ve specialized in analytics, and I’m looking forward to go deeper in this fascinating field.

These days I’m based in Barcelona, where I like to perform stand-up comedy in between software sessions.

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jonbho, or feel free to email me.