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John Lim's Bio


My name is John Lim and I run this web site. I'm the person trying to smile on the right. You can contact me at the following email address: "jlim at".

I'm based in KL, Malaysia and work for an IT company, trying to fight the good fight against the Peter principle.

I was born and raised in a Malaysia. Locals will know what I mean when I say I am a penang-lang with a baba background. After I grew up, I went overseas and studied Computer Science and Economics at Melbourne University, Australia. I was only a so-so student - too busy pursuing my other interests. In Australia, I wrote d'Librarian, a disk cataloguing software that won 2nd place for best Australian Macintosh software in 1988 (this was based on votes by readers of Australian MacWorld). I also wrote a popular Mac screensaver, Moire.

I interviewed to work at Microsoft in 1989 in their Mac team. At that time, visiting USA was really difficult because young Malaysians were notorious for overstaying their tourist visas. I was refused a visa for the interview by the US embassy, so Microsoft flew me to Vancouver. The interview didn't work out, so I guess I was never meant to become a Microsoft millionaire.

When i returned from Australia, I spent a couple of years in a networking company, writing real-time networking software. It was the hardest coding i ever did - in real-time programming, many problems cannot be debugged - you just stare at the source code very hard until your eyeballs pop out or you get the answer. I also served as the company's trouble-shooter, and travelled all over SE Asia on company expense. Weekdays were for solving other people's headaches, and I had a lot of great weekends at exotic locales.

Then I went back to developing Mac software. In 1994, I led the team that won the Malaysia's most prestigious software award, the PIKOM software award, for Executive Desktop, an EIS tool for Macintosh and Windows. The same software won an Export Excellence award from the Malaysian Ministry of Internatonal Trade and Industry in 1995.

Since 1998 I've been working on workflow software. Our workflow software, Juris, has the largest market share in the legal and collection industry in Malaysia. Initially the software only ran on Windows. Then I became interested in PHP in 1999 when we were looking for a standard software platform to web enable our workflow applications. I have always believed one of the most important things about writing software is getting the algorithms right; and in PHP, you can focus on the details of the algorithms without worrying about the language getting in the way. In August 2000, I started this weblog as my public notebook on learning PHP - and its grown from that.

As part of our work on the web-based workflow software, we spun off a couple of products and libraries. One such product is a PHP web application generator, phpLens which I'm very proud of. In 2003, the database abstraction library I wrote for this project, ADOdb, won the MNCC Open Source Software award, a competition sponsored by the Malaysian government.

Today, I spend most of my working time with a team of developers, designing Web and Windows applications. How do i get the time to surf and post on this weblog? Well I'm paid to think about technology - that's my excuse anyway.

Disclaimer: The views posted on my weblog are entirely my own, and in no way affiliated to my employers, nor any other body, even if the body is lean and naked.