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How it all started

SuperClerk was our first software package. Launched in 1980, this All-in-One small business solution combined full ledger accounts with a simple database, spreadsheet, wordprocessor; and with Notepads, calculator, typewriter function, addressbook, alarm clock, etc, etc. It sold for 999.

SuperClerk ran on the Commodore PET computer . It relied on the excellent Business ROM (from JCL Software) which added a library of business related commands to the BASIC language. To stop illegal copies being used, SuperClerk needed a "dongle".

Commodore UK Ltd were impressed by SuperClerk, and they paid JCL Software and ourselves to produce a cut-down version for them to sell under the name MicroClerk for their new 128 Computer. As soon as the product was completed, Commodore USA had a management change and the new boss decided not to sell business software; as far as we know there are thousands of MicroClerk packages still sitting in a large warehouse... (we got paid anyway)

By this time, 1984, the IBM PC was becoming popular and so we sat down to rewrite SuperClerk (by then renamed SuperExec because dealers thought sounded better...) for the IBM PC. The first step was to produce our own business programming language; this was done with Keyboard Productions Ltd and an American Company called APC; using the brilliant MegaBASIC language (a truly outstanding but un-recognised product, way ahead of its time).

The new product was called ABC and launched in 1987 with retail price of 149. About 10,000 copies were given away free by DIXONs (bundled with the AMSTRAD 1512 PC - still with 360k floppies), and versions were also produced for USA, South Africa, Australia, Holland, France, Belgium, Germany and licensed to distributors in those countries.

ABC version 2 was basically ABC1 repackaged by our Distributor (ABC Systems Ltd in Sutton) as an excuse to raise the price to 249. By this time they had ceased to pay us for the packages they were manufacturing and selling, so we had lost interest......  ABC version 3 was essentially ABC1 with some networking functions added by our programmer Paul Southcott, for experimental testing by a few users only. (but Paul later set up his own company, and -- illegally -- took the source code with him and repackaged ABC3 as "his own" product called ABC+. After his UK company TreeRiver Ltd went bust, he moved to Alderney in the Channel Islands and continued to sell the same product under the name AE Office (Alderney Enterprises).   We hope his mouse leaps off the table and bites him, for his crimes of software piracy, and misuse of our customer mailing list.

We released the first truly new version of ABC in 1990 -- that was ABC4 with recommended retail price of 299. Add-on Modules were produced for ABC4, including WorkSheets, Invoice & Statement Design, Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing, Vehicle Maintenance, and of course Payroll. Updates for ABC4 were produced over the years, the final one being ABC4.009. A proper network version of ABC4 was released in 1993, and proved very robust and troublefree -- until Windows95 came along......

ABC5 was largely rewritten from scratch to make it work well under Windows95 and 98, and to make it Year 2000 compliant. It was released in December 1998. ABC5 was updated regularly until 2005, and it works well under Windows XP. But not under Vista or Windows7.

The Current version is ABC6 -- a Windows version of ABC, with a modern MS Office 2007 user interface (licensed from Microsoft). This can automatically import all data from earlier versions. With the internet growing in importance in the way we communicate, it is possible that future bookkeeping software will look and behave in a very different manner. Just be assured that our products will always stay a year or two behind that cutting edge of technology.

If you are using any older version of ABC (or one of its copies) you are invited to upgrade to the latest version of our software; we will even give you a discount.


 

Chris Hicks designed Superclerk and continues to work on ABC6

SuperClerk Accounts)

SuperClerk picture

On sale in 1980.

The Commodore PET computer

picture of CBM PET

This had 32k RAM. 360k floppy disk drives were an extra at 1000.

A dongle

picture of a dongle

Without this little device plugged into the computer, SuperClerk would not run.

MicroClerk Accounts

MicroClerk picture

A junior version of SuperClerk

ABC version 1

ABC1 in grey box

First version of ABC, 1987

ABC version 2

ABC2 in black box

ABC version 4

ABC4 box

ABC version 5

ABC5 box

Released 1998. Still a DOS program.

ABC version 6

ABC6 box

Written in Visual Basic

Chris Hicks

Chris Hicks

Designer of SuperClerk and ABC


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