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ESCAPE TECH

Escape mourns the loss of Danis Georgiadis

Jordan "Danis" Georgiadis (b. 1961) was born, raised and lived all his life in Thessaloniki.

He obtained his degree in Mathematics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and further educated himself in programming through liberal studies and countless hours of solitary work. While still serving his military service, he suffered the tragic loss of his father in a road accident.

Danis had been a devoted enthusiast since the early days of the microcomputer era. Back in those times, of no internet, no web, no easy way for exchanging information and ideas, even of access to a hard disk being a luxury few could afford, Danis would always be found amid like-minded pioneers enjoying learning and exploring the brave new world of information technology. Several of these people were offered office space by the local Apple reseller and became acquainted with Apple's products and the great software that was being written for them, including Laurent Ribardière's 4th Dimension.

During his 35-year-long career, Danis architected and developed dozens of innovative programs in Hypercard, TurboPascal, Omnis, MacApp, 4th Dimension, C, C++, Objective C, Cocoa, Python etc, many of which were turned into commercial systems that served for many years in demanding professional and industrial environments. Regardless of the programming environment, his work was neat, efficient and meticulous, resulting in clean, well-architected, high-quality code.

Escape

In 1991 Danis joined Christos Konidaris and Christos Pistofidis in co-founding Escape, initially a systems house that was integrating and selling Mac-based systems and consultancy services with a strong expertise in desktop publishing. Escape soon became ACI distributor and delved into 4D programming aiming to create a developer community in Greece that would subsequently generate sales for 4D. In this context, Danis quickly became a 4D developer but was quickly attracted by plug-ins, an area that allowed him to combine his 4D knowledge with what he liked and did best, native programming.

QuickTime

In 1996, while a member of QuickTime 3's private beta team, Danis saw that QuickTime 3 could offer cross-platform image handling also within 4D databases, a problem that lacked a decent solution despite several efforts by third parties. This led to the creation of the legendary QPix, a part of 4D's success story for more than 20 years. QPix was first released for Mac and, as soon as QuickTime Windows became available in 1998, also for Windows.

His deep understanding of 4D, plug-ins and QuickTime, enabled Danis to go on and bridge 4D with more parts of the QuickTime architecture, leading to the creation of QMedia and, later, QMedical. During the same period the plug-in line was enriched with other plug-ins, such as QGrid and QDrop, helping establish Escape's reputation as a serious plug-in publisher.

By 2015, QuickTime, a 32-bit technology, had become a dinosaur out of its time and not serving its purpose. When Apple ceased supporting QuickTime Windows in 2016, it was made clear that the plug-ins that relied on it had to evolve.

The Q2 generation

In the meantime, Danis was quietly researching options and completing a complex puzzle that would result in Q2Pix, the first of a new generation of advanced 4D add-ons. The Q2 architecture walked away from the all-inclusive, monolithic plug-in into a modern collection of heterogeneous pieces. Emphasis was put on using 4D's newest features and implementing most parts in 4D components, leaving the plug-in as bare-bones as possible. In this way 4D's cross-platform capabilities were put to good use, the GUI was unified automatically across platforms, while speed, maintenance and stability were vastly improved. After almost 3 years of intense research and development, Q2Pix was ready in late 2017. The Q2 family also comprises Q2Media and Q2Player, two Mac-only add-ons that have been used in custom projects and were not meant to be made publicly available.

Personality and legacy

While being generally perceived as carefree and easy-going, Danis was adamant about his principles and as beautifully complex a person as the code he wrote. He was a free-spirited and self-sufficient man, who adhered to high standards in his work and relations. He pursued his goals with patience and perseverance, always thinking out of the box, intellectually curious, respectful and discreet. When not programming, he enjoyed playing bluegrass mandolin with his pals, building his own gadgets with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and riding his bike on long, often solitary trips through Europe on the way to some Moto Grand Prix or music festival venue.

When his life was suddenly and prematurely cut short, Danis had almost completed Q2Pix 1.1, a release with new features that dropped support of 32-bit architectures. He was also working quietly, if not secretly, on two pet projects, a 4D-Python bridge and an advanced cross-reference tool for 4D code, which he once described as "Insider on steroids".

His relationship with 4D had been one of skeptical appreciation. While acknowledging its power, flexibility, ease of use and ultimate usefulness, he was turned off to see it lag behind or not work in the exact way he was expecting it to. His skepticism started to retreat with v16 though: he loved the latest versions so much, that, contrary to prior conservatism, he was in a hurry to use the new features in his plug-ins!



Our partner of 31 years and friend of a lifetime left this world aged 61 on Wednesday, October 19, while working at his desk. He is survived by his younger brother, Sakis, a graphic designer and illustrator. We will miss him dearly, as will the international 4D community, whose he has been a quiet yet distinguished member for many years.

Rest in peace, dear Danis!