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The history of iCash and Peggy Première


The iCash development was projected in the late eighties but actually began in the early nineties. The very first version was released by the end of 1991. At the time, it was built to run on Microsoft Windows 3.1 and IBM OS/2. It was coded using the Pascal language. The development of the application continued up to the release of version 2.0 on May 1995.

The application wasn't known as iCash but as 'Peggy Première'. Peggy because of the Muppet Show character and the analogy with a piggy bank. And 'Première' refers to the shooting of the first scene of a movie (it means 'First' in french). Peggy Première was supposed to be the best Personal Finance software at that time. Well at least in Spain, where I was leaving. The software was only available in Spanish, not even in french my mother tongue nor English. There were no international sales projected.

I spent a decade selling Peggy Première, sending 3'5 floppy disks by mail with cash on delivery as the only payment method. The software was advertised by a third party shareware company based in Barcelona. That did not make me rich, it provided some spare money and lot of satisfaction. I am a vocational self taught software engineer and being part of that world was what I always wanted.

In the early nineties I was working for an important Macintosh compatible hardware dealer mainly doing support. I was connected to Applelink, the Apple Computer's online service for dealers and third party developers. I had an email address and access to development news groups. I later got a private Compuserve email address and something similar to a web page. Very few people knew what internet was at that time so I used my internet connection for development purpose only.

I completely stopped Windows programming in 1995 and started with Pascal on Macintosh, then C++ with CodeWarrior until I decided to start developing in Xojo, a cross-platform development environment that was just released a year before or so. I started coding a bulk email software at work, MaxBulk Mailer, in order to send offers to the company customers, I was then in charge of marketing. Then I developed several other email tools I needed, eMail Extractor, eMail Bounce Handler and eMail Verifier.

I started selling software by myself in 2001, thru the maxprog web site and Kagi as the payment processor. I left the company I was working for and I created my own. I needed a Personal Finance software and actually at the end of 2002 I had to spend long periods of time without being connected to the internet so I took my laptop and I decided to resurrect 'Peggy Première'. I no longer had the source code so I had to start from scratch. In a few months I had a working version, using Valentina, a SQL-like relational database management system, rather than a proprietary file format as before. I called it iCash, a contraction of 'Family Cash'. The 'i-' words started to be popular so it made sense. Note that I even own the familycash.com domain!

iCash 1.0 was released on February 11, 2003. The day before my 34th birthday. That first version was in english and for MacOS 9 and MacOS X. Two months later a German version was released, then French, Spanish and up to the current 14 languages. I have released 92 updates in the last 14 years. The Microsoft Windows version was released mid 2014.

So yes, the concept of Peggy Première, is 25 years old and the current iCash is 14 years old. iCash has gone from 68k to PPC, then to Intel, from MacOS 9 to MacOS X, from Carbon to Cocoa, from Windows XP to Windows 10 and now from 32-bit to 64-bit. I have no problem to continue for another 25 years :-)

As a final word let me say that I use all the software I made, including iCash, mainly for running the company, to have an idea on how it is performing, despite iCash was originally developed as a home accounting software.

[UPDATE] You can download Peggy Première 2.0 here. Note that it only works on Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98 and OS/2. Have fun!

Stan Busk - Software Engineer
at www.maxprog.com

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