skinner consulting

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About Skinner Consulting

Hello, and welcome to my website. Please allow me to introduce myself: I am John Skinner, database programmer and computer consultant. My company, Skinner Consulting, is a virtual company based in Stuttgart, Germany. Rather than trying to be jack-of-all-trades (and master of none), we work in flexible teams of experts brought together for a particular project. It's not that different from Mercedes buying their car headlights from Bosch: why should a car manufacturer need to know about manufacturing headlights?

My expertise is in three fields: 4th Dimension database programming, Apple Macintosh hardware and operating system software, and Microstation CAD software. I am also proficient at QuarkExpress, Photoshop, Adobe GoLive, RagTime and the Microsoft Office suite, through use on a weekly or daily basis.

Software Development

Although I describe myself primarily as a database programmer, I see it as part of a greater system. Few clients want a database, they want a better way to get their work done. The most important and most difficult part of my service, is to determine just exactly what "better" means — in each particular case.

My current development project is ArtFiler (in German): a database application for cataloging and managing art collections, with modules to support artists, public institutions and the art trade. We plan to release an english-language version in 2003. I have also written several utilities for 4D which may be downloaded here.

I have twice won the 4D Expert award (in 2001 and 2002) for contributions to the german-language Developer Help Forum. To be recognized by fellow developers as an expert, is a great honour.


I offer system-management services to companies which are too small to need a full-time system manager. Once a month, or when problems arise, I go to my clients' offices and — deal with their problems. In whatever form that takes: training staff, installing software or hardware, reconfiguring recalcitrant computers, adding Macs to Windows networks or vice versa.

My consultancy work can be summed up as integration: making sure all the pieces fit together. My work with a client often starts with discussing which operating system would be most appropriate to their needs, and develops over years with them. All my original clients from 1994 (when I moved to Stuttgart) are still clients.

Many of my clients come from architecture and the construction industry, because I share their background and know their needs. Through my work on ArtFiler, I have recently acquired several clients in the arts (galleries and collections, artists, publications).


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Copyright © John Skinner, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2002.11.05