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About Us

This is the requisite page tells you, in a nutshell ("Help, I'm in a nutshell!), what Hentzenwerke does and why you might care. It also details the fascinating story of the founder, including what he had for breakfast this morning, and the various conquests that the Company (yes, that's capital 'C' to you!) has made during its long, thrilling history.



Custom Software Development

Boring stuff about Hentzenwerke


Welcome to Hentzenwerke. We're a small family-run business, specializing in custom software development and technical book publishing. You probably won't find all the glitz and fancy features that some of the big guys have on their web sites, but you should expect friendly, personalized service and a better quality product.


Our mission is to produce great books for serious developers. Not simply books that are satisfactory, or OK, or good enough. We want the reader to hold up every book of ours and say, "This is a GREAT book!" We don't have quotas or artificial deadlines imposed by the beancounters in another city. We just want to produce great books.

Custom software development

We've been writing custom software applications for over two decades. For most of that period, our primary tool has been Visual FoxPro. Due to Microsoft's neglect at marketing VFP, the market for new applications pretty much tanked over the past few years, and the opportunities for Linux have grown significantly over the same time, so while I'm still building apps with VFP when there's a call to, I'm spending most of my time in a growth market - custom business applications on Linux.

Boring stuff about Hentzenwerke

Hentzenwerke was started in 1982 after Whil Hentzen realized that he wasn't going to become president of his first employer out of school, a 110 year old machine tool maker that rewarded seniority above everything else (like competence, or having a pulse) before he was 30. (BTW, that former Fortune 300 company has now laid off 90% of their employees and the closest they've gotten to the Fortune 500 in the past ten years was when their CEO walked by the magazine in the local drugstore. Bitter? Ha! Not any longer...)

So, the thinking went, if you can't rise to the top, why not start at the top, and fill the organizational chart from there?

At the same time, the IBM PC had just been introduced, and he had taught a couple of night-school classes on Lotus 1-2-3 for a friend at a local community college. Seeing how these companies were desperate for training on this new-fangled software, he decided to go into business for himself, and, with his wife, Linda, set up a training company that did corporate training and, shortly thereafter, PC programming using dBASE II.

Years passed.

People were hired, people quit, and neither the Reds nor the Bengals could win a championship all decade. Family issues (sick parents, new babies) drove a move back to Whil's hometown, Milwaukee, where he set up camp all over again, but this time strictly as a software developer, using dBASE's much superior replacement, FoxPro.

An off-hand comment by Adam Green led Whil to discover Compuserve, and within a couple of years, he was one of the most frequent posters in the FoxForum. He started writing for FoxTalk, the leading publication for FoxPro, then became a columnist, and then editor. (Visit for more info about FoxTalk. There's my plug.) In that timeframe, he wrote Rapid Application Development with FoxPro 2.6, a 125 page book published and marketed by Pinnacle.

A year later he wrote the introductory volume for Microsoft Visual FoxPro 3.0, Programming Visual FoxPro 3.0, for Ziff-Davis, the folks who at the time published PC Magazine. This 900 page behemoth became the standard text for anyone learning Visual FoxPro, and still sells an occasional copy seven years later.

At the same time, he was building a software development shop centered around FoxPro, eventually growing to a half-dozen folks, and handling multiple six-figure projects for a variety of companies around the Midwest.

The 3.0 book led to his first self-publication effort, the 1997 Developer's Guide, which in turn led to a full-fledged publishing company being formed for the production of a series of Visual FoxPro 6.0 books. The success of those books has resulted in the addition of more titles, to the point where Hentzenwerke Publishing has several dozen titles under its belt.

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