The Corvette Anthology started out as a simple slide show of photos downloaded from the Internet. It was the result of a guy bored with his day job programming in Cobol and looking for a bit more fun and practice in Visual Basic. This hobby, however, quickly turned into a successful business. The Corvette Anthology, along with its seven sister titles including The Mustang Anthology and The Camaro Anthology, are full-fledged multimedia encyclopedia CD-ROMs that have sold to more than 20,000 customers. All the titles are fully licensed by their respective automobile manufacturers and contain hundreds of photos, videos, TV commercials, and
statistics on each model, from the first to the latest.
Harry W. Ilaria, founder of HI-Tech Software, built his anthologies in VB6 using "every nifty technique there is in VB," including playing videos and sound files, saving Registry settings, creating a screen saver, printing RTF files, checking screen resolution, connecting to the Internet, and so on. Ilaria took two years to develop his first title, The Corvette Anthology, whose 1 MB EXE contains 10 modules and thousands of lines of code. Ilaria used InstallShield to create the setup modules, VB HelpWriter from Teletech Systems to develop the help files, and Microsoft FrontPage to create the Web site.
Not only did Ilaria master VB and FrontPage, but he also learned how to market and package a finished product, create a Web site, and deal with the abundant red tape in gaining licensing rights.
Ilaria’s advice to others: "Find a subject you love and then make it your obsession to produce the finest available product relative to that subject." Even the people at Chevrolet use his anthology for reference, and salespeople at the Bill Jacobs Chevrolet dealer in Joliet, Ill., hand out the CDs as appreciation gifts and to entice new customers to bring in their used Corvettes for trade-in evaluations.
In addition to the annual upgrades to each title with the latest car models, Ilaria also plans to add new titles, as well as special DVD versions. —Nicole Pizzurro
You can reach Harry W. Ilaria at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his Web site at