Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Delphi in a long term perspective

I've just come back from the Copenhagen conference with Jim McKeeth. The main topic was Delphi Prism, but also a bit of Delphi 2010. It was a very nice event, Jim presented the topic well, David I from Embarcadero and Marc Hoffman from Remobjects joined online, and the Danish distributor was also present with Ole from Nohau. On top of that, we celebrated 20 year anniversary for the Danish user group, and several of the attendees have known the Delphi product range since before Borland got involved.

Looking back in history, the Delphi product line has always had ups and downs. I still remember the switch from Poly Pascal to Turbo Pascal 1.0 - it really seemed like anything else than an improvement, but fortunately Borland quickly added new features that made a huge difference. The entrance into Windows was a catastrophe, Turbo Pascal for Windows was really awful (it was basically a C/C++ like solution, very unproductive). Then, Delphi emerged, and everything was supercool. Similarly, and maybe predictably, the first attempts at doing Linux and Microsoft .net were awful.

Now, Embarcadero's Delphi Prism provides added value compared to Microsoft's tools, and they are able to keep up with the latest Microsoft technologies. They also realized that native Delphi is everything else than dead, and have provided a roadmap that positions Delphi as the best choice for many business models.

It seems that the history has always been that it took a little while to adapt to new surroundings, but it has always been worth waiting for, and if you wrote your code nicely, it could be moved easily. I expect that we can soon take source code, written in 1982 on a CP/M computer using Zilog Z80 CPU, and run it on Google Chrome OS.


Raymond Wilson said...

You are correct - one of the most important benefits of Delphi has been the ability to take your source code and, with the exception of the occasional obsoleted language feature, compile it.

Unfortunately, Delphi Prism is an exception to that rule as it does not compile Object Pascal (hopefully this might be fixed sometime in the future).

Don't get me wrong, Delphi Prism looks like a very useful tool - I'd just rather not rewrite 1,000,000+ lines of code to be able to use it.

Rif said...

"I still remember the switch from Poly Pascal to Turbo Pascal 1.0 - it really seemed like anything else than an improvement"

I remember Poly Pascal for CP/M, the IDE, well editor+compiler menu, indeed looked more polished than the first versions of Turbo Pascal ;-).

Hilsen Rif