Saturday 13 October 2007

Why Delphi?

I have seen many explanations on why to use a specific software development tool, and I was actually planning to write a post on why we have chosen Delphi as our main software development tool. There are many good reasons to list, however, after attending a number of conferences, and hearing about several companies who switched tools years into the project, from C++ to .net, from .net to Java and others, I need to write it in a different way.

The choice of tool depends on the problem that you try to solve. You need to ask yourself, what the problem is. If you're doing commercial software development, the problem is usually related to money. You need to ask yourself: Which tool provides most value to the company, in the short run, medium term and in the long run.

That question seems easy, but it isn't. If this question is answered without reading the business plan or involving business strategies, you made a mistake. If the customer's weren't involved in providing information to make the decision, you made a mistake. And once you made a decision, make sure to test this using a Devil's advocate, which is not a software developer. It doesn't need to take a lot of time, but it needs to be done right.

I have one important tip: before evaluating how a tool matches your problems, analyze the tool's features, and sort them into the categories: Critical for solving this problem / nice to have / don't use. The last one is important: it should contain all the features that are in conflict with your business plan, for instance by locking into something you don't want to be locked into, or by storing vital business information in bad ways.

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