Monday 3 November 2008

Delphi bigger than C#? The TComPort history

Just a few years back Delphi's future was uncertain, Borland focused on other products and Delphi was on its way down. Now, the TIOBE index for November indicates that Delphi is number 8, just slightly below C#. Is that really correct?

The TIOBE index is basically a web search index, and some may argue that it basically reflects a very strong Delphi community. However, there are many other signs of a new strength in Delphi.

One of them is the comport project, a 3rd party component for RS232 for Delphi. Originally developed by Dejan Crnila, he eventually moved on in his life, abandoning his original project, and stopped paying for the hosting of his project homepage. Like many other 3rd party components in Delphi, the source code was available, and I asked Dejan if I could move it to SourceForge and save it for those that were still using it.

I moved it, and everything was very quiet for a very long time. Then, the company TurboPower was bought by another company who wanted the developers, abandoning their products. They made really good 3rd party components, and this seemed like a real problem for many, but the good and clever guys at TurboPower managed to Open Source the components. TurboPower Async Pro was one of them, and it did almost the same as the Comport component. I started to recommend the use of Async Pro, in order to avoid spending more time on this - but I kept the sourceforge project page up in order to help out existing projects.

Then, something happened. CodeGear was split off, and put up for sale. Focus on Delphi reemerged. I started to receive e-mails about the comport component. Embarcardero bought CodeGear, and Embarcardero is a company that keeps focusing on Delphi as a product. The number of e-mails about the comport component is continuing to go up. Why would anybody use an old, abandoned component, where the maintainer recommends another product? The reasons seem to be: It's simple, it works, it's free. It solves real-life problems. And even more important: The programmers are starting up new projects based on Delphi.

We now have a new maintainer on the comport component, and a 4.0 beta release.

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