The people at CodeGear have done something cool: They now officially support the mono project, which supports a wide range of CPU architectures.
I was one of those that evaluated the Kylix product, and actually used it for production code (non-GUI, server side), which still runs. Kylix's main problem was, that it only supported i386, and the basic concept in Kylix did not indicate that this would change any time soon. It was really cool to use Kylix for non-GUI apps on Linux, because the apps were fast, the tool was productive, and everything worked with Unicode (utf-8). However, it was clear from the start that the concept was flawed, and I only used Kylix because there was no realistic alternative for that very special project.
Now, CodeGear delivers cross platform technology, supporting both Microsoft and Open Source platforms. This means that the king of GUI development now supports many kinds of server-side and embedded development, and that CodeGear has a cool platform for things to come. We can even make our source code run on a Mac or Nintendo Wii now.
This should not be considered to be a minor product. In order to exploit a business opportunity, you need to be in a position from where you can do it, and Delphi Prism seems to provide a good position for Embarcadero.
Even if the product is good and "multi platform", Prims starts with no community of users. Add the fact that previous delphi.net users where left with an unmantained product...
Will be hard, from my POV!
It is obvious that nobody will invest long-term money in Prism development until they have proven that it is a long term product.
In the Danish CodeGear user group, we had long discussions on .net vs. Win32, and WinForms vs. VCL.net. The conclusion was, that .net wasn't obvious for real life development, simply because the legacy of Win32 made it more capable. Microsoft managed to get many developers move to .net simply by abandoning their existing developers, making .net the only viable choice. Many Microsoft developers now struggle with unsupported VB6 etc. CodeGear did not abandon its developers, and therefore Delphi/Win32 kept staying much better than the .net choice.
If you want to avoid the risk of being abandoned, the only real choice is Open Source, which means C/C++, Java and Mono. However, all have issues and if you want to make your products have an advantage in the market, they're not obvious choices either.
The world of programming tools is going to change a lot during the next 10 years, because of the changes in CPU architecture. I believe that we will have less focus on OOP. And the question is, will Java change fast enough? Will Microsoft's urge to earn money on selling software influence their loyalty to software developers?
Take my case in consideration, we pushed management to work with Delphi.Net instead of C#. We started several projects in ASP.Net 2.0 and we were hopeful that CodeGear will continue their support on it based on all their noise.
Now, we are left behind, and we need to go ahead and learn a new variation of Pascal, and stop reusing our code. The question that its being raised now is, why start learning and changing things to match this new thing when we could just go ahead and go through the same pain but with C#?
There is no way to defend against that, end of the road for any .Net development with Delphi.
Sad moment, I guess it was their only choice, but, a deadly one. The small Delphi.net community that they built will now go away for sure.
If you don't want to upgrade to newer .net versions, you can always stick with your existing development tools.
I use Delphi .NET (BDS 2006) because I want to use ECO. I had no choice but am forced to use C# after a project in Delphi .NET due to the extremely unstable IDE when using Delphi. NET with WinForms. Delphi 2007 dropped C#/WinForms but VCL .NET started working with ECO, ok not a big deal. But now? Delphi .NET is dead. Prism is not Delphi .NET and I am going to the evil M$ camp now.
Does ECO work with Microsoft tools?
Microsoft rewrites Workflow Foundation from the scratch:
It will be shipped with .Net 4.0 and will not be compatible with current Workflow Foundation Code.
ECO 4 does work with MS Visual Studio and I think it is the preferred way for most ECO developers nowadays.
I see Prism as a rescue operation for the Delphi.Net debacle. I wouldn't call it multi platform just because it targets .Net/Mono. This platform will shift and change over time and there is no guarantee that PC manufacturers, driver and kernel developers will ensure .Net versions available today will work on PCs in 5 years.
For serious work, I am reluctant to build on shifting sands.
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