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Next version of Delphi = .NET only

There is a major stink going on over at the Borland Delphi newsgroups.  Borland has just told the world that the next version of their popular RAD Pascal development tool Delphi will target .NET only - no Win32 API support at all, no native Win32 app development possible.  They will be releasing this thing by the end of the year.

My question to this esteemed group: is this crazy, or does .NET really have that much traction in the deployment plans of developers?

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Friday, October 03, 2003

This is insane. Right now I'm still eying Delphi for some personal projects because I want the static linking. If I want a .Net language, I'll use VS.Net.

Borland has made a strong step forward in proving that it is one of the most clueless companies in the IT field.

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 03, 2003

I thought they might've grabbed a lot of dissatisfied VB users that didn't want to switch to .NET and the .NET runtime.

Guess I'm not as smart as I thought.


Friday, October 03, 2003

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.  Having a product that could target .Net, Win32, and Linux would be a real competitive advantage.  Assuming they keep their current pricing structure, for the price of the Delphi for .Net only, I could get an MSDN subscription.  If I'm doing Windows development, that's not a tough choice to make.


Friday, October 03, 2003

I think they should go .Net. I am just curious how they will maintain the ability to have multiple target platforms (x86 Linux, x86 Windows .Net, Apple PowerPC) once dotnet is supported.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, October 03, 2003

Re-read Borland's letter. The sky is not falling.

They're not dropping Win32 at all. They have just focused 100% of their development efforts on supporting .Net.  The existing support for Win32 remains.  They go on to state that they will make improvements for Win32 in future releases.

Nick
Friday, October 03, 2003

That was my impression, too. Read the letter here:

http://bdn.borland.com/article/0,1410,29951,00.html

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, October 03, 2003

Win32 support will not be in the next version of Delphi.  Trust me.

That letter is not exactly succinct.  It only implies that at some future time Win32 support may be available in a future product.

Not this one though.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Friday, October 03, 2003

I have a hard time believing that it won't support API calls.  I'm a true believer in VB.Net and the .Net Framework approach, but every so often you still need to rely make an API call for some obscure functionality.

Robert Jacobson
Friday, October 03, 2003

The letter says that Win32 support  remains. It is just that all their development focus is on .Net for the next version.


Friday, October 03, 2003

you can already make an API call on .NET with platform invoke.

mb
Friday, October 03, 2003

"you can already make an API call on .NET with platform invoke."

Not if the .NET CLR is not installed.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Friday, October 03, 2003

Earlier this year I contemplated using Delphi for some fat client development work (most of our work is delivered through browser clients). Now I'm really glad that I decided to go with RealBASIC instead.

.NET sucks like a Miele vacuum cleaner. 20Mb runtimes, memory consumption almost as bad as Java, performance that NEEDS gigahertz processors for tasks that used to run just fine on 166Mhz pentiums. Forget it.

HeWhoMustBeConfused
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Wow, Borland is a short-sighted company. First they kill the usefullness of their Basic Delphi edition. Now they are killing the Profession edition. Who is going to feed into their enterprise customer line?

I just purchased a copy of Delphi 7.0 pro specifcally for the statically-linkable easy GUI creation (backend is all portable C++).  Why didn't I just use WinForms and C#? Well...because who in there right mind would ship an end-user application that requires a 20+MB runtime and can be decompiled into source code by anybody with the SDK?

.Net is a great idea for corporate and web apps, but... anyone who has delt with the dependency issues involved with large runtime-based systems built on VB or Java know that you want to support that mess on as few systems as possible.

Brian
Saturday, October 04, 2003

The funny thing about Borland's inept and ineffective courting of PhB vanity is that 20 years ago, Borland was launched as a lean, mean, economical, highly effective alternative to the very expensive and ponderous compilers that existed for the Z-80s (Kaypro & Osborne) and early PCs. Tools like Microsoft's Pascal were expensive and sucked eggs; I recall "Lattice C" for something like $1000.

Turbo Pascal (which is the backreference meant when the Delphi command line compiler spits out "Copyright 1983-200x") was a compact language+IDE that sold for like $50 in '83. I bought a copy, and the thing I immediately noticed was that compile times of comparable programs were similar on my Kaypro and on the VAX at work.

Borland has to be the classical example of talented geeks utterly disconnected from reality dominated by wishful thinking vapid marketing gonads who have absolutely no clue or intuition about tech.

Excuse the rant. It's like the Titanic going down. And it really pisses me off. Even more so than a lot of things do.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Don't spread FUD. Borland IS SUPPORTING Win32 in its next releases of Delphi. AFAIK from the newsgroups.

Sunish
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Here's the latest  from John Kaster

I just got done speaking to Simon Thornhill, and we are updating the
open letter and the Q&A regarding Octane.

There are 4 pieces of information I have been authorized to provide that
will also be in the updated documents:

1. Delphi 7 will be bundled with Octane

2. There will be an update to Delphi for Win32 after Octane ships

3. If you purchase software assurance for the Octane release of Delphi,
you will continue to receive updates to both the .NET and Win32 versions
of Delphi as Borland produces them. This applies as long as you are up
to date with your software assurance for Delphi. It may not apply if
your software assurance lapses

4. In addition to points 1 and 2 above being added to the Octane open
letter, the Octane Q&A will be updated to answer the questions Bob
Dawson posted in the netpreview newsgroup

For further details on these points, you will have to wait for the
updated Open Letter and Q&A

Follow-ups go to borland.public.delphi.non-technical, since this mainly
pertains to new information on the Win32 version of Delphi

--
John Kaster, Borland Developer Relations, http://bdn.borland.com
Don't miss the best BorCon ever! http://info.borland.com/conf2003/
Add a feature/Fix a bug: http://qc.borland.com
Get source: http://codecentral.borland.com

Sunish
Saturday, October 04, 2003

This sort of stuff has happened a few times. They issue a fancy statement, and then, when they see the reaction, they come around saying "Here is what we were really trying to say...". Usually smells of back-pedalling.

<rant>
As for .NET, if its performance is anything like Java, I'd stay away from it for desktop apps (although, in a couple of years that probably won't be an option anymore). I don't remember what is my machine's processor at work, but I have only 192 MB memory (Compaq machine with a motherboard that has only two memory slots), and when I run JBuilder and DBVisualizer (a java DB client, +/- similar to MS Query Analizer), the disk goes into "rave mode", the HD light is constantly flashing.

Yes, I know that there are some fine examples of properly built Java desktop apps. So far, they're the exception to the rule.

Also, it raises the question of how much work is involved in creating a truly performing Java desktop app. If I'm making a small app to manage my image collection, or to edit chord files, or to manage the creation of RPG characters, the last thing I need is to waste time profiling it to death, and investigating how to get the "extra juice" out of the UI library. It's not worth it.
</rant>

--
"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Saturday, October 04, 2003

When Borland stated in April 2003:
"Octane will be based on a new Windows-based IDE core that is designed to host multiple Win32 and .NET development systems. The same IDE will support both Win32 and .NET development with the same IDE experience."

I was laughing out load at all the VB guys that got stuck with VB6 to do Win32 stuff. Microsoft forced their developers to .NET, while Borland proclaimed to be the Switzerland of software development by targeting Win32, Linux and .NET from one environment.

Then 2 days ago they changed their open letter to:
"we have increased our focus on .NET technology in Octane, - the next Delphi release - to 100%. This is an adjustment to our previously published plan which had included an update to our Win32 Delphi technology in the Octane release."

No Win32 in the next Delphi...
Boy was I shocked. Here's a terrific opportunity to provide an product that reduces my risk by targeting all environments and they choose to do .NET only... If I want .NET only, I'll use MS C#. And why would I want to increase my product's download size from 2MB to 25MB? Or let anyone easily reverse engineer my source code? No way, I'm going to leave Win32 for the next few years. The main attraction of using Delphi is that they promised to target Linux, Win32 and .NET.

Trying to put out the current fire they now state: "There will be an update to Delphi for Win32 after Octane ships."

So what is an update? Is it a new product or just a service pack? It's interesting to note that Delphi 7 contains several severe bugs and that Borland gets a lot of flack from their users, because in more than a year they never released a service pack for the Delphi core. All this, because they are working on the latest technology du jour. Instead of firing, Borland is covering.

Several people asked in the newsgroups "is an update a patch or a new version?". Response from Borland (John Kaster) "It is an update for Delphi Win32. That's all the information I can provide.". Even after the current mess they will not state: "There will be a new Delphi for 32 version which is not a service pack". And noticing that Borland calls their service packs updates, this does not provide great confidence.

As a very loyal and vocal Delphi supporter (I have been called a zealot), I never thought I'd say this, but I feel like Delphi 7 is the end of the line. Borland Pascal/Delphi became popular because it was created by geeks for geeks. Now it is created by managers for geeks driven by stock holders that cut Win32, because it is not sexy. They want to focus on .NET, XML, SOAP, UML, [latest technology du jour here], because they think that it will drive up the stock prices. No, mister Borland CEO, developers loyalty is what kept Borland alive. And you just killed it.

I just bought "Python in a nutshell", because I'm already looking around for an new environment that just strives to be the best platform for developers and is not driven by politics or short term financial gains. Open source seems to be better fitted to provide this than commercial companies.

jan Derk
Saturday, October 04, 2003

>As for .NET, if its performance is anything like Java, I'd stay away from it for desktop apps .... <

.Net has amazing performance -- it's not anything like Java.  I was a VB6 developer and avoided it for a while because I was skittish about performance issues -- I thought it would be like Java.  I was completely wrong -- its performance is many times faster than VB6.  In tight VB.Net or C# code, it typically comes close (within 30 or 40%) of native C++ code.  It's an amazing platform for building desktop apps.

The only major downside is that you have to redistribute the 20MB .Net Framework to clients (or have the clients download it through Windows Update if they don't already have it.)  However, that's only a real problem if your clients are downloading your app through 56K modems.  If they're downloading through broadband, or if your distributing your app on a CD, an extra 20MB is trivial.

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Borland is a totally schtizophrenic company. At one end, they are pushing Delphi / Kylix as the end all be all of cross-platform development, especially with regard to Linux. Then they are brown-nosing Microsoft with their support of .NET, and then they are also doing a third thing, with C++BuilderX, which they are pushing wxWindows as the cross-platform native code solution solution.

Will these guys finally make up their mind? They seem like they are operating three companies under one roof.

None of their products, except Delphi, are worth anything. They are all incomplete and non-standard. The fact that they are now screwing around with Delphi, their bread-and-butter platform, can only mean that Borland will screw it up, and the company will cease to exist beyond 2004.

Phillipe.Chaka.Kahn
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Borland derives something around 50+% of their total revenue from JBuilder, their Java RAD tool.  So really JBuilder is their "bread and butter" product.

Don't expect to hear anything about Kylix from Borland in the future.  They are already acting like it doesn't exist - the last RH distro Kylix supports is 7.x.  That whole product was a total disaster, both quality and sales wise.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Saturday, October 04, 2003

> Will these guys finally make up their mind? They seem like they are operating three companies under one roof.

Er, well does the same apply to that operatiung system company that also sells office productivity software that also gives away browser and email software that also sells video game hardware? If only they would focus maybe they would be more successful!

> None of their products, except Delphi, are worth anything. They are all incomplete and non-standard.

I know what you mean, neither Windows nor Word do exactly what I want, they are incomplete. And also everything is proprietary, non-standard stuff. Totally worthless to anyone. It's a wonder they've survived this long.

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, October 05, 2003

Borland is not abandoning Delphi for Win32.  The new version just won't be delivered together with the .NET version. They plan to deliver it later. I don't expect  this "later" to be more than a few months.
With .NET version they are delivering also Delphi 7 (win32). It should be easy to use the same code in Delphi 7 and Delphi for .NET.

Much much better than VB vs VB.NET

Branko
Monday, October 06, 2003

In April Borland's Open Letter said:

"Helping our customers move into the future without abandoning the past is more than a mantra at Borland. It is a core value, and Octane is a perfect embodiment of this value."

"This is our commitment to the Delphi user community."

"Octane will be based on a new Windows-based IDE core that is designed to host multiple Win32 and .NET development systems. The same IDE will support both Win32 and .NET development with the same IDE experience."

Note the words "Core value", "Commitment" and "will".


A few days ago the letter suddenly changed to:
"we are at the stage where Delphi developers are ready for a full commitment to .NET."

"we have increased our focus on .NET technology in Octane, - the next Delphi release - to 100%. This is an adjustment to our previously published plan which had included an update to our Win32 Delphi technology in the Octane release."

This all coming from a manager whose title changed from "VP RAD Solutions" to "VP .NET Solutions". Can you point me out what part of .NET Solutions refers to Linux or Win32?

jan Derk
Monday, October 06, 2003

Let's face it, Kylix has been a failure for Borland; the main reason being that Linux is still predominantly a server platform. Of course you can developer server-side solutions using Kylix but why would you want to? That's not where its strengths lie.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Monday, October 06, 2003

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