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Borland, 20 yrs and still going...

Looks like Borland Co., (creator of Turbo C++/Pascal, Delphi, Jbuilder etc) is 20 yrs old and still going strong.  I cut my teeth on programming using Turbo Pascal 7.0.  I immediately took a liking to the speedy ide/compile time and the Pascal langauge.  I was fortunate to be able to move onto Delphi, which was a great development tool right from the start (Fast compiler, OOP framework (VCL), Component development, applications compiled to a single exe, etc).  For awhile, many were predicting the demise of Borland, but they always seemed to be able come back from the brink of death (a roller-coaster ride for many borland loyalists).  IMHO, Borland has always been on the cutting edge of creating great development tools but somehow have never been able to translate this into capturing a large market share for their tools. 

Borland Looks Back— and Pushes Forward
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1369444,00.asp

Cletus
Monday, November 03, 2003

I am troubled.

Borland is now picking a fight with the Big Blue, when its battle with Redmond is not quite over.

Furthermore, anecdotal evidence in this and other boards suggests that developers are feeling more and more alienated by Borland.

Good luck to them though.

Tapiwa
Monday, November 03, 2003

"Borland is now picking a fight with the Big Blue, when its battle with Redmond is not quite over."

Unless you're a monopoly, you will always have some to compete against someone in business.  In Borland's case, both of their competitors happen to be beheamoths: MS & IBM. 

Let's not forget that history tells us of one such small company decided to take on two beheamoths (Apple & IBM) in its time and came out victorious: Microsoft.

Cletus
Monday, November 03, 2003

Borland has GREAT products, and most of the time had products which were a lot better than the equivalent Microsoft products.


The one thing that Borland severely lacks is marketing.

They are sadly unable to generate a lot of hype like Microsoft, Sun, and Oracle are capable of.


For example in '95, Delphi 1.0 was way better than both Java 1.0 and VB 4.

C'mon, there was no comparison - comparing Delphi 1.0 with Java 1.0 was like comparing a good Ford car with a broken Yugo or Trabant.

Yet, Sun successfully generated mega-hype, and Borland generated no hype.

Ok - Java was multi-platform, but I'm sure they could make Delphi do that, if they wanted.


Today, C# as a language is a little better than the ObjectPascal language used in Delphi.

As an IDE, Visual Studio .NET 2003 is slightly inferior to Delphi 7. They have different approaches, but .

But when comparing the standard component library that comes with the language - Delphi 7 easily beats Visual Studio .NET by a very large margin, and leaves it bleeding on the road side.

Also, Delphi has a LOT of third party support libraries which Visual Studio .NET lacks. Just visit http://www.torry.net/ , to see the wealth of advanced component libraries available for Delphi!

VS .NET has a lot of XML / web services stuff, but so does Delphi 7! So again, in this area, they are roughly equal.

VS .NET has ASP .NET, Delphi 7 has IntraWeb, which is an equivalent technology.


My conclusion is that Delphi 7 is today a lot more the Visual Studio .NET is.

However, Microsoft generates mega-hype around Visual Studio .NET, and Borland doesn't.


Borland will ultimately lose - or they will have something like 2% of the market for development tools.

MX
Monday, November 03, 2003

Borland has great products, but man, the Visual C++ 2003 compiler is awesome!

Happy to be working
Monday, November 03, 2003

Cletus, as I recall, MS did not compete with IBM... at least not initially. They worked with IBM to get DOS on every PC sold. Were it not for that, the story today might be a lot different.

While you will always have competitors, I think it is a good strategy to pick them wisely.

Someone else alluded to the fact that Borland is awful at marketing their products. IBM can out-market them anyday of the week, and twice on Sunday. BigBlue probably has more salespeople than the entire Borland staff complement.

Tapiwa
Monday, November 03, 2003

I used Delphi for a large project last year.  One thing that frustrated me about the VCL is that (as far as I know) there's no regular expression library.  I hadn't been using it for a while, so it might have just been my fault for not finding it.  In any case, I went ahead and wrote my own regex library but I thought that was a pretty basic thing to have in a standard library.

K
Monday, November 03, 2003

You are right, there is no standard regex library - you have to download one from the net.

But I'm not comparing Delphi with Perl or Python.

I'm comparing Delphi with other products in it's class: Visual C#, Visual Basic 6, Visual Studio .NET.

MX
Monday, November 03, 2003

How about the .NET WinForms DataGrid?

Delphi has a decent grid and has always had a decent grid.

The WinForms grid is like a developer horror movie.

But, I guess people programming in VB are just used to the "lots of major bugs everywhere" approach, and don't mind this.

Jarred
Monday, November 03, 2003

"Cletus, as I recall, MS did not compete with IBM... at least not initially. "

Correct, they hugged them tight and then stuck the knife in.

Laverne
Monday, November 03, 2003

The user community for borland tools is equally as good as borland tools.  You can usually find a component that someone has written for whatever is missing in the IDE.
Also, there are some good librairies out there that extend the IDE (Open Tools API).  These are other Borland unknown great strengths: the user community and extensible IDE.   

Cletus
Monday, November 03, 2003

I cut my teeth on Turbo Pascal 1.0.

Borland's campus rocks. In the Redwood forest 10 min from Santa Cruz. But they sold the building and just lease space now.

No better place to live...if you can afford it.

fool for python
Monday, November 03, 2003

Right now I think Borland is heading off a cliff:

(1) - C++ Builder is kaput.  "CBuilderX" 1.0 is an incomplete cross-platform "technology preview".  It is not done and nobody likes it. 

(2) - The next version of Delphi is .NET only - no Win32.

(3) - C#Builder has debuted to lukewarm reviews and no compelling story has emerged that shows superiority over the Microsoft .NET tools.

(4) - Kylix hasn't been updated in over a year, and it will not install or run on recent Linux distros.

(5) - No commitment from Borland as to the future of Kylix or new patches for Delphi and C++ Builder.  Delphi V7 has never had a service pack. 

This rant is coming from a long-time Borland fan who started out with the first versions of Turbo Pascal and Turbo C.  This time I think they have finally pissed off a great deal of their faithful customer base for good.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Monday, November 03, 2003

I agree completely with the guys who have the Glen Garry leads. Maybe Borland's marketing dept. needs a visit from "Blake". (Need to see the movie Glen Garry Glen Ross to really appreciate what this would mean.)

Borland's marketing and positioning over the years has been both inscrutable and outrageously stupid. For instance, Delphi on Linux was idiocy. It impressed the Slashdotter crowd but *who* in the *hell* is demanding GUI applications for Linux?

The pricing of Delphi and C++Builder is outrageous considering its poor acceptance in maintstream development shops. The useful versions are priced well in excess of the "tinkering threshold.

The generally magnificent advantages of Delphi's language and VCL architecture have been obscured completely by the MS FUD machine.

Borland's story is basically another one of the stories of unfulfilled promise of nirvana that come along to taunt techies every so often. It's "tools done right" but with no clear articulation of business benefits to hook the stupid PHBs who bumble off cloning each other's actions. 

Borland is the company incarnate version of the utterly unemployable laid off geek savant in our economy who knows absolutely everything,  who every recruiter laughs at because he's not stylish enough to get in the door for the interview and won't stop pickin his nose.  "If you want a mental picture of Borland, imagine a nose up a finger... forever."

Borland should be bitch-slapped, pure and simple. Too bad the SEC doesn't prosecute companies for lame, utter stupidity in getting a message out and pricing products fairly and pragmatically.

Bored Bystander
Monday, November 03, 2003

I'm sorry, but anybody who thinks Borland is anything except a shadow of its former self is in denial.

"Borland, 20 years and not quite dead yet."

Oops, that's probably Novell's catch-phrase already.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

> The next version of Delphi is .NET only - no Win32.

From what I understand Delphi 8 (also named Octane) will compile for both .NET and Win32.

I have seen their demo, and in my opinion, there is no advantage of Octane over Visual C#, for .NET development.

And, since Visual C# costs under 100 $, people will buy Visual C#.

Also, there is no point in using ObjectPascal instead of C# for .NET development, if the ObjectPascal environment has no advantage over the C# one.

MX
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Octane (Delphi 8) is .NET only.  Win32 capability will be provided by shipping Delphi 7 in the same box.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Mitch,

What you are saying to me sounds like they will abandon Win32 for Delphi 8 and forward.

Hardly likely that they will abandon Win32 support in their Delphi line of tools.

I take it Octane would be Delphi8 .NET, and then later they will ship Delphi 8 for Win32, maybe they will be sold as 2 products, but I find it very unlikely they will abandon Delphi

Patrik
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Some news today about Borland's strategy:

http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5101428.html

xp.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

MX

But the .NET library includes regex classes, so I think that the comparison is valid.  Anyway it's a minor issue.  Their data set classes fill a larger gap in their competitors' products than is left in theirs by lacking native regex support.

K
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

> Right now I think Borland is heading off a cliff:

You didn't mention JBuilder, which is being severely undercut by IBM's Eclipse.

> I'm sorry, but anybody who thinks Borland is anything except a shadow of its former self is in denial.

Agree 100% -- and with lumping Borland in with Novell, as a "Man, I didn't know they were still alive!" company.

You want to credit someone who's still going strong, look at Apple.

Portabella
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

> It impressed the Slashdotter crowd but *who* in the
> *hell* is demanding GUI applications for Linux?

People who want businesses, users, and industries to use Linux as a desktop operating system or Enterprise-level operating system.  Even Microsoft is developing Rotor for OS X and FreeBSD environments.  Borland to developing a GUI IDE for Linux isn't too crazy.

Andrew Burton
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

> lumping Borland in with Novell

Actually this is unfair to Novell, who have just bought SuSE Linux, so apparently they have *some* strategy in mind.

Portabella
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Some strategy is better than none. Usually. But it's not the same as having a good strategy.

Novell has been running down the Unix path every since Microsoft killed them in the mid 90s with NT. It hasn't panned out for them yet, and it's not likely to pan out for them now. But we'll see...

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Portabella, those are the last kicks of a dying horse.

Remember the mighty Corel. They bought WordPerfect. Also launched a linux distro for good measure.

What happened to them??

Tapiwa
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

> Portabella, those are the last kicks of a dying horse.

Most likely.

Maybe Novell would do better if they changed their name. The name "Inprise" is now free, I hear..... :)

Portabella
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I have used a variety of tools, including Visual C++ 1.52 for Windows 3.1, and Visual C++ 4, 5 and 6, but mainly I'm a Delphi programmer.

Nowadays I'm programming in C#, with Visual Studio .NET. I'm programming both Windows and web (ASP .NET) applications.

The more I learn about .NET and other MS stuff like OLE (because I have to work on some legacy applications), the better Delphi looks.

When I started, I thought that MS finally got their act together.. but while learning, I discover things are very ugly in the MS world


I think Delphi could have made a killing, IF they had excellent marketers.

Borland could have ruled the development world, and instead of Java everywhere, we could have Delphi everywhere.

MX
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The problem is, people just don't know this.

I discover bugs in .NET which, as a developer used to Delphi, seem absolutely horrible and unacceptable.

Yet, people who are used to VB and Java say "Yes, it has a bug, I can live with that bug, it's an acceptable bug".

Yes, Delphi has bugs to, but it has a lot less bugs.

MX
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I find the "Delphi is better!!!1!" comments kind of funny.

Unless I've missed something, Delphi is very limited in scope compared to Visual Studio .NET. Where is the comparable to ASP.NET? Where is the comparable to EnterpriseServices? Where is the comparable to web services and remoting? Where is no-touch rich-client deployment via the web? Where is the web sandbox and the strong security model?

Why is Delphi embracing .NET if it's such a piece of garbage?

The truth is: people on Microsoft platforms use Microsoft development tools. It's been that way, really, for at least a decade. Once Windows came around, Microsoft got really serious about being in the development space.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Thursday, November 06, 2003

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