Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




JoS - Delphi...

I hear Delphi mentioned a lot here. How many professional Delphi programmers can there be out there and are most card-carrying JoS'ers?

Note, this is not a scientific test... :)

Monster.com has ~174 Delphi jobs [1] vs ~3290 [2]

Seems like this board has attracted most of them.

This isn't a flame against Delphi, just confused at how the number of people on this board rave about Delphi compared to the (apparent) demand (or lack thereof)
for Delphi programmers...

[1] http://jobsearch.monster.com/jobsearch.asp?q=delphi&sort=rv&vw=b&cy=US&re=14&brd=1%2C1862%2C1863

[2] http://jobsearch.monster.com/jobsearch.asp?q=visual+basic&sort=rv&vw=b&cy=US&re=14&brd=1%2C1862%2C1863

confused
Saturday, November 22, 2003

sorry, comparing Monster.com hits for Delphi (174) vs Visual Basic (3290)

confused
Saturday, November 22, 2003

>> just confused at how the number of people on this board rave about Delphi compared to the (apparent) demand (or lack thereof) for Delphi programmers...

I "are" one of the programmers to whom you're referring and your description of the attitude is pretty accurate.

Delphi developers have a "siege" mentality for several concurrent reasons:

Delphi has been marketed, priced and positioned absolutely horribly from the start. Borland/Inprise literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Most of us are extremely frustrated with this state of affairs. Borland seems to manage to sell enough copies to keep the brand alive but the market penetration in the real world has been weak since Delphi was announced.

Delphi is exceptionally productive for desktop applications, so (IMO) there is not the great demand for developers to compensate for a lame development environment.

Delphi tends to be picked by smaller companies that have well-defined functional reasons for choosing their programming tools. Smaller companies are extremely selective and spotty in their hiring practices. Whereas larger companies make the choice of programming environment a more political issue, and FUD factors ("nobody was ever fired for recommending Microsoft") come into play. So the market demand for Delphi skills has always been extremely weak and spotty.

Technically, Delphi gives you (insert 3 minute infomercial here) on a silver platter.

Basically, most of us are frustrated - it's a superior tool sold by a stupid clueless company that has demonstrated through actions that it doesn't understand its market at all.

So from that frustration there arises a sort of evangelical zeal to be heard.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, November 22, 2003

"Basically, most of us are frustrated - it's a superior tool sold by a stupid clueless company that has demonstrated through actions that it doesn't understand its market at all."

AMEN!  Very well put.

Cletus
Saturday, November 22, 2003

"How many professional Delphi programmers can there be out there "

Perhaps, it's the same guy, with many alter ego's, posting under different aliases :)

Cletus
Saturday, November 22, 2003

With all due respect to Visual Basic (...is that an insult?...) you'll find it under-represented in virtually all "advanced" software development forums. At the same time, fringe technologies like Delphi, Python, etc, get the lion's share of the advocacy.

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, November 22, 2003

A typical software has a lifespan of several years.  The
software tool company better not get bankrupt while
the software it is written in is being maintained.

Borland does not have my trust in this aspect.  Whats
more, it can't even decide on what moniker to adopt.

Amour Tan
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Some people don't use Monster

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, November 22, 2003

hotjobs.com  59 vs 732
dice.com        82 vs 1181

confused
Saturday, November 22, 2003

As with many things in computing.  Popularity is inversely proportional to quality.

Mike
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Delphi is disproportionately popular in Central Europe and Russia. But I'm sure that didn't generate many sales for Borland :-)

Probably the reason is the long tradition of Turbo Pascal for DOS - for several years "programming" meant "Turbo Pascal" and nothing else.

Phoenix
Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm sure that anyone who did a Computer Science major up until the mid 90s (when a couple of years of Pascal was mandatory) felt that Pascal left a bad taste in your mouth. That certainly couldn't have helped Delphi.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Borland have unfortunately never seemed to really have a plan. There's a saying that goes "Better a bad plan than no plan at all", but unfortunately Borland don't appear to have heard it.

Or their plan is so bad that it just appears they don't have one ...

Sum Dum Gai
Sunday, November 23, 2003

When Delphi first came out there sure seemed like there were a lot of young PC desktop developers who were interested in this product.  The problem is that you can't just produce a superior software development environment and expect the corporate business to embrace it.

Most schools at the time taught VB, C++, mainframe technology, etc. -- not Pascal.  In the early to mid 1990s, cheap programming labor in the United States primarily consisted of recent college graduates.  Since many of those graduating students weren't officially (by taking a class) exposed to Delphi while in school ....

Imo, among many other things Borland should have given their product away for free to all educational type of institutions.  Also, I think it would have helped Borland if they had initially dumped the product onto the market at a severely discounted price.

My feeling is that Delphi is primarily being used a lot nowadays by hobbyists and shareware type software developers (i.e. people who are independent in some manner) in the United States.  This type of software developer is much more likely to visit a forum such as this one then say your typical overworked, stressed out, business application developer.  The last thing your average joe programmer wants to do is learn yet another programming language and set of development tools.

One Programmer's Opinion
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Delphi is also quite popular among vertical market software vendors.  Such companies tend to have a small number of developers, and also tend to keep quiet about their use of Delphi.  They may be perfectly content that their competitors and customers assume they are using something else.

Kyle Cordes (kylecordes.com)
Sunday, November 23, 2003

The rabid advocacy comes from another factor as well.  As far as a development model and environment go, Borland does understand what's needed, and Microsoft doesn't.  Any of the Borland tools are easier to use and produce a good looking app than anything Microsoft puts out.

If you've tried to use Visual C++, you'll understand.  That product is exceptionally non-visual.  Snag Delphi or C++ Builder and you'll see that it's pretty trivial to build a good looking, even driven app.  Borland's tools knock Microsoft's tools down and take their lunch money on a daily basis.

Clay Dowling
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Delphi gives the power of VC and ease of VB for the developer, but alas in how its marketed its neither the power of VC or VB

Mostly delphi is used by one man companies who don't at all recruit people via monster or whatever

Sunish
Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm a VB.Net/C# developer.  I have no experience with Delphi -- it sounds like a fine language, but I don't have a compelling reason to switch.

A few months ago I had some legacy Pascal code that I wanted to play around with, so I downloaded a trial version of Delphi from Borland.  Being used to Visual Studio, the Delphi IDE looked rather... well... quirky.  The strangest thing, IMO, was how instead of using a standard MDI interface, it had one window for the menu/toolbars and separate, independent windows for code modules.  (Maybe there's a way to get an MDI interface, but I couldn't find it.)  It gave me an unpleasant first impression.

Just my two cents...

Robert Jacobson
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Being one of those 1 man shop already mentioned on this board, I feel strongly toward Delphi and the productivity boost it gives me. I can say though that I am impressed with the job Borland is doing. And in fact, in a year or two, as .NET goes mainstream probably will use Delphi Octane to migrate my code to .NET and embrace C#.

Time will tell. Borland sucks, Delphi clearly not.

jcm
Sunday, November 23, 2003

> Delphi is disproportionately popular in
> Central Europe and Russia.

Yes, because the companies in East Europe didn't have a lot of legacy programs.

If somebody has 5 million lines of code written in VB, they won't switch to Delphi - they will stick with VB.

However, if somebody starts development from scratch, then you can compare and choose the best tool.

This is why Delphi is used a lot in East Europe - people started development from scratch, and they choosen the best tool.


> But I'm sure that didn't generate many sales for
> Borland :-)

Yes, because the cost of Delphi is A LOT higher than the average programmer's monthly income.

Also, at least in my country, the importers don't import the "lower" versions like Delphi Professional or Delphi Developer - they only import Delphi Enterprise because it costs over 1000 $.

Companies buy it, tough.


> I'm sure that anyone who did a Computer Science
> major up until the mid 90s (when a couple of years
> of Pascal was mandatory) felt that Pascal left a bad
> taste in your mouth. That certainly couldn't have
> helped Delphi.

Delphi doesn't use the "classic" Pascal, but the "new" ObjectPascal.

ObjectPascal corrects almost all the problems in "classic" Pascal, and adds lots of advantages - for example, an object model very similar to Java's.

Other advantages of Delphi are:

- very powerful, high level language which compiles to machine code which gives you speeds comparable to C++

- LOTS of third party components and libraries - check out http://www.torry.net/ for a comprehensive library


However, Borland markets like sh#t. :-(

developer in Eastern Europe
Monday, November 24, 2003

The Torry site above is specialized in components and contains 8353 products by 4044 authors!

That's impressive.

Jamie
Monday, November 24, 2003

Also, the fact that Delphi is NOT an MDI development environment is an advantage, not an disadvantage.

To me, VS. NET feels quirky BECAUSE it is MDI.

:-(

Jamie
Monday, November 24, 2003

"As with many things in computing.  Popularity is inversely proportional to quality"

So that's why nobody wants to hire me...


Monday, November 24, 2003

Robert Jacobsen,

VS.NET and C# are the brainchild of Anders Helsburg(misspelled) who was also the father of Delphi.

Imagine if VS.NET compiled C# programs in 1/4 the time it currently takes and you could distribute the entire program as a single, small executable (no smaller than ~1.2MB though).  That's Delphi.

C# maps pretty close to 1:1 with Delphi, as a language.

Richard Ponton
Monday, November 24, 2003

Again, it sounds like a great language -- I've heard nothing but good things about it.  Just a strange (IMO) IDE.

Robert Jacobson
Monday, November 24, 2003

I'm one of those nuts who doesn't care that C++ or Perl or Oracle would make me more "marketable".  I've used them all (and will NEVER go back to C++ - never ever!) and I like to do Win32 work with Delphi.

I have had tremendous pressure to switch to C on Sun/AIX/you name it, but I refuse--because I like to get stuff done.

Delphi Professional typically costs about $300.  I'll probably skip Delphi 7 & 8 and stick with v6 for now because, at this time, I have no interest in .NET stuff.

I think of Delphi as a Boeing 757 with no passengers nor cargo aboard, and with full tanks of fuel.  Most of the time, it works like a rocket, but every so often, the weather, I mean Windows, steps in to ruin the day.

I happen to have a BS & MS in computer science also, but almost all of my school work was on mainframes.  (I'd really rather not go back to that world.)  The first time I used Turbo Pascal, I was like "This is not MS C and Assember!" (I think that was what it was called...)

So I'll stick with Delphi until noone wants my services anymore.  Then I'll switch to dog walking, because I've made a killing using Delphi while the VC++ guys were simply trying to get VC++ installed without blowing up their machines....

Steve Forest
Monday, November 24, 2003

Well if you've heard *nothing* but good things about it, then you haven't investigated enough ;).

VS.NET and C# are going to seem a little more refined and less quirky because they are fresh.  They are brand new tools that were designed not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Delphi does have a few quirks.  I haven't used it in a long time.  But those quirks are probably there for backwards compatibility and for compile-speed (which was not a requirement in the design of C# due to today's super-fast computers).

Also, Delphi occaisionally has to deal with the realities of a native environment, whereas VB and .NET apps run in their own little imaginary perfect world where there's no such thing as an IRQ.

I wouldn't use Delphi today because it's expensive and its future is uncertain as Borland continues to have no clear vision.

Richard Ponton
Monday, November 24, 2003

> VS.NET and C# are going to seem a little
> more refined and less quirky because they
> are fresh.  They are brand new tools that
> were designed not to repeat the mistakes
> of the past.

Yes.. I have thought of this, too.

I am a Delphi programmer. I the past, I also used Visual C++, C, Python, etc.

I choose Delphi because of it's high productivity.


However, since the market seems to demand other languages, I have tried to switch to C# and WinForms.

C# is a fine language - better than Delphi's ObjectPascal

GDI+ is a fine graphics library


But.. the WinForms controls that come with VS .NET are insufficient and horrific.

Yes - maybe you pay $ 300 for Delphi, but at least it has a good set of controls - a lot more controls than WinForms, and a lot better!

Also.. the VS .NET controls have "lots of very bad bugs everywhere".

The controls that come with Delphi have some bugs.. but they are very little, and very few, compared to the WinForms bugs which are almost show-stoppers.


An interesting thing is that the developers who were not exposed to Delphi don't seem to care that WinForms contains "lots of major bugs everywhere".

I described VS .NET bugs in forums, and the developers acknowledged that there are bugs, but they aren't enraged by them.

It seems that we, the Delphi developers, are accustomed to a very high quality IDE and components.


Unfortunately, Borland SUCKS at marketing.

They have excellent technology, but didn't know how to market it.

Max
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I'm a delphi programmer.
I think Delphi have best language and tools compared to other programming language.

But I have to agree that Borland Marketing is very poor :(

Dharma Saputra
Monday, March 29, 2004

I love Delphi. Thats it.

Abhay Joshi
Monday, August 23, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home