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Question about .NET and our existing client base

Dear Readers,

I'm a programmer at a small vertical market software company.  Our company's main product is Win32-based (written in Delphi).  For better or worse, we've decided to move our product(s) to .NET.  Along with our main product, we've developed many small, custom programs for our clients that add additional functionality that the main program doesn't provide.

As we move our main product into the .NET world, the question has come up about what to do with all the custom programs.  Here's some obvious options:

1. Do nothing, provide no support after a certain date, and let the custom programs whither away.

2. Rewrite them (no new functionality) and eat the cost.

3. Rewrite them (no new functionality) and charge the client.

What would you do?

DelphiGuru
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Customers don't care what your system is implemented in, they want to know what it DOES.  How are you selling the move to .NET to them?  If there are a lot of new benefits to them then they may be willing to pay for the upgrade, otherwise you would have to derive enough benefit as a company to swallow the cost.

How do these custom program integrate with your main app?  Is there some way to ensure that they will continue to interoperate. 

Rob Walker
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

" For better or worse, we've decided to move our product(s) to .NET. "

I'd say worse, definitely worse.

Hardy
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"I'd say worse, definitely worse. "

Your argument is convincing; so meaningful, I'm sure the poster is now wringing his hands in angst given your illuminating pronouncement.

Anyway....I have to ask, why did you move to .NET in the first place? Whatever this reason is, is it not sufficient reason to move the custom apps?

It's really tough to advise you what to do since this decision is more a business decision than a technical one. Are these apps only used by a small percentage of customers? Are those customers a huge chunk of your revenue? etc etc.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Borland indicated that the next Delphi version will target .NET; Check with them to see if the planned release date (+ a few months for schedule slip-up, + a few months for you to finish the porting) is reasonable. Also, they might be able to provide enough details in advance to tell you whether it is worth the wait at all.

Ori Berger
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Migrating to .Net doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing operation.  You can use COM interop to communicate with all sorts of legacy applications.

If you have a fairly clean interface between your core application and your various custom programs, you might be able to leave the custom programs in Delphi while porting the main app to .Net.

Here's one site that might be useful:
http://www.gekko-software.nl/DotNet/

Also, FWIW, there's some information about a Delphi to C# converter here:
http://samgentile.com/blog/archive/2003/01/06/1911.aspx

Robert Jacobson
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Delphi 8 aka "Delphi .NET" was released in late December 2003.  If you want/need to port your Delphi apps to .NET you are in bidness.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

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