Back in the day, Borland brain child called Delphi was a truly revolutionary product – it was RAD. SO RAD. (And by that I mean Rapid Application Development, not the slang, ok? :) ).
Many mission critical applications were built, released (and are still out there) using Delphi – even though all EULA’s say not to use it for a mission critical app, I think a lot of Dev’s would agree, there are times that some of things you do could be called that! Many financial services apps were built in Delphi. Many hospital apps. Pretty much any line of applications you can think of, you can find a Delphi built example.
Why did everyone look to Delphi? Why was it such a ground breaking technology?
Well, in my opinion it had one major thing going for it – you could build a SINGLE executable file with EVERYTHING in it. All (Delphi based at least) dependencies would be compiled into a single file. Deployments were a breeze, as were updates, for simple applications – it was a single file. Why do I say this was a major feature? Don’t forget, back in the day, we did not have uber-fast internet connections. Most people were still disconnected, and reliant on floppy discs (CD’s were too expensive!) – and those that were connected used 56K modems (or less). Can you really see them downloading the .NET 4 runtime over that? Ouch.
Delphi, during its hay day, developed a massive community – and I mean massive. There were thousand of open source projects sprouting every month, and hundreds of thousand components available – all easy to consume, and many of them with full source.
Delphi was fun, popular, and above all, easy (for a developer) to use. It was a far away from C / C++ as you could get without sacrificing building good quality applications.
What’s the purpose of this post?
Well, Delphi was my first high level language that I really got to grips with, developing Windows GUI apps for the first time. My career has pulled me through many different languages since then, but I’ve always kept an eye on the Delphi community – I did after all run an open source Delphi project, and participated in probably one of the largest out there (Internet Direct aka Indy – check it out, my name should still be in there somewhere!). Recently, I have been pulled back to the Delphi scene. And I’m dismayed. Incredibly dismayed. The community feel seems to have gone, the backing died off.
Simple. Delphi has, it is a shame to say, not kept up with the times. It still can not do 64-bit for starters. How long have we had 64-bit CPU’s now? It is only “recently” that UNICODE support has been added.
So – are you are Delphi dev? Were you a Delphi dev? What’s your thoughts?