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Be-Delphi Delphi Developer Day

Be-Delphi is organizing their first (of many) Delphi Developer Day on November 17th in Edegem near Antwerp. That day will be completely dedicated to Delphi and Prism.

At Be-Delphi, Devia will be holding a talk about the new LiveBindings in Delphi XE2, so be sure to grab a hold of me and say hello !

The future of Delphi looks brighter than ever before

written by Stefaan Lesage on 23/06/2009

A few weeks ago I was invited to a meet and greet in Brussels with David Intersimone, better known as David I in the Delphi Community. David was going to tell us something about the future Roadmap for Delphi.

The last 10 years I have been developing software using Borland Delphi (later on CodeGear, and now Embarcadero), and this was the perfect opportunity to get some 'behind the scenes' information.

Delphi Everywhere

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The message was very clear, but it came somewhat as a surprise to me when David I mentioned the Mission Statement : Delphi Everywhere. Later on during the session he even said Native Delphi Everywhere, mentioning Mac OS X, Linux, but also mobile devices. He even hinted at possibilities to build phone (even iPhone) applications using Delphi.

At that time I didn't really know what to think about it, but the possibilities of developing applications for Mobile Devices sounded, well ... to be honest, it sounded like a dream. But during the course of the other presentations, I noticed that they might actually be pretty close to fulfilling it !

Delphi Touch

Well, they actually called it Delphi Natural Input to be correct. The goal is to allow delphi and it's VCL components to interact with many different forms of input devices ranging from touch screens, surface tables, accelerometers, GPS, Speech, WebCams, ...

All these features will get included in a future version of the Delphi VCL. Since I am working on a Mac, and am using an iPhone, I had a pretty good idea about the possibilities, but I never thought it would be possible to achieve something like that in Delphi. Well, David I showed us a demo, and proved me I was wrong ...

The demo was actually pretty simple, and didn't require any programming at all. All you had to do was add a new GestureManager component to your application. The next step would be creating the gestures or using one of the many predefined gestures already available in the Gesture Manager. The only thing you had to do was add some code in the OnGesture event and execute some code based on the Gesture that triggered it.

For those who have been developing in Delphi, you could actually compare it to a TActionList in which you can add some default actions, and add your own custom actions as well.

At this point it became clear to me that the possibility of creating applications for Mobile Devices using Delphi wasn't just a dream. Apparently they have already spent quite some work on it, and the whole Gestures thing demonstrated that it could actually be done.

The Delphi Roadmap

I was glad to see that de team behind Delphi is very busy working on the next releases of Delphi. Apparently de developers have been divided into several teams working on a few bug projects. I will give you a brief list of those projects and what they will be focusing on. Don't ask me about release dates, since they didn't mention any. As David wisely said : There are 75 or more ways to ask us when it will be shipping, and there is only one right answer "When it's ready"

Project Weaver

  • Project "Weaver" will mainly be focusing on larger and smaller IDE enhancements, improved usability and productivity.
  • Added support for Natural Input devices like Touch, Gestures, ...
  • Improved documentation and increased Team Productivity
  • DataSnap with HTTP support, built in REST server, and .Net proxies for DataSnap
  • IDE Insight (tm) - Keyboard access to everything
  • Windows 7 API support and Direct2D
  • Enhanced RTTI Support
  • Source Code Control with a new Open Tools API interface that provides support for Source Control Management (Weaver will have some Subversion Implementation)
  • .Net Aspect Oriented Programming (this seemed quite impressive to me)

Project Delphi X

  • Cross-platform Windows, Linux and MacOS

Some other features under consideration :

  • Cross-platform component library
  • DataSnapX with the ability to create both the Server and the Client on Windows, MacOS, Linux and the Web

Project Chromium

  • The main thrust of Chromium will be quality, quality and quality…
  • Focus on developer productivity (Enhancing usability, Remove long-standing issues, Focus on closing as many bugs as possible, Setting a new standard of reliability ...
  • Lightweight O/R mapping
  • Documentation of the OTA
  • A new Databinding model allowing binding to almost any property on a control.
  • More integration with the database tools

Project Commodore

  • Bring native 64-bit development to Delphi, C++ Builder and the VCL

Some other features under consideration :

  • Full compiler, RTL and VCL support for native 64 Compilation
  • Multi-Core / Multi-Threaded applications
  • Support for parallelization in the RTL

And much more to come

It looks like there is a lot more to come, and some projects might come in Parallel. Sadly, no information was given on when a specific product would be available to the public. The only thing David I mentioned was that the plan is to get a new version of Delphi each year.

image

TMS Smooth Controls : TAdvSmoothListBox

TMS Smooth Controls

Here in Belgium we have quite a few Delphi developers, and we also have companies like TMSSoftware who are developing some very nice components. There were some a few people from TMS Software in the room, and they gave us a brief demo of their TMS Smooth Controls Pack which is a set of feature-rich, sophisticated looking & smoothly animated controls.

The controls really looked impressive and immediately gave me the impression you would have when using an iPhone application. The components looked clean, pretty, had lots of animations.

Those of us who have been using an iPhone know what I am talking about. When navigating from one page to the other on the iPhone's applications screen, you get a smooth animation instead of simply repainting the whole screen. Well, the Smooth Controls did exactly the same thing on Windows. This gave everything a smoother and more visual look and feel

Conclusion

I actually missed the first part of the day due to traffic, but I gladly got there in time for the Delphi Roadmap, and I must say, it looks impressive. There have been times when we didn't know what to expect from Delphi, and some people even thought the good old days were over for Delphi. For those of you who are still hesitating about the future of Delphi, ... well, ... let me tell you :

The Future of Delphi looks brighter than ever before !

Comments

  • 1

    I said it when they built Kylix and I will say it again.  If Delphi wants to grow, moving to the Mac and to mobile technologies will be where it has the best chance to succeed.  I hope it isn’t too late.  For my money, the Mac still could use a decent dev tool and Delphi is just that, but at this point in the game a Delphi IDE for Android would be high on my list.  Android is a great platform with a HORRIBLE non-integrated IDE.  Time to dust off JBuilder and focus it on that platform.  There is a market to be found there.

    written by Cameron on 29/06/2009
  • 2

    Hi Cameron,

    From what I have seen and heard, Delphi is heading ino that direction.  They didn’t say they would be building an IDE for the mac (yet), but they did mention that it should be able to build a Mac application from within the Delphi IDE.

    What really impressed me was that they might actually be pretty close to that goal.  Seeing how they implemented the whole Gestures thing in the VCL makes me wonder how long it will take before we can actually build Delphi applications for mobile devices.

    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 29/06/2009
  • 3

    Thanks for the wrap up.

    It’s impressive to see the directions Embarcadero are taking Delphi. My concern is that they may be diluting their efforts.

    Case in point: 64 bit support. This has been on the horizon for a long time now - it’s a little bit like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’d rather see more predictability in terms of when we see new stuff, rather than vague assurances that it will appear ‘some day’. In this area MS are doing a much better job than Embarcadero (OMG - did I just say that!!! :-( )

    Regards,
    Raymond.

    written by Raymond Wilson on 29/06/2009
  • 4

    Hi Raymond,

    Well, there were indeed no set release dates mentioned for any of the features they mentioned.  The only thing which was promised is a new version of Delphi each year.

    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 29/06/2009
  • 5

    For that money i do not want to have a new delphi each year! Delphi has become really expensive and all they do sofar is promises, promises and these day’s they only deliver rather old wishes (i needed unicode back in 93) and loads of bugfixes (true, those are welcome).

    Mhh, this was bad advertisement sofar. I welcome the new roadmap very much but like Raymond i rather see the real product then endless demos and promises. Faith in delphi is back, but i serious doubt if it will be populair with those prices.

    written by Marius on 29/06/2009
  • 6

    What Roadmap? No seriously, all we have had is a couple of interviews, some blog comments about parallel deveopment tracks and a list of projects. To my knowledge that has not been pulled together in to a roadmap and officially presented to the community - a “contract of faith” if you will.

    I’m still more than miffed at the 64bit debarcle and will not be forgiving of any Delphi release until I see it finally delivered. Having chased the rainbow since it appeared, I want my promised pot of gold.

    As for a Delphi every year. Well of course they can promise that. How else are going to keep those SA contracts and earn new revenue! I’d be gob smacked if they didn’t deliver a new version at least once a year. “Weaver” is a case in point. There is no real need for it. It’s just window dressing and a holding position until one of the main developments is ready - 64bit or cross platform. Win7 support, with it’s “Minority Report” gestures is all well and good, but with Windows 7 still several months away from release and years away from being the dominant desktop, why focus on this now. Marketing of course. It’s not about serving the existing user base, giving them capabilities they’ve been demanding for years. Better help, REST , sub version integration, increased RTTI support - none of these are cases for a new Delphi version . They should be updates to the existing release - and free at that!

    I’m sure that “Weaver” and the cross playtform releases will find their markets, but I suspect it will be Kylix like. A struggle from day one to gain any kind of foothold and thereafter keeping pace with advancements across some many technology areas. If they are not perceived as cutting edge and supporting the very latest beta API’s and the like, then the respective communities will gravitate elsewhere. That’s before they even look at the price tag of course.

    Or, to put all that in one over simplified analogy; Better to be the ruler of one kingdom than a peasant wandering far and wide in strange and distant lands.

    written by Paul on 30/06/2009
  • 7

    Hi Paul,

    Well from what I know, it is in fact a RoadMap.  They didn’t give any fixed release dates because they want a finished product in the shelves.

    As far as sharing information goes, I have to say that they were very willing to share information with the community.  I even received the slides from the presentations upon simple request.

    Upgrades are quite necessary since technology evolves on a daily basis.  I guess you already upgraded from windows 95 didn’t you ? Of course there are some things which have been requested for a while, and I’m quite confident they will get released ... when they are ready.

    To me it looked quite different than Kylix.  I agree with you on every aspect regarding Kylix, but I’m under the impression that they learned from their mistakes.  This time they want a better product ... and that of course is one of the reasons why no specific release dates were mentioned.

    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 30/06/2009
  • 8

    Estimado Stefaan Lesage:

    Me ha parecido muy interesante trasladar el contenido de tu articulo a la comunidad hispana, a la que yo pertenezco, y si no tienes inconveniente en mi pagina he dejado una traducción de esta entrada sobre el futuro de Delphi.

    http://sjover.com/delphi/?p=480

    Si encuentras algún problema en ello, me lo puedes hacer llegar a través de mi email.

    Un saludo,

    Salvador Jover

    written by salvador jover on 01/07/2009
  • 9

    Hi Salvador,

    I didn’t understand everything, but from what I’m reading you have translated this article in Spanish for the Spanish Delphi community.

    I have absolutely now problem with that, since you are linking back to this page in the article itself.


    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 01/07/2009
  • 10

    Hi Stefan,

    When is a Roadmap not a Roadmap?! You’ll forgive me being peevish, but as a company we have been waiting literally years for a 64bit Delphi.

    That is not just waiting in blind hope, but in the belief that Borland,CodeGear and now Embarcadero would deliver on their previous Roadmaps - the ones that were published as documents. Yes, they were covered by caveats and safe harbor statements, but those documents have utterly lost the last shreds of credibility as far as we’re concerned.

    Even when Embarcadero picked up CodeGear, Wayne Williams assured us that existing roadmaps would be delivered before they went off on to other projects. That seems to have been quietly forgotten as they spin their reasons for yet more delays. Remember we were due a preview 64bit compiler in the middle of 2009, with a full product to follow early in 2010?

    Today I did have an email inviting me to one of David I’s webinars in August. One item on the agenda was the Roadmap. So, yes I can see they are spreading the word (again), but I would like a single document,preferably with dates written in blood.

    Just to drive the 64 bit point home. While I’ve been typing this, I was interrupted by a phone call. One of our consultants is loading new client data and guess what. They are instantly right up against the 3GB memory limit of standard 32bit architecture. We haven’t even gone live with this customer yet, and already we have limitations imposed due to the lack of 64bit. The need is real and getting more severe quite literally as I type.

    And finally, to pick up on your point about technology changing and upgrading from Windows 95.. Quite so. I’m sure you’ll also have noted that Windows 2008 R2 is 64bit only? We can only deliver stunted software for that platform.

    64bit clients may not be flavour of the month for some while yet, but on the server side of things, the death knell of 32bit is already sounding.

    Paul.

    written by Paul on 01/07/2009
  • 11

    Hi firstly thanks for these information about the Delphi roadmap and I say that the delphi can go far and success in the the developing life and I hope that we can used soon.

    written by Adel Kedjour on 03/07/2009
  • 12

    Paul & Adel,

    Well, to me it was good news.  Personally I thought Delphi was slowly dying these last few years, but now I have the feeling that there is again some renewed interest in Delphi from the people at Embarcadero, and that is something I can only applaud :-)

    Just heard some news about Mono Touch, and that might actually bring Native iPhone development (using Delphi Prism) one step closer.  Really looking forward to that.

    Regards,

    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 05/07/2009
  • 13

    Hi All,

    We’ve been waiting for a 64bit compiler also since quite some time, albeit for internal projects rather then commercial ones. We helped ourselves by using the FreePascal compiler that compiled our Delphi code with a minimum of patches.

    We’re using D2009 now mainly because of the unicode support, but 64bit is still on our wishlist..

    Greetz,

    koen

    written by koenkawa on 05/07/2009
  • 14

    Hi Koen,

    Well, I didn’t know 64 bit support was something people are looking forward to.  For now I didn’t need it yet, but I can imagine it’s taking a long time if you are waiting for it.

    Personally, I have been using Delphi 2007 (and previous versions) mainly for our clients, but we are considering the move to Delphi 2009 for one specific project, mainly for the unicode support.

    Best regards,

    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 05/07/2009
  • 15

    Just heard some news about Mono Touch, and that might actually bring Native iPhone development (using Delphi Prism) one step closer.  Really looking forward to that.

    I’m a bit confused here. How exactly will a managed code system bring us native development on any platform?

    written by Mason Wheeler on 10/07/2009
  • 16

    Hi,

    Well, actually you’re right, I didn’t express myself correctly.  What I meant is that I’m looking forward to be able to develop iPhone apps using MonoTouch & Delphi Prism.


    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 12/07/2009
  • 17

    Some of announced features are in Lazarus/FreePascal since a while.

    32/64bits exe win32-64/linux/macos/windows mobile/ unicode (before delphi 2009) and i pass the rest.

    I like Delphi but i use Lazarus too (mostly for Linux).

    All that is important too me, after all, is that ObjectPascal is still alive (freepascal have a really strong community).

    written by JF on 20/08/2009
  • 18

    It is nice to hear about the roadmap of Delphi. Now we know about the next stage. We know what is waiting for us.
    Improving things for mobile technology is so important and Delphi is doing the right thing by making and improving things for mobiles.
    Another interesting thing is “support for native 64 Compilation”. If it becomes possible it will be the most impressive thing and after a long time we are near to the horizon.
    Thaks.
    Document Imaging Solution

    written by James Joe on 14/01/2010
  • 19

    Hi paul,

    Upgrades are quite necessary since technology evolves on a daily basis.  I guess you already upgraded from windows 95 didn’t you ? Of course there are some things which have been requested for a while, and I’m quite confident they will get released ... when they are ready.

    Koi tattoos

    written by Handley on 23/01/2010
  • 20

    delphi cross-compilation to OSX / linux is a must… please, embarcadero, give us some hints. will it be possible to make mac versions of VCL applications? what will be needed to port applications. please give us some hints! PLEASE! we urgently need to create mac versions - or we’re going to lose customers….

    written by tom on 11/03/2010
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