Why I Use(d) Still Use Delphi

I started using Object Pascal (Delphi) because it was VB like without the ugly syntax of VB, and it had the power of C++.   Namely that you could create as well as consume COM objects and it was natively compiled with at the time a very fast compiler when compared to C++.  The VCL was a stable UI framework that was simple to use and flexible enough that unusual use cases were still possible.

Sadly, now I use Delphi less and less and for maintenance work only, or personal and open source projects.  The community has dwindled from what it was once, local jobs are harder to find, and many luminaries have been lost to the evil empire (M$) and it’s technology.

I must admit that I am now working predominantly on C# .NET Core projects. I would gladly come back from the dark side if someone wanted to entice me with a interesting Delphi project. I find C# syntax more terse and unreadable than Object Pascal, but there is no mistaking the power of LINQ, the PPL, and the abundance of open source projects and technical resources. .NET native also makes adoption of C# even more tempting. If they can write Kestrel in C# you should be able to write anything that requires good performance in C#. I would love to see some Delphi web server benchmarks and how they compare to Kestrel. Favorable results might generate more interest in Delphi as would compiler benchmarks.

I love Delphi. I wish it a bright future.  Without new developers it will most certainly fade away over time.  New developers shy away from languages that won’t get them jobs.  An investment in learning a language, an IDE, and run-time libraries simply has to pay off.  Without a growing market share, expensive tools have to provide developers with a competitive edge. For this reason, I applaud EMBT’s release of the Community Edition. I hope it will bring new blood into the development community and spark more open source projects. There are some amazing open source projects out there that could use Community Edition to further their efforts.

There are also many exciting things happening in the land of Pascal that I hope will expand the community. REMObjects has released their Oxygene compiler that can also target WASM as well as native code. Smart Mobile Studio has released version 3 of their Pascal language targeting Javascript, and TMS has introduced a similar product called WebCore based on the FPC Javascript transpiler.  EMBT has hired Jon Aasenden and purchased Sencha so who knows what they have planned. With UniGUI and other frameworks Object Pascal (or rather different dialects) have many more options to target the web than only a couple years ago. I long for the day when I could use the same Object Pascal language for web, desktop, mobile and server development without compromising the results. Is it time for a language standard?

3 Responses to “Why I Use(d) Still Use Delphi”

  1. Stan Evans Says:

    In my recent job search covering 7 Delphi employers, only one used the latest Delphi version. An insurer (with loadsamoney) was on D2007, said the risk of Unicode change was too high, other reasons given were 3rd party components or they simply found no compelling new features to justify the hassle of the upgrade. Only one used FMX for iPhone but said they were dropping it because of a 64bit issue.

    My impression is it would help Delphi’s cause if upgrading were made smoother, compelling features were developed (IDE, debugging aids, not just language) AND THEY WERE LOUDLY ADVERTISED!

    Marketing has always been poor, even in the Borland days. For example, until recently I believed you have to pay the upgrade price every year, and that since the upgrade pricing was dropped, you now have to pay the full price. The subscription benefits should be easy to find. Also, you have to really dig to find the feature matrix. And even then, figuring out what is available in what version out-of-the-box or as a paid option takes some work.

  2. Anonymous Coward Says:

    I agree. I am in the same boat. I’ve been a Delphi developer since version 1.0 on my Windows 3.1 computer. I was pretty happy until version 6, then I discovered C# and Mono/Linux. 99.9% of my development is in C# since about 2002.

    I came back to Delphi about 2 years ago just for Mobile Development. To me it was way more stable and quicker to develop in RAD Studio than Visual Studio.

    I want to come back to Delphi, but I think there are leadership issues there. Where are the nationwide tours to drum up interest in the product again? Why make the Community Edition unable to compile Linux code - where that could attract LOTS of people just dabbling in code. I think Embarcadero could do a lot better - but not sure who’s driving the ship.

  3. Stijn Sanders Says:

    ​I’ve done Delphi since pretty much the beginning as it was the logic successor to the Windows platform as Turbo Pascal was to the 16-bit DOS world. Then I graduated and did some work for the web first. It was long that I couldn’t combine them and where they did meet, I saw much ugliness. I’m convinced RAD IDE and form design has no place in server-side work for the web, so in 2005 I started http://yoy.be/xxm/ and have been looking for people that could use it as a solution to combine Delphi and the web to get high performer, both in developing and in the end product. Now that Delphi has a community edition, I’m seriously contemplating a v2.0 to take it to the next level and try to get it up there to a level of nodejs or nginX or kestrel but I’m not sure if I will be able to get it there all by myself.

    @StanEvans: so true. I wish there was more promotion around the fact you can have AnsiString in codepage 65001 (UTF8!), if StrUtils would use that instead of UnicodeString, most old Delphi projects would get far easier to port!

Leave a Reply