The Trials and Tribulations of Embarcadero

My current client wanted to upgrade the project I’ve been working on for the past year in Delphi 7 to a more recent version of Delphi and the VCL for improved support of Windows 7.  I had the option of using Delphi 2007 for development, but I chose Delphi 7 because

  • the IDE is leaner
  • the form designer is about 4x faster
  • Delphi 7 doesn’t give me E2027 errors when trying to evaluate simple things such as Object.ClassName
  • CodeRush for Delphi still makes development faster for me
  • Delphi 7 is still more stable than Delphi 2007
  • the IDE pause while parsing code in the editor isn’t quite as long (although still extremely frustrating)

Of course Delphi 7 doesn’t have

  • VCL support for window ghosting and improved Z order handling
  • MSBuild which provides Debug and Release configurations with easier build automation
  • new language features and all the other changes found here
  • all the improvements made since D2007

I would have opted for Delphi 2010 but we use components that I didn’t want to have to initially port to Unicode.  Now it looks like porting to Delphi XE is a better option than using Delphi 2007, so I downloaded a trial version of Delphi XE to make an attempt.

The installation of the trial was fast and pain free, but then I tried to install the JCL/JVCL.  The installer appears to work, but no components appear, and no DCUs are generated.  A closer look at the JCL log file reveals:

Compiling package Z:\JEDI\jcl\packages\d15\Jcl.dpk
[snip]
This version of the product does not support command line compiling.
Compilation success
...done.

Obviously the error code returned from the compiler must not be what the JCL installer expects, but neither is the fact that an Architect Edition Trial cannot install such popular components suites as the JCL/JVCL and DevExpress.  They should really call the Trial edition Crippleware.

Does Embarcadero seriously think that anyone about to spend Can$3,387.29 for a new Architect edition would be left with a positive impression of the product after having to work around such limitations just to install the components they want?  If Embarcadero is so confident in their licensing protection why cripple the product?  It is after all, only a 30 day trial.  If you have any serious work in addition to your porting efforts, 30 days may not even be enough!

I think EMB needs to seriously look at why users download a trial.  I would venture that most of the time it’s so developers can experiment with the new features in that release and attempt to get their projects compiling in it.  If the latter is successful, chances are EMB has a new sale.  Making the process more frustrating just embitters current and potential new customers as well as undermining the efforts of vendors such as DevExpress and long time supporters in the community offering open source solutions such as the JEDI.  This has been a problem since the Delphi 2007 trial was released.  Apparently someone is still sleeping at the wheel.

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11 Responses to “The Trials and Tribulations of Embarcadero”

  1. Rock Says:

    I can’t see why any new company would ever pick Delphi as their development tool. Delphi is still far superior when building Windows 32-bit applications to any other product but what new software company only wants to build 32-bit Windows desktop applications. The other issue is price. Companies like Google have proved that you can build amazing software without needing to spend any money on the language/IDE. So why does Embarcadero think they can get away with charing over $3,000 per seat. Delphi will never die (just look at Cobol) but I don’t think it matters what Embarcadero does, it will never be a major player in the development community again and the issues you mentioned in your blog only add to the reasons why.

  2. Andreas Hausladen Says:

    The JCL and JVCL have binary installers for the Delphi 2010 trial version. They are less known because they aren’t the “normal” way to install the JCL/JVCL and are usually created as soon as possible as a new Delphi version is released to allow people to test them with the trial version.

    JCL for 2010: http://cc.embarcadero.com/Item/27211
    JVCL for 2010: http://cc.embarcadero.com/Item/27212

  3. Uwe Schuster Says:

    The message of the JCL installer is correct. The Trial and the Starter edition does not have the command line compiler $(BDS)\bin\dcc32.exe.

    A solution can be found here

    http://andy.jgknet.de/blog/2011/02/jcl-and-jvcl-binary-installer-for-xe-and-starter-edition/

  4. Diego Says:

    I agree. Embarcadero must understand that a lot of Delphi developers are freelancers, 1 person-teams, etc. Price are very expensive, plus third party suites like devexpress, reportbuilder… and this each year!!
    In the other side, people each year pay less for the software…

    Expensive tool for a 1 person-team in a cheap-software world (app-stores with 1€ apps… hurts!).
    In adittion, no 64bits (with Visual Studio you can do a lot of things), no web (pay again for delphi-prism), no android (c# and mono and you go!), no iphone (idem).. nothing extra! same product (or worst) since Delphi 7.

    what can do with Delphi 2005, 2006, 2007, xe and 2012(?) that really really brings a substancial difference from Delphi 7??

    A delphi user since Turbo Pascal v1.0. (now porting to Visual Studio)

  5. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Andreas,

    Thanks for the information and your contribution to the community. Even using the binary installer is a compromise. It doesn’t allow me to use the exact same JCL/JVCL code I am using now, which means potentially more testing.

    I still think EMB shouldn’t limit the trial in this way. It just causes grief, and for what!? While the JEDI may have a binary installer to circumvent this issue, DevExpress requires manually installing the packages, just like a lot of other third party libraries.

  6. Shane Says:

    Our company moved away from Delphi and other Embarcadero products (interbase, etc) due to their rediculous licensing and maintenance fees. Its a shame, cause we were using their products since 1995. Embarcadero is on a slow slide into obscurity. They will soon make desperate attempts to get their old customers back, but it will be too late. Our company still uses Delphi 7 for maintaining legacy products. We purchased Delphi 2010, but never used it, and most likely never will. The company started a very large Web Development Team in another state and if it weren’t for the legacy products, Delphi would no longer be a part of this company. Im slowly making the move over to web development, and im sorry to say, i will miss Delphi, after 16 years!

  7. Stefan Glienke Says:

    I wonder, what’s so difficult in opening the packages in the IDE and click build all.

  8. Peter Says:

    I can agree with you. I am still using Delphi 7 too, because its simply fast and needs no .net framework (our it department forbids .net).

  9. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Stefan,

    Normally it’s not too big a deal, except that you have to know the order for the packages. The problem is that the DeveloperExpress installer creates blank project files for me, so I cannot manually install these packages as per the workaround given in their forums. Besides, the point is that a $3K tool trial should allow you to use the tool in the same manner you would if you bought it, until the trial expires. No other company I have ever dealt with distributed Crippleware trials for a product at that kind of price tag!

  10. Stefan Glienke Says:

    If I remember correctly the DevExpress Setup does not much more than extracting all the files, compiling packages and adding paths. Take a look at http://code.google.com/p/delphipi/ which resolves the dependencies and creates the correct build order. You can still not install the packages with it in the Delphi trial because it uses the dcc32.exe but at least you get the correct order to build them in the IDE. Anyway I agree that not being able to use the command line compiler limits its use more than it should for a trial.

  11. TPersistent.com » Blog Archive » Migrating to Unicode Says:

    [...] components used and getting them installed into the IDE.

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