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Rest In Peace Delphi

September 2nd, 2007

It’s not without sadness I see that what used to be my favorite language has taken a big dive in popularity recent years. Now Borland Delphi is only the 14th most popular programming language according to TIOBE Programming Community Index as per august 2007. That is five ranks lower than one year ago, and far from it’s golden days in the mid 1990’s.

Delphi was really a great language to work with. In the early days it was a strong, even leading power in the programming community. It gave us one of the first RAD environments, which sure as hell was more visual than Visual C++ and Visual Basic, its competitors at the time.

But the popularity decline didn’t come as a surprise. It started with Microsoft snatching Anders Hejlsberg, the compiler genius who created Delphi’s predecessor Turbo Pascal. Following that, the increasingly lower quality releases and the name changing mess. For some unintelligible reason Borland changed its name to Inprise, only to change it back a couple of years later, most likely due to an internal revolt. Slowly but steadily even the most devoted started to leave for other, obviously better, alternatives.

Last year Borland announced that they were selling all of its development tools, including Delphi. It long looked as if Delphi would be brought back under the name of Turbo Delphi, but the sale was canceled. Instead the development tools were spun off into a new company, owned by Borland. Since then Delphi 2007 for Win32 has been released, the best release in many many many years. They really did shape up, but I’m afraid it’s too late. The magic is gone and I have moved on.

Farewell my friend.

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  1. filip
    September 3rd, 2007 at 11:59 | #1

    Very sad indeed. There is an interesting opensource alternative: Lazarus. It’s really nice for doing things at home. However, it’s not ready for production application..

  2. foo
    September 3rd, 2007 at 14:08 | #2

    lol you prove that you are a shitty programmer just with this blog post

  3. foo (the other one)
    September 3rd, 2007 at 14:13 | #3

    Sorry to say, but there is no more money anymore in producing IDEs and compilers. This market is dead, and has been for years, and so Borland went on to new challenges (and rightly so).

  4. September 3rd, 2007 at 14:41 | #4

    filip: I’ve heard of Lazarus but never took the time to play with it. Maybe some day…

    foo (the first one): Yes, you are right. I’m not a very good programmer, but I am a great developer. 🙂

    foo (the second one): That’s true, the money is shifting away from products towards services. We can thank the Open Source movement for that.

  5. foo (the other one)
    September 3rd, 2007 at 18:42 | #5

    No, Hans-Eric, he money isn’t shifting towards services, the money is shifting towards other products. Nobody can make money anymore with IDEs, because they’re an open source commodity. That’s why Borland shifted towards delivering products to support the application lifecycle, and “implementation” is only one of several phases of the AL (and the least interesting one, at least on the product development side).

    BTW: how do you want to be a great developer when you admit that you’re not a good programmer? Developers who don’t know their tools of the trade are doomed to fail.

  6. IB
    September 4th, 2007 at 02:38 | #6

    Delphi is in good hands and has a bright future …

    With the popularity of “Portable Applications” – Delphi is alive and kicking., and has gone opensource !!!. If you need proof look at the dates at SourceForge.com

    The Delphi VCL is here
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/php-vcl/

    The band new PHP VCL is here
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/php-vcl/

    Every self respecting programmer know JEDI (JVCL / JCL)
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/jcl

    and lastly look at the dates of components at Torry.ru and DelphiPages.com

    You do not need a lot of lousy programmers – you just need a few good ones., so just because a language/product is not popular does not immediately suggest there is something wrong with the product.

    Look at the activity at
    http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/

    Perhaps Delphi was too good at what it did … if you look around you will find several opensource forks that work do justice to the programming language where Borland lost it’s way. Just like Linux comes in different flavours – Delphi is available in different flavours now.

  7. JJ
    September 4th, 2007 at 12:04 | #7

    I liked Delphi. Then Microsoft killed it off. Microsoft has plenty of hate for us all. Let’s hate them right back.

  8. raveman
    September 4th, 2007 at 14:50 | #8

    i loved Delphi, but for me it has been dead for a long time. PHP Delphi might be a good thing, but i dont see many PHP developers switching to Delphi. But maybe if they promote it right and sell it not for oldschool big price theyhave a shot. The language was always the problem with Delphi, nobody likes to learn another type of programming language. I remember how i didnt like the C-style of Java. PHP is C-base too, so …. they should drop pascal or also support C-style language.

  9. January 20th, 2008 at 19:13 | #9

    I’ve been testing 15 years in different software for programming and development nothing compares to borland product specially delphi and cbuilder.

    Dont give up delphi.

    Give links to free downloads for old delphi versions.
    For the incoming new versions of delphi, let the market test the new product.
    Adjust Speed, accessibility and simpleness on the design.
    Let Schools do the test specially for the students and they will know whats the best to use.

    GOD speed delphi with borland products will rise again.

    🙂 Never give up.

  10. January 20th, 2008 at 19:30 | #10

    I’ve been testing different softwares development and programming tools since 1993 up to now jan20 2008, all i can say that borland product is the best choice, although microsoft seems to be good but nothing compares the system programming development of borland product.

    Compare the c++ builder again’s ms visual c++ and you will know the accessibility, simpleness and systematic flow of the design.

    Now if you are a geek or not geek you will know the difference.

    The only matter borland’s product end out dead because their product in win32 platform was less introduce in the market.

    Update Borland products for more and well end up an excellent market in the coming years beginning at 2008.

    Don’t give up borland (delphi, c++builder, intrabuilder, etc’s).

    GOD SPEED.
    Team [rocarobin@yahoo.com].

  11. February 24th, 2008 at 04:08 | #11

    Let’s clear one thing up.

    Sounds like you are gone, not delphi or modern pascal.

    RIP to you. Repeat after me: RIP to you.

    The only thing causing Delphi and Modern Pascal to die is the people that bash the toolsets, which is sadly the people who are using the toolsets. You’d think that MS Visual C users would be bashing it.. but no, it is actually the people using it who are bashing it. RIP to delphi users.

  12. TK
    April 23rd, 2008 at 18:24 | #12

    It’s your opinion. My opinion is that delphi and object pascal is far better readable for me than C-like languages. I will continue use delphi.

  13. April 24th, 2008 at 06:47 | #13

    Thank you for your comment. I too think Object Pascal outweighs C and C++ when it comes to readability and productivity. That’s why its decline is so sad.

  14. April 25th, 2008 at 15:39 | #14

    🙂
    Yes it is true that delphi is more readable than c/c++ because of its english words like ( begin, end, var for variable and other readables 🙂

    in c/c++ we know its twisted words.

    I hope you get my point.

    But when it comes to deep programming, i think delphi is to hard to develop, thats my opinion.

    I think delphi is not dead, because I’ve notice a lot of delphi code’s still at run

    eg: Total Commander was coded on delphi
    and other more.

    Do you think their is a good program like TC for windows explorations ? NOP, TC is the best.

    The only thing that makes delphi dead because of the DELPHI company name DELPHI AUTOMOTIVE 🙂 lol

    But of course the creator of delphi transfer to microsoft because of the offer of $20M.

    We Just continue coding with delphi for fun or for help 🙂

    Thanks for the info Hans-Eric.
    🙂

  15. June 4th, 2009 at 03:56 | #15

    Net technology is Microsoft dependent and we all know how that turns out in the end.They are pushing enormous amounts of money to propagate the stuff but I think it is doomed allready.Net applications are history.Do you remember nice stories about network computers and similar crap.Net based applications?Network office? Network storage?Where are they now?Meanwhile they are trying to promote the Sliverlight in the same way to muscle out Adobe Flash.
    32 bit applications will be in use for many many years to come.
    Just look at the way users rejected Vista and stayed with XP.Not even Windows 7 will replace XP in a long time.Companies are not idiots with money to waste on fancy looking applications.
    My advice is to stay with Delphi.

    Yes .NET will die off. That is why Visual Studio is now losing the .NET name (next version). Too many companies adopted the .NET technology without understanding when it should be used.
    .NET just prepare for burial.

    • Hans-Eric Grönlund
      June 4th, 2009 at 06:57 | #16

      Senad, I don’t think .Net is going away anytime soon but I agree that we are better off not to forget the native platforms as a pragmatic alternative for certain applications.
      I try to take a neutral stand in the religious wars of what platforms and languages are the best ones. They all have their natural uses and we do good not to ignore any of them for other than pragmatic reasons.

      As a side note, I’m actually back using Delphi again (blogged about it here: Welcome Back Delphi! and most recently: CodeGear, Please Fix the Anonymous Method Assymetry) and I love it!

  16. August 13th, 2009 at 17:56 | #17

    @Hans-Eric Grönlund
    Jealous! I wish I was back in Delphi! All of my clients are using C#, so I pretty much have to go with the flow. I was tempted though the other day to upgrade to D2009 for various side projects. I wrote all the SysOnyx tools in Delphi (http://www.sysonyx.com) and starting to wonder if I should just upgrade everything about them.

    IMHO, Delphi is the *best* language for writing Windows GUI apps, hands down. C# and the Visual Studio IDE are nice, especially for non-visual code and interoperability, but a good WinForms app you cannot find in .Net…

    -BKN

  17. HadToChange
    August 13th, 2009 at 18:25 | #18

    As a student I used Delphi student edition and I loved it. When I graduated I asked Borland if I could upgrade to the professional (they had no other intermediate edition at that time) and they said no. Microsoft said I qualified for Visual Studio Standard so there you go. Love both products but I don’t use Delphi anymore.

  18. Hans-Eric Grönlund
    August 17th, 2009 at 15:33 | #19

    @Bryce K. Nielsen
    @Bryce
    Agree. Of all the environments I’ve had the pleasure to develop real world applications in (there are quite a few) Delphi has had the best time-to-customer ratio for me. Of course, it has its issues but then again so does all of them.

  19. cam
    August 26th, 2009 at 07:08 | #20

    foo…is same like a fool

  20. omair iqbal
    September 3rd, 2009 at 13:18 | #21

    i still use delphi cuz .net is slowwwww
    delphi provides the ease of vb(classic) and power of c++

  21. olive
    January 4th, 2010 at 08:08 | #22

    Delphi is a great RAD tool! .NET and its 70 Mb runtime DLL is not the best choice to deliver a software to a company.
    I hate applications with runtime packages! Runtime packages can be updated at any time by Microsoft Windows during auto update process and you can not seriously tell that it’s not a problem!

  22. dJamez
    February 16th, 2010 at 04:56 | #23

    For those out there who still doubt the power and popularity of Delphi, take a look at the Delphi product showcase: http://www.embarcadero.com/rad-in-action/application-showcase

  23. February 16th, 2010 at 15:53 | #24

    lol, dJamez is right, Delphi Vampire Rocks.

  24. rocarobin
  25. Gordon Ramsey
    May 16th, 2012 at 04:34 | #26

    If you can’t see how good Delphi still is then you’re missing out. No problem, it’s your disadvantage. You need to look a bit deeper, below the MS hype. Many of us have and are reaping the benefits. Don’t be a sheep and you’ll get more out of life.

    BTW .NET is now relegated in Windows 8 to a second-class citizen.

    Good blog title though!

  26. May 16th, 2012 at 06:42 | #27

    @Gordon
    Oh, but I do see how good Delphi is: http://www.hans-eric.com/2009/02/09/welcome-back-delphi/

    I’m impressed with the feature list of the latest version (XE2). 64-bit support is really great news, and FireMonkey sounds really interesting. Haven’t had a chance to try it out, though.

  27. May 16th, 2012 at 15:48 | #28

    I was thinking the same thing, the latest version is very interesting with 64 bit and PC/Max/iPhone development (throw in Android development and I’m sold). However, since I have no clients who use Delphi anymore, I haven’t had a chance to use it professionally, just a personal/hobby curiosity.

    -BKN

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