Some people have taken issue with my chagrin at the way in which iOS support has been mis-handled in Delphi, implying or in some cases directly stating, that iOS was only ever in beta before and so I had no right to expect “real” product to be delivered at no extra cost.

I take issue with this.

Just because iOS support was only officially in some sort of beta or preview state in XE2 and just because it was not on the “feature matrix” (actually, it was) for that release, does not alter the perception given to customers – existing and prospective – when weighing the cost of upgrade or purchase of XE2.

Is this some failing of memory on my part ? Was I, and were others like me, just projecting our own hopes and desires unrealistically ?

I don’t think so.

Even to this day, Embarcadero’s marketing materials for XE2 proclaim their support for iOS prominently. Nowhere is it indicated that these capabilities are only a preview of a product that is yet to be delivered and which will cost almost as much as a new release upgrade when it is finally delivered. Let alone that in between times those capabilities will be withdrawn entirely.

Lies, Damned Lies and Marketing Material

Some choice quotes from this material:

The fastest way to build Windows, Mac and iOS Applications

You can also create iOS mobile application for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Deploy to Windows, Mac and iOS

You can also create stunning iOS mobile apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and distribute on Apple’s App Store.

And in the Feature Matrix, that tag-line about building Windows, Mac and iOS application is repeated, along with explicit reference to “FireMonkey for iOS”:

Feature Matrix - For a limited time only!

If it says anywhere that “iOS capability is preview technology only and may be withdrawn in a future release and made available only in a product at extra cost”, then I for one cannot see it.

Was I dreaming ? Was I subject to some sort of hallucination ? Am I dreaming and/or hallucinating still ?

Or is it simply that there are some people for whom Embaracerdo can do no wrong no matter how hard they seemingly try to deliberately screw over their customers ?

(MVP’s being an obvious subset of this group, since they are obliged to speak no evil of their benefactors by virtue of their MVP status).

Some people have said I have “anger issues” in this area (although they confuse that anger as being directed at only limited expressions of the much larger issue). And they are right. There are issues over which I feel I have a right to be angry. And judging from the comments on my posts and elsewhere, I am sadly far from alone.

What I haven’t yet seen suggested by anyone, surprisingly, is that this isn’t in fact an “extra cost” at all.

That, since this is a new release, the fact that the cost of upgrading with iOS support is less than the usual upgrade cost to a new release represents effectively a zero-cost – or indeed even a discount – for the new feature that is is simply being delivered as part of the new release.

The problem with this argument is that it has been barely more than 6 months since the last time this customer cow was milked, and the price being asked on this time around of the dairy-go-round, whilst less than the usual annual round of upgrade fees, is only just lower.

Meanwhile, the upgrade fee for anyone not taking the new iOS support is a trifling $49. We should of course be cheering about this, but since this represents little more than charging for what is and should be for those customers a “hot-fix”, representing nothing more than bug fixes (and indeed, some all new, shiny bugs even in code that previously was fine), it is difficult to summon such enthusiasm. Indeed, it just serves to emphasise further exactly what is going on.

It will be interesting to see what transpires when XE5 is released, and how that will be priced and how that pricing will look when set alongside the pricing of this “interim release with add-on” masquerading as a new release.

Always assuming of course, that there remains anyone even remotely interested in XE5 sufficiently to look at such things.

It also establishes a dangerous precedent.

For everyone handing over their $’s for the iOS support that is comforting themselves with the thought that their “mobile” upgrade will include Android in the future, you should bear in mind that – as outlined above – many of us thought that we were going to get iOS in much the same deal when we bought or upgraded to XE2 (with SA). Indeed, we might have reasonably expected that Android support now, yet iOS has only just arrived after what now can only be described as a “false start” almost 2 years ago.

So maybe you will have Android support by, what, 2015 ? (Assuming that Embarcadero only need to get it wrong once as they did with iOS).

But don’t be surprised if – assuming they can deliver on Android at all – Embarcadero pull the same bait-and-switch stunt on you all again, and charge for an “Android add-on” in the same way that they chose to do with iOS. Given it’s apparent success in some quarters, They might even attempt a complete re-run, with a “preview” in XE5 that is pulled in XE6 and then finally released, at further extra cost, in XE7.

After all, there seem to be enough suckers out there willing to take such treatment and not only that but also if not defend it then at least challenge criticism of it.

What ? You don’t think this will happen ? I strongly suggest you get a written, binding statement from Embarcadero to that effect. You would have to be a fool to trust them without it.

14 thoughts on “iOS “Support” Prior to XE4 ?

  1. Despite loving the idea and prospects at the time, iOS support in XE2 in hindsight was very very far from good. The idea was there but the implementation was s*^%. In fact EMBT seem to have moved on from it like it never happened. Having said that, for the most part of what I have seen of the latest version, it seems to have a lot of redeeming qualities over its predecessor. I want to get a few ideas for iOS out so fingers crossed.

    As a RAD Studio SA the feature set and pricing is never a concern as it is all covered at no additional costs outside of the standard SA renewal fees. However, I do understand that for Delphi SA’s this has got to be frustrating. RAD Studio has always been about the languages and not the supported platforms. Seeming both C++ Builder and Delphi have only ever supported x86 its not ever been an issue until now I guess. I do think that its disappointing that when you buy Delphi Pro you don’t get it for all supported platforms. It should be that you buy Delphi for all platforms or you buy C++ Builder for all platforms or you buy RAD Studio for both for all platforms (As it has always been). I don’t mind a more limited edition for a cheaper price or a Mobile only version of Delphi, C++ Builder or RAD Studio for the mobile market only customers.

    I think Android will come a lot easier than iOS support did. It isn’t the platform support itself that they didn’t get right, it was the framework. Now that they seem to have a much better framework it should be just a matter of porting it to each additional platform. So I am much more optimistic about the Android release.

    1. That may be, but the point at issue addressed by this post is not the quality of the offering in XE2 but rather how it was sold.

      And I think that is wildly optimistic speculation about Android being “easier”. The differences between what was offered in XE2 and what has been delivered in XE4 go far beyond simply an improved (mostly, but not consistently) FMX library. The entire commissioning and deployment infrastructure underpinning the solution is different in XE4 to that initially incorporated in XE2.

      Android has yet further, different infrastructure involved in deployment. I don’t see the experience gained with the iOS deployment and commissioning chain contributing very much to the same and yet entirely different challenges on Android.

      When iOS was released in XE2, talk then was about a similar level of Android support (beta/preview) within a year, suggesting that some work at least was under way in order for there to be even an inkling of that timeframe. Here we are two years later, iOS only just delivered and no concrete indications of any progress with Android at all.

  2. I’ve done my share of EMBR bashing in the Warren’s blog so I’m going to be short,

    I agree with what you say, personally I’ve known for a quite some time that EMBR is in the shits which is why they are persuing this aggressive marketing scheme.

    Fact is that whenever a new Delphi XE version is released I’ve become accustomed to expect that what they advertise is simply not what you receive in the product.
    Infact most of the features advertised upon release usually need another year or two to come around to being viable,

    take for example :

    – LiveBindings (Released XE2 – Viable for use in XE3)
    Using LiveBindings interface in XE2 was down right horrible, you could have accomplished the same thing programming wise 3x times around before doing the same via Interface.

    – VCL Styles (Released XE2 – Viable for use in XE3)
    I remember that I was very excited about this in 2011 and I was very disappointed after discovering that this feature was half way done, rushed and with many many bugs that prevented anyone from using it in a real application

    – Firemonkey (Released XE2 – Somewhat Viable in XE3)
    In XE2 it was just a gimmick really, I was excited about this aswell because I was waiting for EMBR to come out with a counter to Microsoft’s WPF and boy was I fucking deluded. The Implementation was so basic that it was pure shit.

    Overall past few years EMBR has made some very poor decisions(Prism anyone?) and I do hope that they come around and stop screwing their loyal customers.

    1. I for one am glad my business isn’t built on WPF or .Net either. 🙂

      Maybe Firemonkey’s not totally perfect, but I still have lots of hope in the future for it.

      Warren

      1. Just imagine that if you wrote your application in VB when it first came out, how many times would you have had to completely rewrite it in the last 15 years to keep current. FireMonkey represents the first real break (although Unicode and 64bit might have been a challenge also). I don’t know if it is ready for production as yet, but I’m very hopeful.

        1. How many times have you had to rewrite (at least parts of) all but the simplest FireMonkey applications in the past 3 years ? 😉

          Embarcadero gave explicit permission to their devs to make breaking changes even in the first update to FMX, less than 1 year after it’s initial release (permission had to be given long before the update itself was released). Whatever else might be said about VB 1.0, that was a time in the software industry when slapping a release label on barely-good-enough-to-be-called-beta code was not as prevalent as it is today.

          FMX may represent a “real” break, but that does not in and of itself make it an intrinsically Good Thing.

        2. >Just imagine that if you wrote your application in VB when it first came out, how many times would you have had to completely rewrite it in the last 15 years to keep current.

          Well actually never!

          We have a software developed in VB5 around 15 years back and we are still selling it as it just works on all version of windows right from Win98 to Win8! We are still selling this software commercially even today!

          Actually we did recompile the software in VB6 in 1999 but we never had to muck around with code modifications. In fact our VB5 code just compiled with any errors in VB6!

          After recompiling the software in VB6 it has been selling (and working properly on all version of Windows)… Isn’t that just great!

          in case of Delphi this has never happened. We had to muck around with code when we wanted to recompile a software originally developed in Delphi 3 to Delphi 7 to get the code to compile. So for use in most part all new version of Delphi have never been truly backward compatible.

  3. I guess this post is about how embarcadero is leading his steps on marketing goals instead of technology solutions for customers, i personally feel defraud about this aproach and as many posts say since firemonkey was release. ” We have to wait to see if firemonkey will keep maturing”, devexpress was very clear about this, they anounce null support until thay see maturity, and i see now they were right about it. after three encarnations it seems by now that is maturing. But again we are hit with a cost increase, (not well foundated, i think). for me, lazarus is becoming a true alternative, i still use delphi xe2. And I will keep looking for Delphi progress but i don’t bite any “Marketing new technology”. I stop believing and become sceptical about embarcadero.

    Greetings everyone, and i wish the best to Embarcadero and lazarus teams.

  4. Mmmm. I don’t know, I find it hard to get too riled up about it. But I guess I’m running a business built on Delphi so the cost of the tools is close to inconsequential compared to the cost of salaries etc.

    I do recall that when XE2 was announced at the meeting down at the Viaduct the fact that iOS was possible at all was a new reveal and they were fairly open about the fact that it was cludgy. So I don’t have a problem with XE2, where they dropped the ball was actually with XE3. That should have included the improved iOS support and when it couldn’t they should have worked out what the exact pricing would be to add it later so that no one was under any misconceptions. I’m sure the reason they didn’t do this is that it would probably have hurt sales of XE3 and like any business they need money… but it is a risky tactic to take and its obviously alienated a large number of people, Jolyon included.

    Personally I find the XE4 pricing reasonable and I am pleased to hear from several sources that FM is much improved.

    Having said that we won’t be doing anything much with it until they allow upgrade pricing from Delphi 2007. No way I’m paying full price for XE4 when we don’t even have a Firemonkey app yet and thus Delphi 2007 works fine for most of our development (we use XE3 on one PC for testing and building Unicode/64bit versions).

    1. Bear in mind that I have two Delphi hats. There is the one I wear at work, where my employer bears the cost and I earn a salary for my efforts.

      Then there is the hat I wear at home, where I bear the cost and earn no additional monetary reward.

      To protect myself against my employer exerting a claim over the IP in that work (just in case I ever come up with something that might be valuable – 🙂 ) I finance that license out of my own pocket. For years I had gotten by with the licenses that I had previously bought when I was an independent Delphi consultant, but that only covered me up to Delphi 7 for my hobby, which was more than adequate for a long time. I was still able to use my employer provided license to at least stay in touch with later versions of Delphi, even if I only was able to use them in earnest at work.

      But the XE2 release prompted me to dip into my own pocket to purchase my own license once more. Of course, as with you in your present situation, this had to be as a “New User”, but even so on the strength of the proposition in XE2, I bought a new Professional License, with SA. The investment this represented was a far cry from my first ever purchase of Delphi – 1.0, also out of my own pocket. Unlike on that occasion, this time around I had quite a job convincing my better half (and for that matter myself) that it was worth it.

      Unfortunately, I managed to swing the argument, and so our personal finances bore the brunt.

      Last year Embarcadero made it easy for me to decide to not renew SA. Quite apart from anything else, the fact that they tried to increase the SA payment in contravention of their own terms and conditions spoke volumes to me about how they regarded me as an SA customer.

      Moooooooo. 😉

      Never-the-less, I got my XE3 license under the initial SA that I had but – like my XE2 license – it actually hasn’t been used at all. Not that I got no benefit from buying my XE2 license. It did provide me with access to Delphi 2010 which has now replaced Delphi 7 as my work-horse version. But FireMonkey has proven to be a Curate’s Egg (some might say a “dog’s breakfast”), and the early promise of access to OS X from the familiar territory of the Delphi language and IDE, well, it turned out that learning Objective-C and X-Code was a more pleasant and rewarding experience.

      So given the treatment metered out by Embarcadero to their dairy herd customers, when faced with the decision whether to upgrade or not, it really was quite straightforward.

      As a licensed XE3 user I shall take the $49 upgrade to XE4, but only to preserve my chances of remaining in the validity window for some future upgrade that might – against all current expectations – prove to be of interest once again.

      But this year I shall be cross-grading to Oxygene and, as far as I can foresee, investing my future time, energies and monies in that.

      1. I have to admit, Oxygene looks really really appealing, especially now that it stands on it’s own again 😀

    2. Very well expressed David – captures my own feelings almost exactly.

      The cost of Delphi is trivial compared to other costs in my small business.

      XE2 was over-hyped in the marketing but most people knew pretty quickly the FM/iOS additions were of little more than alpha quality.

      I’m really quite narked about how they handled XE3, which will surely go down as one of the least used versions in recent history. I mean – why would anybody upgrade to it? It’s buggier than its predecessors, has no new features of any real value (Metropolis! Yay!) and produces more bloated and slower exes.

      XE4 should have been XE3.5, as they strongly implied it would be. But they do need the money badly, it seems. Which worries more than a lot of other things do.

      Delphi quality has always been variable, unfortunately. I think we’re quite fortunate that in recent years we’ve had two, arguably three pretty solid releases for Windows work (D2010, XE, XE2) with continual and very worthwhile improvements. XE3 dipped down in quality and new features Let’s hope XE4 represents a dip up.

      Richard

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