XE5 is officially out today, and the online store now has pricing for the new release. Being a scant 6 months since XE4 was released, with a $49 special upgrade price for XE3 Pro customers, I looked to see what special price might be on offer for XE5.
$499 is the answer.
On the face of it this looks to be an almighty rip off. But when we look again it is simply an acknowledgement that XE4 delivered nothing for anyone not interested in the Mobile Add-On and the bumping of the version to XE4 little more than cynical window dressing.
The $49 paid for XE4 is simply deducted from the regular upgrade price for XE5.
Not so much “Special” as “Staged”. As in, “Pay $49 now and the rest later”. But the question still remains as to what exactly a VCL developer is getting for their (total of) $550 upgrade from XE3 to XE5.
On the What’s New in XE5 doc wiki page there is scant evidence of anything for anyone not buying into the FireMonkey folly.
The answer would appear to be limited to some tweaks in the IDE, to the graphics data types (driven no doubt by the needs of the Smoking Ape rather than being of use to the VCL developer per se), a breaking change to the location of the TBitmap type, and a pretty basic “REST Client library“.
Of course, there are some bug fixes as well, some of which Larry Hengen has blogged about, and I’ll leave his blog post to expand on that. I should mention that Larry mentions Oxygene in a couple of places, with some points that I shall be picking up myself in a post tomorrow.
But back to the XE5 feature list.
The REST CLient Library – much like the entire FireMonkey approach to Android – appears to demonstrate a horrendous lack of awareness of the arena(s) in which Embarcadero are setting out their stall as evidenced by this staggering statement:
The framework focuses on JSON as the representation format. XML is not explicitly supported.
Embarcadero apparently seem entirely oblivious to the fact that REST is not a specification or a standard in the same way that SOAP is. JSON may be a favoured representation among implementers of REST services but XML is far from absent. Indeed, some REST services explicitly deal only in XML representations.
Similarly there is the later observation about OAuth1:
Please be aware that OAuth1 is a workflow including user interaction.
Um, no actually. It usually is, but there are REST web services out there using OAuth 1.0a which do not involve user interaction.
For the FireMonkey Followers
So there is not much to be had for your money in XE5 if you are a Windows VCL developer, but that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. The real news in the XE5 release is the addition of Android support (to the Mobile Add-On, for Pro users).
So how is the pricing looking there ?
Well, If you bought the Mobile Add-On with XE4 – barely 6 months ago – it was (iirc) a $499 cost. And so it remains for XE5.
You must now upgrade to the XE5 Mobile Add-On for $299. Of course, without XE5 itself it is presumably as much use as a chocolate teapot, so the true upgrade price of the XE5 Mobile Add-On is actually $848, comprising:
|$549||for XE5 Pro – either as one payment or two ($49 + $499)|
|+ $299||for XE5 Mobile Add-On|
And given that – as discussed above – there has been nothing really of value in XE5 Pro (or XE4) compared to XE3, unless you were a mobile developer, and even if you are a mobile developer, what you are buying in XE5 Pro is actually just the “unlock key” for the Mobile Add-On, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Embarcadero are quietly succeeding in their aim of getting everyone on the Enterprise playing field, resorting to coercion where enticement has failed.
Add into the mix the FireDAC “Add-On” and the implications for the connectivity technology remaining in Pro and the writing is on the wall for Pro as a stand-alone SKU. I predict that it will be left to wither on the vine and will increasingly becoming nothing more than a pre-requisite for the real product, in the form of the “Add-Ons”.
You read it here first (unless someone else already wrote the same thing somewhere else which you already read). 🙂
Just about everywhere I look, the Delphi community is increasingly saying (by which I mean “more people are saying“, not that “everyone is saying more often“) in one way or another and to one extent or another, that exorbitant pricing is becoming an increasing problem and seen as a growing threat to the continued viability of Delphi to a wide range of existing users.
Whilst opinion differs as to the most effective solution to that, what cannot be argued is that Embarcadero themselves seemingly are intent on turning a deaf ear to these concerns and continuing to push the cost of Delphi in the exact opposite direction to that in which it needs – one way or another – to go.