[Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes]

Not exactly hot off the presses but some people apparently seem still to be unaware that my suggestion for a Community Edition of Delphi has been picked up (some years later, mind you). Except that it isn’t Embarcadero that have picked it up, but Microsoft.

The Deal Just Got Better

Some might recall that a while back I mentioned a little-known means by which Visual Studio Pro could be had on a subscription basis for US$45 a month through a Visual Studio Online subscription as part of an Azure Pay As You Go plan.

To me this seemed a very good deal, allowing me to pay on a month-by-month basis (no up-front annual commitment) as needed. In fact, with the free trial period, I actually only paid for one month of Visual Studio Pro before Microsoft went the extra step and made it entirely free, in the form of Visual Studio Community Edition.

Not Just Another Express Edition

This is not another iteration of the relatively limited and platform specific Visual Studio Express line, but a bona-fide edition of Visual Studio Pro (Update #4 to be precise) with all that entails.

There are terms in the EULA that restrict the use of the Community Edition. In brief terms these amount to:

  • If you are an individual: NO restrictions. Build and test apps to your hearts content, even paid-for apps.
  • If you are a company: no restrictions for Open Source projects or teaching/learning use.

Commercial use is still allowed within organizations, but the conditions start to get more complex, with only a maximum of 5 users permitted to use the Community Edition for development, testing and demonstration purposes. It isn’t absolutely clear, but it appears that once you start shipping paid for apps you must upgrade from Community Edition.

And note that even this concession does not apply if your organization is an “Enterprise” (> 250 PCs and/or revenues over $1m).

Further details of the EULA can be found here.

Shall I Compare Thee…?

These are perfectly sensible and reasonable conditions for a “Community Edition”, or a “kick-start” license to enable a start-up to get coding and build their product imho. Certainly it is far more practical and useful than similar license restrictions imposed by, for example, the “Delphi Starter Edition which by comparison looks like a parody of a supposedly community spirited license, or in fact just a bad joke (in fact, imho it always did, never mind in comparison with anything else).

Where To Get It

So, if Visual Studio Community Edition is suitable for you, then you can download it here.

It is certainly suitable for my own private projects with RemObjects Elements, enabling me to enjoy the full Visual Studio Pro environment at no extra charge, in which to use the excellent RemObjects languages.

Coming Soon…

On that score, there is an upcoming addition to the RemObjects Elements family: Silver, which you may know by its original Apple name, Swift).

As if that weren’t enough, as well as Silver, there is a new release of RemObjects Elements just around the corner with some very cool new features that I hope to blog about soon.

18 thoughts on “Visual Studio Pro for just $0 !!!”

  1. you know that some people are aware of that netbeans like eclipse are for free?

    1. CE is Visual Studio PRO, with EULA restrictions (and some of the Office Tools SDK not included I believe).

      Express is a family of platform specific editions – one for desktop, one for web, one for mobile. All very much cut-down in terms of features when compared to “proper” Visual Studio.

      Crucially, the Express editions do not support Visual Studio plug-ins or extensions, so products such as RemObjects Elements (or Xamarin etc) cannot use those editions of Visual Studio as a host. They can use VS Pro and, now, VS CE.

  2. No offense, but that’s a headline I’d expect from a gossip magazine 😉

    It’s not “Pro for zero money” if you later add “Well, only if you do opensource. And less than five people use it. Oh, and your revenue must be less than 1M as well. Oh and …”
    I have nothing against the MS eco system (it’s great!). But I really don’t see the big deal with the community edition regarding “enterprise” projects. Interesting for what you could call a really small startup these days, but nothing else.

    1. For an individual there is no caveat and no condition and anyone that reads my blog knows full well that my blog is that of (and primarily aimed at) an individual/hobbyist/open source developer.

      Besides which, organizations have no eyeballs. 😉

  3. Hi Jolyon,

    The implied (maybe its explcit) criticism of Embarcadero is not fairly placed in my opinion. MS is struggling in their ability to dictate the choice of platform/market for Windows programmers so is leveraging a second-tier product to force the desired behavior. I mean second tier, not in terms of quality or market penetration, but in strategic value to MS. MS has pushed programmers into so many technologies that they pulled the rug from that we programmers no longer blindly follow, especially when it comes to “mediocre products done dirt mediocre” (sorry AC/DC for the rip).

    Embarcadero, however, is only a software tools company. Giving stuff away has to affect their bottom line more drastically. Its the same for RemObjects ? Does RemObjects get off scott free from this bar of corporate strategy? (I missed their community edition stuff, honestly, is it available?)

    Same technology, different strategic value, different impact company coffers.

    1. My criticism of Delphi Starter edition is not implied, nor (as I point out) is it new. Delphi Starter edition was a bad joke from the start, and I always said so. But the issue is not whether you have a Starter/Community Edition but what – once you have decided that you will have one – what you put in it.

      Deciding that such a product edition is not right for your company is of course perfectly legitimate. But having decided that they needed one, Embarcadero then failed to follow through.

      The EULA of Delphi Starter edition is so crippled for commercial use as to make it no more than a paid for open-ended trial edition – a down payment on an inevitable (and over-priced) Pro SKU. As an edition for new-comers to the language it lacks a crucial learning resource: the VCL source. It also deliberately witholds any of the capabilities that would make it appealing for the individual app (as in mobile) developers likely to remain under that ridiculous $1,000 “related revenue” ceiling.

      As a product it simply makes no sense other than as a box-ticking exercise. We need a starter edition… TICK.

      It’s Product Edition by Committee (where the casting votes are held by the corporate accountants).

      And incidentally yes, RemObjects have a free product: Anyone can download the command line compiler free of charge and use it however they wish.

      Sure it’s no IDE. As you point out, the IDE is the business (as far as their compilers are concerned) for RO so it’s no surprise that they do not give that away. But nor do they claim to offer a such product which then fails to be what it purports.

  4. If you are interested in a “Community Edition of Delphi”, you might want to check out the work that Jon L. Aasanden and team has been doing with their currently under heavy development ‘Quartex’ IDE.

    This new IDE currently compiles BASIC and Object-Pascal with the FreePascal compiler: http://quartexpascal.wordpress.com/

    Jon is/was a lead (and original) developer of Smart Mobile Studio, which can compile Object-Pascal to JavaScript: http://smartmobilestudio.com/

    While Quartex IDE will not be freeware or open-source, *if* it follows the pricing model of Smart Mobile Studio, it will be offered for a very reasonable cost.

    As it stands today (and this project is still under active design/development), Quartex effectively will be a cross-platform generic IDE that uses the FreePascal compiler as the backend. The Quartex website has a much more in depth explanation, so check it out for more detail.


    NOTE: I have no involvement with this project, other than as an excited onlooker.

    1. Yes, I’ve been following this with some interest myself. Not least because it incorporates some ideas that I started work on some years ago and recently found myself picking up again (coincidentally), in the area of source parsing and translation, though my goals were (and not) not for producing compilable code but as a way of mapping the content.

    2. After hearing these news i wonder if freepascal can be plug it in visual studio CE, Visual Studio IDE is outstanding. I am super agree with Deltics about Delphi starter, i also understand that microsoft and embarcadero have different business targets but in this scenario microsoft is ruining embarcadero’s party, because with .NET release as open source for MAC and Linux the target platforms increase a lot, i know about native platform support market campaign but i don’t buy it anymore and after all it does not make a lot of difference. Finally you may also notice that Visual Studio 2013 Pro update 4 is the one that was transform into community edition, yes you read well UPDATE 4 since 2013, Embarcadero release 2 products within a year, COME ON guys, I cannot follow your speedy race.

  5. Lazarus and FPC are community owned and Free as in speech and as in beer. Runs on so many platforms that it’ll be around for the coming decades. It improves slowly but steadily.

    Quartex will be closed source, and won’t be free. It’s backed by a single individual who’s known for his attitude of “I’m going home and I’m taking my ball with me”. The goals seem to be a bit over ambitious for a tiny dev team. The product is still vaporware and currently development is already on hold because the one-man dev team has other duties. Fair enough, but that doesn’t give much confidence that it’ll ever become a viable platform that I’d invest in. The blog posts about it are fun to read though.

    Delphi? I don’t even know why I still use it, even for new projects.
    It has nothing going for it when i think about it. I just know my way around in it. It still helps me to get stuff done, but if I look at it in a rational way, I should’ve ditched it a long time ago.

    Visual Studio is backed by Microsoft, with the most talented specialists that you can find on this planet. It’s so commonly used that it’ll be around for some time. It’s overall awesomeness makes it almost irrelevant whether it’s Free or not.

    1. Not so awesome when you writing a C++ code – no refactoring options, but that has more to do with C++ rather then the IDE.

  6. Microsoft recently open sourced the .net core, announced and cross-platform plan and the VS Community Edition, these are all good for developers (maybe not so good for EMBT). I use Delphi only currently, but I usually think, when I go for .net and VS, why not just use C#, which is a first citizen in the .net community, and a nice language that keeps evolving and feels so familiar to Delphi programmers, with a lot of 3rd party libraries, and so on. With true respect to RemObjects, I still cannot understand why would I use something like RemObjects Elements. Object Pascal is a nice language, but to me what makes Delphi compelling is the sum of the language + the IDE + available libs/tools.

    1. Why not use C# ? Because it feels like going back 20 years. As a language it seems to revel in making the developer repeat themselves unnecessarily and creating traps for them to fall into. Having used both C# and Delphi I can say that coding in C# feels like coding with one hand tied behind my back.

      A lot of what is genuinely great about C# isn’t actually C# itself but rather the .NET platform: The framework(s), the GC, the assembly infrastructure.

      So for me, Oxygene delivers on the best of both worlds: I get to be a First Class Citizen in .NET using all the system and 3rd party libraries you refer to, but with the compact clarity and elegance of Pascal. And as a bonus I get to use that same language on Android, OS X and iOS ! 🙂

      But if you really do prefer C# and wish to branch out into those Android, OS X and iOS areas but don’t want to have to drag Mono along for the ride and learn an additional abstraction on top of the underlying platform frameworks, then you can opt to use RemObjects C#.


  7. Always same story. Delphi is overpriced, Visual Studio is for free.

    An then the debate goes into direction what does each product offers and what not.

    But verry few pepole realize that there is a huge difference between Delphi and Visual Studio. And what is this difference?
    Delphi is software development IDE made by Embarcadero to be used by other programers.
    Visual Studio on the other hand is software development tool used by the Microsoft itself for development of their own programs and Windows OS.

    So while Embarcadero is forced to sell Delphi in order to survive becouse this is its major source of revenue.Microsoft doesen’t even need to sell Visual Studio. Infact selling Visual Studio by Microsoft only means some aditional revenue for them or should I say reduced cost for their internal tool that they decided to offer to others.

    I remember watching an interview with one of the Visaul Studio developers some years back where he admited that when Microsoft decided to offer Visual Studio to public for the first time it wasn’t with the intention to earn aditional money but with the intention to atract as many pepole into using it becouse this gave them the best chance to see with what cool ideas could pepole come with.
    So yeah initially Visual Studio was intended as enlisting tool for Microsoft.

    1. I think people are more aware of the difference between Microsoft and Embarcadero than you think. But you forgot another key distinction: Microsoft is a technology company. Embarcadero is a venture capital investment that happens to have a portfolio that consists of technology products. 😉

      That aside, who do you think needs to attract new users to their IDE products more ? A company whose IDE product is not their core business, or the company who’s core product is their IDE ?

      Put another way: Microsoft can afford to give Visual Studio away (within limits) but don’t actually much care what people use to develop software for their OS product family.

      Embarcadero cannot afford not to give Delphi away, or at least make a more compelling cost:benefit offering than they currently do.

      That is, if this is indeed their core business with a long term future. But it aint necessarily so.

      Alternatively they just need to milk their user base for as many $’s as they can while they still can. Some people may not be aware that the once great 4GL’s such as Gupta and PowerBuilder are still plodding along and charging the earth to their locked-in customers. Unfortunately I think this is the future that Embarcadero envisage for Delphi, as is plainly evidenced by the way they repeatedly hoover up community projects and reasonably priced 3rd party products only to then lock them away behind an exhorbitant license.

  8. As for Starter Edition of Delphi:
    I do agree that Starter Edition of Delphi is compleetly useless. Why?
    Its supposed intention is to allow pepole to learn about Delphi and see if it does offer what they would require. But the problem is that Starter edition leaves out all the most inporant features like ability to create 64 bit applications, multiplatform support, etc.
    So basically those who buy Delphi Starter Edition doesent get realistic impression of what Delphi could even offer. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if many pepole who bought Delphi starter edition actually decided to go and use some other software instead.

Comments are closed.