Approximately 2 years ago I was present at a Delphi launch event here in Auckland. At that time the hot news was the release of Delphi 2007. But more significant than that (great) release was the recent publication after much SOX hoo-ing and haa-ing of a Delphi RoadMap.
On that Roadmap it was indicated that following the introduction of Unicode, 64-bit was the next major development lined up for the Delphi community. Even at that time, 64-bit was of greater importance and urgency for the Delphi community with which I was most closely connected, but at least it was coming (and at that time we still maintained hope that Unicode might be done right. Oh well).
But 2 years to wait for 64-bit…?
Well, that might give us time to get our code into shape, make it thru the Unicode transition that it seemed would now be forced upon us.
Unicode of course happened, but then something changed.
When Delphi 2010 started to be talked about it was no longer “Commodore” but some thing called “Weaver”, and some thing else called “Project X” seemed to be more prominent. Cross platform.
“Don’t worry” we were told – “this is all happening in parallel. There is no prioritisation of one over the other. We know that both are important.”
Yet this morning at this year’s Delphi Launch Event it was confirmed….
It’s Just A Jump to the Left…
…a 2 year wait for 64-bit.
No, not the same 2 years we were waiting for before. These are 2 wholly new and completely unspoiled years that we now have to wait.
Let’s do the time warp again…
But in the meantime we will be getting a cross-platform release.
What Are They Thinking…?
I have to hope that Embarcadero are thinking. But I cannot for the life of me figure out how or what.
Who are these droves of people itching to develop desktop applications for Mac OS and Linux?
I ask specifically about desktop applications because Mac OS isn’t (to my knowledge) particularly dominant in the server space, and neither is 32-bit Linux.
Malcolm Groves gave a figure of 10:1… that is for every person asking for 64-bit he has 10 asking for cross platform.
Who are these people and where are they hiding, because I cannot think of a single one!?
I think Malcolm himself put his finger on it without realising. He said that people asking for 64-bit need it. 64-bit solves a specific technical problem (availability of memory) that cannot be solved any other way. Cross platform on the other hand he suggested was a desirable capability, not an essential one. It’s the weight of numbers expressing that desire, vs the minority expressing a need, that has swayed things it seems.
So here’s what I think has happened…
I believe Embarcadero have made a fundamental mistake in listening to what their users say they want rather than thinking about what they really need.
Because of course lots of people want “cool stuff”.
Ask them: Would you like some cool stuff? And they will reply: Yes please!
The crunch comes when they are asked to pay for it. I have a horrible feeling that a Win/Mac/Linux Delphi 2011 will be a complete flop. All those people that so wanted that “cool” capability will have to find a market to justify spending the money on tooling up for it.
AND they will have to find a market to justify migrating their applications from VCL to VCLX, assuming that their application fits in a one-size-fits-all framework that will no doubt produce applications that are easily recognisable as VCLX applications, rather than apps honed and finely crafted to fully exploit the platforms they are running on.
And Then A Step To The Right…
Sorry… did I not yet mention…. yes, there will be a separate cross-platform VCL (called VCLX at this stage it seems).
VCL applications will remain Windows only. That’s all your existing applications of course.
VCLX applications will be able to be targetted at Win/Mac/Linux from a single source.
Is any of this starting to sound familiar? VCLX … VCLX … CLX
Yes folks, I think we’ve been here before.
Let’s do the time warp again…