A commenter on my blog suggested that Cross Platform could be a big win for Delphi, making it “the first” to achieve this.  This I think says a lot about the awareness and expectation of (some) of the people asking for cross platform, because far from being first Delphi would be way behind the curve in this area.

In providing a handful of examples of previous and current efforts it occurred to me that Embarcadero are preparing to go head-to-head with the likes of Nokia’s Qt, without the advantage of being an open source platform and without being able (initially and without more work) to target the additional handheld platforms that Qt already supports.

We might pooh-pooh FreePascal and Lazarus for being gentleman amateurs in a sport of professionals.  I do not think that Nokia and Qt can be dismissed so easily.  And again, I find myself wondering if Embarcadero are really thinking straight on this one.

So that’s the “Qt” part of the post dealt with.  What about the “hush hush“….?

Well, it also occured to me that Embarcadero’s view of what the Delphi community wants may have been skewed by the roadmap of some 2 years ago, which positioned Commodore as the next release after Tiburon.

That is, the roadmap that gave the impression that Delphi 2010 would be the release to deliver 64-bit support, coming as it did after Tiburon (Delphi 2009).

Indeed, I have seen people mention that Delphi 2010 already supports 64-bit and had to disappoint them on that score.  I thought I had seen this on StackOverflow (in a comment, not a question or answer) but, perhaps because it was in a comment, the search facilities on StackOverflow are proving inadequate to the job of finding it again.

Suffice to say that the reaction to the further 2 year delay for 64-bit support is a mixture of both dismay but sometimes more prominently shock, or at the least surprise.

This surprise might explain why Embarcadero believe there isn’t a great call for 64-bit, because in my experience, when people already know or think they are going to receive something, they do not make a point of continuing to ask for it.

At one point Nick Hodges was talking about a winter 2008 time-frame for Commodore.  News of the “no change” in priorities may have dribbled out in the meantime, but clearly I think it has passed some people by.

I think that in many cases people already thought they were going to get 64-bit so perhaps didn’t think they needed to  keep banging on about it.

The silence of the demand for 64-bit was perhaps deafening.

FootNote

This has been only a (relatively) brief post, but noteworthy for being the 64th post published to my blog.  I felt that worth a mention given the subject matter.

Sadly however my 100,000th visitor recently passed without fanfare or celebration.  Who-ever you were, thank you and I hope you enjoyed what-ever it was that you read.

21 thoughts on “On the Qt and all very Hush, Hush…

  1. “…Delphi, making it the first to achieve this.”

    Never heard of REALBasic by REAL Software ? Windows, OSX and Linux straight out of the box since years now…

  2. I think that the next two years will be very interesting and exciting ones!!! X or 64 ? to be or not to be ?
    Big question : ” Can Emb do thinks wright ” , answer yes , they have good people and they have done allready good work ( RAD 2010 ). Big question : ” Is Emb doing thinks the wright order ” ,
    answer don’t know !!.

    I realy hope they do thinks , finaly , wright after all , because the WRIGHT is more important , at least to me.

    Will see in the next 2 years comming , having hope and faith.

    Have a nice day.
    Sebastian.

    1. @Sebastian: I can only hope that they aren’t exciting in the same sense that the final minutes spent plummeting toward The Earth are very exciting for passengers that find themselves aboard an airliner that suffers terminal engine failure at altitude.

      I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and terrified, like his passengers.

  3. Jolyon,

    Completely onboard with this post, as usual. If you look at Nick Hodges comments in response to any roadmap issues, the one liner he inevitably responds with is “you were promised nothing” i.e. a roadmap is not a promise….

    Well, fair enough, but that just end up in semantics. As you say dates had been mentioned for 64bit, preview compilers showcased and scheduled for release etc etc…

    As they say, you can cry wolf once too often…

  4. Hi!

    I’m sure 64bit will be brought on the way and 64bit Windows is not enough, maybe the first step. The moment crossplattform is available 64bit is a must – Linux and OSX do not make a lot of sense for new developments under 32bit.

    Qt, yes. Smart and impressing … also Qt Studio, not overwhelmingly awsome but solid enough. Good work at all.

    Regards
    Michl

  5. With the release of Delphi 2010 I believe there is sufficient evidence of adequate funding and better management. There was no smash and grab, no gouging of the Delphi customer base. The release was production quality not prematurely ripped from developer machines. There is now actual R & D and parallel projects in progress. Enough to raise my confidence in the new owners, provided they continue to invest and not lose their nerve. As for direction, well, most of it is obvious and a game of catchup. Behind the game has its advantage. You can borrow the inventiveness of others without suffering the risks of early adoption. 64bit should be happening on a parallel track with as much money thrown at it as possible. Perhaps an additional compiler engineer. But I do agree with Wayne Williams that Project X on the Mac represents a golden opportunity to create a significant foothold in a new emerging market.

    1. @David: “evidence of adequate funding and better management” … “no smash and grab, no gouging of the Delphi customer base”

      Malcolm Groves stood up in Auckland and openly told us that in his view, apart from 1 or 2 things, and really in *his* opinion only 1, Delphi 2010 was basically a bug fix release with lots of little tweaks here and there. They charged full price for it of course and won’t be retrofitting those bug fixes to Delphi 2009 or 2007 (where they would be of most use).

      I stress – that’s not my characterisation of the release as not delivering much in the way of “new stuff”, it was his.

  6. I tihnk when people speak about cross-platform Delphi, they think about “Compile for Linux, too” option somewhere. I don’t think people want to give up the comfort, possibilities or components for Linux version. They expect they will just take any Delphi project and click “Compile for Linux”. To me that seems pretty much technically unrealistic, so we will probably end up with another Kylix and then the question about competition becomes important, because if I have to use something weak and limited, why not use Qt instead even if it is nightmare, or RealBasic even if it seems weird.

  7. At Embarcadero roadmaps are the fata morganas of the future…

    As far as we can see Delphi is foremost a tool for developing Microsoft Windows applications. The next upgrade cycle in the PC world is the switch to Windows 7 and 64 bits. What we need now is a Delphi release with support for 64 bits, multi-core processors, Unicode done right and support for the new OS features. All of this without breaking backwards compatibility!

  8. Back when Kylix and Delphi were using CLX (if memory served me right that was Delphi 6 or 7) they used Qt. It never took off. Probably (likely?) because Linux never took off for end users (only for servers), and because back then Linux developers were not used to use IDE’s for development (why would you need an IDE if you do server stuff and the only thing you have there is the command-line)?

    BTW: Sorry for not yet looking into the files you mailed me. Have been under a pile of work.

    –jeroen

  9. “Never heard of REALBasic by REAL Software ? Windows, OSX and Linux straight out of the box since years now…”

    Tried REALBasic. Gave it up after the IDE trashed my project file again and again.

  10. “Cross platform”:

    It doesn’t matter who’s first, it matters what you offer, and to whom, and what it’s worth.

    What would Cross platform delphi offer? It would offer millions of developers for whom Delphi is their known and trusted tool, the opportunity to go after server-side multi-tier development on Linux without changing tools. Comparing with native solutions on Linux, or mere C/C++ posix code without any GUI whatsoever, you can see that the advantage is on the C side. Without visual RAD in the picture, server side linux is the most modest cross platform target. I highly doubt that cross platform is going to make people go “wow” when they see it. There will be mostly grumbling, I expect. What? No full IDE on linux or mac? Bleah! That sort of thing. “XCode is free, why should I buy delphi?”. Again, this is all going to miss the point.

    The point is there are millions of developers and tens of millions of apps out there, some of them very lucrative, that would make a lot of money for people if they could port them to Mac and Linux without a complete rewrite.

    Thus, there is a market for cross platform. Money. Remember that stuff? There is next to ZERO money in 64-bit. Yet. Why don’t people get that?

    W

  11. Maybe Codegear realized it would be easier to work in OSX in Delphi’s current form….and THEN to add 64-bit afterwards, instead of doing 64-bit first and then OSX.

    Snow Leopard, by default, is 32-bit even (but with an option that you can turn on 64-bit), but like Windows users….alot of folks have not jumped to Snow yet and will probably be quite awhile before they do; I, for one…am not upgrading to Snow just yet as it’s not confirmed that the music programs and plugins I use to write music on my Mac will be 100% compatible, and if not – it would require me to upgrade to a newer version that supports Snow, which equals more money. 🙁 I think the same can go for Windows programs that don’t take advantage of 64-bit yet + if they do, can give the developer more reason to ask more money for upgrades from its customers.

    If I’m not mistaken either….32-bit programs operating in 64-bit Snow will have no problems whereas as 32-bit programs operating in 64-bit Windows, will require to run the app in XP emulating mode.

    Secondly, alot of the programs written for OSX are not 64-bit even yet. Take for example, Apple….if I understand correctly, even their own major programs are not even 64-bit yet…..like Logic Express (latest version)…and it was also just recently released.

    Another reason why I think they may have put 64-bit on hold…was to wait until Windows 7 gets into the wild and see how the public at large will react to it as this is expected to be the version that will catapult 64-bit into the mainstream. But since it’s only going to be released later this month….that gives time for Codegear to do the OSX thing in the interim….and then by say 3rd quarter of 2010….Windows 7 will have gone through a Service Pack and then the rest of the public will feel more secure to upgrading to Windows 7.

    For me…64-bit has not been on my top priority list at all….and even the Vista I use on this laptop is 32-bit. At the time I got this particular laptop (Thinkpad)….I had no time to check ALL the programs I use and drivers I need for my hardware to see if everything was 64-bit compatible. Yes, there are advantages to 64-bit, I understand that – but the problem is for everyone else out there to also get on the train. Lots of folks out there like me are not interested in being on a train with a handful of people and waiting for more people to jump on. We’ll let the market sort itself out first on this new stuff before getting on the train.

    As far as OSX, though – if Codegear can do OSX – I say, holy-shit….watch out. I think it would be the best thing they’ve ever done since IntelMac was introduced and gaining momentum. I’ve got a Mac now…and I’ve given up trying to learn X-Code/Objective-C and I’m at a point in my life where I simply don’t have time to learn a new programming language or mess with something like Mono. For all the developers that use Delphi that will be able to port their applications to Mac because of whatever reasons – family, friends, customers, etc – I believe, will open up a much wider opportunity for Delphi and Codegear at this point in time. If indeed they are doing OSX now….I think is a super wise move.

  12. To bad! Codegear miss the change of buying Qt 10 years before. Now, Nokia would not sell Qt anymore. Qt is the #1 GUI tollkit. I fear, Emba won’t reach the level of Qt in the near future. They waste their time and money on .net, C#Builder, CBuilderX, ….and other MS “technologies”.

  13. “Malcolm Groves stood up in Auckland and openly told us that in his view, apart from 1 or 2 things, and really in *his* opinion only 1, Delphi 2010 was basically a bug fix release with lots of little tweaks here and there. They charged full price for it of course and won’t be retrofitting those bug fixes to Delphi 2009 or 2007 (where they would be of most use).”

    I was told when I sought a solution for my D.2005.Pro problems (i.e. SP3 does not even always apply itself!) that buying the next version was the bug fix, so then now what has changed with the new ownership?

    I remain concerned about this pseudo “upgrade” policy. I still have not heard back even from Malcolm again even after he got my copy of some previous email to Code Gear that he asked for. He asked me just before that, “what I want”. It should have been obvious, and I sent him the email that had some of my previous corresponence in its trail of sent and received.

    Well, what I would have liked: was a sensible approach to upgrading us all 2005, 2007 and so on to the 2010 so-called “bug fix”.

    Is that too much to ask?

    I am now personally really worried about the lack of back up and support when it really matters, and not just glossy, good look, stuff stuff.

    If 2010 is just a basic bug fix – is asking full price for it perhaps I believe leaning towards “gouging”?

    It appears to me to mean, when costing the purchase of a new release at the moment, I believe that you appear to have to factor in at least another upgrade, and perhaps even a percentage of a second upgrade price to get the real cost.

    Now I really want to know about Lazarus, et al .. and other options.

    Has any one done anything major in it?

    Paul

  14. Want to go Cross Platform?

    Well there are many Non-Pascal based options.

    We use RealBasic for three medium scale projects in our company and we have never faced any problems.

    I personally like KBasic (BASIC dialect), MSDE with FreePascal (MSDE IDE is less resource hungry, seems to crash less than Lazu..), PureBasic (with Open Source Pure Forms) for cross platform development.

    HTH

  15. While I usually agree with you Jolyon I don’t feel Malcolm Groves told us Delphi 10 was mainly just bug fixes. What he did say was that there were only one or two big killer features but there were hundreds of small improvements. Some of these small improvements were no doubt bug fixes, but many are enhancements and new features which from the sound of it really improve the IDE.

    Like you I disagree with Embarcadero prioritising cross platform before 64 bit and I’m also unimpressed with being forced to switch to Unicode in order to use generics and all the other new features in Delphi 2009/2010 (which will mean we don’t move to Delphi 2009+ for some time).

    However I completely APPROVE of Embacardero’s focus on quality and IDE experience for Delphi 2010. It is what I and many in the community have been asking for continually since Delphi 8. You can certainly take the position that they should have done Delphi 2010 for free since in some ways it is just bringing the IDE up to the standard we would have hoped it would already be at but IMO that isn’t a realistic commercial demand.

    My 2c 😉

  16. @David: one man’s “focus on quality” is another man’s “bug fix”.

    I did make it clear that it was more than *just* bug fixes, and I personally think that the improvements in the debugger are a major feature in their own right.

  17. I was not at the Auckland presentation, and have had to rely on others’ reporting of it. Jolyon who normally appears to be very careful in what he says and writes has said on his blog:

    “Malcolm Groves stood up in Auckland and openly told us that in his view, apart from 1 or 2 things, and really in *his* opinion only 1, Delphi 2010 was basically a bug fix release with lots of little tweaks here and there. They charged full price for it of course and won’t be retrofitting those bug fixes to Delphi 2009 or 2007 (where they would be of most use).

    “I stress – that’s not my characterisation of the release as not delivering much in the way of “new stuff”, it was his.

    “David” wrote on Jolyon’s blog:

    “While I usually agree with you Jolyon I don’t feel Malcolm Groves told us Delphi 10 was mainly just bug fixes. What he did say was that there were only one or two big killer features but there were hundreds of small improvements. Some of these small improvements were no doubt bug fixes, but many are enhancements and new features which from the sound of it really improve the IDE.”

    Please, Jolyon, David and any one who was there, what is what? — Because like a lot of people, my decisions on ongoing use and purchase of Delphi very much depends on whether you have to factor in the next version as a paid for bug fix or not, on what you buy.

    Paul

  18. “Malcolm Groves stood up in Auckland and openly told us that in his view, apart from 1 or 2 things, and really in *his* opinion only 1, Delphi 2010 was basically a bug fix release with lots of little tweaks here and there.”

    Jolyon, here you say I “openly” said this, but on on the NZ DUG list you said that it was a perception. Which is it? I sure don’t remember saying this.

  19. @Malcolm. Would you care to clarify Jolyon’s reporting of “D2011 X Platform”, “D2012 64bit” ? Was this an off the record throw away observation, accurate company policy, or something else?

    I’m sure many in the community have been coming to this conclusion with the all the non date related information that is being allowed to seep out, but at what point is there going to be an official statement on the next deliverables. A date to be told dates if you like….

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