News is starting to come out about the upcoming release of Delphi, RAD Studio XE. So what can we expect?
Well, based on what has been revealed so far, anyone thinking that the time that has passed since we were supposed to have received 64-bit support has been well spent is likely to be disappointed.
Today’s announcement is the first in 3 scheduled previews. This one discusses:
- Subversion version control integration in the Delphi, C++Builder and Delphi Prism IDEs
- Rapid PHP development added to RAD Studio with RadPHP
- Code editor enhancements for searching, formatting and navigating
- New debugging features
- Modeling enhancements in Delphi
The next preview will discuss “Automation and Optimisation” and the 3rd (and apparently final one prior to release) will address “Multi-tier, Web and Cloud”.
Given that we were originally told to expect 64-bit support in Delphi 2010 (that would be the previous release in 2009) with a preview in the release before that (Delphi 2009, released in 2008) the complete and utter lack of any mention at this point of 64-bit support let alone cross-platform features is flabbergasting.
What have they been doing at Embarcadero for the last 2-3 years?
We know that the 64-bit plans were part of a wider compiler re-architecture project which was expanded to encompass what was in my view a misguided ambition to provide a cross-platform compiler.
We also know that platforms other than 64-bit Windows became the priority, in the sense that they would be delivered before Win64 support itself – some at Embarcadero will use weasel words to argue that this isn’t a change in priorities, but it’s results that count for people waiting for technology, not project management semantics.
(Note: When trying to find the current Delphi RoadMap, searching the Embarcadero web site for “delphi roadmap” yielded primarily a bunch of links to JAPANESE press releases and a handful of information pages, none of which were the roadmap! I eventually found the link I needed buried as a link at the bottom of the “RAD In Action” unicode migration information page. Sheesh)
But, never mind what isn’t (seemingly) being delivered even this late, let’s look at what is (or will be) in the box/download announced so far:
Anybody using SVN that is not already using the entirely free JCL SVN integration (or numerous other integrations, or merely happy with Tortoise) may be impressed.
For the rest of us, this is a big “so what?” and perhaps even a “really? it took you this long?”.
Firstly, note the capitalisation. RAD is an acronym just as much as PHP, so quite what Embarcadero are telling us by dubbing this component of “RAD Studio” with the moniker “Rad” is up for question. Does it mean it’s almost “RAD”, but not quite?
In any event, a similar observation applies… anyone not already using Delphi for PHP is unlikely to be interested (hands up? anyone?) in finding it included in their RAD Studio SKU this time around, and anyone that is already using it might be a little cheesed off and wondering why they’ve been paying for it separately up until now.
But at least that ridiculous “Delphi for PHP” (it was neither the Delphi “language” nor, technically, the Delphi IDE) product name is consigned to history.
I suspect this is a case of having to give something away or at least find ways of charging people by a back-door (Q: has pricing for the new, larger, RAD Studio been announced yet? I don’t think it has) that it is proving difficult to charge separately for.
(Yet More) Code Editor Enhancements
Seriously, at what point do people start to understand that “productivity improvements” come mainly from experience and proficiency, not having to continually configure, tweak, learn and master tools in an IDE?
Some of these may be welcome, but mostly these productivity tools seem to add more and more weight and background processing overhead for precious little provable productivity gain.
New Debugging Features
These could be useful, depending on what they are. For myself I don’t find myself running into major limitations or problems with the debugger, and never really have. Many of the more recent “improvements” in this area were fine-tuning of already (long) present features.
Hopefully these new improvements will be more substantial.
I have never used the modelling tools in the IDE (it won’t surprise you to learn that I also have never used the compilers or code editors in my modelling tools either ;)) so cannot really comment.
Wherefore Art Thou RAD Studio XE?
(or: What’s In A Name?)
What does the XE? in “RAD Studio XE” stand for or denote?
Sadly, at this stage I have to say that the most apt interpretation is: RAD Studio eXtraneous Edition