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:

SVN Integration

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?”.

RadPHP Inclusion

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.

Modelling Enhancements

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

34 thoughts on “RAD Studio “XE”

  1. Based on the review schedule, I suspect that
    1. No cross platform compiler (still buggy)
    2. No 64 bits

    In the end, there are bug fixes, some GUI improvement and multi-thread friendly.

    Cheers

  2. Your poll question is a bit one sided today. One answer for a ringing endorsement, then two very negative answers.

    Considering the full feature set hasn’t been announced yet perhaps a fairer question would be to list the new features and ask people which they were most interested in and then provide a none of the above option.

    1. @Lachlan: The two “non-positives” were supposed to be 1 negative and 1 indifferent. As for listing all the new features, I might do such a poll once more information is known. This poll is about initial reaction – I linked to the information about the new release available so far; people can check out the feature list then decide whether they are excited, disappointed, or indifferent. 🙂

      Putting polls together is never easy.

  3. It is gonna be a Flop. Another one of those versions no one ever uses. If they purchase it , it just sits on a shelf. We wont purchase another version until either 64 bit or multi-platform support is included

    good luck with this one embarcadero. Maybe you ought to get rid of a few more people over there

  4. I think you should remove the line “at least it gives me a reason to spend money”, it really makes your indifferent response sound like a negative one.

    I agree what was announced so far wasn’t particularly exciting, although I can see the sequence diagram generation being useful if it can cope well with more complex code.

  5. Thanks Jolyon. With that remark gone I was able to bring myself to select that option. 😉

  6. I see no problem with the Poll Joylon.
    Quite restrained compared with the poll I would have put up given this latest development.

    If anyone thinks ‘don’t worry Mac cross platform is in it we just havent been shown it yet’ the writing on wall is on Embarcedro newsgroups in Delphi Non Tech in the ‘Delphi XE – No cross-platform support? ‘ thread I think.

    As just one example talk gets arround to a new ‘Roadmap’ and part of an Embarcadero staff reply is

    ‘It will be released soon, so you can see how timelines have been
    adjusted. The plans haven’t changed much at all. Just the schedule has.’

    Sound familar from last few years ? Does to me 🙂

  7. Fully agree.

    Good news that Nick is no longer in the team.
    As this man was behind many disasters in last years.
    He had complete lack of understanding if development tools and target audience.
    He fully deserved to be fired. I wish it happend sooner.

    Unfortunately it looks like final Delphi release. Sales are dropping fast.
    Jobs are almost non-existent.

    Worst thing is that we have serious problems in EMB team.
    No one standed and said that this cross-platform thing is complete crap, just because can’t be done propertly and have no value.

    Btw XE ARD beta is available at some inet sites. And yes it is release with very minor enchancements. Not worth even $50.

  8. Sorry about muliple posts above. Browser seemed to be eating my messages then I got a couple of 500 errors

    Also sorry for typo on your name above Jolyon.

    1. @From Europe: No worries on either count. 🙂

      I am very used to that particular misspelling of my name – for some reason it’s very common to see it misspelled that way, even (and especially puzzlingly) online, where the correct spelling is typically present somewhere for all to plainly see (in the message/post to which someone is responding etc).

      I’m sure cognitive science has an explanation, all I know is, it doesn’t bother me and I’ve long since given up pointing it out and correcting it.

      🙂

  9. Why does none of this come as much of a surprise? Track record of course… I’m not really talking about the slippage in the product features, that happens and I’m sure EMB might point to on time delivery of features in the past. Mute point…

    My lack of surprise is at the abscence of preparation for the negative feedback from the first sneak peak. There can be no surprise on EMB’s part at the underwhelming response to it. So why no public relations plan in place to deal with it? All we get is a make shift response and the holding position of “the roadmap is being updated and will be available in the next few days”. WOW. It beggers belief that yet again they are caught napping and can’t handle this right.

    As to the future, well each to his own. I stopped having any faith in Delphi futures with the hand brake turn on the compiler rewrite. If I’d been able to see this far ahead, the bullet would have been bitten back then. Unfortunately we are now committed to Delphi for the foreseeable future and have no chance to switch tracks (due to time scales / funding etc).

    Within reason, I actually don’t really care about the price of Delphi , but it is somewhat irksome that we will have to shortly upgrade from D2007 to XE, purely because we are looking like we will need Unicode soon. As I have no faith in them getting to 64bit before hoverboards are invented, then we are going further down a rabbit hole that has no exit…

    I could go on, but I fear developing an ulcer.

  10. While I agree the modeling tools in the IDE have not been worth even firing up to date, the sequence viewer shows some potential for debugging.

    I found the video itself just a little cheesy in its setup – it makes me wonder about the timing of Nick’s firing just before a product release ramp up.

    As for the rest? Perhaps they are learning from RemObject’s faster release cycle. This release looks like it would be of more interest to those on SA. Certainly there are a number of things that do look like an improvement over 2010, and getting a hold of them before they get the crossplatform or x64 stuff working is something of a plus.

    @Jolyon -> JCL SVN support? Can you give a pointer? All I find is their FreeVCS stuff, no SVN stuff. Thanks.

  11. Jolyon,

    I would bet SVN support will be dropped from JVCL in the very near future, not because XE will bring it but Embarcadero will force the Jedis to drop it.

    just my 2ct
    Michael

  12. @Jolyon Smith: It’s not the JVCL, it’s the JCL that adds the “SVN” menu to the IDE if you select that feature in the JCL Installer.

    > This release looks like it would be of more interest to those on SA.

    I think so, too. They paid in advance for their SA and should get something for their money. If they don’t get anything for their SA fee, they will probably stop their SA.

  13. If you redo the survey after the remaining previews are released, maybe add an option like this:
    – Not necessarily ground breaking, but a worthy upgrade. Kind of like Delphi 6 -> 7.

  14. To be honest: What can we see since Delphi 7? Nothing! Delphi in its current state is crap! All begun with the new Galileo IDE, the .net desaster, the “all in one” IDE (Win32/.net/c#/etc). Now they want to sell us Delphi PHP and Delphi Prism. I would fire the whole product manager team! We want Delphi 64 bit. Now!

  15. I’m in general agreement with your assessment of the Delphi XE announcement, but I really stopped in to nitpick: “wherefore art” usually goes with “thou” not “though”.

    1. @Nick: LOL and furthermore ROFL!

      Very good spot!! Ironically I was actually at a performance of Romeo and Juliet just this last weekend! Face-meet-palm.

  16. @Peter,

    “What can we see since Delphi 7? Nothing!”

    Nothing? Seriously?

    New features since Delphi 7 up to about Delphi 2007:
    http://blogs.embarcadero.com/nickhodges/2007/03/28/33579
    http://delphi.wikia.com/wiki/Enhancements_since_Delphi_7
    http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/en/What%27s_New_in_RAD_Studio_%28Delphi_for_Win32_2007%29

    Delphi 2009:
    http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/en/What%27s_New_in_Delphi_and_C%2B%2BBuilder_2009

    Delphi 2010:
    http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/en/What%27s_New_in_Delphi_and_C%2B%2BBuilder_2010

    There is a free PDF of the book Getting Started with Delphi 2009, or you could print it at Lulu:
    http://blogs.embarcadero.com/deeelling/2009/04/27/38303

    Electronic versions of Marco Cantu’s Delphi 2009 and 2010 handbooks are available to registered users on Embarcadero’s site:
    http://cc.embarcadero.com/myreg

  17. @Andreas Hausladen: I was up for SA (for RAD Studio Pro) back in April and after asking questions about what to expect for ME in D2011 I decided to let it lapse (full upgrade price is only AUD$300 more than SA only). I just got an email last week telling me that I still have a chance to renew my SA by the end of August if I want to. So I’ve got 2 weeks of news left to give me time to decide, but it’s looking like I made the right decision in April and saved myself 500 bucks!

  18. Will be interesting to see how long it takes them to come up with the revised ‘Roadmap’ 😀

  19. From Tony’s post about getting offer to renew his lapsed SA I think we can guess when the revised ‘roadmap’ will actually appear.

    September 1st 😀

  20. @Bruce
    Yes they have suprised me producing the latest ‘roadmap’ so quickly. The phrase ‘Damage Limitation’ springs to mind here :D.

    Wether its good news is Debatable I think 😀

  21. It would be a shame for you to not have something to complain about. 🙂

  22. @Bruce
    It would be a shame for you not to have something so you had to trawl the blogosphere praising them 😀

  23. You’re projecting again.

    Can you name a single thing you’re happy about?

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