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After an initial welcome (and purchase!) I find myself having to curb my initial enthusiasm.  Most of the omissions from the Starter Edition, as compared to the Professional and higher editions, make perfect sense and are in fact pretty much what I myself described as appropriate for a “Community Edition” some time ago (tho I still think that the attitude toward database access is from a bygone age – DBExpress should be included).  Other omissions were a little questionable, and others downright bizarre.

But I have now learned of a single, crucial omission (not advertised) that renders the entire “Starter” moniker meaningless: No RTL/VCL Source Code!

There are a number of problems with not including the RTL/VCL source code, allow me to enumerate:


The fact that it is not included is NOT mentioned on the feature matrix.  In previous incarnations of a Personal or Standard Edition, this difference WAS called out on the relevant feature matrix at the time.

2. NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE (Not as Advertised)

The feature matrix does claim that the VCL is “fully extensible”.  I dispute this in the absence of source code.  The VCL cannot be safely and reliably extended in many cases without first inspecting the source of the classes you intend to extend (and in many cases, deducing the correct way to extend is only possible by inspecting the source).

3. NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE (Not for “Starters”)

This is a “Starter Edition”, correct?  It says so, right there on the tin!

However, in the absence of adequate documentation (something others have lamented – I haven’t seen the documentation myself so can only go on the comments of others) the source code IS the documentation.  Even with full and adequate documentation, source code is a crucial learning tool for a “Starter”.

4. NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE (Un-debuggable)

Also even with full and adequate separate documentation, some things could only be discerned from the source as they would still not be present in that documentation.

I recently fell foul of a bug in the TInterfacedObject destructor implementation (something I shall cover in a separate blog post soon).  The bug was something that would not and should not be mentioned in documentation because a) it was an omission – you don’t generally remember to document what you forgot to implement! and b) it was what should have been part of a private implementation detail, something you shouldn’t need to think or know about to safely use (i.e. extend) the class.

The bug manifests as apparent errors in application code when a derived interfaced object class triggers an invalid behaviour in the base class.

A behaviour that can only be understood by inspecting the source of the base class.  Without that source, the bug appears to be in the application code.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Embarcadero have two ways open to them to resolve this situation as I see it:

  1. Update the feature matrix and make it clear exactly how Starter differs from the other editions so that customers are not misled.
  2. Rethink this decision and issue an update to Delphi XE Starter Edition to include the RTL/VCL source code

I fervently hope that they take option 2.

I firmly believe that to be the right way forward.

I said at the beginning that I had purchased Delphi XE Starter, and I did.  Fortunately I had not got as far as actually installing it before learning how I had been misled by the advertising for the product.  Sadly however, this means that I have had to cancel my order.

55 thoughts on “Delphi [Non]Starter Edition: No VCL Source!”

  1. I really prefer option 2, too, but as I remember, Delphi Personal, long long time ago, didn’t include the sources too. Without reading the feature matrix, I expected Delphi Starter to be something very similar to what Delphi Personal was.


    1. @Alexandre – equally, the fact that with previous Personal Editions the source was not included is one thing, but you have to also remember that this difference was specifically mentioned in the feature matrix. Not on this occasion, so it is entirely reasonable to expect that no such difference exists. This isn’t a “Personal” edition. It’s not a “Standard” edition. It’s a new type of edition called “Starter”, with entirely different limitations on it’s use (the revenue limit). Extrapolating differences from previous entry level editions can only be taken so far.

  2. IMHO the only mistake is not to state it clearly. I find not including source code in line with the Starter target (as not including dbExpress, which is useless in the Pro also…). Even most Delphi libraries come in a cheaper version without sources, and a more expensive one including sources.
    As a long time Delphi developer I would not buy a Starter, of course, I wonder you did. I would miss many features I got used to.
    But if I were the young developer who saved for months to get is Turbo Pascal copy many years ago, I would buy it, for example. And even then I wish I could have bough BP7 instead of TP7, but I couldn’t afford it. But I didn’t complain like too many long time Delphi developers are doing now. It looks they’re after a copy to save on their Pro licenses, not a new SKUs for starters.

    1. @LDS – yes indeed. Had I known that source was not included I would not have purchased. The reason I did is that for the things I do in my spare time, for which I earn $0 revenue, it was (source code exclusion apart) perfectly adequate and (more importantly given the $0 earnings aspect of my “hobby” coding) affordable and most of the things it lacks compared to Pro I don’t use anyway.

      At work I use an Architect edition, licensed by my employer but, as is often the case in an ISV scenario, we aren’t always able to keep up with the absolute latest releases (currently we are on D2010 and considering XE, but only because we are in a relatively fortunate position to upgrade to XE currently, given the position we are in with our current use of D2010 itself – at most other times, upgrading isn’t so straightforward).

      So another reason for wanting to get on the Starter Edition was to be able to be “more current” in my own time.

  3. If source was that important to your needs, a pre-sales question would be appropriate. For $150 USD, I would have been surprised to see the source included. There are some component vendors selling libraries without source for way more. Starter is a far larger package with the VCL, an IDE, and a compiler at a lower price point.

    1. @Kyle: I may not have asked the direct question, but why else do you think I checked the feature matrix ? What is the point of publishing a document that supposedly identifies the differences between the editions of the product if it does not describe ALL the differences ?

      And yes, other vendors are selling libraries without source… AND THEY TELL YOU THAT UP-FRONT.

      NOTE: Delphi 7 Personal and Delphi 2006 Turbo Explorer were FREE (or cheaper). Paying $150 I reasonably expect MORE than I used to be able to get for nothing.

  4. “the source code IS the documentation”
    – if this is indeed the case, it’s a documentation problem, not a problem with the source code. People have been able to work with the .NET framework classes productively long before the source code was opened up.

  5. Source is a selling feature of Delphi IMO and something that should be in a Starter Edition. Honestly for $150 they should give a professional version with the existing restrictions on commercial development.

    They missed TClientDataSet (it is listed in the matrix as not there) which at least in older versions of Delphi was something that simply should be built in. Delphi has long been weak on client side data manipulation and one reason dotNet is so much better at least in that regard.

  6. Generally, we alreasy saw this 🙂
    Good idea implemented terribly.
    No source is one thing.
    But $199 price for this (and advertising $149 upgrade price is stupid as you really want new Delphi adpoters, not D7 upgrades only) is really no go.
    Especially considering $1000 annual thing (are they talking about poorest Africa countries?). And this $1000 is also impossible to track, but you impose some kind filter – many good guys won’t buy it 🙂

    My suggestion:
    $9 version (free for education) – no source and all the same as current Starter.
    $99 version (same for upgrade) – source included and few other additions.
    Plus second version must have $15000-$20000 annual limit.

  7. yeah.. we want the soruce code!!!

    ..I still don’t know why, but we want the source code since it wasn’t mention on the box.

  8. It may not be in the feature matrix but in the “Delphi XE Starter Edition and C++Builder XE Starter Edition FAQs” under the question “Why might I choose choose Professional instead of Starter?” one of the reasons listed is “Expanded VCL component set and VCL source code”.

    1. @Michael: Which is simply further evidence that it should be in the feature matrix… when wondering “Why Professional rather than Standard” my first instinct is to look at the document that DESCRIBES THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EDITIONS. At what point, if when I don’t see XYZ in the feature matrix is it reasonable to assume that the information is in fact SOMEWHERE ELSE and if not there, to ring up Embarcadero and ask: “What other information about the differences isn’t in your differences document?”.

      And for everyone saying “did you ask them”, my guess is that the drone on the end of that request would consult the feature matrix or more likely simply refer any inquiry along those lines to that document.

  9. Not including the source is pretty obvious in my opinion. The FAQ makes it pretty clear and I doubt that it makes sense at all for “starters” to start digging into the VCL/RTL source. The docs available at http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/ has really improved over the time and is sufficient for “starters”.

    For “professionals” it makes perfectly sense to have the source, but as the term says: “Pro”

    I still think the price tag is too high for the average student or hobbyist, but even for those 150 I wouldn’t seriously expect the source.

    1. @Olaf: No. Sorry, but you are simply wrong. All other things being equal, then the PRICE of the license might be an indication of what you might expect WITHOUT CHECKING THE FEATURE MATRIX. But in this case, the low price comes with a restriction on use – the US$1000 revenue limit. THAT explains the lower price on it’s own. Everything else then is open to question, the sort of question that the FEATURE MATRIX is specifically supposed to answer.

      And I find it hilarious that some people think that “Starter”s (as defined by Embarcadero: open source/hobbyists) are MORE likely to be the ones to inspect source than Pro users, whilst others say the exact opposite.

      My point is that whoever the product may or may not be aimed and, and whatever benefit or utility you or I may think any user of a particular type would derive from having the source, the plain and simple fact is that the source is NEEDED.

      And we aren’t talking about the source code to the IDE or the compiler, which would be the comparable technology for all those people bleating on about other vendors providing cheap versions without source.

  10. First. VCL source is frequently required to understand how something works or look why something is very slow.

    Second. Removing source they mainly hit their own code quality. As having much more developers hunting for bugs is much better than imposing this strange restriction. As all who really need this code for short time, can simply find it without buying your much more expensive options 🙂

    Third. We still do not have entry product in Delphi line. I think it is result of complete misunderstanding of current situation in education and freelance business by Embarcadero bosses. It is clear, because they still think that their academic licenses are good solution (and wonder why no one buys them 🙂 ).

    One good thing is that after firing Nick we finally got this Starter edition.
    I wonder who else must be fired to make proper Delphi products line 🙂

  11. I’m the marketing goal of this Starter edition: I wanted to buy this version, to test and maintain my Open Source libraries, which will work without any problem with the Starter limitation.

    Without the VCL source, it’s not worth the money for me.
    And without the Ctrl+Alt+C keyword shortcut, it will not be the day I’ll leave my Delphi 7 + CnPack IDE to the XE version.

  12. Well, I don’t think that missing VCL source is an issue for most of starter user. What bother me is :
    – missing dcc32.exe command line compiler : allmost all 3rd party components installer will fails…. stupid…
    – missing TClientDataset

  13. I guess you are the exact target Embarcadero wanted to exclude from Starter sales as much as possible: long time Delphi PROfessional developers. Why is so difficult to design a cheap edition? Because it **must not** cut into Pro sales, at least. Too many of you instead want exactly that, a cheap Pro. Simple license restrictions are not enough, because Embarcadero has no way to enforce them seriously, thereby they have to introduce other limitations, I think it should be easy to understand.
    Anyway, I can’t see the issue in your case. If it was to “see what’s new” the language and compiler are the same, you don’t miss anything. If it is about the VCL, well, I too would like to be able to see what’s new in Datasnap without buying an Enterprise, but that’s impossible, of course.
    It is also not true you can’t extend properly the VCL is you have not the source, it could be sometimes more difficult, true, but we all work on Windows without having its source, and sometimes even MSDN documentation is poor or even plainly wrong.
    And we all know comparison to whatever Microsoft does are plainly stupid. Try them again when Embarcadero revenues are in the billion range,

    1. @LDS: You just don’t get it. By making Starter not appeal to me they gain nothing and lose something. I do not represent a lost Pro sale as a Starter customer, I represent a Starter customer who cannot afford/justify Pro as a personal purchase as much as I would like to. I will simply continue to use the license that my employer provides me with at home, as permitted by that license.

      I would LIKE to give Embarcadero money – they just insist on refusing to create a product that is worth it for me. Net to Embarcadero: LOST sales.

  14. Jolyon,

    I agree with Olaf and I don’t think it is particularly useful to the discussion to say “you are simply wrong” and that those who disagree with you are “bleating on”. We each have an opinion on this matter, that doesn’t make any one of us right or wrong. Engage in the discussion, don’t invalidate your point of view by throwing stones.

    I do agree that this should be included on the feature matrix, that’s a poor oversight. But for such little money, for what is a starter kit to give developers a feel for the product, I do not see the need for the VCL/RTL source code to be included. I’ve used Delphi DAILY since Delphi 1, and I can honestly say that I seldom rarely step into, or look at, the VCL source. On the occasions I have done, it has been for something far beyond what the user of a Starter version would require.

    I take your point, though, that Starter does not necessarily mean hobbyist or newcomer, but given the £1000 revenue limitation, it’s what they’ve aimed for and presumably why they decided to exclude the source.

    I do disagree with your point, however, about it not being fully extensible because it doesn’t include source. I suspect what they meant by that was that you can install extra VCL components, rather than users inheriting from standard classes.

    Good spot though, hopefully they’ll decide to at least change the feature matrix.

  15. I also agree with Olaf. I would have been surprised if the source WAS included in the Starter Edition. It’s entirely consistent with most Delphi add-ons, where the expensive version has source and the cheap one doesn’t.

    I do however think they should have included TClientDataset.

    1. @Rob: We aren’t talking about the source code for the compiler or the IDE. The higher cost for such components then includes full source for THE COMPLETE PRODUCT from which you could recreate the full set of product binaries.


      Component vendors typically offer far superior documentation and other “learning”/getting started resources.

      Component vendors typically offer (time limited) money back guarantees.

      Component vendors DON’T typically impose revenue limits on users of cheaper versions.

      It is important to compare apples with *apples*.

  16. In my humble opinion Embarcadero should release the starter edition for free, with the VCL source code included! Make it a one click download, no questions asked. This is the only way to get young developers hooked on developing using Delphi, the only fast way to expand their market share. Later (…) on they can upgrade to a paid version which supports 64 bits and / or cross platform development.

  17. Jolyon, you don’t get it. To appeal to developers like you (used to much higher SKUs), they should put too much into low-end editions. That would surely hurt sales of higher SKUs. It’s better to lose sales to someone who’s using the architect/enterprise at work already, than to lose Pro sales (and maybe some Ent) because the much cheaper low end edition is a working alternative to them. You should not look at it from your *personal* point of view, you should look at it from the perspective of a sustainable business by Embarcadero. I haven’t the ratio among Pro/Ent/Arch sales, but I guess the Pro is a good slice of it. If so, they have to be very careful not to kill it.

    1. @LDS – you are the one that doesn’t get it. The people you are thinking of won’t be handing over $149 for a tool when they can get other tools for FREE.

      Yes, I am used to higher end SKU’s, and I still use those higher end SKU’s in my PAID EMPLOYMENT (Architect), licenses that are paid for by my employer. I can use those licenses at home too. I don’t have to give Embarcadero any money to use Delphi in my own time. But I would LIKE to give them some money, but cannot afford or justify the PRO SKU license cost, not least because my “hobby” work doesn’t NEED everything in the PRO box.

      If Starter Edition came with source, I and other open source/hobbyists would happily pay US$149 to be able to use Delphi for that hobby/open source interest.

      With or without source, the people *you* are thinking of are unlikely to pay ANYTHING.

      And you also keep forgetting that the US$1000 revenue limit is what actively serves to protect the PRO market from Starter Edition encroachment as most current and future users of PRO will be generating revenue from/related to the use of their tools.

  18. @Jason

    +1 on every point you make.

    Like you I’ve been using Delphi since 1995 and rarely look at the source even now.

    I really hope they sort things out with DevExpress – that overshadows everything else at the moment I think.

  19. Same here. I’m glad I waited with the purchase until hearing the first reactions from people out there. The deal breaker for me was the missing shift-ctrl-c. I mean what the hell. Out of my frustration with Python, I decided to give Lazarus another try. Installed it on Xubuntu 10.10, using the Gtk backend then installed the fpcsource package. And what can I say, it is pretty awesome. I think we should all get our act together and start contributing to Lazarus/FPC. It’s worth it. Giving Embarcadero money for castrated versions not so.

  20. I’ve been a Delphi 4, 6 and 7 personal user since the time that D4P came bundled with a book on Pascal Programming. I’ve gone from TP3->4->5pro->5.5pro->6pro->BP7->Delphi1 and really appreciated the debugging/variable locating tools that began with the BP7 version. ALT-0 comes to mind. I simply wasn’t able to justify the expense to get the pro versions of any of these Delphis or of the more modern versions. Not a pro am I. Topaz gave me .DBF access and TurboPower becoming OpenSource gave me the tools I had back in the TP/BP days. No dcc32.exe? Yet a claim to be able to install third party tools? Right. I had charge card in hand until I read that. I’d like to flip back and forth between the implementation and interface portions of code, but, I miss most the ability to see all the locations where a variable is used and its definition. If I did spring for the pro version would I get this feature again at long last? Where are these sorts of short-cut definitions in feature matrices when you need them?

  21. Starter stuff sucks! Misleading advertising sucks more! As you all know, you can get many programming languages for free, and they are as good as Delphi. Embarcadero must be aware that Delphi is a dieing tool and must work on spreading it to the masses. IMHO this starter is not helping, as some bugged or useless components in the last Delphi editions. As developers we need reliable tools, we also need tools that allow us to work on actual tech/modern hardware. Its unbeliable that free tools as Free Pascal can produce cross platform binaries and Delphi is still dreaming on having a x64 compiler on windows only. We need better tools now, not in 20 years.

  22. Over the years, one of the recurring conversations has been around how to get started in computer programming, what language to learn first and how to prepare for a career. There have been numerous articles, blog posts, conference talks, videos, white papers and studies done. Colleges, placement centers and employment agencies also offer advice to students, enterpreneurs/startups, retirees, laid off workers and others looking to get into the software and technology industries. We want to make it easy and affordable to come join the fun and rewards of modern software development.

    I’ve received many emails and had hundreds of conversations with students, developers and interested parties asking for advice about how to get started. With Embarcadero Delphi XE Starter Edition, we give you the ease of learning of the Pascal language and added the modern power of language enhancements like components, interfaces, events, enhanced runtime type information, attributes, operator overloading, generics and anonymous methods. With C++Builder XE Starter Edition you have an industry standard language with all the power of C++’s language, object and runtime libraries as well as our visual components and IDE. All native code, full access to Windows and no managed runtime.

    Here are just a few examples (there have been thousands) of the messages and comments I’ve received over the years from many, around the world, wanting to get started:

    “As an independent contractor currently looking for work, I’d really like to see an additional, lower-cost package that would be aimed at people like me: use Delphi for personal programs, occasional freeware, etc.”

    “In my spare time, I do development work for local charities. It would be great to have an edition of your developer tools at a lower price so that I can continue to help non-profit organizations in my town.”

    “I am starting my own company. I know it will take some time to get some revenue going, do you have a version of Delphi and C++ that can help me get started? When I start generating revenue, I will gladly buy your professional or enterprise versions.”

    “At work we use the Delphi Enterprise edition. I would like to have a version of Delphi for projects I build at home but I just can’t afford a copy on my own. Are you working on an edition now that Turbo Delphi is no more?”

    “I was recently laid off. I have a lot of time but little money. I’d really like to try and get into the software development field. Does Embarcadero have products that can help me start a new career?”

    “I am a retired programmer with extra time on my hands. I’m thinking about teaching young developers and doing some volunteer development work. I know you used to have the free Turbo Delphi Explorer, do you have something at a reasonable price that I can use to build Windows applications?”

    With our recently release Starter Editions for Delphi and C++Builder, we now have versions of our native code development tools that allow you to get started, start building a career, do some volunteer work, using some of your spare time to help a non-profit organization and writing applications for yourself and your friends. Use our professional quality rapid application development, visual design, component-based designers to quickly build Windows applications. Take advantage of the large ecosystem of components and tools to help you learn and get started. You can install and use them in the Delphi and C++ XE Starter editions without any restrictions.

    Once you get started, learn some development chops, start building a programmer reputation and earn a little spending money, then we offer a nice upgrade price and path to move up to our Professional edition. Make some more money and upgrade to our Enterprise and Architect editions. Learn the skills of Delphi and C++ programming and move up to our RAD Studio XE Professional, Enterprise and Architect editions. If you are a professional/working programmer for an established company we have Professional, Enterprise and Architect editions that will boost your productivity and help your company stay ahead of the competion. If you are a student and faculty member, we have academic pricing for our products to fit your budgets and educational needs.

    For Delphi, Bob Swart has created a free Delphi XE Starter Essentials book. After you purchase, install and register Delphi XE Starter Edition, you can download the eBook “Delphi XE Starter Essentials” at http://cc.embarcadero.com/reg/delphi. if you have an extra $18.82 you can purchase a printed version at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/delphi-xe-starter-essentials/14723094.

  23. @Joylon – what was that empirical claim of mine you found so absurd again…? 😉

    @Cameron – if Starter was Pro, just with a restrictive licence, people would feel cheated when they ‘had’ to upgrade – it’s human nature (‘I’m paying because I’m honest yet getting absolutely nothing in return?’). That said, I’ve been dropping hints all over the place WRT that particular bugbear you (along with Rob and others) have with the current Starter feature set…

    @Stu – not unconnected to my last point, you realise how dead simple it is to install components, right? The way people talk about the command line compiler issue, it’s as if ad hoc installations is some terribly involved process, when it patently isn’t. Obviously, from the component vendor’s POV, it’s a pain in the behind because supporting multiple versions is a pain in the behind. But for the end user I just don’t get all the fuss!

    1. @Chris: People who have something rarely think about the fact that they have it. All of these people who say they “never look at the source” I suspect would have to rethink that view if you asked them: “Really? So, you never enable debug DCU’s and step thru the VCL source? **Ever**?”

      They may not consciously think they ever set out to deliberately look at source, but my guess is that if you took the source away they would soon realise that they don’t have it and want it back (and like a lot of things, it’s easy to say “I/you don’t need it” when you have it and aren’t about to have it taken away just because someone else doesn’t have/get it).

      It is not a new insight to suggest that you often don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

  24. Jury is out over Delphi XE Starter as far as I am concerned for these reasons :-

    (a) Will it be allowed to wither on the Vine so to speak like Turbo Delphi Pro was ? Produce a version from a pro product mid product cycle then just sell same version for couple of years before its then withdrawn. What is the window for Upgrade from Starter to Pro ? The current version or XE and XE2 etc ?

    (b) Whatever the ins and outs on this I concur with Joylon that I dont see this appealing to the people they seem to be aiming it at. If someone can download a tool that can produce commercial software without limitations like this $1000 annual revenue stuff for free and see alot more jobs advertised for said technology versus a tool that costs $149+ , Has limitations on use for commercial work and much fewer jobs advertised for the technology which are they more likely to choose when starting out ?

    Its old style Inprise/Later Borland era thinking for the most part I think. Same core of staff, Same old nonsense IMHO so not really suprised.

    1. @From Europe: Re your first point, that is indeed very relevant, and the removal of auto-update facilities from the IDE is a worrying indicator on that score imho.

  25. It’s not the people I am thinking of, it’s the people Emb is thinking of. Again, you’re still looking at it from your personal perspective. Clearly, Emb is not trying to sell more Delphi to actual customers, it would be a foolish attempt, especially if doing so they shoulcd cut into the actual revenue stream. IMHO they know that they aren’t able to enforce the $1000 limit seriously, it’s up to the developer honesty. That’s why there are more limitations to try to drive people at least towards the Pro without having to hunt down each Starter customer to check his revenues.
    Will people buy it or not? You believe anybody won’t, I believe some will. There are a lot of payware software sold when there are free alternatives (Office, anyone?), because not everybody is just too poor or too greed not to pay for a product he regards interesting. Of course this Starter won’t drive millions of new developers to Delphi, and IMHO Emb knows. But I guess not everybody is so mad about VCL source code availability as old Delphi developers like you may be. If it is not the right product for *you*, it doesn’t mean it is the wrong product.

  26. @David: This text looks extremely strange. As you managment talks around the world.
    Can you imagine student who’ll buy Delphy Starter for $199?
    No. Especially outside USA and Europe. And this is your main market now, remember?
    Plus all our universities have complete access to all Microsoft software via their specila programs. So, any student can get Windows, office and Visual Studio.
    So, you just miss your target completely.

    In fact, you just defined wrong target – long time Delphi 7 users 🙂
    As I said, you need completely different low end product line up.
    One for education, free or up to $10.
    One for indie developers, with special license that prevents usage in corporations or firms larger than 25 developers.
    And lowered Professional version price to $300.

    I know how hard it for Embarcadero.
    But you have no over solution.
    The sooner you understand it – the better.

  27. I’m OK with the STARTER feature set. I’m not a target client but I don’t see why a Starter user would need the VCL source code.
    I see the target as new comers. Do they know what the VCL is? Do they expect to see the wonderful VCL source code? I guess NO.
    Come on this a Start Edition for Starters/NewComers.
    Pro’s and Hacker will go full (legit or not).
    There are many VCL components out there that ships without source in their free/cheap/trial version so…

  28. @Michael Duncan, @Olaf Monien
    FAQ makes is _*ugly*_ unclear:
    “The Professional editions of Delphi and C++Builder include a number of features not available in Starter. Here are some of the major additional features available when you move up to Professional:
    – Expanded VCL component set and VCL source code
    IMO this sentence sugests that VCL component set and VCL source code are expanded, rather than that VCL component set is expanded and VCL source code is included. Isn’t lack of this information on starter edition pages and in the (quite detailed) future matrix – in conjunction with fact that its still isn’t corrected – a little (IMVHO quite huge) abuse?

    There are other quirks too:
    – Initially/still(?) not quite accurate future matrix (sic!).
    – “Full-featured debugger with color syntax highlighting” on http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi/starter isn’t quite “full-featured” in future matrix
    – Funny upgrade policy: “Delphi XE and C++Builder XE Starter upgrade/competitive upgrade pricing is available to owners of any other IDE or software development tool including earlier versions of Delphi, C++Builder, Turbo Delphi, Turbo C++, Turbo Pascal or any other paid or free IDE from any other vendor (such as Visual Studio Express Editions, Lazarus, Eclipse, and others).” – don’t get me wrong – I appreciate $50* discount – but just selling for $149* was too simple?

    I’m in similar situation – I will gladly buy inexpensive “Let Me Do My Work – Not Just Only Annoy Me to Buy Superior Edition” Delphi for private development. Although I’ve red starter information quite carefully I’ve noticed 😐 lack of sources in xe-starter only thank to your article.

    Revenue limit is very good idea though I prefer doubled Professional real (not in $) price revenue bound which let me keep 50% earned money for myself.

    @David I
    Sorry but here are weak translation of one – I think funny – example (I think there are a few others): “I will rather buy more beer and I still be developing in Eclipse than I will buy Delphi” said by best programmer I know, unfortunately ex-Delphi programmer.

  29. No one denies having the library source code is a huge benefit. But saying the Starter edition has pratically no value because of that is simply an exaggeration, especially now when even without source code one could access a huge knowledgbase called “the Internet”. Remeber when people learned developing without it? Were they successful anyway? Moreover a lot of VCL internals deals with Windows programming, and I wonder how many “starters” today are proficient in plain Windows programming, especially if they come from languages that hide it far more the VCL does.
    I repeat it for the last time. What is missing from the Starter is probably what long time Windows Delphi developers miss. Not what someone starting to use Delphi should miss at all. If they have such a need, well probably they are already past its level, and have such needs they should really think about a Pro. I own a Pro for my pleasure, and well, it is not unaffordable if you’re really interested in your “hobby”. People spend a lot more, for their personal pleasure. Only most are too greed to pay for software.

    1. @LDS – You are thinking of a time when software development tools and languages were much simpler and easier to figure out, PLUS they came with comprehensive getting started references and comprehensive and accurate documentation. Seriously I do not believe that it is *I* who am out of touch with what “starters” need (and want and expect) in the modern era. But it is no surprise to me that some people think the Starter Edition is well targeted – clearly it is reasonable that there should be people outside of Embarcadero with the same kind of thinking as those inside. Thinking that I would say is dangerously (for Delphi) out of date. ymmv.

  30. If you wondered why the DavidI post above sounded like a press Release/Sales Pitch (thats how it came over IMHO ) it is because most of it is a cut and paste it would appear from his blog entry on 4th Feb on blogs.embarcedero.com 😉

  31. Totally agree with last post Joylon !,
    the thinking by Embarcadero staff that these ‘starter’ editions are well targetted is seriously out of date and borderline delusional IMHO. Not that I am the slightest bit suprised over this. As I said above Same core of staff, Same old nonsense IMHO

  32. I have been in the software business since 1984. I have used delphi since ver 3.
    The price of Delphi is not an issue. Delphi is a required tool of my trade and like any good builder I will pay what is required to aquire the best tools. If you are a true professional, that is someone who turns Delphi code into $ollars then the price of Delphi is simply part of doing business. Just like the tax man and his 30% share.
    No amount of reading Delphi code will make anyone a programmer.
    If you really want to make money from developing software, first decide what you want to create and then find the best tools to do it. If you want to see really good source code, subscribe to developers express. If your simply kicking the tyres to pass the time, by a game console.

    1. @McColl: I can only say again, that I think it is *other* people who are out of touch with software development, not I.

      Those who believe that source code is NOT a useful learning tool appear to be in a *very* small minority: http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/blog/All-In-One-Code-Framework-your-one-stop-shop-for-Windows-code-samples-examples-and-guidelines

      It’s almost as if some people *resent* the notion that other people should get a leg-up into the industry, and should be made to pay and work as a grafting professional from the start, and if they aren’t prepared to do that then they should go hang.

      Such people would presumably be happy for Delphi to be the new COBOL.

      I can only say I have a somewhat different view and wish to see as many people brought into the Delphi fold as possible.

  33. @Cameron “Delphi has long been weak on client side data manipulation and one reason dotNet is so much better at least in that regard.”
    How exactly is delphi weak! and in what universe is dotnet better.

  34. Apologies for not making my self clear. Source code is an important learning tool. I was thinking about the difference between the source code of the tools used and the source code of the application. I have never looked at the source code for the VCl. I however quite often search the web for source code examples. I also search the web for components. This is basically a cost saving process. It is always cheaper to buy than to develop. But one of the conditions of buying must be the availability of the source code. As for getting more people to use Delphi in NZ. Well for a start how about finding out if there are any commercial applications using Delphi developed in NZ. I know of a couple ,one a payroll system is bit of dogs breakfast and not a good example of Delphi programing. or setup a NZ only site for mentoring new Delphi users.

    1. @McColl: Nobody has suggested that the IDE (application) source code should be provided, but the VCL source is exactly equivalent to what you yourself say is a “condition of buying” for any component library.

      More generally, you say that “Source code is an important learning tool”, and you think the “Starter” in “Delphi XE Starter Edition” is referring to …. what precisely ? And I seriously doubt your claim to have “never looked at the VCL source code”. Are you seriously suggesting that you have NEVER, at any time since 1997 (Delphi 3’s release date iirc), enabled Debug DCU’s and stepped thru the VCL source? Not ever? Not even once?

      Not sure where your comments re finding commercial apps in NZ developed with Delphi… unlike some, I am thinking in much broader terms than my own immediate personal environment.

      But since you raised it, I know of at least two ISV’s using Delphi, neither of which are the payroll system you are thinking of, because I have worked on them myself, and neither of them could be considered “dog’s breakfasts”. I know of plenty of others indirectly, having been involved in recruitment for a large dev team on one of those products where we were of course presented with candidates with experience of working for a number of other NZ companies using Delphi.

      In fact, I’d say Delphi is over-represented in NZ w.r.t the size of our population and economy here, and the majority of candidates with experience are immigrants (like myself) who earned their Delphi wings overseas, and many years ago.

      Meanwhile, the number of NEW or even relatively FRESH developers presenting themselves with newly/recently acquired Delphi skills, or a desire to add Delphi to their CV’s, is non-existent. A situation in which regard I suspect NZ finds itself having much in common with most of the rest of the world.

      Indeed, very many of the Delphi candidates are keen to learn whether there are opportunities to move AWAY from Delphi.

  35. There is no demand for Delphi in NZ because there are very few commercial software houses using it. If you want people to learn Delphi there has to be more incentive than simply for fun. Microsoft dominates the market and very few people who wish to earn a living from software will go against the trend. My business moved to Delphi from Clipper. The reason we choose Delphi was that the database was based on dBase and Advantage Database had created components and Delphi had a proper compiler. At that time Borland Delphi was way ahead of Ms V.Basic. Yes I have never bothered to look at the VCL, never found a need. For a start I was not learning to program, I had been doing that since 1983. I worked for Casio and in those days I was interfacing Cash registers to computers running CPM. (I used Pascal ). In NZ I built the first non food retail point of sale system using barcodes (1985). One of major selling point of Delphi was the component library and the point of that was that you used the components instead of writing you own code. If the component didnt work you ditched it and tried another. These days we do not use components from the VCl other than the TDatasource. We have a subscription to DevExpress and all our systems are written using this library and the database components come from Advantage (Sybase). As for recruiting I have lost count of the number of programmers I have employed over the years. The Delphi programmers were few and far between so we employed anyone with computer exeperrience, put them on a training wage and gave them 90 days to prove themselves. The concept of apprenticeship for programmers I think has some merit.

    1. @McColl: I am guessing you use the VCL more extensively than you think, but that when you think of the “VCL” per se you are thinking of the “V” more than the “CL”… i.e. you don’t use TCheckbox because you use TcxCheckbox etc (or whatever the DevExpress equivalent is). But I am pretty sure you are still using TForm and TApplication, and TPrinter etc, not to mention TObject, TStringlist, TList, TObjectList. And of course, even all those “non-VCL” classes you are using are themselves built on VCL foundation classes. You ARE using the VCL, you just aren’t using the “in the box” standard controls etc.

      I note that you didn’t answer the question as to whether you (or any of your trainee recruits) have never, ever at any time enabled debug VCL units and stepped into the VCL source. Not once? Not ever? Not even out of curiosity? And never learned something as a result?

      If your silence on that point is an implied confirmation, then I simple don’t believe it. 🙂

  36. I do not know if any of the programmers who worked for me did look at the VCL code. I have not. Focusing back to the original topic. Have you reviewed Lazarus, Have a look at http://blaisepascal.eu/ – a delphi ‘Magazine’ . Marco Cantu is one of the authors.

    1. Well, given the original, original topic and that your programmers you say were all learners, what utility they found from the VCL source – if any – would be a useful input. I have looked at FPC and Lazarus off and on over the years and always came away disappointed.

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