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My Chat with David I.

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ID:	130Last weekend, I had a chat with Delphi advocate and Embarcadero front man, David I. It was a good talk and we discussed some interesting things, such as the state of Delphi, the indie development crowd and what sorts of things he's been thinking of for the smaller developers among us to make Delphi more accessible. I'm gald we had this chat too, because he is a really nice guy and he really does care about young developers and those just trying to get their toes in the door.

One of the things he really was happy and excited about was that the Embarcadero company really is giving them to power to do so much more than what they were able to do under Borland. The whole team, especially the Delphi team are not able to do the things they need to not only in the spot light with existing tools, but also do some R&D stuff in the background. He was so enthusiastic and forthcoming, I'm really not sure what I should be allowed to talk about what what not to, so I'll not go into great detail except to just summarize what sorts of things he talked with me about.

I also don't want to mislead any of you or give out false information that might hurt Embarcadero or David I. since he's been so good about keeping myself and thus our community connected. So if Embarcadero states otherwise on their site, just go with that as default until it changes. Plans are plans, but not everything is set in stone and certainly not everything we talked about will be either.

Delphi Lite (or Same Great Taste Less the Calories)

One of the things we talked about was Delphi and how the price has been a little out of reach for some of the younger programmers out there who want to learn the tools and the Object Pascal language. You may have noticed I threw up a poll about this recently. David has been thinking of some way to make the tool more accessible to small developers and individuals who want to purchase it. Lazarus definitely is a free solution that can be used as an alternative to Delphi and it mostly works well on other platforms too. But it's not perfect and it doesn't have the kind of support and testing and development and patch updates and a whole team paid to work on it all week. So there is still a market for such a tool, it's just how does Embarcadero provide us something that they can afford to design, put together and support down the road. In his words, they are "exploring all options."

Microsoft and Apple give away their development tools, but they can do that, as Mr. I told me himself. Which is true, they don't make their living off of development tools. Their bread and butter is paid for from Windows, Office, XBox 360s, other software and every piece of hardware that Apple sells. Plus giving away tools so more developers make apps for them makes their devices more lucrative to buy from a consumer stand-point. Embarcadero makes and sells database tools and software development tools, that's it. So they are good at it, but they need to make a profit off of it or it doesn't continue for them.

Education Matters

So with all that said and done, we didn't really get into that much detail about giving away things mind you, he is very much interested in a version of Delphi that doesn't have you selling your first born. He also mentioned an educational version as another idea. He has a keen interest in schools and Delphi at the educational level. This is something that has been missing for some time and would be great not only for the longevity of the language, but also for many of the students who are just learning the concepts of programming and going further to learn object oriented programming as well. Lets face it, C/C++ and Java aren't the best languages to learn these things. Even when Pascal was just being replaced as the 'de facto' standard in the software industry it was still taught before C to learn the basics of programming. There is a reason for this of course, it's easier to learn. That's why it was created and why it should still be taught in high schools and Object Pascal in universities.

If they could create an educational edition of Delphi for schools and students to use, then it could be a help for growth not only for Delphi, but the Object Pascal language as a whole. I think it's a great initiative which would get great support if Embarcadero were to get behind it with Delphi.

What's Next?

Something I asked him was; what was going on with Delphi for Mac OS X? I was very happy to hear him say that they were hoping for it to come next year. Maybe as close as the first quarter. However I wouldn't hold them too strictly to that, Mac OS X is far different from Windows in it's design it might end up taking more time to work the kinks out. So this is coming out pretty soon and I'm really excited about it and anyone with a Mac should be excited too. RAD tools made all the difference on Windows and we may see a spike in new and interesting apps for the Mac once this tool comes out.

We didn't talk about Linux too much. I don't really have much to say about it other than I know they are still currently working on it, I'm sure. I can see why that port would take longer though. Linux can be a complex monster to try to support depending on how many distributions or environments you take into account.

In fact he listed off all kinds of crazy platforms he'd love to have Delphi on. Once I stopped drooling over the suggestions, I agreed that one of the things that would be great is if Delphi did support many of these new platforms that have sprung up in recent years.

Acknowledging the Indies & Their Communities

I talked about how not a lot of game developers use the VCL at all really. Not the GUI and other visual elements anyways. We both agreed that OpenGL, DirectX and SDL were they way for us. And assured that the Delphi team needs to make sure there is support for them in their compilers. Though we both agreed that the VCL could still be of some use in the making of small configuration tools, as many game developers do for their games.

David also mentioned that he really does appreciate all the wonderful projects and developments that we've done over the years. He directly listed some of them, JEDI, the OpenGL headers, technology partners and all the other component and tool developers. And even me and others in the PGD community too, which was nice to hear.

David I has also taken interest in the Pascal Gamer Magazine publication too, which we talked about some things on that front, but I want to save a little for a nice surprise later on. And of course he has looked into Blaise Pascal Magazine as well, which he likes what they are doing. On that, we both agree. It's a great publication and I recommend everyone, Delphi or Lazarus user to go read it. Both will definitely get something out of it. In truth the more sites, blogs and other media and mediums we put out there all focusing on Object Pascal, they better exposure we are providing to those who want good tools and good programming languages to develop software and learn how to program in this language.

Creating Good Relations

The conversation ended on quite a pleasant note and I think we both got something out of it. Maybe more me than him, but I'd like to think that I've given him some ideas to ponder still. I will for sure, keep in touch with David and hopefully this will have been the start of a closer relationship between the PGD community and Embarcadero. There is a good opportunity to benefit each other in our efforts, Embarcadero so far has been a good company which shows much promise for us developers and I'd like to see more interaction between us in the near future.

That's all I have for you guys. I hope you found some of this as enlightening as I did. Please go vote on the poll question about a lighter Delphi version, this information will go towards helping our good friend Mr. I. and his colleagues see just want sorts of needs we have and what they might be able to do for us down the road. Every vote counts. Vote here!

Till next time,

Jason McMillen
Co-founder & Webmaster
Pascal Game Development

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  1. Stoney's Avatar
    Very nice summary of things. Thanks for sharing it with the community.