2013 Delphi Upgrade Plans
November 2, 2013:
I think that I will be upgrading
from Delphi 7, the version used here for the last 12 years, to the current
Delphi version, XE5. I received 3 emails in October which led to the
One viewer lamented about
lack of a free Delphi version and asked if I had considered using Lazarus,
the free Open Source compiler which attempts, with some success, to
emulate Delphi. I have, and I pointed him to my
Lazarus Revisited page. Lazarus will compile many of the
several hundred programs on DFF with only minor changes and those guys have
done a great job. However I do not intend to make it my primary
compiler nor would I want to test and maintain two versions from now on.
I did point out that XE5 Starter edition is available for $150 for users of
any other "IDE" program, which I believe would include almost every
programmer. Also offered to help any Lazarus user who runs into
problems compiling my programs.
A second email asked my
opinion about the future of Delphi and whether it can survive in today's
environment. I replied that it has survived several owners over the years;
has a great staff of devoted developers, many commercial applications, and
an unknown number of equally devoted users. Embarcadero, the current
owner, is a private company so as far as I know, statistics about the number of
customers, applications, and developers are not public knowledge but I'm
convinced that the numbers are large enough to make a permanent "niche".
If current Embarcadero management decided not to continue support for the
language, someone would pick it up and carry on. After all, I have a
son-in-law who makes a very nice living from Fortran doing structural
analysis of submarines! Niches are usually not bad places to be!
The third email contained an
updated version of my
unit which replaces many of the somewhat awkward function calls with "operator
overloads". It seems that this makes doing arithmetic with unlimited sized
integers much more like using normal integers. Unfortunately, Delphi 7does
not support operator overloading so I haven't been able to test it.
However, Delphi versions from about 2005 and later do. I'd like to
investigate it further - I have XE Starter which should support it, but Starter
editions of Delphi do not include source code for the components and I
have found these to be very educational over the years.
Embarcadero (at least here in the
USA) has a number of "special discounts" available until January 31, 2014
including upgrades to XE5 Professional for $549 for any user with a currently
registered earlier Delphi version (me). Here's the link to
their Delphi sales page:
https://store.embarcadero.com/542/purl-dbanner . Deer season opens
tomorrow but later this month when I have more free time, I plan to
upgrade even if I haven't harvested $549 worth of venison
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Delphi usage to help me shape future plans.