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November 4, 2013

Delphi For Fun Newsletter #70

This a special edition of our newsletter to pass along information about a planned upgrade to the Delphi version used here at DFF.

 

Delphi 7 has been the version used here for the last 12 years.  The planned upgrade to the current Delphi version, XE5.  I received 3 emails in October which led to  the decision:

  • 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.  , I have a son-in-law who makes a very nice living from Fortran doing mathematical analysis of submarine designs!   Niches are usually not bad places to be! 
     

  • The third email contained an updated version of my Big Integers unit which replaces many of the awkward arithmetic function calls with "operator overloads".  It looks like this would make performing arithmetic with unlimited sized integers much more like using normal integers.  Unfortunately, Delphi 7 does 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 is open now but later this month when I have more free time to play, I plan to upgrade XE5 Professional even if I haven't harvested $549 worth of venison J.   All existing DFF program will should compile with D7 or XE versions without significant changes.  Default wide (2 byte) characters in strings in Lazarus and post-D7 programs are the biggest problem I know of and is easily fixed.   New programs which take advantage of XE features will be identified as such. However I expect those to be in the minority.    

I have arranged a private discount of 10% for new or upgrade purchases (5% for Starter versions) from Embarcadero during November for  subscribers to this newsletter.   This is available for North American subscribers with these conditions:

  • For NOVEMBER ONLY ending Nov 30th.

  • Discount is 5% off the Starter Edition, and 10% off any other edition

  • Discount can be applied to new or upgrade purchases but not to support or maintenance purchases.

  • On request, produce newsletter addressed to the individual to receive discount.

  • To purchase, contact Business Development Rep Josh Byus  at

Whether you upgrade or not, please take this  one question survey about your Delphi usage to help me firm up future support plans.


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