Holy crap, Delphi is alive and kicking

Holy crap, it looks like CodeGear is actively doing Good Things to keep Delphi alive! Apparently, Delphi 2009 supports anonymous functions:

Not only that, the language (Object Pascal) has finally woken from its stagnated state and is getting increasingly modern. It now implements, for instance, closures (anonymous methods) which is quite rare for a non garbage collected language.

Now, while the first paragraph should convey my excitement about the development, that alone isn’t quite enough to bring Delphi back to the front lines. I’ve used several versions of Delphi (5, 6, 7, 8 and 2006), and since version 6, seen quite a few problems with the tools and libraries. First of all, Delphi 7 deprecated a number of components without providing a migration path – only to introduce the very same components in source code, the demos folder of all places.

Delphi 8 was half-baked. The IDE was buggy, the forced migration to .NET was a bad idea, and the company quickly reversed their direction with Delphi 2005. A bug we discovered for Delphi 8 still existed two major versions later in the 2006 edition. When I finally figured out the steps to trigger it and reported it to Quality Central, I got no response. Eventually, the bug was closed with the response: “feature has been removed.”

Oh, and one of the crowning moments: I phoned Borland’s Finland offices to ask a licensing question, only to be told that they don’t handle those issues. At all.

After a history like this, CodeGear needs to pull some serious stunts to regain credibility. Evolving the language is not a bad start.

Reading up more on CodeGear’s latest, Delphi for .NET seems to be resurrected as Delphi Prism, powered by a compiler from another vendor, RemObjects software. What I find notable is that the RemObjects Oxygene compiler has boasted support for Mono since I first saw it. In fact, cross-platform applications running on OS X and Linux, courtesy of Mono are a feature highlight.

Now, if CodeGear can manage to nurture the community of Delphi developers in a way that matches the .NET and Java communities, things could be looking up.

Welcome back, Delphi!

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