It really smells bad! How come Borland needs more than 2 years to release its response to MS's VS.NET?
The news is that Borland will ship a software development RAD suite that will compete with Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET. Code-named Galileo, the new suite should see the light of the day early next year (2003) and will offer Delphi developers a new version of Delphi and other for the moment unannounced programming languages.
Ok, Delphi 7 ships with the Delphi for .NET compiler preview, but this beta product comes too lately for Delphi developers who are interested in programming under the .NET framework. The truth is that more and more Delphi developers are moving to C# as a language of choice. Why?
Here's a note from a well know Delphi developer:
OK, I admit it! I am no longer actively working as a Delphi developer. Due to the lack of well-paying Delphi positions here in the north of England, I have been forced to migrate to C#. This is a great shame, as we all know Delphi out performs all the MS offerings in the productivity stakes, however my Delphi skills will no longer pay the mortgage.
Unfortunately most IT departments in the UK seem reluctant to buy outside of the Microsoft camp, hence the move. Hopefully with the advent of Delphi.NET things may change, however I'm resigned to the fact that in the currently depressed IT market there's not much chance of any company spending the considerable amount to move to alternative [read: better] development technologies. "
Delphi versus .NETI myself have that privilege (luck) to be able to work (and earn money, of course) with both Delphi and the VB6, VB.NET / C#. I know what the differences are and which language is best suited for which task. Today I'm mostly occupied with building dynamic websites using ASP.NET - the truth is that before .NET my company had used both Delphi and VB6 to develop desktop applications. However, it seems that as IT is going "online" - we are forced to do a 180% spin and start working for the Web. What other tool can be used but ASP (.NET) - 95 % of our potential customers are not happy with MySQL, PHP, Linux or anything else (non Microsoft). It's time to forget about my Delphi and my Pascal knowledge - ok, what to do. Thankfully I'm quite at home with OOP and to use ASP.NET with VB.NET/C# was not too hard a task for me.
But what about other Delphi developers? Delphi 7 has IntraWeb - a great RAD Web Tool. Hey, why did Borland need to wait more than 2 years to add a true web RAD tool to Delphi (that works like ASP.NET)? WebSnap? Sorry but I really do not think you could easily build a fast / scalable data driven web application before IntraWeb. Someone could say, Delphi can be run on Linux, Borland does not leave you to "stuck in a stack" - Borland thinks more widely than using "MS's products on MS's platforms". Ok, but really, do we have to wait such a long time to be able to compete with those developers using VB who are now able to build really great Web application using ASP.NET.
Now that Delphi 7 really has a compiler for .NET; I'm now absolutely in a position to argue with my fellow VB developers that I'm able to build a Delphi powered ASP.NET site.
Believe me, when I presented the possibilities of Delphi to a colleague of mine (a VB developer) who is just starting to work with the .NET framework, he stated: "WHOAH". He was amazed at the possibilities Delphi offers to a programmer of more than 6 years. Need form inheritance? Ok, from Delphi 3. Need true OOP? No problem, Delphi 2 was true OOP; Windows API? Just use it as you would any Delphi method. Despite all those "whoah" and "if I knew that..." responses, he stated: "Ok, but VB.NET has all those features - why would I look (back) at Delphi?". Now what! This was my response "I'll buy you a free lunch if Borland does not provide full free source off all the components for Delphi under Galileo - and build a better and richer set of Web controls" - Even now (whilst still waiting for Galileo) I'm quite sure Borland will succeed in making a better visual studio than Microsoft's Visual Studio is. But when, oh when!
Over the past few weeks (back in 2002) I've been thinking "what is the truth behind the fact that Borland waits for more that 2 years for a .NET compliant tool?" Is it possible that there is an "unsaid" agreement between Borland and Microsoft, that Borland will move aside while MS picks enough of the market to be sure developers will not look back for a hopefully better RAD for .NET?
I've been digging the Internet for some information to confirm my thoughts, and here's the result of my work. Note: much of the content below was rephrased from the articles listed in the boxes left of the text.