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Why I Keep Choosing Delphi

Turbo PascalEarly on I learned Turbo Pascal, which was a huge step up from the Basic and Batch File programming I cut my whitening on. When Delphi came along I thought it was brilliant and fell in love immediately. I had no interest in learning other programming languages or tools. Delphi did it all, and that was great. I found myself plenty of work and enough to keep my interest.

C++BuilderI was curious about other programming languages, from an academic point of view. I took a night school class in Assembly. I had a smattering of C & C++. Looked at some Ruby (back before it was hip), Java, JavaScript, etc. Eventually, I found myself troubleshoot laser printers, which ran a combination of C/C++/COM all on a Linux platform for a few years.

C#From there I went back to full-time Delphi programming, but the new company I was working for bought into the “there aren’t enough Delphi developers” myth and decided to move to C# & WinForms.We immediately were able to hire some new C# developers, but as we got to know them we found out they had a background in Delphi development (so more Delphi experience than C#), but they bought into the “there are no Delphi jobs” myth and rebranded themselves as C# developers. In the end, the project took 4 times longer than it should have, despite having more developers, and “more modern developer tools.” They really should have stuck with Delphi.

Ruby

I moved to a new job doing Delphi development full time, and then that company bought into the C# & Silverlight are the future. Since I had C# experience I started working on the new Silverlight front end. The backend and the desktop app remained in Delphi (with a little C++). We all know what happened with Silverlight (if you even remember it . . .)

JavaScript

From there I ended up really branching out. I did a lot more work with C#, Xamarin, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, and Oxygene (known as Delphi Prism at the time). There was still some Delphi mixed in too. I taught a few class and workshops on Android development with Java. I learned to appreciate some of the benefits, strengths, and qualities of each. I found things about all of them I liked (less so about Objective-C).

It was at this point I could see that most developer skills work across languages, tools, and platform. There is value in knowing and using multiple languages. The basic tenants of each language influence the way you do things in other languages, in a positive way, helping you to look at problems in a different way. There are some projects, platforms, and problems that are best suited to certain programming languages and tools. For example, if you are working with the web, you need to know at least some JavaScript, HTML & CSS (the latter two not being programming languages, but I digress), even if you are using some sort of abstraction layer.

Delphi HelmetThroughout all of this, I still found myself choosing to Delphi for personal projects. Occasionally I’d try personal projects in other tools and languages as a way to get to know them better, but I still found Delphi to be a better solution for most general purpose projects. One of the defining characteristics of Delphi for why I keep coming back to it is that it makes the common tasks really, really easy while keeping the rest simple and possible.

Other tools that focus on productivity, make a small subset of tasks as easy as Delphi does, but also make anything beyond those tasks, or the that “ideal” scenario hard or impossible. While other general purpose tools don’t do anything to optimize common scenarios, which makes simple tasks more complicated than they need to be.

Now with multi-platform development Delphi is more important than ever. The approach Delphi and FireMonkey provide make it quick and easy to do the most common tasks, while also keeping all the platform APIs and features within reach.

Delphi really invented the 3rd party component market as far as I am concerned. From the beginning, it shipped with all the source code for the VCL and also included a robust OpenTools API and component model making easy for others to extend the IDE, and build reusable components and libraries. All the technology partners are a huge part of why I choose Delphi.

Delphi also has a huge commitment to the code we as developers develop. I attend a lot of general software developer groups, and it is common to hear developers complaining about how they just finished porting their code to support a new version of their tools, only to have it all break again because a new release of their non-Delphi programming language or framework just came out. Often times they just throw it all out and rewrite to support a new version. Sure, Delphi it isn’t perfect, and sometimes there are incompatibilities or breaking changes from version to version, but by comparison, Delphi is so much better at this than any other language or platform out there that I have seen.

I started out choosing Delphi because it was what I knew. Now I choose Delphi because it gets the job done better than the alternatives. The fact it is faster for development is nice, but only part of the equation. I used to have a hat that said “Delphi does it all, especially Windows” and that is truer than ever today.

So why do you Choose Delphi? Share your reasons in the comments or on your blog #WhyIChooseDelphi


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About author

Chief Developer Advocate for Embarcadero Technologies.
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