I can say, with confidence, that desktop apps are not dead, in fact they are very much alive and thriving. Web apps are on the rise and it’s a common trope to say that web applications can replace windows app development. But they couldn’t do that. In some cases, Web apps are suitable as the primary way for users to consume your product ideas and output. But mostly, web apps are an adjunct to a more complete experience offered by full-on desktop applications. This is especially true in the business-to-business market.
The majority of enterprises are still using native desktop applications especially for the line-of-business sphere like process control, specialized accounting and those apps which integrate with IoT devices.
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What happens when The Cloud is polluted by the fog of war?
Useful web applications like productivity web apps proliferate but they do not have broad accessibility over native desktop applications and suffer from the need to be hosted by an outside organization which can pose problems of data ownership, guardianship and compliance. For example, if you are a German company and your human resources information is held in a cloud hosted in a nameless data center how can you ensure – in fact guarantee – that you comply with the eye-watering complexities of European and German laws? If that data center relocates to a new geographic territory, one which is cheaper for the cloud provider but is physically located in a region which is geopolitically at odds with your own wishes or legal obligations? If you are a US based company it may be illegal for you to hold data in a broad range of countries. Europeans may be legally prevented from using data stores outside of the European Bloc.
The Cloud is really “someone else’s computer”. As a business owner – and even as an individual – you need to make sure that the “someone else” is some else you trust, and, more importantly, you are allowed to trust.
What if the cloud…vanishes?
If The Cloud breaks down and vanishes. Who gets the blame? The cloud provider files for bankruptcy, for example, and as long as they were not negligent, they get to walk away from those obligations. Meanwhile you are left with a compliance headache at best and a total los of business viability at worst with no ability to recoup.
But even assuming that scenario doesn’t play out. What happens if your cloud app can’t access the internet? The outages at Amazon data centers took out the key functionality of substantial parts of the internet. A huge spotlight of doom was shone on the fragility of many companies’ solutions the questions being asked “was this a wise idea after all?”
So, the problem is offline access to the functionality.
Many web applications are building desktop versions of their products, because of the problem of offline access. Besides, web applications need persistent internet access, and this is another concern on security. That’s why big companies still feel the need to safely build native desktop applications.
Are desktop applications the solution to the fragility of online-only web apps?
It’s nearly impossible to deny that the desktop is probably one of the most important developments in productivity in the history of computing.
But removing desktop applications will be more trouble than it’s worth. A staggering percentage of enterprise workflows continue to be driven by native Desktop applications. There are a lot of famous examples for desktop development:
- Photo editing
- Video editing
- Audio tools
- 3D related tools
- Also, all disciplines of scientists and engineers
This is a gigantic market for desktop software development, and I won’t see these tools migrating away from it. For instance, native applications built with Delphi VCL are more secure and can utilize all hardware power hassle-free.
How can I start Windows Development?
Delphi with VCL is the best route to start Windows 10/11 development at this current time. Because Delphi VCL has 25+ years of history without any problems when it comes to:
- Backward compatibility
- Modern Features
With Delphi VCL, you can easily make use of all the latest features/updates of the Windows operating system. Moreover, learning the Delphi programming language and Visual Component Library (VCL) is easy even for novices to grasp.
Is Delphi easy to learn?
Delphi is a variety of Object Pascal and it’s important to remember that Pascal was specifically originally invented to be an easy programming language to teach to students. The syntax – how the programming statements are laid out – is extremely easy to understand for anyone. The power of Delphi is unrivaled and yet this raw programming grunt force doesn’t mean the Delphi Object Pascal programs become impenetrable globs of complicated hieroglyphics and gibberish; that clean, readable language continues to make life easier and the code comprehensible.
Furthermore, if you distribute your Delphi applications to the market, you do not need any runtime libraries to run your application in other systems. But this might increase your application size by a couple of megabytes depending on the packages you used. Despite that, Delphi VCL applications are fast, native, and give all the user experience.
Are Delphi programs really stable?
As Ian Barker, MVP puts it, “Delphi’s biggest problem is that it is just SO GOOD at being silently successful”. Delphi programs are extremely stable – they run, in some cases for many years without needing to be restarted and that ease of distribution and the fact doesn’t need any operating system dependencies means even an older Delphi program written for something like Windows XP will still work absolutely normally in today’s vastly different Windows 11 operating system with no changes at all. I guarantee this is not the case with any .Net, Visual Basic or similar programs from that era. Even Python apps and similar scripting technologies such as PowerShell will fail.
There are a lot more programs out there which have been built with Delphi – here’s a brief rundown of a few of them:
Is there really a library to do absolutely anything I want in a Delphi app?
Delphi VCL gives you hundreds of built-in, ready to go components and libraries to create any type of application. But, if you have specific needs to use a wide range of services, you can find a component or library to do that. Because Delphi VCL community have a big pool of 3rd party components to improve productivity
Here you can explore hundreds of open-source libraries to quick-start your project if you need:
- A curated list of awesome Delphi, FreePascal, and other *Pascal frameworks, libraries, resources, and shiny things
Can I carry out Windows 11 Development with Delphi?
With the official release of Windows 11, Embarcadero has made available some specific VCL styles, Snap layouts function on the title bar, and code snippets for Windows 11 changes. Be sure to check out these latest articles to learn about the transformations.
Do I get better Enterprise source Code protection by using Delphi?
How protected is the intellectual property of the source code in a deployable project? After businesses invest resources into their projects, they face the challenge of putting their product into the hands of the public while protecting the code and techniques that produce revenue.
A web app – even when wrapped and encapsulated in a technology like Electron, has every single line of code available to a hacker or intellectual property thief. With interpreted languages like Python even the compiled Python “
.pyc” modules are easily decompiled back into the full Python source code as a text file. Zero protection. Maximum convenience for a hacker, cracker or virus writer simply looking to overcome your login security or inject malicious password-stealing code into your creative work of art.
With Delphi, you can achieve better source code protection because of native app development.
Embarcadero commissioned a whitepaper to examine the distinctions between Delphi, WPF .NET Framework, and Electron for building Windows desktop applications. According to the deep research on these technologies, Delphi gave the highest score among them.
Learn about it in-depth in this blog post:
The VCL library, with its ability to map to classic and modern APIs (from Win API to COM-based APIs, to WinRT) and its support for High DPI monitors and modern UI trends — all without requiring a full application rewrite — is unique in the Windows desktop development scenario and stands out for its power. For Windows 11 development, the Visual Component Library is the way to go.
Be sure to check out the latest version of the Delphi 11 Alexandria right now!
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You cite “modern features” as an advantage of Delphi, and that’s generally true. But one feature that is still missing from Delphi is the ability to sort strings according to the Unicode Collation Algorithm, using the International Components for Unicode (ICU) library. This is required to sort strings properly in multiple languages and scripts, as it treats base letters, case, accents and specials as separate levels. There’s a third-party interface from 2007, but ICU has moved on, and we need to be able to use current versions of it.
Can you please submit a feature request at https://quality.embarcadero.com/