I have the impression that Delphi isn't very popular anymore. But now at work I had to make some changes to an old Delphi program that we are still using. I used Borland Developer Studio 2006 and it was very pleasant and intuitive to work with, even though I had practically no previous exposure to it. Is Delphi still widely-used and I am simply not aware of it or are there other reasons for its decline?
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Delphi is still around and very much alive, but under new ownership.
Borland really lost their way. They had a really large product line, and the main thing that people were interested in was Delphi, but what the PHBs thought was going to be big was not their development tools, but their Application Lifecycle Management tools. So they put a lot of resources into developing and promoting that instead of Delphi, and let the development tools branch languish. I even heard from some former Borland employees at the Delphi Live! conference a few years ago that their sales people were actively discouraged and dis-incentivized (is that a word?) from trying to sell Delphi at all, even to potential clients who expressed interest up-front.
A few years back, things changed. Borland sold their entire development tools division to Embarcadero Technologies, which up to that point was mostly known for database-related software. Now their big claim to fame is that they're the guys who make Delphi. Within a few months of the sale, Borland stock fell below $1/share and they were bought out by a "corporate graveyard" company that basically does nothing but manage licensing fees on existing products. Borland no longer exists.
Embarcadero, though, actually cares about Delphi. They've put a lot of work and effort into it, and the product quality has improved tremendously in the last few releases. Despite both the recession and Delphi being a commercial-only tool in a perceived "age of open-source development," sales have been really strong and the team's been able to make a lot of progress.
TL;DR: Borland is dead; Delphi is not. It's "Embarcadero Delphi" now, and it's very much alive and kicking.
Newer versions (notably XE) are far more better than 2006, that was pretty buggy version. And Delphi usage is definitly declining and IMO only reason is price. Delphi is very expensive and there is no free version. Even compiler is not free and that practicaly eliminates Delphi as tool for open source development.
And one thing that contributed far more to that slow declining is Delphi .NET compiler, Borland and later CodeGear put much effort in that product but that was big big mistake.
I have used Delphi since Version 1, and introduced it to my workplace. At the time, we were using Visual Basic 3 for most of our Windows development, and I found that Delphi was head and shoulders above VB 3 for our needs.
When it came time to move from 16 to 32-bits, our development team took the opportunity to change the architecture of our product and separate the UI from the calculation engine. It was at this time that we switched from VB to 100% Delphi.
What has caused Delphi's decline over time? I think that many of the posts have covered several of the facets involved: Borland ne' Inprise ne' Borland's loss of focus on their core supporters. Later on, it was widely known that Borland was attempting to sell Delphi to an outside company, which never inspires confidence in your users.
After CodeGear acquired it, I think that the lack of a 64-bit compiler may have hampered it's adoption. I eventually gave up waiting on a 64-bit version of the compiler from CodeGear, and ported our company's calculation engine to the Free Pascal Compiler (FPC) so that we now support the 64-bit Windows as well as 32/64-bit Linux platforms.
I am really looking forward to the upcoming Delphi XE2. With support for 64-bit Windows AND OSX and iOS platforms (iOS support is due to FPC), it is the first Delphi release I have been excited about in quite some time.
Yes, it is still widely used. Perhaps not as much as it once was, but I think you won't here CodeGear/Embarcadero complaining too much about their user base, which is steadily growing again. Also, Embarcadero wouldn't be switching the development of many of their (database) tools to Delphi if they thought that Delphi didn't have a future.
One could certainly get the impression that Delphi is not doing well if one is seeking employment as a developer and has Delphi experience. There seem to be few jobs advertised for Delphi developers, whereas there are many advertised for things like C#, Java and PHP.
Therefore it can seem to be "not a good investment" professionally to develop Delphi skills. If enough developers decide this, then it seems reasonable to conclude that there will be fewer and fewer developers embracing the tool.
Been making my living with delphi since release 1.0. Now using XE with great pleasure. The Delphi market in the USA has clearly gone virtually extinct due to all the reasons mentioned. But my impression is that it is still quite healthy and popular in Europe.
I think that's because Pascal is a language created in Europe and has stronger roots and tradition there than in the USA, the birthplace of C/C++, Microsoft and Windows, whose 'native language' is C/C++. MS and the C language family has always dominated in the world of professional Windows programming, paticularly in the USA.
Having said that, there appears to be a bit of a Delphi resurrgence lately thanks to CodeGear-Embarcadero.
One aspect that a lot people have either ignored or somehow missed: Delphi failed to stay relevant.
When D1 came out in ('94?) there were only two development choices: Desktop or Server. By D4 companies were basically testing the waters with Internet development. By D7, a new application was more likely to be run in a browser than on the desktop.
Unfortunately, Delphi didn't change. Around this time most compiler companies started failing. Corporate was moving to the web and embracing those languages.
To be sure, there were new Desktop applications being built, but quite frankly the mainstream had moved on.
Yes, Borland screwed up, royally, but the main problem was that they didn't embrace the web. .Net and Java did and won the hearts and minds of the vast majority of the development staff. Even Delphi.Net was a miserable failure. Either too little too late or simply bad execution, I'm not sure.
Unless Embarcadero changes direction, Delphi will continue to be a Desktop only product and it's potential market share will continue to shrink. I understand that they have increased sales, but increasing sales in a shrinking marketplace isn't exactly where they need to be. I suspect a lot of those sales are simply coming from companies switching away from other failures in that space.
I loved Delphi. However, I, like many others, outgrew it over 10 years ago. If we're lucky it will grow up too.
Microsoft killed them
But they had good help from themselves, they tended to have a lot of cool projects running internally but few that made it to any commercial success.
EDIT: Oh, sorry, you meant Delphi, not Borland. Nevermind then but it's kinda the same reason. I agree that Delphi was (is) a good IDE and in it's days superior to Visual Basic but Microsoft has too much clout to attract developers. That coupled with internal problems and the .Net switch-over together with the fact that desktop apps got less popular doomed them to obscurity
Borland killed Delphi.
Writing an app using a version of Delphi a couple versions back just couldn't work. Nothing worked. Something simple like an FTP client, couldn't stay working. Even simple Win API programming which work perfectly in VB6 and .NET, Delphi will work 15% of the time with the same code. Borland only offered one Service Pack, leaving several bugs behind that they knew about. If you want them fixed, you had no choice but to upgrade. Judging from the users, the new version was littered with bugs, IDE crashes, and non-sense from Borland saying, "We have to keep ourselves profitable", implying that we have to keep paying them for the new versions which come out every year, otherwise they provide no support or fixes.
I was rooting for Delphi. As a VB6 user I had to make a decision if I should switch to .NET, or Borland Delphi or C++. The answer was clear, since Borland didn't care, then .NET. Other users dropped Delphi and moved to .NET. Even now, the thought of going to the new version of Delphi just makes me feel sick. Memories how it just kept failing and nothing worked and Borland's greed, just make me want to stay away and not waste my time. It's sad to see something go good, go so wrong.
Delphi is still alive and kicking, it is a great tool and the latest XE2 version brought many features such as 64bit compilation, iOS and MACOS compilation. So it is now a trully NATIVE Multi-Platform development tool.
It is really sad what Borland did to Delphi but Embarcadero seems to be changing the game, I use Delphi since version 4 and I´m currently on XE2, and this is by far the best version of Delphi ever released and since it is now multi-platform I would expect newer versions of Delphi to support Win32, Win64, MACOS, iOS, Android, Linux... all major platforms in the market.
The productivity of Delphi is incredible, and as a company owner I would never change our development platform, even if it is harder to find Delphi developers now, learning the language is really fast for a skilled DEVELOPER. In 2011 we hired 3 developers that didn´t know Delphi and now they have a very solid knowledge of the language and are producing many things really fast
I've been using Delphi since about version 3. Since version 8 (which can't really count as a product as it was so terrible), each successive version of Delphi was an improvement on the last. Delphi as improved greatly under Embarcadero, and I'm looking forward to future innovations.
The whole divestment Borland made from Delphi was totally insane (at least from my perspective looking in), and unsurprisingly they were purchased by MicroFocus - a company whose claim to fame was Cobol for .Net.
But it's good to know that Delphi is now in Embarcadero's capable hands.
Delphi is alive as mentioned above not only because now it is owned by a company who cares, but also because there is a oss project fpc/Lazarus. It is inspired by Turbo Pascal/Delphi and has a very high level of compatibility with Delphi. Moreover, the current Delphi version uses fpc to compile for iOS target. This means that Embarcadero doesn't see this project as a threat, but rather as a partner.
I started programming with delphi and interbase back in 1997. Delphi was the best programming tool. i remembered when the 3 layers concept came around, it made database applications much more easy and powerful. Until Delphi 7, the IDE was perfect. But when Delhpi 8 was released it changed a lot. They made everything different, the entire UI was modified and it was suppose to be the .NET version, the VCL components got hard to find and the entire IDE became much more heavier to run in those "back in the days" brand new MS XP SP1 installed running in low performance hardware. So basicly thats when the declined started. Deciding between my delhi 7 and any new version of Borland Delphi, I stick with Delphi 7. So not only for me but for a lot of other programmers that I know that worked with Delphi share this same point of view. Also delphi 7 was very easy to crack. we just hat to install and the serial number was all number "1".
From 2007 until now I've been working with PHP5 so I dont know how is the Embarcadero's version.