Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm a great fan of Delphi. What most people don't know, though, is that I'm still using an old version of it (Delphi 6 Enterprise), rather than the latest (Delphi 2007 for Win32 -or- CodeGear RAD Studio). This, in spite of the fact that I own a copy of Borland Development Studio 2006.
I'll post more about that later. In the meantime, I was glad to find out -- albeit later than would have been ideal (I missed today's CodeRage events entirely) -- that CodeGear finally (and smartly) dropped the $150 registration fee they were charging "non-current version" Delphi folks to attend CodeRage II. Frankly, in spite of the fact that Delphi is, to quote a non-Delphi-using colleague of mine, "the best Win32 development platform out there," CodeGear still has quite a bit of wooing to do. Even though I could justify and afford spending the $150, I didn't; it was just irritating enough to me, that I said to myself, "nah....." and figured I'd watch what I could (if anything) from outside the gate.
The power of Delphi was not, is not, and hopefully never will be contained within the walls of Borland or CodeGear. Somewhere along the way in their enterprise-focused delusional days (remember "Inprise?" ....yikes...), they forgot that. Now, they are re-enlisting thousands of folks to re-populate what for all practical purposes was once starting to look like it was headed towards becoming the market equivalent of a vacant lot.
If you get enough folks interested and participating, even the ugliest vacant lot can be transformed into a splendid, life-filled park that can be enjoyed by all. Heck, if enough gardener-types show up, new types of plants can even be bred once enough Life starts to take hold. THAT was the power of Delphi -- a full community of vibrant, participating developers and vendors, all contributing to the ever-expanding Garden of Code.... manifested to the individual developer as his own custom-extended VCL; a library of tremendously powerful tools, perfectly-honed for his little section of the park. The community-developed extensions in Delphi blend perfectly with "stock" built-in functionality; no visible seams delineate one from the other. As Marco put it, Delphi is the VCL.
The Delphi Park was once one of the most beautiful places in town. It's still not a bad place -- in fact, it's my favorite park to play and work in. But it's been sorely neglected for a long time, and a lot of the people who used to garden here have left for other parts of the city. There are some swing sets that are rusted, but the grass is in pretty good shape, and I'm hearing some great ideas for a duck pond over there in the corner. The CodeGear Park Restoration Committee is working fervently at getting the neighborhood engaged and excited and participating again. I think they're succeeding; I still hope, and mostly believe, that they will succeed in fully restoring -- and exceeding -- the "glory" of Delphi's former days. I think Delphi Park is going to be even more beautiful and full of Life than it was before.
Still, I haven't personally "kicked down the cash" for the new version yet. I feel like I'm a symbol, almost, of thousands of individual programmers around the world, considering both the vision and the cost of upgrading to Delphi for Win32. It's kind of like thinking the park would be a great place to have a world-class R/C field, but dang that's going to be a lot of work to clear and level if those guys with the tractors don't show up. Simply put, upgrading to Delphi for Win32 means not just buying a copy and installing it -- that's the easy part -- it means re-forging half the tools in my "custom and third-party extensions" toolbox.... and that feels like a huge and costly commitment.
So, for now, to CodeGear, let me just say thanks for at least tearing down that ugly cyclone fence you put up there for a while, prohibiting all but the already-signed-up neighbors from coming in and catching the vision, personally imagining what their little garden in Delphi Park might look like if they took the time to re-forge their non-CodeGear tools to fit the new "CodeGear Delphi 2007 for Win32 Handle System." It was a good move on your part. Makes the whole neighborhood feel better, and more full of life.
And to the CodeGear Park Restoration Committee; I just want to let you know I'll be there tomorrow. Feel free to hand me a rake, or a pad of paper and some pens, when I walk on the lot. I'd like to help clean up the leaves while we hear from the guys who have that crazy R/C field idea.... and then maybe walk over and sketch some pictures to get a better idea of what that duck pond might look like....