The Genuine Value

Brancusi

Brancuşi

“Any IT problem is human in its very core”

Few days ago I spoke about a war of thoughts which is present in our community – basically saying that somewhere in the future Delphi will die. And I proved that this isn’t founded – it is a perception which others exploit. But it seems that we should add much more data on this. Well, let’s start…

First of all, one thing was clearly revealed: St. Mark the Ascetic was right: Immediately when someone accepts a wrong thought, the war starts in his mind. It seems that a fifth century hermit is quite actual today, isn’t it? Of course, because the human nature is (still) the same.

The second thing which was clearly shown in the comments was the fact that the core problem is the “questionable” Delphi management (at least) in the past. A human problem. Nobody wrote something like “Delphi will die because of Bug #12345” or similar.

But why?

When (one of) the biggest Microsoft projects based on Silverlight closes (yes, I’m talking about Popfly) when Apple put all its eggs on the native side, working in spades at a brand new compiler for its OS, Google invests strong in native code, when Gates William III sells big amounts from his Microsoft actions followed by other chief executives from Microsoft (CFO (!), CAO etc.) – see the link above (look at the bottom of the page) or the picture bellow (click to enlarge):

MSFT quotes

Believe me, WE are our worst enemies.

Our way of thinking, our way of seeing things. And when I say “WE” I include of course, the Company. We all know (we really know in deed?) that a community is way smarter than any member from it taken alone. And is THE main power in any IT ecosystem. Look at our past: Borland said: Cross-platform means Kylix, means CLX. The community said: No. Borland said: Drop Win32 – .NET is the only future. – The community said: No. Borland said: VCL.NET is the way to .NET. The community said: No. Borland said ALM – The community said: No… …should I continue?

Now the community says (Correct me if I’m wrong): Do an entry level edition for hobbyists, give an edition for free to schools.. Grab more users. Either by lowering the prices either by adding more value in the SKU for the existent price. But beware, the community will say what means ‘value’.

I think that Delphi resisted to so much attempts to its life because it was built by programmers which had a very close contact with the reality which they had to deal with: the community. In the past it was very easy to find in the newsgroups members of the team and, more important, the innovation price was way lower. So, Delphi was built as a solution to cover some concrete needs, needs which emerged dynamically from its user base. It wasn’t created for money, to compete with something or to gain a specific market segment. It was just built for developers.

On the other hand, .NET had (and has) as one of its main targets (among others) to compete with Java and to assure Windows’s supremacy in OS arena. They thought that the Virtual Machines (in the sense of CLR and JVM) are the future for everything and the programmer will be someone who just sit in a “secure” corner of these VM trying to do its job there (having of course underneath an IL which is, usually, very easily reverse – engineered). Do you want a proof?

…from time to time a very old friend of mine which incidentally has a rather high position at Microsoft comes in my hut and usually we have a very open discussion about, you know, the IT headline news. Once I said to him:

– “Son, what did you did with .NET? It is soooo slooowww…”

And the response was:
– You know, at the …. Stock Exchange (he mentioned where – a very well known one -, but I decide to not make the name public) the .NET application which is there does an API call to the stock exchange backend and gives the result back in (he stressed here) Zero Point Four seconds!! So, he concluded, there’s no problem with the speed!

And I was amazed. Truly. But I didn’t answered to this and the discussion ran smoothly. And what’s important is that I heard this cliché over and over (in different forms) since then. So, this is not an opinion of an isolated person – is something rather official internally – you know, Microsoft has a very strong internal marketing.

Do you spot the trap?

I’m sure that you do. It’s easy. The speed of a .NET application isn’t measured by the speed of an external call. They use this trick (among others) in order to cover the relative slowness of .NET (which come from various factors). It is like I would say something like ‘Look I made a Delphi app which throws a SQL like SELECT * FROM TABLE1 against an Oracle server and, Oh my, how fast is my Delphi application!’

As you see, any IT problem is human in its very core.

So, do not fear! Spread the word outside! The needs for which Delphi was built are still here (fortunately or unfortunately) and, at least, in Windows Desktop RAD Delphi is #1. But we must make this thing known to the others.

The Genuine Value cannot disappear, even if its creators can stop producing it.

18 thoughts on “The Genuine Value

    • “BTW, is that M$ guy real?!”

      Very. And I want to stress once more that he is a friend of mine. We have very good relations and he don’t treat me as a target for marketing speak. What he said he said because he deeply consider that that was the best argument for .NET in our very open (and friendly) discussion.

      God willing, more to come…

  1. A good article. Good food for thought.

    I have one disagreement:
    “So, Delphi was built as a solution to cover some concrete needs, needs which emerged dynamically from its user base. It wasn’t created for money, to compete with something or to gain a specific market segment. It was just built for developers. ”

    I agree Delphi was created by developers for developers. However, Delphi was touted as a “VB killer” before its release. It was created to make a profit. Borland would not pursue Delphi unless it could make some money.

    • That was the first great mistake Borland did (let’s not speak about Ashton-Tate now). It was true that VB had stolen a big slice of what was the TurboPascal market, because Borland was very slow to adopt the GUI designer paradigm. But aiming Delphi at users looking for VB simplicity was a big, big mistake. A mistake they repeated often later. Delphi didn’t kill VB, and often was near to commit suicide, instead. But they was the company who bought dBase…

  2. Very well put (as usual) … my congrats !

    Off-Topic: I eagerly follow your blogs/articles … and all the time I’m wondering what’s behind the new intriguing titles (seen over RSS). I really appreciate your very balanced POV and realistic insight over all the Delphi/Embarcadero matters. I also appreciate very much your well “spiced” blogs with quotes from various (orthodox) saints….

    And for some time I’m quite asking myself “Who might be this WoW guy, that suddenly appear from “nowhere” (pre-D2010), with all the EMB insider views, Delphi team photos, etc…and with this unusual – for a westerner – mixed pragmatic and spiritual approach ?”

    Putting all together I have the impression that you are a romanian (or at least eastern european) Delphi “fan” … Am I wright ?;)

    • Thanks for you kind words.
      RE: Off-Topic: About my identity:

      * No, I’m not from “nowhere” ( 🙂 ) – I worked rather closely with the team since… I don’t know when. (Delphi 2 IIRC) – I had a “pause” during D8 – D2005/6 era – and now from several years I’m back.
      * Yes, I’m from Romania but now I’m in Greece for studies.
      * For the 3rd part (the one which I’ve deleted it from your comment – sorry 🙂 ) I was helped from there and because I don’t have a stable address here in Greece now I gave that one. Changed to a friend of mine to not gave room for different thoughts :-). Anyway thanks for trying. 🙂

      Btw you’re this one? 🙂

      …or this one?

      Sorry, but I don’t think that you’re this one… 😀

    • Ola Miguel!
      Because my mother tongue is close to yours, I do understand what you say. 🙂 Thanks for your both comments. But, you know, many of us aren’t so Latin as we are. So, if you want, you can comment in English. If not, also Spanish / (Brazilian) Portuguese is quite ok.

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