Delphi Legends 2009 Community Award: The interviews

WinnersHi guys, once again. We have one week since we published the results for Delphi Legends 2009 Community Award. We have also a lot of interesting info to publish both technical and some points of view regarding to important community events which we pass now (including the somewhat unrelated mySQL matter), but today we have a very special post. You will have the occasion to see who are the winners and what your chosen ones are thinking about. The post is rather long (it seems that is a fashion nowadays) but the content (in my humble opinion) really worth the effort…

Before we begin some notes: The interviews were taken separately (through eMail) and so there was no interaction between the interviewed persons. Also, we kept the text ‘as is’, making only a very few typographic corrections.

1. How would you describe yourself?

Daniel Wolf: “The capricious beast from next-door” 😉
…to be serious: I’m in my early thirties, having a bachelor of science and working as a software-architect for a small company in Hamburg (northern part of Germany). I do have a lot of fun in designing the architecture of an application (and coding it, if I cannot avoid it), but I emphasize to break with the classic stereotype of a software-engineer.

Zarko Gajic: In short: I am passionate in what(ever) I do.
My motto is Adopt, Adapt and Improve. I do tend to think that “if you want the job done, do it yourself” 😦 However, I love learning / teaching and I do try to teach others to do the job right 🙂

Peter Below: I’m a late-middle age guy (56) too fond of cakes and too lazy to work out (which my balance tells me quite often). I’m good with software and much less good with people. The behaviour of people mostly leaves me baffled, sometimes I even doubt whether this planet carries intelligent life :-). I’m german but consider myself more a citizen of Planet Earth (Sol III, Milky Way galaxy) than a national of any one country. I love music (passively) and read a lot, mostly science fiction and scientific literature.
My life history is not very interesting, i’m afraid: I got born, went to school, found science more to my liking than languages and business, and went on to study chemistry at university, which finally yielded a PhD in organic chemistry. During the early years of my time at university I had to walk frequently down a corridor between lecture halls that went past the computing center (part of the mathematics department, computer science wasn’t a separate discipline at that time) and its rows of card punching terminals used by the students. That woke my interest in computers, and I took a programming course in Algol 60. This kind of formulating problems appealed to me, but since it had no direct application to my chemistry studies I did not follow this path at that time. During some courses on theoretical and technical aspects of chemistry I had some contact with FORTRAN and programmable HP desktop calculators, which were fun to work with. That was about the time the first PCs (Apple II, Sinclair etc.) appeared, but I did not have the money to buy one. But there were computer magazines available and I started reading them regularly. At that time they contained a lot of articles about programming, which I found fascinating.
I managed to land a job with one of Germany’s big chemical companies, in the pharma research department, and a few month later I bought my first PC (a Victor 9000 ,a.k.a Sirius I in Europe) and a MS Pascal compiler. A couple of month later PCs also started to appear on the chemist’s desks at work, and since little relevant software was available for us at that time I started to write programs at home for use at work. There’s no better way to learn programming than to write programs you have to use every day, I think, since you quickly suffer from your own mistakes :-).
I stayed with Pascal-based languages, with some added assembler, and later a brief period if Modula-2. This (TopSpeed Modula-2) introduced me to object-oriented programing, which I found very natural to use. I did not like the case-sensitive nature of Modula-2, though (this is also the reason why C-based languages never appealed to me, combined with the excessive use of non-alphanumeric characters). When Windows appeared on the scene I moved back to Pascal (since TopSpeed was gobbled up by Clarion and never offered a Windows version of their Module-2 compiler and IDE). TurboPascal for Windows was followed by BP 7, and then Delphi. Never looked back :-).
Over the years the importance of programming in my daily work has increased steadily. About 10 years ago I moved to a new group that looked at automated synthesis technologies for chemical research labs, and took over the data processing and software development for the group in addition to more traditional chemistry-related work. So I’m still working at the same place I started 26 years ago, even though the company has been through three mergers in between. I’m even in the same building, too, the only change was a move from the base floor to the first floor 10 years ago :-).

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Toolmaker, tinkerer, builder. And most importantly, a family man.

Jim McKeeth: I am a father of 4 great kids with a fabulous wife. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, close to Seattle, Washington. I enjoy developing with Delphi and Delphi Prism. By day I work with .net and Silverlight. In the evening I am the host of The Podcast at Delphi.org. When I am working with .net by day I am usually working with Delphi native in the evenings, and when working with Delphi native during the day, I am using Delphi Prism in the evenings. Funny how that works out.
I just got back from presenting a 2 day workshop on Delphi Prism in Denmark for DAPUG, and presenting at EKON / Delphi Live Germany. I also presented at Delphi Live USA, BorCon, CodeRage and numerous CodeCamps. Besides blogging and my podcast, I also contributed to a chapter of a book on consuming XML web services with Kylix on Linux.

Gary Darby: I am a relatively smart, relatively successful, retired programmer analyst. I can’t take credit for the “smart” part – I guess my parents are responsible for that. The important component of my, and most others, success is motivation (persistence) . That characteristic I probably owe to two great high school teachers, Paul Bader for Mathematics and Robert Wellever for Physics and Chemistry. Once you experience the “Joy of Problem Solving”, there’s no going back. Remember those algebraic proofs using a few simple rules of algebra, associative, commutative, etc.? It was like magic to me. Generally the problems that programmers, engineers and other hard science practitioners face can be solved and can produce that “Eureka” moment when the solution is found. Programmers can get “in the zone” where time ceases to exist and success is never in doubt. I would like to encourage other students, young and old, to experience these feelings and hope that delphiforfun.org has helped in some small way to accomplish that. Politicians, teachers, and others that work on “people” problems have a much harder job and a much lower success rate. It seems that we must be having more fun.

Andreas Hausladen: I’m a person who loves to write software.

Neil Moffatt: Maverick – dabbling in Delphi, Cabinet making, Photographer, Writing, Drawing, Design

2. Since when do you use Delphi?

Daniel Wolf: I’m using Delphi since Version 1.0. Before, I used TurboPascal (DOS) and “Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5” (which was a kind of a nightmare to use). I still have not forgotten the biggest problems we had one and a half decades ago: Serious restrictions in memory-usage and processing-power (to name just two of them). I had a lot of good, instructive experiences and gathered knowledge which is still very helpful today.

Zarko Gajic: From Delphi 1. That would be for the last 14 years. Oh, I’m old 🙂

Peter Below: Since Delphi 1 came out. I had been using TurboPascal for Windows and Borland Pascal 7 before.

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Since Delphi 1, whenever it came out. And I used Borland Pascal before that and Turbo Pascal before that. I started with Turbo Pascal 3.0. For CP/M 🙂 But I learned Pascal even before that – my first compiler was on PDP/11-M, second on ZX Spectrum (HiSoft Pascal), and third on VAX/VMS (VMS Pascal).

Jim McKeeth: I started programming in Basic on the Commodore Vic 20, after switching to the PC I later graduated to Turbo Pascal. I started using Delphi with version 2, using all the versions since then except version 4 (just missed that one).

Gary Darby: A project written in DOS Turbo Pascal in the late 1980’s convinced me that Pascal was a great first programming language. It has a large enough vocabulary to implement almost any algorithm and it has an “English like” syntax. That first project was an “Expert System”. It was created to satisfy a Master’s degree project requirement but turned out to have some commercial value. I suppose that I used Delphi Version 1, but I specifically remember Delphi 2, 3, 5, and 7 most clearly, each with significant enhancements over the previous version. Most of my career as a Delphi user has been as a hobbyist user, writing programs and solving programs “for fun”.

Andreas Hausladen: My first Delphi version was Delphi 1. But I started writing real world applications not before Delphi 5.

Neil Moffatt: From day one

3. What was the determining factor(s) to switch and stay with Delphi over the years?

Daniel Wolf: Productivity. Using Delphi I achieved (and still do) a very high level of productivity on the gui-level as well as on the code-level. While our flagship-products need a lot of eye-candy for our customers, we also have some internal applications to maintain, having their roots back in the (very) late 80ies. Of course some work was done from time to time, but Delphi has an incredible backwards-compatibility which helped us a lot.

Zarko Gajic: I started programming when I was in high school. My first machine was Atari 1040 STE. While others were playing on Amiga’s I was exploring QBasic. I got my first PC in 1990. A natural choice for me was Visual Basic. I’ve developed a few shareware games for the local (Croatian) market.
Several years later a friend presented Delphi 1 to me. No runtime DLLs, fast IDE, true event driven programming, OOP, visual inheritance, … I never looked back at VB again.
Over the years I’ve been programming in VB, C, Java, C#, VB.NET .. but when I need to create a fast, stable, easy to maintain program, the one that needs to have a future – seems like Delphi is always the right tool for the job.

Peter Below: I like Pascal-based languages, they are appropriate for the work at hand and the IDEs Borland offered have always been very good productivity tools for me. At the time I started to use each of the products it was simply the best available for my purposes, and that has been true ever since.

Primoz Gabrijelcic: As you can see from the previous answer, I started with the Pascal very early. In fact, it was my second language – after PDP-11 Assembler. And my third language was also an assembler, for Zilog’s Z80 (used in ZX Spectrum). So I was “since forever” stretched between two languages, one that gave me full control over the metal and another that watched over me every step. At that times you had to choose between Pascal and C (without ++ and without #, for youngsters) and for my taste, C was just too dangerous to write real applications in. It allowed you to shoot yourself in the foot as easily as in the assembler. So I choose Pascal and stayed with it.
When switching from DOS to Windows NT 3.5/95 (somehow I managed to skip over whole Windows 3.x era), Delphi was the natural choice. A language that takes care of me and allows me to access any API (any _application_ API, I was never that much into drivers) – there was not much to discuss …

Jim McKeeth: I stay with Delphi because it does a great job of making the complex tasks simple without hiding what is going on. It lets me get things done quickly and easily without getting in my way when I want to do something more complex. Other tools I have tried are unable to cover such a spectrum. Other powerful tools that have an abstraction to make things easier end up only covering the simple middle of the road, and then break down unable making things complicated for any real world tasks.

Gary Darby: My first programming language was Fortran followed by Assembler, RPG, Cobol, and SAS. The original Turbo Pascal project was more or less accidental – the language and sample code were available. I don’t recall the price of Turbo Pascal, but it must have been cheap. Jeff Dunteman wrote many articles in Dr.Dobbs Journal in those early days which caught my eye. After that initial project, I wrote some statistical and numerical analysis programs in Delphi for Aramco, my last employer before retirement. A programming language is very much like any foreign language; you must learn the vocabulary and syntax in order to communicate with others and fluency in the language increases with practice. The big difference is that as your foreign correspondent will still understand you if you misspell a word or use “der” instead of “das” for “the”. Your computer is not so forgiving. It is like talking to an idiot who can manipulate symbols really quickly once he understands what you want him to do. The time and effort to climb that hill to fluency is itself motivation not to change.
After retiring, I continued to write simulations and math model and puzzle solvers because I found problem solving enjoyable and I had fluency in Delphi. In my fantasy world, every Jr. high and high school has a problem-solving/critical thinking thread of classes using computer programming as its medium. Programming by definition Is problem solving and the techniques developed in that activity apply to other areas of life. Delphi and Basic are the two best choices that I know of for that purpose.

Andreas Hausladen: After switching from Turbo/PowerBasic to Turbo/BorlandPascal I was already expierenced with the Pascal language. So as a German High School student the step to Delphi was only a question of money. And I solved that by getting the affordable Standard SKU as a christmas present. For me Delphi has all what I need for my private projects. But that doesn’t mean that I’m only writing code in Delphi. There was a time when I wrote more C# code than Delphi code.

Neil Moffatt: Delphi is well designed, based on a sound reliable language, with none of the quirks of C++ or clumsiness of VB

4. Which was/is the biggest hurdle which you encountered in your programming career?

Daniel Wolf: Myself, myself and … myself. Usually I lose my interest in a (sub-)project, when the problems are solved and the remaining work just consists of (more or less basic) coding.

Zarko Gajic: Still is. How to convince others (today .Net friends / developers I talk to) that what is called “cutting edge” in programming is not something that should be used out of the box and be labeled with “let’s abandon what we use now, this is better”. Answering questions like “why do you still use Delphi, .Net is much better” is hard when you are talking to someone who never tried Delphi.

Peter Below: Lack of time to keep up with the field, mostly. I suppose that hits a part-time programmer even worse than a full-time developer. I only ever took a brief look a .NET, for example, and never investigated other operating systems or web programming. Too much else to do and read, no pressing need…

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Not enough time 🙂 Between family, house and hobbies (which include programming and, with that, my $$$ programming) the latter always draw short.

Jim McKeeth: Programming is a great and challenging career. The biggest hurdle I find is knowing which technologies to study, and which ones to let pass. There is so much going on in the industry, even with Delphi. That is one of the things I enjoy about doing the podcast and presenting at conferences: it gives me something to focus on.

Gary Darby: Tough question. I suppose it was dealing with managers whose goals and objectives didn’t coincide with mine. Sometime about the middle of my career I was working for VEPCO (Virginia Electric Power Company) as a system programmer and learned a lesson which has stuck with me ever since. One day after I had gone on a rant to some manager about some decision, a consultant took me aside and gave me this parable. Joe said “Gary, assume that you have white cow that needs to be a brown. Don’t get bogged down in the details. The brand of paint, whether it’s oil or latex based, etc. should not deter you from the objective. If the white cow ends up brown, the problem is solved.” That idea has been useful to me and I’ve passed it along to my grandchildren and many others since then.

Andreas Hausladen: Certainly there were some tough hurdles but I can’t remember any of them. Maybe because I solved them all or used alternative ways.

Neil Moffatt: Handling complexity

5. How would you describe the today’s Delphi community? Virtues, diseases, things to keep, things to fix? NOTE: By ‘community’ we understand the entire human ecosystem including the Team, Company, customers, 3rd party vendors etc.

Daniel Wolf: I just can speak for the German community particularly: The community here is very active, helpful and cooperative. People not just don’t mind to share ideas, answers and code – they like it and do it a lot.
This is a very kindly way of dealing with each other. Running my community now for more than seven years and spending a lot of time in the virtual and real community I can say that it’s always a pleasure to have Delphi-developers around. But the community is maturing and Embarcadero has no anti-aging lotion in stock: It’s vitally important that we bring some new fresh, younger people into the community.
Gaining (or re-gaining) the schools and universities will establish a basis for a growing relevance of Delphi. This will be – besides of any technical challenges – the most important mission to accomplish and everyone can help by spreading the word. Embarcadero itself should have another task on its list: Not to lose track of the developer.
There’s more than just the customer giving its money and the company offering a product. We still have a lot of people having their heart set on Delphi, but their number is decreasing.

Zarko Gajic: Today the community appears much more solid / stable than during the last few years (“dark” years of Delphi 8, Borland ditching Delphi story). While Delphi lost developers and interest a few years ago, it seems to me that with Delphi 2009, 2010 (and future versions) Embarcadero will again raise interest in Delphi.

Peter Below: The Delphi newsgroups are really my only contact with this community. The clientele has certainly changed over the years, starting with the old Compuserve fora. It was more focused and more “technical” at the beginning, but the landscape of software development has changed tremendously over the years, and the scope of what Delphi can do has also expanded very much. It’s probably inevitable that this also leads to an increase in specialisation among the users of the tool, and a bit of fragmentation of the community as well.

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Elderly.
Somehow, Delphi community lost that loving feeling. When I joined the community, most of it was young and energetic. Now we’re older, more cynical (or experienced, whichever viewpoint you want to take), which is not too bad in itself; the problem is that there are not many young people joining the Delphi clan.

Jim McKeeth: Delphi is a very practical tool that lets developers get things done quickly and easily, but that lends itself to doing things in a way that is not as easy to maintain: Like tying the business logic to the user interface or otherwise tightly coupling various modules. As our projects get more complex and have longer maintenance lives it is more important to adopt a more mature design model. These models may take more time to implement, but are easier to maintain.
When Delphi was released, it came with the source code to the VCL. This created a culture of “open source,” sharing our source code to help each other build better tools. This culture of sharing and supporting each other caries through to all the newsgroups, blogs and conferences. We have all benefitted from the generosity of others, including this initial generosity, and are happy to do what we can to pay back what little we can.
Another culture Delphi created is backwards compatibility. A lot of our Turbo Pascal code worked with Delphi, and most 16-bit Delphi 1 code moved forward to 32-bit land. Backwards compatibility is a great asset in moving our code forward.
There are two ways backwards compatibility can bite us though. The first way is code baggage. If our code is working it doesn’t have any need to evolve since we just recompile it with the new version to get access to all the new features. This is double edged – we keep what works and move on – but that code gets stale and we end up maintaining code that really should be thrown out, but it works, and moves forward with us. The second bite is API baggage – we keep API’s and framework calls around that were wrong, or are wrong now, just for the sake of backwards compatibility. Migrating code is painful, but the industry moves forward. We are not programming in the same world we started in, and I for one am very glad.

Gary Darby: I have been impressed with the willingness of others in the Delphi forums to help and share. I can frequently use Google to find Delphi code snippets to accomplish some task faster than I can find it in one of my programs, even though I know that I have the code somewhere. The urgent need today from the learners/hobbyist perspective is the lack of a free or reasonably priced “learning” version of Delphi. Some in Embarcadero recognize the need, but the delay in making something available is frustrating. I believe that the clock is ticking toward the ultimate death of Delphi if something is not done

Andreas Hausladen: For me the community seems to be much more vocal than some years ago. Also the Embarcadero people with their blogs and participation in the newsgroups make a huge difference compared to the past.
The 3rd party market had to face the Unicode migration. And that showed which components are still alive and which weren’t supported for years and “survived ” only because the source code was 99.9% compatible.

Neil Moffatt: Not sufficiently conversant

6. What would you do if you would THE decision maker for the next Delphi release? Feel free to think and innovate.

Daniel Wolf: The next release must include an option for the low cost market to attract a wider range of developers. 64bit, cross-compilation, freaky language-features … all just “bells and whistles” if you don’t have a strong community using that stuff. A lot of people are seriously asking for 64bit-support, a significantly number of people left Delphi to Freepascal just for getting 64bit. So this area should also be addressed as soon as possible.

Zarko Gajic: Fix Help system. Make IDE more stable. Don’t invent something just to have a buzzword for Delphi 2011, if needed skip a year, but do make sure that all the bugs are removed, help is working and current users are happy. Current users will bring new users.
Work on publishing books for beginners. If needed, world know authors (Cantu, Bob) and pay them to write books. FOR BEGINNERS / STUDENTS.
Find a way to have Delphi back in schools.

Peter Below: Focus on stability and speed of the tool. I’m content with the current feature set, and use only a small part of it anyway in my day-to-day work. Like many mature products Delphi/RAD studio has the common problem that it is hard to come up with really useful additions for new versions since the product is very good already, and covers the needs of most of the customer base adequately. What’s left is adaptation to a changing market (more mobile applications, for example), on which I can say nothing since my niche of that market has not changed appreciably over the last 10 years.

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Delphi Prism for $19.99. There’s no way to reach to youngsters in Win32 environment, it has to be the .NET. In connection with Mono, it can be a great tool for writing mobile applications (including iPhone $.99 junk).

Jim McKeeth: I am really excited with the direction Delphi is headed. The Unicode migration with 2009 was a little painful, but it was a huge step in the right direction. Most of the pain was at the API or component level, which is a great tribute to the way Delphi manages abstractions. Generics, Anonymous Methods, Touch API, and all the great IDE enhancements have all been exciting. My only complaints about Unicode is it is a little late, and there are some method names that are don’t match the new paradigm (API baggage).
Going forward I would love to see 64-bit and multiplatform in the next release, but I also know what is realistic, and if I had to choose I would want multi-platform first. So much so I went out and bought a Mac Book Pro so I would be ready (well that and MonoTouch with Delphi Prism on the iPhone . . . )
Things not on the road map that I would like to see include LINQ method syntax support, native support for SQLite embedded databases and parallel framework syntax.

Gary Darby: Release a free Learning Delphi for Windows. It could be crippled by license and, if necessary, within the code, to make it not viable for commercial products so that Embarcadero does not lose revenue. Perhaps the code would only run on systems that have the learner’s Delphi version installed. I would not like to see .Net versions or even web app creation capabilities; we’re learning to walk – we can learn to run later;. Delphi 7 is the perfect model version from my perspective.

Andreas Hausladen: Error Insight is a really great feature, if it would work. So I would assign a lot more man power to it. Furthermore it would be nice if the IDE would put the threads (parser, help insight, …) more in the background. But the problem with such a question is that dreaming doesn’t fit reality.

Neil Moffatt: Again, not up to date. Personally, a modularisation of features, so that you do not get overloaded with components and features that you will never use

7. Can you share with us a (didactical, iteresting, intriguing etc.) programming happening or story from your life?

Daniel Wolf: I certainly will do as soon as it happens to me.
…wait … there was a intriguing experience at university: The programming-language “Prolog”. If you “just” know assembler, functional languages or some of the oop languages, you will be surprised how different other approaches of programming can be. Our task was to create a natural linguistic access to a (simplified) database – with not more than 40 lines of code (of normal widths). We did it and the solution was pretty cool and fascinating.

Zarko Gajic: Hm, actually I don’t have one that could be used as a script for a theatralic movie 🙂 I’m just an ordinary developer working 24/7 in front of a machine with the IDE on, all the time. What interesting could come out of that? 🙂

Peter Below: No. My life is pretty boring :-)…

Primoz Gabrijelcic: In good old times (DOS, that is) we wrote our own anti-debugger protection (as part of the general anti-copy protection). Those were the times … It was a good code, full of tricks and hard to detect.
How do I know? Because one time I spent few hours fighting with one of our apps. I was trying to fix some bug but I couldn’t get anywhere. The app was behaving in a totally unexpected manner, crashing in code that always worked before and even worse – I couldn’t repeat any problem; it always crashed at a different location.
After much too much time I suddenly noticed that I forgot to switch off the anti-debugger protection 😦

Jim McKeeth: My programming stories are the same as everyone else’s. When I look at my code from a few days ago, I always wonder what I was thinking. I enjoy solving the interesting problems, but once they are solved they are not so interesting anymore. I love to write really cleaver code, but I usually delete it later since I know it is a pain to support – simple code is better. I would love to learn everything, and then teach everyone the interesting parts, but there is only so much time. Hopefully I pick the right interesting parts to learn and share.

Gary Darby: The “Turbo Expert” story is a good example of how opportunities arise when we least expect them. I worked at Aramco, the oil company, in Saudi Arabia as a capacity planner from 1981 through the Gulf War and retired with 10 years of service in 1991. One of the perks of working there was that company paid for college courses conducted by visiting professors from the University of Missouri-Rolla leading to one of several advanced engineering degrees. I chose Engineering Management and had my first exposure to Operations Research and Business classes. In addition to coursework, a project was required to earn the degree and I got permission from one of the math professors to do a programming project to meet that requirement. By coincidence, as I was searching for something interesting to work on, the manager who had hired me called and said he had someone he wanted me to meet. That was Jim Corley, a mechanical engineer at Aramco who specialized in rotating equipment. He was looking for someone to help create an “expert system” to assist novice engineers diagnose problems with rotating equipment. Aramco has a lot of rotating equipment (motors, pumps, compressors, fans, etc.) and spends millions of dollars each year on maintenance. The idea of an expert system is to capture, in a “knowledge base”, the expertise that has taken years to acquire and make it available to less experienced personnel . The expert is good at what he does because most of the problems he sees he has already solved once from first principles. After that he draws on a set observed symptoms and matches them against his mental library of previously solved problems. For example: ”That high amplitude vibration in the vertical axis at twice the running speed in the outboard shaft of that 20,000 horsepower GE Model XYZ motor is because of a known weakness in the support frame in the front center strut.” I wrote the code which interfaced with the user to collect symptoms and used the knowledge base to produce a set of possible diagnoses and solutions ranked from most likely to least likely. Jim and I wrote a paper which he presented at a Vibration conference and as a result we were approached by a company that wanted to license the product for distribution with their vibration measuring devices. With Aramco’s approval, we formed Intellitech Inc., signed a contract with the hardware company, and each collected $40K-$50K in royalty fees per year for the next 10 years. Not bad for six months work developing the system!
Today when I receive emails asking how to make a living writing programs, my first advice is to go to work for a company that will help you develop the necessary skills. Then, if you want to strike out on your own, make friends with an expert in some niche market. He/she knows the problems that need solving, the deficiencies of existing software solutions, and has ideas about solutions, but not the programming skills, to implement them. With the right partner, a good solution, a lot of work, and a little luck, you too can retire at age 52!

Andreas Hausladen: Sorry, nothing interesting here to tell that I can think of.

Neil Moffatt: That Danny Thorpe, Delphi Architect at the time, contacted me a few years ago to ask if I would add .Net pages to my Delphi Basics web site. He had given up asking Borland at the time to supply good documentation!

8. …can you give us a word for the community?

Daniel Wolf: “keep coding”
… to be honest: I can understand that many people turned their back on Delphi – it’s a hot competition between all the programming-languages and -environments. Even for me as a Delphi-enthusiast it’s not as easy as it was a couple of years ago to spend a lot of time and money to run my community. In my opinion it’s on Embarcadero to _do_ something rather than to _say_ something (the long awaited 64bit compiler, the turbo products, the quality of the help-files, …). I just want to express my hope that we will see Delphi regaining its strength – I can (and will) verify this on a regular basis on the number of new users/threads/posts in my community. It’s a distressing fact that all of these three numbers are decreasing constantly for more than two years now.

Zarko Gajic: Maintaining a web site is a time/energy eater. I’ve been writing tips and tutorials for the last 10+ years. There were times when I thought it’s enough, I’ve run out of ideas, energy, time. BUT, then you receive an email from a web site visitor with “thank you for …” – this charges my batteries and ensures the future for what I do.
Therefore: THANK you community – without you there would never be the About Delphi Programming web site as it is right now.

Peter Below: Stay curious, try to broaden your knowledge, don’t get into a rut. It’s near impossible to get out of it once you are in, as I know from experience :-).

Primoz Gabrijelcic: Publish! If you’re not loud, you’re not heard.

Jim McKeeth: …I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed being on the other side of the interview. What a treat!

Gary Darby: The words above are my best shot at conveying to the Delphi community where I stand and the role that Delphi should play in the future. The problems of making that happen are “people”, not technical, problems and therefore hard to solve. But if we persist and keep pecking on current Delphi decision makers every chance we get, good things may yet happen.

Andreas Hausladen: Keep believing in Delphi.

Neil Moffatt: Hang in there with Delphi. Microsoft are notoriously poor at attention to the details that Delphi mostly gets right. Especially ergonomics.

Well, that’s it. I think that’s a lot of good insight and food for thought both for us and for the company. Also, if something is missing – it was a lot of work putting the pieces together – please let us know and we’ll fix it immediately.

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

PS: Meanwhile the doc team is hard at work. They just released the Update 1 of the Help System for Delphi 2010. Have a look here.

6 thoughts on “Delphi Legends 2009 Community Award: The interviews

  1. These interviews are excellent!

    All the answers are very interesting, for sure, but the ones of Gary Darby are just priceless. And besides his really rich optic on the “Joy of Problem Solving”, what a programming language is and why Pascal is better than others, I stick with his diagnostic of the current moment:

    “The urgent need today from the learners/hobbyist perspective is the lack of a free or reasonably priced “learning” version of Delphi. Some in Embarcadero recognize the need, but the delay in making something available is frustrating. I believe that the clock is ticking toward the ultimate death of Delphi if something is not done”

  2. The way this Wings of Wind blog has been resurrecting the excitement of the Delphi community with amazing posts like this, it may by now be predetermined that the winner of the Delphi Legends 2010 award will be John Thomas.

  3. Pingback: 36 – Žarko Gajić - The Podcast at Delphi.org

  4. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

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