Friday, February 14, 2020

Long live Delphi!

Something great has happened on this day, 25 years ago.

It was the sign of Aquarius. People were listening to Creep. And the AppBuilder was released.

You don’t know AppBuilder? Sure you do! It was developed andthanks to Novell — released under codename Delphi.

Indeed, our beloved Delphi is 25 years old today! A quarter of a century!

In 1995 we were all developing for MS-DOS. Windows was there, but it was useless. Crashy. Slow. Hard to code for. You had to write a giant message-processing loop and handle all sorts of stuff just to write a simple “Hello, world!” program.

And then came Delphi.

Drop a button! Double-click! Write one-line event handler! Run!

In one minute you had a small demo app put together! And in one hour …

Well, it stopped there. Not because of Delphi, though. The culprit was Windows, which was really really annoyingly unstable in those days. That was the time of 16-bit applications and an operating system that was only pretending to be a multitasking OS. It was easier to run two DOS programs in parallel (all hail DESQview!) than two Windows programs.

The tides have turned with Windows 3.11 for Workgroups (32-bit programs! real multitasking!) and Delphi 2. At that point I jumped on the bandwagon, mostly stopped developing DOS programs, and never looked back.

It is now 25 years — and who knows how many Delphi versions — later, and I still use it and love it! Other development environments have appeared and died. Microsoft had completely changed its approach to application development — and then turned back to the old ways. And Delphi is still here.

[I’m serious about the “who knows how many” part. There were great versions, there were terrible versions. There were updates that should be a new version. There were new versions that were no more than a big update. There were versions that should (and for the most part, are) forgotten. And there was a version that should not be named, because it crossed to the evil side.]

Today’s Delphi is not your father’s Delphi. It compiles for macOS. For iOS. For Android and even Linux! The language has evolved, too. We are not using some prehistoric Wirth Pascal, but modern language with anonymous functions and generics. IDE even has dark mode! ;)

I’m grateful almost every day that I don’t have to work in C++ or even Java. (C#, I could get used to. It was developed by one of Delphi’s founding fathers, and it shows.) Blazingly fast compile times, compiler and language that take care of me (range checking FTW!), simplicity of programming — everything fits together into one great package. In our company, we do everything in Delphi — from simple UI apps to services that receive and transmit digital video at blazing speeds. And we love it!

What to say after 25 years? Thank you, Borland! Thank you, CodeGear! Thank you, Embarcadero! Here’s to 25 more!

And, of course, thank you, Novell! I would really hate to write code in something called AppBuilder.


  1. Was it Netscape or Novell?

    1. Doh! Me and names :( Thank you!

  2. The same for me. Delphi 1 was a lifechanger!

  3. Anonymous17:20

    Delphi is one of the best things for my life! It will continue to evolve, sure, and it is going to stay for many more years :)

  4. I have a soft spot for Object Pascal. Delphi is stalwart of RAD development environments.