Friday, October 31, 2003

Avalon: Yes, the Picture's Changing

Avalon: Yes, the Picture's Changing

Here's a response that I posted to the above article:

I can see everyone rolling their eyes at the loony that is about to make this statement.

The movement of the declarative "InitializeComponents()" code to another more suitable "language" is nothing new, nor earth-shattering. Now comes the controversial part. Take a look at Borland Delphi... "Oh, I've heard of that" No, it is *not* just that "database" tool. It is a full featured, powerful object-oriented, component-based, compiled-to-native-code, development environment.

The Visual Component Library (VCL) that is included with Delphi uses a predecessor to Avalon's XAML. By using a text or binary declarative "language", the form construction is taken out of the code. This "script" is attached to the executable as a resource. It can also be easily localized by providing an alternative script.

Avalon is clearly an evolutionary step along this same path, but I would certainly *not* characterize it as "revolutionary."

Yes, I work for Borland. Yes, I'm one of the original developers that designed and built Delphi. Delphi was launched on February 14, 1995 at the Software Development West conference in silicon valley.

If you look closely, and resist the urge to revise history, you'll see that one of the primary architects behind .NET is Anders Hejlsberg... who was one of the original architects behind Delphi. Anders left Borland and helped produce J++ and WFC, then eventually C# and .NET. If you compare WinForms, WFC, nay Delphi's VCL, the similarities are... let's just say, striking.

What I find interesting and, to be honest, somewhat frustrating, are the reactions when I state that "Delphi's been doing this since 1995." I can see them rolling their eyes, as if to say, "There's another of those Delphi crackpots who thinks they actually innovated something."

In actual fact, we at Borland are extremely excited about the technologies that are coming out of Redmond.

In fact, if you happen to *be* a Delphi programmer you need to keep your eye on the "Octane" project.. and if at all possible, attend the Borland Conference in San Jose, CA starting this weekend (Nov. 1, 2003).

So I guess it *is* true that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Allen Bauer.
Borland Software Corporation.
RAD .NET IDE Architect.