Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Some really good press amidst all the Turbo-mania...

This article on FTPOnline, Borland Brings Back Turbo has a very insightful statement:

"For those who might have been worried that Borland's spin-off of the developer tools to a separate company (whose name is still yet to be announced) might herald a sunset of minimum additional development and maximum milking of customers, this announcement should be a welcome relief. This is clearly a long-term strategy. Borland (and the successor company for the developer tools) is not milking the installed base, but rather trying to regrow the community. It is a bold and risky strategy in this era of commodity developer tools, but perhaps the best alternative for Borland and the successor developer tools company to remain relevant."

Bold and risky, indeed.


  1. Germany's premier IT magazine:


    (sorry, no English)

    "... this makes the feature set [of the Turbo-Explorer edition] is by far better than what has been offered by the old personal editions, which were free as well ..."

  2. Interesting. My only question where does this put Borland Development Studio?

  3. Well, since milking the installed base is stupid and shortsighted, I don't know how bold and risky the opposite (searching out new customers) is in comparison.

    I have to say, inspite of the bad timing of the announcement, the turbo versions address one of my single largest complaints about Delphi - the price.

    This finally starts to bring Delphi back into line with its true value. When you look back at what Turbo Pascal 4.0, Turbo Pascal For Windows, Turbo Pascal 7.0 and Delphi 1 and 2 cost, the current price of Delphi is desperately inflated and clearly represents "milking the installed base", and has for quite a while.

    Previously, you could walk into a store and drop drown a reasonable amount of cash and walk out with a copy of Borland goodness. First, this was because it was reasonably priced, secondly, because it was reasonably priced, you could expect enough sales to make it WORTH stocking in a software store. Even if you didn't get it at a store, it was easily withing any reasonable discressionary spending limit, for students, hobbiest, even developers at a small company. You could easily talk just about any boss into a 3,4 or 500$ purchase for tools.

    As Delphi started passing the thousand dollar mark, however, store sales became impossible. Hobbiests were not paying that, forget students, and talking a boss into it became a lot harder as it passed into that 4th digit. If you weren't already into Delphi, chances were pretty slim you would go that way on your own. Stores stopped stocking it and availablity dropped.

    How important is that availablity and price? TP 4.0 was a 100$ impuse purchase for me. It lead me to TP5.5, TP4W, TP7.0 and ultimately provided the justification to buy Delphi 1.0 as a student (at 300$ cdn, that hurt, I can assure you, but I knew it was money well invested). Delphi 1 did enough for me to justify Delphi 2 upgrade at 500$.

    I'm willing to bet most of you recognize this pattern in your own stories, and I'm equally willing to bet that practically NONE of you would jump into a new language for 2 grand when your current tools got the job done, not even for a 30 day money back guarentee. I am, however, willing to bet you've all tried free tools, and maybe even invested a few bucks into some cheap tools (<500$) knowing you weren't loosing much if it blew up in your face. Downloaded C# Express yet? Ya, I thought so, after all, free is free, and you can never know too much in this industry.

    So I welcome the new turbo versions at reasonable prices.

    Heck, with the new price point, *I*'ll probably even take a chance buying a copy, if I can find someone who sells it (last time I talked to a sales person at Borland, they had all apparently been forbidden from selling anything but ALM...)

  4. Btw, Allen, can we assume that the pro-turbo will have all the updates and hot patches built in? Esp. #5?

  5. Impatient Delphi LoyalistAugust 9, 2006 at 6:06 AM


    1. I read somewhere that you can only install one of the Turbos on a computer and if you need multiple languages the BDS is the way to go. Is this correct? Say it ain't so...why force customers to purchase the BDS when the customer wants to develop in both Turbo Delphi Win32 and .Net? Turbo line would be a sure success if it can act as an IDE that you can "plugin" the different Turbo languages. Mix and match. Don't force customer to choose between all or one. It makes good business sense.

    2. Drop JBuilder. I don't really see the need for this 4th language. It sucks up resources that can be dedicated to a great object oriented RAD tool like Delphi, a low level object oriented tool like C++ or a new .Net language like C#. What really is the purpose of JBuilder?

    "Three's company but four is a crowd."

  6. Impatient Delphi Loyalist -> Try Microsoft's FREE Virtual PC.

    I find it an excellent bed for my compilers. They each get their own OS, and I can make them completely self contained, and they remain seperate from my main machine.

    This means that if I have to reinstall the OS on my main machine, it will be up and running VERY quickly. Install OS, install VPC and wham, you can start developing again right away. Better -> you can move the drive to a difference machine (either internal or as an external USB 2.0 or Esata) on a moment's notice. In fact, I am RUNNING this current VPC right off the USB 2.0 interface and it is plenty quick unless I want to defrag or something equally intense.

  7. Kent -> See MS's ever changing policy for OS license policy regarding VPC. And assume on any given week that last weeks information is wrong and they've probably loosened the requirements further (as has been the tend so far). That said, OS licenses are pretty cheap, esp. if you are far sighted enough to have an MSDN subscription to broaden your skills and reach.

    Same OS license restrictions apply to VMWare before someone asks (actually VPC does appear to have some lesser OS licensing restrictions to make it more attractive. But considering what VMWare does to the network stack on the host machine of every machine I ever installed it on, it doesn't take much sweetening to sway me towards VPC)

  8. C Johnson: VPC is free now, but Windows isn't. I may be wrong, but I believe the OEM license that comes with PCs can't be installed in VPC. And because we were talking about *cheap* or *free* IDEs I don't believe students or hobbyists buy MSDN subscriptions - if I am not wrong MSDN Operating System Subscription is around $700 - and I am not sure you can use it as a "production" environment - although for development should be ok. But maybe at this point buying BDS is less expensive :)

  9. I wondered if is that a really good news!! It seems more a bad answer from BORLAND against increase popularity of the dynamic languages (about 1500%). Turbo verbose will not save static approach except would come such as TURBO RUBY!! That it is what everybody wants right now.

  10. .....tolerance is just an invention of the mind to hide the existent conflict, e.g. we have ignored so far in the process of programming the programmer itself.

    Due to the increase of complexity of the engineering, refactoring tools, long learning curve.....etc, at the end you finally ask is this all best programmer's friend?

    I think "Ruby" has rescue this relationship, and as you can realize, it is strange isn't it....it happens in a time.. that nobody was discussing anymore....about language diferences and most of the news were expected on tools instead on languages.

    You may not need Ruby.....maybe because you have forgotten about what is to have really enjoy of programming otherwise Ruby would be your best friend!!

  11. .....just to add....one more thing.

    ...you see.....most about you said....improve tools....etc....is in this same direction.

    ...something went wrong about what we have today. This relationship.....the static languages.

    "Ruby" is pointing to another direction, a really change is ocurring already, a new era of software development is being established!

    "After Ruby -- software development will never be the same where for the first time in history the human condition is taken in its developing process, resulting a coherent movement which is pure intelligence."

  12. Kent -> Worrying about students can afford is very short-sighted, as they can barely afford no-name ramen noodles. Anything free will help them, and any minor inconveniences from having to juggle is probably not going to freak them out too much, and I'm willing to bet they'll work out a way around it quick enough anyways. Neccesity being the mother of invention.

    Frankly, I suspect a few registry files and a path change or two will get around the problem as fast, if not as cleanly, as a virtual machine.

    Aside from that, I doubt anyone is going to waste any real effort with C# or C++ Builder anyways, leaving just Delphi Win32 and dotNet, and that's probably about a 99/1 balance (Delphi's dotNet implimentation is fatally flawed in so many ways, anyone of a dotNet inclinatation will either fire up an Express product instead or go hunting for Mono - after all, what does Delphi dotNet offer that Delphi Win32 that justifies its warts?)

    I like the Turbo idea over BDS, because we won't be forced to subsidized ill-concieved ventures and simple economics will either fix their flaws or kill them off. Kylix is a perfect example of that process in action.

    You can argue all you want, but in a few years, we'll all know for sure.

  13. Roberto: I don't need/like Ruby because:

    1) It's interpreted

    2) It's dynamic

    3) It's pure OO

    4) It does not require variable declarations... :)

    5) It's scripting

    For our applications all the above are only disadvantages.

    "Static" and "dynamic" are not good or bad by themselves. In a given situation "dynamic" can be the right choice, in other it can be just the "kiss of death", and viceversa.

    Your approach to Ruby looks like "faith", not a rational choice. I have yet to see the "Universal Language" - although Sun, MS and now Ruby each thinks they invented it.

    And remember DevCo. has to give something to its *current* customers too. It can't leave them behind and their investment in Delphi code just to pursue yet another language. If so, why not Oberon, D, etc. ? ;)

    Hobbyists, and maybe those building web sites are usually free to move from language to language. Those writing huge commercial native applications simply can't.

    Again, if DevCo. has have enough resources to add new languages they will be welcome - if they could expand the customers base *really* it is good unless it means current products are not improved enough, or improved too slowly. It happened with Kylix, .NET and ALM. And often they did not get enough new customers at all - just lost old ones. How many copies of "TurboRuby" are you going to *buy*?

  14. ....in the old times I also wondered about Turbo Pascal....it was easy....you could have some fun....had its time......but now......Delphi lost that......and is more like a bundle of tools (like you said) than a language......and when you findout something that just with the language can provide really a new experience about programming.....a 'fresh air' so you wondered again and say WOW...this is really nice.....hot, and today that is called "Ruby".....not Turbo Pascal or Delphi. For many people did not take too long to realize that such as Tim Bray(Sun), Bruce Tate(J2life) or even surprisely Anders Helsberg(MS). Behind the cenes they are alredy working on it. Unfortunately this has not happened yet for BORLAND and you. Why? Still too concern about the tools, its improvement?......but is the problem really in there?

  15. Roberto: it's almost useless to discuss with people who "believe" and do not "reason". I still have a lot of fun using Delphi and C++ (and even assembler, sometimes!)

    I tried Java and C#, and did not like them too much - I feel myself too much "constrained". I don't do "script development" but I know PHP and Ruby. Again, I did not feel the "mystic experience" you are experiencing and all your trailing dots... :)

    Yes, I am still concerned about tools and improvements because we have a huge investment in Delphi and C++ code. We can't simply move it in Ruby tomorrow, Emerald next month and Diamond next year - especially when noone had *really proved* they are *really far better*.

    Our customers pay for fast and working applications, not our fun, "fresh air" and "new experience" in building them! (BTW: Ruby looks like LSD at this point!). It's like the emphasis Borland put on the ALM/SDO stuff. All nice things themselves, but customers do not pay for UML charts, requisites maps and metrics. They just want applications filling their needs. And in the end you have to build and *mantain* them.

    Sorry your faith hinders you to understand.

    If you would like to discuss about *technical* advantages of a programming language your welcome, if you just keep on worshipping Ruby as a "god language" that promises Paradise to its followers, well, better to stop here.

  16. ....yes faith...you may right....


    Ruby climbed up to the 13th place in the

    In a blitz interview with Bruce Tate, he says that does not know, use, or has an opinion on the Ruby language yet. But since this language climbed up to the 13th place in the Tiobe index, it deserves to be taken seriously.


    Blitz Interview: Can Ruby Live Without Rails?



    Ruby Book Sales Pass Python and Perl (up 1550%)



    .NET and Java to get better dynamic language support

    With highly expressive syntax that is easy to read, write, and maintain, dynamic programming languages like Python and Ruby are extremely conducive to rapid development. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have observed growing interest in dynamic programming, and plan to integrate more extensive support for dynamic language features in their respective managed language platforms.


  17. .....sorry by that I was unaware that BORLAND has become so small....too busy....too concerned...no room...no time for Ruby.... or at least opened to really something very new. But as you can realize above..Sun and Microsoft are not.

    By the way....no language is perfect....even Ruby....but one that free programmer's mind from the hindrances of that is usually should belong to the compiler, that leads him to behave more intuitively, allowing thus the most important tool to act -- the intelligence, and so creativity, happiness, motivation and productivity.....well at the end you wonder from whom all that come from? Ins't that a god language? What is then?

    Also to the one that tries to diminished a language by the fact of being a script or dynamic...are really unaware by the current facts......that this is no longer true.

    What languages BORLAND have in this flavor?

    This is one flavor of Ruby....you can you in adm tasks....lightweight applications....the near future.....JRuby......Ruby .NET....Ruby everywhere!?

    Also About the 'no need to declare variables in a dynamic language'....as in Ruby everything is an object.....a variable is not.....you do not have attached a type to it......cause it just a object holder which will reference and scope what it holds.

    By the way what is the disavantage of that? This is just one of many things that the Ruby compiler shows its intelligence, removing trivial and repetitive tasks.

    The fact is that once one's experience a dynamic language.....a static one will look like a limitating thing. So there will be no return.

    "I think the dynamic languages are posing the greatest threat that Java has yet to face."

    David Heinemeier Hansson

  18. .....to end the conversation, if you read in the Tiobe Site:


    "..Chances are that Ruby will enter the top 10 within half a year. I guess it will replace Delphi!!!"

    Be happy and have fun!!!!!

    Be Ruby :)

  19. Roberto: "Borland has become so small" - DevCo. has to be profitable, or it will close down. May Ruby make it profitable? I don't know. If so, they'll think about it. I have asked you: how many copies of "DevCo. Ruby" are you going to buy? 1? 10, 100? Or just looking for something free? >:)

    "but one that free programmer's mind from the hindrances of that is usually should belong to the compiler". Believe me, it could be the kiss of death. In some applications you have to think like the compiler and the CPU to get every CPU cycle you need. That's why C/C++ is still largely used for complex applications. If not, we ahd been all using script languages since a long time

    "Also to the one that tries to diminished a language by the fact of being a script or dynamic...are really unaware by the current facts......that this is no longer true."

    I did not diminish it. I said they are the right choice for some applications and the wrong one for others. "Dynamic" means more time spent just to find out what to do. It could be difficult to do with compiled code.

    CPUs become more powerful, but the application in turn becomes more demanding and complex. Whenever I do not need it, I do not want any dynamic stuff to get in the way. My applications does not allow for it.

    "By the way what is the disavantage of that? This is just one of many things that the Ruby compiler shows its intelligence". No, it's just like GW-BASIC twenty years ago - and I wouldn't call it "clever". It just make more difficult to build "robust" software, and just make developers sloppy. It could be faster, but it could become a disadvantage in the long run - code difficult to mantain.

    We'll see. Ten years ago Java should have taken the programming world by storm - everybody should have been coding in Java by now, and you could have read the same comments you report. Five years ago it was .NET. It did not happen. Let's see Ruby.

  20. Roberto,

    We are fully aware of the level of up-take on the emerging web-based scripting languages, such as Ruby, PHP, Python, and JavaScript, AJAX, etc... We do not ignore or turn a "blind-eye" to those things. We also have to ensure that our core products continue to be successful and are fulfilling the needs of developers. Of course I cannot comment or commit to anything here, except to say that there is "interest."

  21. ....nice to hear that Allen Bauer!!

    I started learning programming with Turbo Pascal....more than 20 years ago...and BORLAND tools were always something that motivated many people....companies are made of them...and software is not a manufactured thing but a thing made by Human beings...so as you wondered once in the "Bitwise interview" about Ruby (see below)...remember to keep that with your people...who knows in the near future...everybody will wonder about BORLAND again !!

    ..by the way it was nice what you said in the 'Bitwise' interview:

    "One thing you didn’t mention above is Ruby. I personally find Ruby very appealing for several reasons. It cannot be understated that I feel a certain level of kinship with the Ruby language from a pure syntax point of view..."





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