Friday, September 4, 2009

What happened to version 13?

During the RAD Studio 2010 field test and now out in the Delphi non-tech newsgroups, there had been a lot of discussion, speculation and even some angst about the mysterious lack of version 13. Chill folks. The story is simple with no real conspiracies involved. In fact, the only conspiracy involved was that we knew from the outset that it would spark discussion and conspiracies.

After each product release there is a period of time where the internal developer builds overlap with the released product and the next release. This can cause confusion among the team and phantom errors if a developer build were to ever meet up with a released build. To limit this overlap, we try and bump the version number as early in the next release cycle as possible. The scene went like this:

Rewind to September 24th of 2008. I’m sitting at my desk reading emails, writing emails, surfing the interwebs, waiting for a build to complete, etc… There’s a knock on the door frame of my office (my door is always open). I turn around and Dave Wilhelm is standing there.

“I’m about ready bump the version number.”

“So the next version would be, uh, 13, right?”, I said with a pondering look.

“Yep. And, yes, that’s an interesting number”, Dave said with a wry smirk. A mischievous smile appeared on my face. Dave chuckled. Then he added, “I think we have two choices here. We can defiantly embrace it, or just skip it. What does our release schedule look like next year?”


“If we were to release in October, having a version 13 would be clearly embracing that whole mystique. You know, Halloween, black cats, zombies, ghouls, yadda yadda…”

I chuckled. “That could be a whole sub theme of the release! However, it looks like we’re slated to release about the same time next year. So that won’t work. We should just skip it. I don’t think there is a Friday the 13th around that time either.”

“I’ll ask a few folks on the team if they have any strong opinions one way or another.”

“Yep. Just like many buildings don’t have a floor 13 and go from floor 12 to 14. It will also be a fun trivia question down the road. Besides, I can see the community going into wild, random speculation and conspiracies as to why did they skip 13.”, I said with a slight smirk and a muted chuckle.

“Exactly. I also understand it is mostly a western superstition. It will certainly be fun to watch all the newsgroups get spun up.”

“Well, we live in the west. We are the ones checking in the changes. So I guess we get to decide.”, I commented defiantly.

“Yep. I’ll check with a few folks and get back to you.”, Dave said as he walked off.

About an hour later, there was another knock on my door. Dave was back.

“The comments among the team ranged from, ‘I don’t care one way or another’ to ‘Sure, go ahead and skip 13’”

“Then it’s decided. Bump it to 14, and check it in. Let the wild, random speculation begin. Explaining this conversation in a blog post will also be fun.”

We both let out a slight chortle and then proceeded to get on with our day.

There you have it. It was a largely unilateral decision. Nothing was ever mentioned about it until fairly deep into the field-test cycle and now after the release it seems to have gotten a decent amount of attention. Psych!


  1. 13 was is a prime number. And all prime number Delphi versions were good ones. Now we have to wait for Delphi 17 :-)
    And Delphi 2010 definitely earns to have got a prime number.

  2. Allen, thanks for the explanation. As a result of your trivia, I had to tweak my build scripts (of our component framework) with a couple of extra if-statements. You know, one has to keep track the relation between the Delphi version, VCL version and BDS version (and the help2 namespace is yet another story).

    Wouldn't it be fun, if they would advance the same pace, instead of stepping each in their own rhytm as has been the case for a while? Well, I suppose it would be just too easy to add support for a new version then.

  3. SDD = Superstition Driven Development... now I am almost sure someone there thinks 64 is a bad number because of some numerology belief.... and is trying to postpone it as long as 128 bit processors are ready ;)

  4. Actually... now that I think about it. Maybe we should make the next version 13 instead of 15. Wouldn't that be a hoot ;-)!

  5. I'm with Andraeas. Historically the odd build numbers have been the best. Guess I'll have to put 2010 (14) on ice till 2011 (15)....:-)

  6. @Andreas: D14 = 2 * D7, which means D2010 is twice as good as D7!

  7. @Ian: Delphi 2005 was Delphi 9 what broke the odd number theory.

  8. Foolish move, not very scientific.

    13 is fine number, I live in street number 13. 13 used to be the best possible mark you could get on school/university courses (it is changed nowadays), I only ever got that once - but I got it at the best possible place.

    Will Embarcadero also in the future skip version 4 of products to not frighten Asian customers?

  9. Oops, forgot to indicate the school/university 13 mark scale was in Denmark.

  10. Rif,

    I guess you didn't really get it. Since when was it supposed to be scientific? We were just having a little fun. Maybe that was lost on some people?

  11. Allen, software development is not supposed to be fun! It is an exact engineering discipline reserved strictly for masochists - which was just proved. You make some fun and we get an additional problem to solve :)

  12. Like an internal count ,
    it was to be always one number less from 0 as start count.
    But a number skip is a error on code for the next
    version on a must to be called
    "the before 14 as real 13 now the real 14 one"

    you know ,to the error message archive .
    no random talking acepted,whe want it fix til next version .

  13. It would have been much more fun if 13 stayed and the release codename had been "BlackCat".

  14. This reply is meant to skip 13 replies to your 13 skipping story!


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