One of the drivers of my webinar next week on "Modernize Your Windows Applications" is the end of support for Windows XP, now less than a month away. What is that, and how is it relevant to Delphi developers?
Windows XP End-Of-Support on April 8th
As you certainly know, there is less than a month of support for Windows XP. After that date, the company is not going to release any new fix, even in case of a critical bug malware could exploit. So keeping those Windows XP boxes running is far from ideal, particularly in a business environment. You can read more (from Microsoft) on windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/end-support-help. A really nice resource is the dedicated site called amirunningxp.com/. Not sure you have to ask a web site which operating system you have, but that's another story. Nicely enough, if I go there, it tells me I'm not running XP. In fact, I'm running a Mac.
Delphi and C++Builder Offers Smooth Migration
Delphi and C++ Builder offer a very smooth migration off Windows XP. If you take an old application (like those written with a single digit versions like Delphi 6 or C++Builder 7), make sure strings management is Unicode complaint, double check your file system usage (so that the application is UAC compliant), you can recompile with a newer version of RAD Studio, like XE5. Truly, there might be third party components or some low-level code to deal with, but the migration is relatively smooth...and infinitive smoother than having to rewrite in a different programming language and with a different component library.
By rebuilding in newer versions of RAD Studio you gain themes support (and a more integrated UI), some system dialogs redirected to the latest version in Windows 7 or 8, migration to some newer APIs, and a large set of fixes and enhancements. And you can often rebuild your applications as native 64bit Windows applications.
The advantage of this move is also that it will let you leverage new features for your VCL applications (without having to migrate to FireMonkey, which is nice for multi-device but certainly not required for Windows). You can easily take advantage of VCL styles, adopt the Modern UI (Windows 8) look and feel, gain full Unicode support, embrace new database access and web service access libraries.
Speaking of data access libraries, if you have existing old applications written in Delphi or C++Builder it is likely they'd be build using the BDE. Now if that engine is still technically in the product (but not for long) we fully recommend migrating away from the BDE to FireDAC as a very significant part of your migration effort.
A Great Opportunity for Developers
Now how is this different from migrating from Windows XP and to newer versions of RAD Studio 6 months ago or a year ago? The difference is that today if your users are running on XP they will be pushed to migrate, and might be more open to invest a little extra money to clean up and move to Windows 8 some of those old legacy business applications they have. In other words, Windows XP migration might become a very good excuse for you as a developer to sell the full migration and modernization story, and be able to sell this work to your customers (rather than having to do it as part of normal support work).
Like the mythical millennium bug, or the Euro switch (for us in Europe), the XP end-of-life is getting a lot of media attention, with the extra push (this time) of a large Microsoft advertising campaign. This gives the opportunity to all Windows developers to get back to their customers and offer them something new. Which is what we are also doing with those Delphi and C++Builder developers still stuck on older versions.
Webinar Next Week, Amnesty Offer This Month
Not only we are doing this effort in terms of marketing and with next week webinar (sign up on
), but we are also offering an upgrade amnesty offering all RAD Studio old timers a great chance to upgrade to XE5:
. Don't miss the opportunity: attend the webinar and buy XE5 before the offer expires at the end of March.