Yesterday at Delphi Live! 2009 CodeGear announced an incredible amount of new features for coming versions of Delphi. As mentioned on this blog yesterday, I've been twittering from my Delphi Tweet Of The Day account, rather than my regular one that's also tied to Facebook and all. I'll resume twittering at the "What's cooking the the labs" session, around noon (Pacific time, that is 9pm in Europe).
During two following sessions, CodeGear provided a lot of information about the directions they want Delphi to go and the coming versions. Beside the actual details (which are very interesting as you'll read in a second) I found the openess and the amount of information very refreshing. It is clear from what they announced that there is a large investment in R&D for Delphi (possibly larger than even before in the product history) and that Embarcadero Technology is betting on Dephi quite a lot. This is the best news, but some of the actual details are as interesting. (The following notes have been extended from the tweets.)
David I is started the first keynote, talking about devevelopers community, showing a recorded interview of Wayne Williams, Embarcadero CEO, who confirmed "We are investing heavily in Delphi" and who also told David I: "I've been a fan of you for many years". Finally he mentioned that despite the economic downturn "the business is healthy".
Micheal Swindell was next pushing the fact that Embarcadero is "all about development tools" and talking about AllAccess, InstantOn, and other less-technical issues. He showed a nice "Embarcadero loves Delphi" logo and discussed they key goal for Delphi in the next few years: "Native Delphi Everywhere", mentioning Mas OS X and Linux, and also mobile, RIA, the cloud.
Next Micheal talked about "Delphi Natural Input", saying that new forms of input will change the way we interact with computers in the coming years. He referred to touch screen, surface tables, accelerometers, GPS, speech and many others. Next he went on demonstrating this in practice in the coming version of Delphi (codenamed Weaver). He showed the new GestureManager component, how to hook predefined gestures to events, how to define custom gestures, and demoed a few touch applications ranging from a touch-based FishFact to a program for manipulating images using both hands. And that was a native Delphi application, which can run also on older versions of Windows (not just Windows 7). Technically he said gestures will be tied to Actions, or you'll be able to handle an OnGesture event. More on this in a section titled "Touch" coming this afternoon.
Nick Hodges was next talking about the current status of Delphi, mainly focusing on the features of Delphi 2009: quality, language enhancements, extended DB support, COM, new VCL controls., IDE... He talked also about Delphi Prism and its .NET 3.5 support.
The last speaker (this was a 2 hour and a half hour session!) was Mike Rozlog, the new Delphi Product Manager, who presented the new Delphi Roadmap. He announced a series of projects that are being worked on in parallel and gave no release date whatsoever.
Project Weaver is focused on User Experience (with new IDE Insight and touch support), Connectivity, improved documentation, and increased Team Productivity. It will have a new version of DataSnap with HTTP support, a built-in REST server, .NET Proxies for DataSnap, and callback support. DbExpress will have native Firebird support, as already announced. Another brand new feature will be Aspect Oriented Programming support, in the form of attributes added to the Win32 compiler among with a much extended RTTI support (this was detailed in the afternoon by Berry Kelly, in a very interesting session). Project Weaver will have also Subversion integration, Windows 7 and Direct2D support, and SOAP 1.2 clients support.
Project Delphi "X" is focused on cross-platform support for MacOS and Linux, both for building servers and clients on Linux and the Mac. Apparently this will be demoed today, (stay tuned).
Project Chromium is about developer productivity, and will include a Pascal code formatter, documentation for the ToolsAPI, a new Databinding model (not specific for datasets, but for any objects container), and integrated DB tools coming from Embarcadero.
Project Commodore will have the native 64-bit Windows compiler, and 64-bit support for the RTL and the VCL, but also multicore support and a "parallel RTL".
Looking further in the future Mike Rozlog mentioned cloud computing, Web 3.0++, going beyond RIA, supporting devices and software appliances, providing specific support for security and compliance. Finally he has a slide referring to functional programming, declarative programming, natural input, and more platforms.
There was more than this keynote during the first conference day at Delphi Live! 2009, of course, including the talk on extended RTTI by Berry Kelly. I gave a session covering many Delphi REST clients, although I could not make the Facebook one work, and the FunSide of Delphi, which included some of the classic examples and the creation of the most nonsense tweet client I could come of with, which is posting to http://twitter.com/nonsensetweets.
Stay tuned for more update from todays kenote and sessions... and let me hope this summary will be fine, as I'm sitting with Nick and Allen while blogging this.