January 2, 2006

Delphi, the Swiss Knife

I was discussing Delphi strength with a client, recently, and I came up with this interesting analogy.

Delphi, why do we keep using this 10 years old tool despite all what's new in software development? Is Delphi the best tool in each development area? Certainly not, but its strength is in being very flexible, so that it can be used in a number of tasks... like a multi-tool Swiss knife.

Like a Swiss knife, it is the perfect tool for some tasks (database and client/server development, socket-based utilities, pure windows apps, high-end MDA...) and it can perform great in many other areas (.NET development, multi-tier, high performance Internet servers..), but its end up being adequate for many others (web development, Linux support...).

Would you replace your Swiss knife with a dedicated screwdriver? It you have one thousands screws an electric tool would certainly be better... but in the development work differences are often not so clear cut: if the electric tool requires two months learning and a power cord, it might still be better to use your traditional tool, in a simple but effective way.

With unparalleled Win32 support, extensive .NET support, and some Linux capabilties still in place, Delphi is still a very good tool set for many tasks. I find using it almost exclusively (from Linux to Compact Framework development) and find no compelling reason to switch to other development environments. Your mileage might vary, of course, but even if you picked another dev tool for your work, having a copy of Delphi at hand can often provide invaluable... like having a Swiss knife at hand.

The fact Borland depicts itself as the Switzerland of software had nothing do to with this idea, but I have to say that the two fit nicely.



Delphi, the Swiss Knife 

maybe Borland is LIBAN of software.
It was free and rich, and now has a fragile
indipendence under stranger occupation
Comment by on January 2, 15:49

Delphi, the Swiss Knife 

>>Delphi, why do we keep using this 10 years old tool 
>>despite all what's new in software development?

Why is the "customer", maybe I don't know, still 
married with his wife or does he think having many 
women in parallel makes a man more happy.

I think one the Delphi at home accompanied by a fresh 
one for special purposes (Lady Phyton the snake, or 
Misses Sharp in the Studio) is a good mixture.

But in the end we often end up at home, as the 
problems are very often the same over the decades. 

In year 2000 we had problems with 2 digits for the 
year and code that could not be compiled, because the 
programmers where not available or have retired 
and/or the source code was missing (which is the same 
in the end). So for a 10 year old Lady there is lots 
of time left in the future.

Comment by Mike on January 3, 17:15

Delphi, the Swiss Knife 

 I am always saying: In Delphi I can do all the things
that can be done in other languages so why do I need
to use something instead Delphi?
Comment by Igor Skomorokh [http://delphigeek.blogspot.com] on January 4, 10:48

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