March 2, 2006

More on Borland and DevCo

More news and links on the most debated topic of the Delphi community.

The flurry of  blog posts and discussions on  the Borland "disinvestment" from the IDE  business is still high. Here are a few links and a few more thoughts. Let's get the links first.

More Links

  • Allen Bauer had a very relevant post 10 days ago about the internal process of the IDE sale and his involvement (which is very positive, imho). If you have missed it, it is a must-read blog post.
  • I like Bruce McGee newsgroup post that Nick Hodges has declared post of the week.
  • Sd Times has a very balanced article on the Borland strategy, although they make the equation IDE = JBuilder and provide the following definition of the most relevant Borland IDE these days: "Delphi, an IDE for Windows developers, is a successor to Turbo Pascal". Well, yes, but it has changed a litltle bit in 20 yeras, you know...
  • On the "what I'd like to see next in the IDE" side, there is a thread on collaboration features discussing this blog post. I mentioned something similar in my Delphi dream post. I think JBuilder's collaboration appraoch (the idea you can control the IDE remotely) is more relevant, but messaging/skype phone integration would be nice as well.
  • Jan Goyvaerts has a very nice and comprehensive blog post about the Borland and Delphi split.

More Thoughts

Yesterday I attended a Borland partners meeting in Milan, Italy. It was focused on the ALM business and their recent acquisitions and future strategy. They never mentioned the IDEs. 

Interesting they claim their only real competitor is IBM, seems a though call or a way to find a BIG buyer for the ALM side as well. Their strategy is interesting, but I see it relevant only for medium to large companies. Also, I'm not sure how you can give your clients the best approach to the software development process without providing any clue/detail/suggestion/appraoch/tools to help the actual "writing of the source code". Unless the only option is to have it written in India or China, their model seems unbalanced on the other side.

Notice I'm not thinking about IDEs here (using Eclipse or Visual Studio is OK for their customers). Any IDE could do, in theory. But how to they appraoch SOA and Web Services? Do they still believe in OMG and MDA architectures (apparently not if the sell ECO)? How do they work with companies with investments in SAP or similar high-end frameworks? I don't think these are just implementation details, I think they need a vision and a set of best practice for the actual development: the best business model and development process, with the best ALM tools and requirement analysis and test suite will be weak if developers use poor tools and practices. But I'm a developer, so I'm biased on this issue.





 

5 Comments

More on Borland and DevCo 

Hi all!


I think borland has been leads a wrong way since 2-3 
years. 
I think Delphi7 is the best stuff Borland's ever made.
Why don't they make seperate environment for Win32 
and .Net? I don't like the Delphi 2005-2006 design.
Delphi7 was fast and simple and powerfull.
People who want to make a simple win32 applications 
don't want the new design, don't want to wait for the 
environment for 1-2 minutes and ....
I like Delphi7 because its very fast, its very 
simple, and suits for me.
Borland (or the new company) should offer two 
different programming environment. One for the .Net 
framework, and one for the win32 apps. This is my 
opinion but I think I dont need the new slow desing 
and other redundant things to make good win32 
applicatons!

Regards!

Tamas Pocker
pocker.tamas@gmail.com
Comment by Tamas Pocker [] on March 2, 17:49

More on Borland and DevCo 

Hello Marco,

  This is Proto. The last time I posted something was
to get your feedback about "open-sourcing" Delphi.
Thanks for your detailed post on the issue.

  I am taking exception to your line "Unless the only
option is to have it written in India or China, their
model seems unbalanced on the other side". 

  I am an Indian staying in India, and I agree that
India is only a developing country. However to
brandish all software originating from countries like
India (or China) as sub-standard is definitely
uncalled for. Just thought will point it out. 

  Of course, I can list out the greatness of
India/Indians, and our achievements as a nation in
every field, achieved in spite of all the huge
negatives, but I won't indulge in that exercise here.

  I really am not expecting this comment to be
published here, but since I hold you in very high
esteem for your knowledge (articles and blog) and your
fantastic Delphi books, I thought the least I can do
is to lodge my protest in this fashion, to let you
know that you have unnecessarily offended lot of
people's sentiments.

Regards,
Proto.

Comment by Proto [] on March 2, 21:17

More on Borland and DevCo 

"Unless the only option is to have it written in 
India or China"

That's exactly what they want, wish, hope or dream. 
I went through several situations like that, 
executives trying to apply the same categories from 
the manifacturing industry to the software industry, 
where "coders" are just "workers" like turners or 
milling machine operators.
They have to be "cheap" and possibly they want to 
move software developoment in some unexpensive 
areas, wether underdeveloped European areas with 
large EU fundings or some inexpensive countries 
abroad.

They still think that given the "perfect" blueprint 
assembling software is like assembling a 
refrigerator. Most of them are unable to understand 
that good software has much more cleverness inside 
that a refrigerator or TV set. And that building 
software is like building a prototype. The 
manufacturing phase is just printing CDs or 
deployment. 

But understanding it will subvert the world they 
believe in...
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on March 2, 21:20

Development in India and China 

Proto, thanks for your comment and I'm really sorry if
I have "unnecessarily offended lot of people's
sentiments". It was not my intention at all and I'll
explain why. I probably have not expressed myself
clearly, as it was just a short passing sentence.

First of all, I know many Delphi Indian developers
(and a few Chinese ones), some of which live in India
and some in the US or Europe. I know they are very
competent. I know the average Indian programmer has a
very high IT education. At my univesity, almost 20
years ago, I learned writing good software on a book
co-authored by an Indian professor! I don't think
there was anything in my post impliying the opposite,
if there was I really used the wrong words.

Second, I have nothing against having software
developed in easter europe, far east, Italy, or
elsewhere in the world. I know some successful
offshoring projects as well as others that failed.

I also understand the rationale of companies like
ALM/Borland saying: "we need precise ways to express
requirements and to test the complaince of the
resulting software" more than in the past, because
software is outsourced more and more often (at times
locally, mostly offshore).

My complain is that they seem not to care enough about
the actual coding practices and process. To me this
implies that if programmers are the cheap part of the
equation they can waste extra time, so you don't have
to make coding efficient and coders productive by
using the proper libraries and architectures. 

Maybe good programmers will come out with great
software, but I don't think offshore programmers
should write cobol or RPG code when they can use MDA
tools or advanced architectures. And the reason they
can use them is exactly because they are very good
developers.

You say "to brandish all software originating from
countries like India (or China) as sub-standard is
definitely uncalled for" and I agree. This is exaclty
 how I understand the position of big consulting
companies these days. It is what I was criticizing as
well!
Comment by Marco Cantù [http://www.marcocantu.com] on March 2, 23:38

More on Borland and DevCo 

Hello Marco,

  Thanks so much for the reply. Great to know that you
didn't had any negative connotation in mind when you
wrote about India and China. I really am happy that
you not only published that comment -- something you
could have easily avoided -- but also provided a
detailed clarification about what exactly you had in
mind when you wrote that line.

  I agree with you that there must be "precise ways to
express requirements and to test the complaince of the
resulting software". But I think it is of utmost
importance no matter where you do development. After
all, as we know, the C3 project
[http://www.martinfowler.com/bliki/C3.html] got
canceled in spite of Kent Beck being around, and
following all the good programming practices like
[rigorous] "Testing" and "On-site Customer"!

Regards,
Proto.
Comment by Proto [] on March 6, 18:34


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