Yesterday and tomorrow are the dates for the Italian launch of Delphi 2009, featuring also ER/Studio. Yesterday in Milan there was a good crowd of over 100 developers, including some aficionados and some old friends returning to Delphi. Ludo Neveu (EMEA sales director of Embarcadero Technologies) gave an overview of the company, I covered the foundations of Delphi 2009 (including Unicode, new language features, VCL improvements). That was a very short overview, as I had an hour in total. Later there was a talk on DataSnap 2009 and a (not-that-great) introduction to ER/Studio.

Tomorrow I'll take a train to get to Rome, give the same talk (without Ludo) to a smaller crowd, and get back home before night. I hope to use the time on the train for more book writing.

Back to the talk, I think people were pleased. Most common questions where:

  • Is there a way to "disable" the Unicode support? The answer is "no", although you can decide to use the AnsiString type
  • Will my code port smoothly? Yes, you should not be too worried as most existing Delphi code works fine, but you should revise some coding practices involving direct access to string data
  • Will my application run on old versions of Windows? Probably yes, but you might see you Unicode output replaced by a nice series of question marks and CodeGear specifically doesn't support the Win9x operating systems. Still application compiled with Delphi 2009 can run on them, AFAIK.
  • Is the help... helpful? It is much better and improving, but still not perfect.
  • Is there any new refactoring compared to Delphi 2007? No, but the Delphi Class Helper can be a starting point for the future, I guess.

Needless to say we got the classic questions (Kylix, Win64, Mac support...) but one of the classics of the last few years was notably missing: When will we have Unicode support? We have it, now. I'll let you know if we get new interesting questions tomorrow.

PS. For those living in Italy, I'll give a 2-days class on Delphi 2009 in a month, and you can get a good discount by buying Delphi 2009 from my online shop. For all others, if there are requests I can set up a similar class in English language...