Delphi for Win32 is a tool focused on native code. Delphi compiled programs are fast... but does this really matter? There has been some debate over the last month, with CodeGear Product Manager Michael Swindell pushing Delphi for its fast compiled code, and Hadi Hariri and other bloggers disputing this idea. Truly, Microsoft .NET is not really slower than Delphi compiled code. So why does Delphi and its "traditional" Win32 support still matter, and matter quite a lot?

In my view, reliability and stability are key factors, more then speed. The fact is you can be sure your Delphi application of 5 years ago can be easily moved to Vista and Unicode support, without a total rewrite as in case of a VB application moving to VB.NET. Similarly, you might not be using the latest, smartest, and coolest technology if you create a Delphi database application today, but you can be pretty sure it will keep running for a few years. This means you can embark on a long term project with limited fears (now that Delphi has left Borland for a more solid company).

What about a .NET client/server application written today? Will you write traditional ADO.NET code, with no coolness factor? Will you use LINQ to SQL, which is being deprecated today? Will you use the Entity Framework, which looks great but is a brand new and far from stable technology? Will you wait for Oslo? And what about the user interface in case you don't care about the Internet? Will you use WinForms or the totally incompatible WPF? What will be around and kicking in five years time? That's very hard to know.

The same dilemma was there in the Java world in the early years, but after some time things got stable. Yes, they are slower to move than on the .NET platforms (or so it seems to me) but large corporations with long terms investments need stable technology, not ever-evolving-forever-beta cool architectures.

I keep thinking that if you can keep evolving a platform, adding new cool features, without disrupting existing investments you are doing your users base a huge favor.... Or am i getting too old to understand?