Danny and the Delphi Community

Danny Thorpe has been in Borland for many years, doing Q&A work on the early releases of Delphi and then moving to R&D working mostly on the compiler. If the core of the compiler (even the Win32 one) was already there when he got in charge, as far as I know he did a lot of the work on the Kylix compiler and on the marvellous integration of the Delphi language with the .NET architecture (which is, I'm repeating myself, almost unbelievable). He was also behind the recent Win32 language updates, although other developers (including Tagawa-san) have probably written the actual internal code.

Danny has also been a very good conference and user group speaker (at the beginning I could get a little lost following him, he has become a much better speaker in recent years). His presence on the newsgroups was not frequent, but very competent and relevant (and even patient).

He is also one of the people my Mastering Delphi books owe most, as he was the tech reviewer of 4 or 5 different editions, providing a lot of technical details and insight of the product, and fixing tons of errors in the book. He actually even wrote one of the best and most technical Delphi books ever, Delphi Component Design, a tome that is really very hard to find these days.

Danny joined Google

Danny Thorpe can be considered on of the key developers of Delphi. So we'll miss him. But, as someone was mentioning in the Borland newsgroups, it is good to know he's moving after many years to find new challanges, not because Delphi is in trouble.

By the way, Danny has joined Google to work on the Firefox browser from the Mozilla foundation. The the foundation is not rich, so they use developers from "sponsoring companies" and Google is one of them. As they are investing heavily in web applications, they need to make sure there is at least a popular browser that complies with all of the standards, and that no one can makes changes that break someone else web sites.

As he told me (over email) "Google obviously should be (and is) concerned that Microsoft will use IE 7 to direct traffic away from Google search. It seems unlikely that IE7 will provide a simple and easy way to direct search queries to search engines other than MSN, so Google can counter that by backing and promoting vendor-neutral alternatives such as Firefox. It's not so much about the browser itself as the Internet platform / services that the browser goes to".


Now I was really surprise these news (that was whispered at Borcon) didn't become public earlier. I'm also quite happy that the early reactions on the newsgroups (here and here) seem to be reasonable. In the past, when key Delphi people had left Borland there was a huge turmoil. Probably, the fact one goes to Google and not to Microsoft does make a difference, after all.

So again, thanks a lot Danny for all you have done for the Delphi community... and good luck with the development of the application I use most after Delphi, Firefox (see my recent post on software I use). It's is nice to know it will get even better, now... and, hey, Danny, keep in touch with the community!

Update (Dec 9)

Danny has now posted on Borland forums about his job change, providing more details... including the fact that Microsoft contacted him. He states clearly that it was not about money but opportunity and that he helped re-organize the Delphi Team to cope with his absence.