Where does Delphi sit in the programming world these days

Obviously I would expect Delphi programmers to defend their use of Delphi, but realistically, where does Delphi sit in the commercial programming world of today?

Opinions welcome - points will be split across constructive answers.

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I worked for a software company that make a very niche application.  It was primarily written using Delphi and they had difficulty finding programming support for it as only one developer was strong in it.  I was with this company for 10 yrs and the last 3 they transitioned to C#.

I was on the interface and graphics side of things, but worked heavily with the primary developers.  In this market, it seemed to be that Delphi was very "niche".

Geert GOracle dbaCommented:
in the Tiobe list Delphi programming is going up again

Delphi is not at the very top.  It is a very good tool to get the job done.
Because of Borland letting the IDE go it may have been lagging a bit.  
Embarcadero looks promising though.
It has a wealth of components available, both commercial and free.

Geert GOracle dbaCommented:
Where I work all machining software is written in Delphi.
Some 500+ programs interfacing with SAP/EAI/Bizztalk/Oracle/MSSQL/Interbase/etc ...

When the big programs can't do it, we are asked to do it.
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Hard to say. All the companies I worked at used either Java/C++ or .Net/C++. I personally consider Delphi as an obsolete language and technology.
It is easy to do certain things in Delphi, like small tools and utilities. I don't think that there is a company that would choose Delphi to develop real world Client/Server applications.
sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
I have not looked at the extensions specifically, but would you say that Delphi for PHP and Delphi for .NET will make any different to the perception of Delphi as a 'modern' tool.
For me the question is more of what's mainstream and what's not.
Delphi supports many technologies, but it is always a step behind. With Delphi It is common to be waiting for next release to have some new technology supported. What's even worth is that developers become framework dependent, i.e. "Delphi doesn't support it == can't do it".
But! I'm quite sure Delphi is next to no one at certain tasks. It depends on what you need it for.
delphi as we know it, is slowly dieing. look at prism: the ide is based on VS: http://www.codegear.com/products/delphi/prism
they dropped kylix a long time ago and they are not interested in picking it up or paying any attention to real cross-platform. sure, they are trying with dellphi 4 php to make it up, but lets get serious: that's not delphi.

the wolrdwide trend is to go with microsoft. and I am not talking about the developers part but the clients part.
just look around and you'll see that if an application must be done for windows, the first thing every client considers is .NET. You talk about win32, they give you that look: "what the heck is that", but with .net, they know as much about it as with win32, but "it has a lot of support from MS, so it must be good. Plus, everybody uses it."
How can you fight something like that? It's all about economics: people ask, you deliver. You don't want to deliver? they will find somebody who does.

The problem is that everybody with decision power, the guys upstairs, think that the rest of the world is using the latest shit. They don't think that even though .NET 4.0 is cool and has everything you want, only 1% of the wolrd actually has it. They cannot imagine people still using win9x.
so because of those idiots, we're forced to rewrite everything. every few years.

it's not because you cannot do something regular with delphi (like a real world client/server application (jesus ikoblik, have you ever worked in delphi?)), it's just the need to change, a need forcibly put in our heads because of market shares. in the end, it's all about the money.

sure, there is a natural evolution with things, but there is nothing natural in transforming delphi into the next generation C#.
that's just my opinion.
Dagan HooverDeveloperCommented:
It should be cliche, but why should I have to install 200mb of crap to run a program. I've always looked down upon C#(Or anything else I can't open up in Olly). But like everyone else said you move to what people want or learn to say "Ya want fries with that"..
I agree with you Ciuly.
One thing that always bugs me is that people not in the technical environment assume .NET will solve everything they want and that their company MUST have it. Bull****. I still prefer Delphi over anything even if it might be a step behind now and then, but then again how many companies are up to date in their general technologies ALL the time. With the VERY few exceptions, none.
My 2 cents.
sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
This is a good thread - comments welcome overnight - will close tomorrow.

My two cents...
Delphi is a very productive tool. True, it is not very popular here (US), since MS pushes hard its .NET framework.  IMHO,  there are some applications you can do in Delphi much faster than in C#, and Vice Versa.  I developed few apps in Delphi, and before deployment my IT guys asked about dependecies, framework version.  I gave them one MSI file and  that was it. They did not believe it until the application was deployed without any problems.  I think a new owner of Delphi (Embarcadero) should give a language more visibility; plus new Delphi Prism for .NET  gives more choices for us, developers.
Agree with other comments that it is unfortunate that some people who do not have idea about techonology, actually make decision about it.
SKYPE, TOAD, FEEDEMON, TOP STYLE  to name a few  are written in Delphi
Sorry guys, didn't mean to offend anyone.
As I've mentioned before, I don't have any professional experience with Delphi, consider my position as of an outside observer. I am also taking my words back concerning "real world Client/Server applications", you've convinced me.
My choice is Java, so I'm not that fond of .NET either, you seem to tend to compare Delphi only with it. I guess for you Java is an outsider. :)
At the end for a professional developer programming language is just a tool. And as any tool it may be good for one job and bad for another. For example, I develop cross platform applications, so Java or C++ are quite obvious choices.
Geert GOracle dbaCommented:
borland had the idea to go OO and Delphi in 1993
they had the problem they needed to be backward compatible with Turbo Pascal
Sun saw what Delphi looked like, especially the new IDE and thought WOW.
So ... they invented a new product : JAVA in 1995
They didn't need to be backward compatible, so they could stay neared the OO idea.
Borland combined this, and now it looks like Embarcadero has taken it to the next step
with Delphi Prism

Just to make another point on my original comment, while the company I worked for moved away from Delphi, the application as written in Delphi was very robust!   It was/still is the leader in its niche market for what it does.  But again, it just wasn't as easily supported by the talent pool when looking to hire (USA), and the toolsets for the newest eye candy interface toys and such were slower to come as compared to others.

As everyone undoubtedly knows, if you search for the most in demand programming languages, top 10 programming languages, etc, you will quickly see the trends....

Just one for example..

I have looked at dozens of votes, polls, etc. and the trend is the same.  Unfortunately, the market dictates this and  despite our likes or dislikes, that is the way it will be.  More unfortunately, the non techy "guys upstairs" are usually the ones signing our checks, and so the world turns.  Bottomline is we all know there are always more light-weight ways to do things - assembly diehards... anyone out there?  The real question is, how marketable do you wish to be?

MerijnBSr. Software EngineerCommented:
When seeing this discussions, I always post this link: http://blogs.vertigosoftware.com/jatwood/archive/2006/08/24/The_Mother_of_All_Swiss_Army_Knives.aspx

Take a look at the first comment added, it's of course ridiculous, but it describes the feeling .net gives me actually quite good.

It's prolly just something personal, but I kind of like the idea that when I declare in integer I know it's 4 bytes.
We do industrial applications using Delphi, and it's working great. I'd actually see big disadvantages if I would be using .net in our line of work.

For the future... I don't know, for know I'm very happy with Delphi. Ciuly has a very good point here "the wolrdwide trend is to go with microsoft. and I am not talking about the developers part but the clients part."
Sorry for the duplicate link.... originally posted by Geert_Gruwez. - props
I think Delphi was a brilliant tool for many years, but simply was poorly managed by owners last time.
They simply bring it into almost dead-end.

Some of their faults:
 - Native Unicode support. Still waiting in D5, D6, D7, ... D200x, far ago was implemented by 3rd-party tntControls, and finally appears in Embarcadero CodeGear! Too late, sirs...
 - Delphi for .Net - the greatest holy shit and resource-waste, VCL cant fit into alien framework!
 - Dumb pricings. More popular a product - less it costs. Kylix for $1k is a bullshit! I've programmed >10yrs on Delphi (also, developing components favoring its popularity) but I worry I'll never afford to buy a Delphi for $2k.
It's investment question - to grab more money today and occurs in dead-end tomorrow.
 - Lack of 3rd party vendors support. TRULY, THOSE PEOPLE really made Delphi platform so rich and popular, not a Borland's staff! Some steps were made: CodeCentral and companion CDs etc but obvious not sufficient, simply rudimentar. Well-structured and well-tested huge component's repository on some portal, a-la Apple Store, would beat any Frameworks.
 - Single IDE for many langs - perfect idea, but if you run in a tail now, please make it similar to Visual Studio as much as you can, if only it would not break patents.
 - Lack of correct Web-programming support (however, MS also lags here).

My resume: who not develop (in correct way), he should die! It's a nature rule.
Especially when you smaller :)

And for last, I said ALMOST dead-end. Truly, chance is always remains, and all now is in Embarcadero's hands :)


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sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
Great discusion - thanks everyone
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