Monday, 25 June 2007

Roadmap chat with David I

How many of you joined in on one of the CodeGear Developer Network Delphi/C++ roadmap chats last week, hosted by David I? I did on Friday afternoon (well, Friday 4pm UK time, which was 8am PDT; I nearly missed it as the UK is currently on British Summer Time which is GMT+1 but that's another story).

It was an hour well spent and had a star-studded cast as I wasn't expecting Nick Hodges & Anders Ohlsson to be there too. The presentation was fine, the Interwise client held up well but the Q&A was the intetesting part.

I (rather cheekily) asked if the recent update to the roadmap where Highlander will now also be able to create generics was as a result of the noise made by the community. Nick answered rather nicely, firstly joking that of course he should say "Yes, we listened to our customers" but admitting that actually they pretty much knew it would cause a fuss and that they'd actually almost made the decision to allow creation of generics before the roadmap was published but didn't want to delay its publication. Fair enough, I'm sure it's no small matter and we're all pleased to see this "living document" evolving.

I also asked, on a different matter, if they could confirm that buying Delphi 2007 and Software Assurance (SA) really does mean I'd get any Studio product released during the SA period. They said yes but note that you need to buy the RAD Studio level of SA, not just the Delphi one if that's what you want.

In hindsight, I wished I'd asked about WinForms in Highlander. Roland Beenhakker on his Delphi Power Unleashed blog pointed towards a post by the excellent Julian Bucknall about WinForms being dropped in Highlander. Huh? Now I'm not in a position to comment hugely on this as I'm not making any moves towards .NET at present, but when I did I had hoped I would stay with Delphi. But if Delphi for .NET doesn't go on to support the standard, i.e. WinForms, then how can this product compete? Can it consume .NET code written in other languages which is, after all, supposed to be one of the principles? I'd be interested to know what drove this decision?

I should balance this out and point out that the community have made it clear that they'd prefer CodeGear to concentrate on improving the products rather than chasing the Next Big Thing, and clearly that was what Delphi 2007 for Win32 was all about. So is this decision to do with that?

Update: Marco Cantu has, as ever, joined in with a well written and well balanced view on WinForms and CodeGear's decision to drop them. I agree wholeheartedly with what he says, after all it seems even Microsoft is walking away from them too.
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