Are "zealots" a damage to Delphi? (http://www.sandon.it/node/18)
In the past months I've seen an increased number of Delphi "zealots", I mean those developers who worship their tool no matter how good it is actually. Some was swearing Delphi 2005 was not an a slipped alpha release, others were sure Delphi 2006 was a good release while every day it crashes several times and gobs hundreds megabytes of RAM, and keeps on wiping out my type libraries. I didn't tried Delphi 2007 yet, because its new features didn't justify an upgrade (for us) - but the increased stability, if true - I am very careful to listen to the "zealots" now.
I encountered some of them here (http://delphi.wikia.com/index.php?title=The_Business_Case_For_Delphi) recently, after I pointed out that Delphi does not "full supports" all active Microsoft desktop and server operating systems, due to lack of IA-64 and EM64T compilers, beyond the lack of support for kernel side development. According to the Codegear roadmap, only EM64T support will be added not earlier than the end of 2008, a year and a half from now. I'd hardly call it "full support". That's the answer I got: "Please don't ruin this project with quibbling. Until you have written and added a few hundred words, please consider yourself a non-participant."
Maybe I didn't added a few hundreds words - just two (32 bit) - but I wrote a lot of Delphi code in the past twelve years, and have it adopted in the companies I worked and work for. My customers trust me because they know I never tell them lies.
That's the problem with Delphi since Borland/Codegear lost its track. Nowadays, you can split Delphi developers in three categories.
First the hobbyist who learned a language, got a tool and therefore is afraid to lose its toy, and small development shops living on low-end Delphi SKUs and free components.
Then there are those who make a living from Delphi itself - consulting, teaching, writing books, etc. Obviously, this group sees a shrinking Delphi market a great threat to their business.
Last, there are the professional developers who chose Delphi because it fitted their needs. This group does not make a living from Delphi itself, just sells applications written using it - or any other language.
The first two group, and some ageing developers from the third who are afraid to be forced to learn new languages, are becoming more and more "zealots". They are so scared to lose Delphi one day, that they close both eyes and refuse to see the issues Delphi had and has. They just keep on worshipping it, no matter what, head deep buried in the sand. In turn they are used by CodeGear to try to hide or minimize those issues.
The paltry "early blogger" initiative CodeGear launched with Delphi 2007 reminded me of communist nations that selected faithful communist party members to show the world how happy and well built was the communist paradise.
I believe this is a great damage to Delphi. They give Codegear a finger to hide behind, while many skilled developers from the third group are migrating to other tools that allow them to cope with their actual needs, not yesterday's.
Don't get me wrong. I have a huge investment in Delphi code and, especially, knowledge, and I know the potential behind it. But CodeGear is not exploiting it again, and the zealot gives them an excuse for it. CodeGear needs to be prodded, not pampered. They didn't enough, and they are still moving very slow.
As long Delphi fitted my needs it was a very great tool - but now it's lagging behind them. Converting my code to C++ and Java will be expensive and will take time, but as long as CodeGear does not undersand that it's not me who needs Delphi, it's Delphi that needs customers like me, they just risk to find them besieged in Masada eventually, enclosed by the Redmond Empire troops - and there will be no escape.