Delphi: the siege syndrome

Posted on: Tue, 05/03/2011 - 16:54 By: ldsandon

Some reactions to some posts of mine on Embarcadero Delphi non-tech forums are interesting. It looks many Delphi users on that forum are victims of a kind of "siege syndrome" and don't accept any critique to Embarcadero behaviour. Let's analyze it.
Everything started when Embarcadero announced the Delphi 64 beta, saying that XE customers would have been given precedence. It looked like a silly decision to me. My reasons are:

  • Delphi is arriving very late to 64 bit, and lost a lot of momentum meanwhile. The beta should be used to get back some interest among as many developers as possible, letting them to use Delphi with a release they can't use in production, even if they crack any expiration mechanism, who would use a beta for production code?
  • Delphi build a not-so-good reputation about its quality. Even if quality improved from dreadful releases like 2005, some of the newest and more complex features added in the last releases took two-three releases to get rid of bugs (i.e. anonymous methods, generics). The product can't afford a slow 64 bit start up. Embarcadero can't deliver what can look alike a "preview release" and then take two-three releases to polish the compiler. IMHO it is of paramount importance they deliver a very good product at the first attempt. It needs a careful beta testing by as many users as possible, to test it under very different uses, and deliver a very good compiler to reduce the gap it accumulated.
  • Tell very long time customers (I'm a customer since the '80s...!) they have to wait for XE users just because they didn't upgrade to the very last release (I'm a 2010 customer anyway) is a kind of marketing seppuku. Especially customers involved in complex projects may decide not to upgrade to a new release each year, because for several reason they could not afford a porting each year or have to manage too many tools and libraries. But that's exactly the kind of customers a clever company would get on board for a beta.
  • The decision doesn't look to be built on technical reason. It looks based on actual poor XE sales. Look at the many "special offers" about XE issued in the past weeks: "Buy XE at upgrade price even if you no longer comply with our new silly upgrade policy!", "Buy Delphi XE and get the whole RAD studio with the other compilers noone wants really!". Sounds as XE didn't sell well, and BorCodeDero marketing is trying to sell more copies in any way they can think of, probably afraid of being unable to reach their bonuses this year, and thereby inventing "Did you await all these years for Delphi 64? Aha! You have to pay us buying a release you don't need if you want get the beta precedence". A kind of blackmailing customers, IMHO. And a dreadful marketing approach (when I replied the usual conceited Hodges's post with "firing you was not enough" all I meant was there are several other people who should be fired there. All those taking bad decisions like this, who are still there no matter what Delphi owner is).

Ok, I may be right, I may be wrong. Those are my opinions, if someone thinks I am wrong he should tell me why. No. I've been accused of just finding excuses not to try to join the beta (as explained in the forum to plan a careful beta using production code I need certainties, not to wait in a line for XE users...), of being just a complainer, or worse, etc. etc. That looks like a kind of a siege syndrome. If you don't think like Embarcadero, if you don't praise every decision of theirs and undergo the silliest one, then you are an "enemy". Being afraid of losing Delphi and have to learn another language, many Delphi users became blind and deaf. In turn that allows BorCodeDero to keep on with their dreadful approach, deliver slowly, and try to "milk" customers as much as they can. It's a lose-lose situation, but neither Embarcadero nor the Delphi fanboys understand it.
Update: it's also funny how some Delphi fans get upset whenever I use BorCodeDero. It's just a kind of shortcut I use instead of Borland/CodeGear/Embarcadero (because it sounds alike Embarcadero), when I want to point out that no matter what the actual owner of Delphi is, some bad habits never went away with the older company, because the same people are still there. Why they find it so irritating is something that I can't understand. Probably I touch a touchy nerve.