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February 1, 2005

Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3582 days ago on February 1, 2005

In the November/December issue of Application Development Advisor I wrote a column on Borland's Delphi 2005. Basing my words on a late beta, I was generally positive, and I still think it has a lot to offer. You can target .NET or Win32 from the same IDE and with the same RAD language; there is integrated refactoring; and there is strong modeling support. Borland has also done some great work on the Delphi .NET compiler. Informal tests suggest that its code generally performs better than C#. The GUI framework in VCL.NET is also a lot brisker than Windows Forms, though it presents tricky compatibility problems and it is probably better to stick with Windows Forms, which Delphi also supports.

What I didn't realise when writing the review is that Borland would release the product before it was ready. I have personally come across several people who tried the shrink-wrap and found such problems installing, or such unreliability once installed, that they have put it back on the shelf. Borland has released one quick update, but there are still major problems. In particular, the integrated modeling support in the high-end edition is a disaster. Memory usage shoots up, performance declines drastically, and crashes are frequent. Developers have even figured out how to hack the install in order to remove the modeling support and make the product usable. Some Borland guys, already mistrustful of .NET, now think that the entire .NET platform is buggy and unreliable. Others look at Visual Studio .NET and realise that it is possible to build a reliable IDE. I don't mean to say that VS.NET has no issues whatsoever, but compared to Delphi 2005 it is highly dependable.

At heart Delphi remains a fantastic product, particularly for Win32, and I still hope it can make its way in the .NET world. What puzzles me is why Borland chose to release Delphi 2005 in a near-unusable state. It is hugely damaging to long-term sales. It is not the first time either: look at Together for Visual Studio .NET for another example (I realise there is a common thread here).

So what should a software vendor do if the pressure to ship (from financial and marketing departments) builds to an irresistible force, never mind that the product isn't ready? I'm not saying this is what happened at Borland, but what if? The answer is that it's better to cut features than to ship something broken. Promise the missing bits in a future free update if necessary, but get the quality right from the beginning.

My supplementary question is whether I was wrong to write positively about the beta. I generally don't comment on bugs in beta product because it does not see fair or relevant. Is it better to wait for the release and live with the resulting delay? Feedback is welcome.



Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3581 days ago by Kyle Miller • • • Reply

I think commenting on betas is fine. Comments on beta should focus on features, while reviews of final products should focus on the features and quality.

I think saying D2005 is near-unusable is an exaggeration. Some problems in D2005 are shared with VS.NET, so the quality issues are shared.

"I still hope it can make its way in the .NET world." D2005 offers two .NET libraries to choose for application development. It also offers model driven development via Eco II, a .NET technology. D2005 seems to be supporting .NET feature wise just fine so far.

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3581 days ago by Robert MacLean • • • Reply

I think the stability it's a bit over blown as it is the most vocal users with the problems. Many D2005 users I know have had little to no problems admittly many of them do not use the modelling side and all use patch 1.
But I from a point of view of looking at what was fixed in patch 1, there are many bugs that should not have slipped through Borlands QA dept.

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3557 days ago by Peter Morris • • wwwReply

I use D2005 for many hours every day and I experience very few problems at all.

Some people complain about Together and advise to uninstall it. For users of ECO (Enterprise Core Objects) this isn't really an option, but Gerrit Bueze of www.ModelMakerTools.com has written a C# alternative modeler, and is now also working on a Pascal based on too.

I often find that people with the least to say often speak the loudest :-)

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3557 days ago by Peter Morris • • wwwReply

ps, I forgot to mention, www.HowToDoThings.com was written in D2005 using ECO.

I chose to rewrite an old ASP website in ASP.NET, it wasn't a painful experience at all!

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3557 days ago by Tim Anderson • • • Reply

Thanks for your posts Peter. That's good news; and I'm certainly not giving up on D2005. On the other hand, my remarks about stability are not based only on my own experience. Here's an example from an experienced and able Delphi developer: "I am really not enjoying this. D2005Pro turned up this morning. .... decided to install D2005 Update 1 before doing anything else. BSOD - big time - several times. I decided to repair the original install by going back to the CD - but it insisted on finishing the upgrade. Which eventually worked. But now I get errors when starting up D2005 and the
whole machine crashes when doing completely unrelated things." The thing is, these aren't isolated problems; I don't know the figures of course, but the number of people reporting problems has been larger than normal. Still, your post means that it can work well and that's important. I too intend to do some serious additional testing with it shortly, so we'll see.

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3534 days ago by Hendy Irawan • • wwwReply

I tried opening JEDI VCL's project group file from Borland 2005 and it crashes with Stack Overflow exception, sometimes it doesn't cause an exception but only exits silently.
I tried creating my own project group and adding the projects individually but at some point it crashes, and when I opened my own (already large) project group, Delphi 2005 crashes again.
It never succeeded even just opening the file. Never had the chance to actually build these files. :-(
dcc90.dll seems to be the cause of the crash often.
BTW I use Delphi 2005 Update 2. Is there a newer update? Borland guys suck.

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3140 days ago by johan • • • Reply

dcc90.dll seems to be my crash also. i use borland delphi 2005
now the question is.. where to download a good one..

Borland guys sucks ass indeed.

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3021 days ago by Jay • • • Reply

Guys!!

Finally I got the D2005 after much discussion with my vendor here in India since he was unable to find a box in our location and paid a hell lot of money. Three CDs and I imagined that Borland guys have packed a great product this time. D7 was stable and working nice for me.

Installed after 12 minutes of effort. Opened the D2005, registered and started working one the first project. Placed a button on a form, ran the code...

AND IT CRASHED...!!!!!

wow, this is amazing and after many tries I was able to get a different bunch of errors. most of the time my BDS.EXE process was eating 99% of my RAM.. stalling my machine and waste my time..

Tried to work with the Borland site for support on my issues and no good solutions were offered. Checked the net and found enough and more guys like me hanging with a buggy IDE...

So Borland guys.... you have screwed your reputation..!!

Best Regards
Jay

Re: Borland's quality problems and Delphi 2005

Posted 3021 days ago by Tim Anderson • • • Reply

Get your vendor to exchange it for Delphi 2006 which is a vast improvement.

Tim


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