Delphi and RAD Studio 2015 roadmap: no Universal Apps?

Embarcadero has posted a roadmap for RAD Studio 2015, its suite of tools for building apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Note that the company says the (sketchy) plans outlined are “not a promise, or a contract”.

I will be interested to see if the company intends to support the Windows 10 Universal App Platform (UAP), which Microsoft is pushing as the future of Windows client app development. UAP apps run on the Windows Runtime, a sandboxed environment introduced in Windows 8. In Windows 10, UAP apps are integrated with the Windows desktop, and run on Windows Phone and Xbox as well as on PCs and tablets.

When Window 8 came out, Embarcadero came up with a project type called “Metropolis”, which simulated the Windows 8 Metro environment but with a Win32 executable. It was neither one thing nor the other, and mostly ignored as far as I can tell. That said, lack of support for Windows 8 Store apps proved to be no big deal, because of the low take-up for the platform in general. At this stage, nobody knows whether the UAP may be similarly unsuccessful, though it seems to me that it has a better chance thanks to its broader scope and changes that have been made.

The roadmap promises “Integration with new Windows 10 platform technologies” but does not promise support for the Windows Runtime or UAP, so my assumption for the moment is that Embarcadero is steering clear for the time being. There may also be technical challenges.

Not much new is promised for the venerable VCL (Windows-only apps), and only a little more for the cross-platform FireMonkey: new mobile components including Maps, a WebBrowser component for desktop apps, and more iOS platform (real native) controls.

A new iOS 64-bit compiler is promised, as well as moving the Win32 compiler to an LLVM-based toolchain, as is already the case for 64-bit Windows.

There is an Internet of Things slide which promises “mobile proximity integration” and components for connecting to different devices. Exactly what is new compared to the IoT support described here for XE7 is not clear to me.

Under consideration, Embarcadero says, is Linux server-side support for its middle-tier technologies like DataSnap, support for Intel Android, and a 64-bit toolchain for Mac OS X.

Since it is on SlideShare, I can embed the whole thing here:

This is some help I guess; though I recall much past angst expressed on the Embarcadero forums about these roadmaps, or the lack/lateness of them. The problem, I guess, is that roadmaps are of little benefit to the tools vendors, since they have potential to fuel discontent, set expectations that may later prove unrealistic, and give away plans to competitors.

This may explain why this one has so little content. Embarcadero could work a bit harder on the presentation as well; this really does not have the look of being the exciting next generation of a powerful cross-platform toolkit.

4 thoughts on “Delphi and RAD Studio 2015 roadmap: no Universal Apps?”

  1. ” Exactly what is new compared to the IoT support described here for XE7 is not clear to me.”

    Sounds like mobile proximity support is something new. The ability of one app to be notified when another app or device is near is interesting and new.

    “There may also be technical challenges.”

    When and if UAP becomes a success and Microsoft puts up no hurdles for 3rd party tool vendors, then I’m sure Embarcadero will implement.

  2. The WinRT affair may now prove to be a big deal, if the UAP is similar in their tech requirements.

    Allen Bauer explained why Delphi (and probably all third party native compilers) where banned from playing on the WinRT sandbox. Let’s hope Microsoft is a little more flexible this time around.

  3. My point of view is quite different than you. What I’m thinking…
    Initially FireMonkey is a cross-platform framework. But unfortunately Embarcadero doesn’t set the class schema of FireMonkey.Still they are changing and revising firemonkey’s classess and also will they create and improve their own component(tlist and tedit etc.) for ios and android or they will use wrapper(native tedit,tlist from OS library) for ios and android ? or both ? It is not clear… They should share what they are thinking for future.

    Another thing,it is still not mature unlike VCL. FireMonkey needs performance improvment also.

    Now Embarcadero is following different strategy. Firstly, They are improving product(IDE),compiler, debugger and FireMonkey instead of publishing new major features. Secondly They want to focus on IOT. If they accomplish to improve the existing product quality that is enough for me.

    XE8 will be the destiny of Embarcadero Delphi. If they deploy high quality product for end users They will obtain more users and They will have good place in the market otherwise they will lose clients. That’s why they should take their time to develop xe8. No need to be in a hurry to publish xe8…slowly but also solidly.

  4. For my personal projects, I use Firemonkey controls but when I make an iOS app for the store I prefer native so I use the TMS iCL or the free D.P.F Delphi iOS Native Components. Firemonkey looks fine but it isn’t as smooth as native controls even on an iPhone 5S. A good example of this is the TMultiView. I too hope this is improved in the next release.

    I’ve long been wanting to create Windows Phone apps with Delphi because I’d like to make Windows Phone my primary phone. I’ve suggested it a few times. I’m sure Windows 10 is going to be much more popular than Windows 8, so I hope Embarcadero prioritizes adding support. The question is if this is even possible? Are there any other development tools that can generate an modern application without opening up Visual Studio? Is it possible to run a “Paserver” for Windows 10 Store/Phone apps?

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