Friday, 5 July 2013

Delphi XE4 - The future of software development?

I have been working in software development for 15 years and have seen some changes, but nothing as much as what has happened recently. Over the past few years we have seen the explosion of Apps onto our smart phones, tablet computers, Smart TVs and more choices when it comes to operating systems. With all these new devices with varied screen sizes, different interfaces and different operating systems does software development have to change?

Firstly it depends on the type of software you want to develop, if you are developing traditional desktop applications then the current suite of languages and environments works well. But if you foresee that in the future you want to develop for other platforms and devices what options do you have. Here is a list of possible options all most likely require developing the business logic in a web service, depending on what software is being written.

  • Develop the apps in native code for each type of device, for example xCode for iOS.
  • HTML5, produce the app like a web site.
  • Embarcadero Delphi XE4, allows you to develop for both and deploy natively.
From these options it depends on the business which one is chosen, recently Facebook has been open in its development of a mobile App and said it tried HTML5 and failed to deliver a suitable one, and now believes in developing in native code. HTML5 does however seem like a good solution from a cost perspective, developing for each mobile platform requires more resources, time and management. 

The ultimate software development solution in my mine would be to combine the advantages of both, and develop in the same IDE, but deploy to multiple devices natively. Embarcadero's Delphi XE4 from what I have seen so far seems to be getting close to this. I have seen demos of developing iOS Apps on a Mac in a Windows environment, which can then be built and run on the Mac and deployed to an iOS device. This also means you can develop standard Windows software and web services in the same IDE, so all the code is done in the same development environment.

One issue with Delphi is that there are not many developers using it, but this is not that much of a problem seeing as it is very similar to C#, and I manage to switch between the 2 fine. So anyone who is competent in C# or another similar OO language should pick it up fairly quickly.

One downside of Delphi is the price, it is more expensive than other options, but taking into account cost savings of time and resources it most likely will recoupe this cost fairly quickly.

I have not yet started using Delphi XE4, so cannot give a full review of it, but at this moment it looks like a very exciting product that shows where software development needs to go. I will keep this blog up to date with more news of Delphi XE4.    


  1. IT companies are gaining popularity with every passing day and tend to grow at a rapid speed. Software development procedures are getting purifies and verified with a brilliant merge of existing and new technologies everyday. Due to the massive demand of automation and perfection, many organizations are now opting outsourcing software development in order to meet their business needs.

  2. When I wrote this blog entry XE4 was the latest version, Delphi is now on XE6. I have been using XE5 for some mobile development deploying to my Nexus 4 Android phone. I don't think they are quite there with it, it crashes a lot and freezes, sometimes you think it has frozen bus in fact it is still building in the background. It is very slow, but that might be also due to the Android SDK. I am also looking at Xamarin as an alternative.