Initial thoughts about Delphi XE Starter

It’s been a very long time since I had any interaction with Delphi. We did a  lot of Delphi at university, and since then the Delphi world has changed a lot. These are well documented elsewhere so I won’t go into that here.

Instead, I discovered earlier this week that Embarcadero (Delphi’s current owner) has finally released a cut down version of Delphi for hobbyists and start-ups that’s priced very reasonably at about £120 for the upgrade. Most developers should qualify for the upgrade as you only need to use any of the free IDEs such as Visual Studio Express or Eclipse to qualify.

Now back to Delphi XE Starter. It’s a cut down version, so what did they cut out?

Quite a lot actually.

I’ve not spent too much time with it, but the notable omissions are:

  1. Class viewer. This panel hosting a tree control that lists all classes and methods are the staple of every IDE including the free ones.
  2. Code Insight. If you’re not familiar with Delphi (like me) then this would mean nothing to you. It the ability to go from declaration to definition (i.e. F12 in Visual Studio) and is very useful when attempting to navigate a source tree.

I’ve also started being slightly annoyed by the Pascal language that’s starting to feel like a dinosaur especially after spending years in languages like C++/C#. You cannot declare variables on the fly, the language is not case sensitive (n is different from N) and it’s very verbose.

This is just from a few hours use, so things might look up once I become more familiar with the product.