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To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question

Greetings,
   We're thinking of moving from VB to Delphi on the advice of some of
our programmers who have been using Delphi at home.  I have some
questions about what this would take to do and would appreciate your
opinions.
   First, how is the switch from  the language stand point?  Will it
be a big leap for our VB programmers to Delphi i.e. long time of
nonproductivity?
   What is your opinion about support, from both Borland and from
alternate sources such as this site?
   Next, we have one application that uses SQL server and wondered how
the port would be from VB  to Delphi.  Should we consider moving the
db portion to Interbase?  Is it easier from a coding perspective to
use Interbase with Delphi than to try and get it to work with SQL
Server.  
   With regard to coding, VB lets you pass objects ie forms, menus etc
to sub routienes and functions which allows a lot of code reuse.  Can
this be done in Delphi.  In your opinion does delphi, with it OO
approach do it better?
   VB 5 has the ability to develop components.  How does delphi
compare in this aspect to VB?
   We have one application that uses the tag property of the object to
how an identifier which is used to do a table lookup to get
information about the data for that object.  Does Delphi have such a
property?
   What about third party tools for Delphi?  VB has loads.  I looked
on the web and don't see a very large thrid party market.  Most of our
projects are small programs tailored to meet our users speicial needs.
The array of VB tools have helped  us to meet these types of special
needs within a reasonable time frame.  .  
   Lastly, could you give me your opinions on the long term viability
of both Delphi and Borland.  I see from their web site that they have
posted a profit. However,  I remember not to long ago they had some
major layoffs and lost a significant number of top employees to MS.  
   Thanks for your thoughts.  I've heard nothing but good about
Delphi, but change, as you know, is not often easy.

Tom

 

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
Tom Loach wrote in message <34ed8bbf.6981...@murdoch.acc.{*word*269}ia.edu>...
>   Lastly, could you give me your opinions on the long term viability
>of both Delphi and Borland.  I see from their web site that they have
>posted a profit. However,  I remember not to long ago they had some
>major layoffs and lost a significant number of top employees to MS.

Tom,

Warning: Opinions contained herein.
I've never used VB so I can't honestly give you an educated opinion on most
of your questions other than what I've formulated from reading the press and
usenet and talking with people that do have experience with both tools.  I
can say that almost all people that I know that have used both to develop
commercial software prefer Delphi as a far superior development tool and
environment.  They do _all_ also note the considerable differences in the
market of availability of Delphi tools compared to what they are accustomed
to with VB but again most find that productivity gained by taking advantage
of Delphi's strength mostly outweighs their original concerns.

Delphi is not an overly complex language for people that have a good
understanding of  object-oriented methodologies and just practical and sound
programming techniques.  If you want you can write the worst possible kind
of {*word*99} using Delphi.  Its not magic.  Of course, you should expect to have
a learning curve and be pissed off and occasionally regreting your decision
to switch.  I think you will soon decide you would never go back though.  It
sounds like you have people that are already at least somewhat knowledgeable
of Delphi and are smitten and probably interested enough to buy some books
and put some effort into learning how to really take advantage of the tool.
I also imagine they will work pretty hard to prove they made a good
suggestion of switching from VB at some risk.  This is a good start.  There
are lots of good books and a friendly community of developers that are
always happy to welcome newcomers to the fold and help them out.

Expect to be at least a little patient, if you don't get past the point of
griping when you don't know how to do something in Delphi that you know how
to easily do using VB, you probably won't get very far.  If you find
something you can't do with Delphi you probably just haven't figured it out
yet -- it is a powerful environment b{*word*220} with functionality :0.

With respect to the future of Delphi and Borland I get the feeling both are
very strong.  I just returned from SD '98 in San Francisco.  Borland ran
away with the nominations for Jolt Cola award in the programming environment
category with 3 of the 6 nominations for JBuilder, C++Builder and Delphi.
They didn't win mind you, I think Java 1.1 JDK won, but still very
impressive.  Borland constantly impresses me with the quality of people and
tools they have.  Note that VB took the annual Hall of Fame award, but that
is a retrospective award for past influence not current quality -- no one in
a sports Hall of Fame plays now, they are honoured for their past
contributions.  Help keep VB in the Hall of Fame and off the playing field
;)

Hope that helps you one way or t'other.

Graham

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
Tom Loach wrote in message <34ed8bbf.6981...@murdoch.acc.{*word*269}ia.edu>...
>   First, how is the switch from  the language stand point?  Will it
>be a big leap for our VB programmers to Delphi i.e. long time of
>nonproductivity?

somewhat different syntax. The learning curve for objects, otoh,
will take a while. altho I don't know vb very much, the major unnecessary
thing moving to D from vb is the 'control array'. It 'goes away'

Quote
>   What is your opinion about support, from both Borland and from
>alternate sources such as this site?

I prefer the Borland fora for accuracy. But then, I don't do a lot
of database work, so others must comment in that area. And, there
are fanatics on both sides of the support issue, as you are about to
find out.

Quote
>   With regard to coding, VB lets you pass objects ie forms, menus etc
>to sub routienes and functions which allows a lot of code reuse.  Can
>this be done in Delphi.  In your opinion does delphi, with it OO
>approach do it better?

The D approach is superior, if OO is used.

Quote
>   VB 5 has the ability to develop components.  How does delphi
>compare in this aspect to VB?

I think D is easier (?) because there is no need to do ActiveX. OTOH,
one _can_ do ActiveX automagically in D. Also, the Delphi language
(object Pascal) is the scripting language for the environment.

Quote
>   We have one application that uses the tag property of the object to
>how an identifier which is used to do a table lookup to get
>information about the data for that object.  Does Delphi have such a
>property?

yes, but a Delphian would more than likely derive an object and let
the polymorphism figure it out for itself. Note that vb does NOT have
inheritance in the OO sense, which is something you're trying to
deal with with 'tags'. The 'case' statement becomes a rarity in D.

Quote
>   What about third party tools for Delphi?  VB has loads.  I looked
>on the web and don't see a very large thrid party market.  Most of our
>projects are small programs tailored to meet our users speicial needs.
>The array of VB tools have helped  us to meet these types of special
>needs within a reasonable time frame.  .

There are many tools, many sites to visit, but since vb 'owns' a larger
segment of the market, I would guess it has the largest 3rd party
support as well.

Quote
>   Lastly, could you give me your opinions on the long term viability
>of both Delphi and Borland.  I see from their web site that they have
>posted a profit. However,  I remember not to long ago they had some
>major layoffs and lost a significant number of top employees to MS.

In the long run, we're all dead. Every time I thought "well, _this_ is it
for ol' Borland -- time to switch to something else", danged if they
didn't come up with a winner. Re 'lost employees': I would think if
M$ came to my door and offered me $1M+/yr to move, let's see, I'm
thinking, thinking, hmmm...

Quote
>   Thanks for your thoughts.  I've heard nothing but good about
>Delphi, but change, as you know, is not often easy.

yeah, but you don't know me, and you do know your own people.
so unless this was a troll, why ask me? Trust your local geek.

And why switch? why not do both?

--
Grace + Peace | Peter N Roth | Engineering Objects Int'l
  Author: Round Robin, a Delphi scheduling component
Visit our website at http://www.inconresearch.com/eoi
"Random numbers are too important to be left to chance." - anon

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


On Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:07:23 -0500, "Peter N Roth"
<pete*r...@erols.com (remove * to email me)> wrote:

Quote

>And why switch? why not do both?

>--
>Grace + Peace | Peter N Roth | Engineering Objects Int'l
>  Author: Round Robin, a Delphi scheduling component
>Visit our website at http://www.inconresearch.com/eoi
>"Random numbers are too important to be left to chance." - anon

Peter,
   Thanks for your thoughts.  Actually, we will probably continue to
work with VB and try to integrate Delphi into our skill set.  I wonder
for those who work with both languages in their shops, does VB become
a crutch that's to easy to use when the going get rough.  Is it better
to force yourself into a language immersion frame of mind.  
   With regard to OO, has anyone found this be of benefit when moving
to Java?

Thanks again,
Tom

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
Tom Loach wrote:
> I wonder
> for those who work with both languages in their shops, does VB become
> a crutch that's to easy to use when the going get rough.  Is it better
> to force yourself into a language immersion frame of mind.

I am on occasion forced to work with both (keep old VB code from
breaking until it can be replaced by good Delphi code).

VB becomes anything but a crutch; it is a hindrance. It does nothing but
slow me down as I try to remember every idiom of this inconsistent
language. Case in point: This morning I was debugging some VB code and
saw this:

If SomeInt = 1 Then
  SomeBool = True
End If

I thought it would be nice to change that to

SomeBool = SomeInt = 1

But wait; how is the second equals sign going to be interpreted? I
decided to leave it alone.

I wouldn't use the phrase "force yourself into a language immersion
frame of mind" when learning Delphi. Using Pascal is simply practicing
good style, just like using correct punctuation when writing text. And
when the going gets rough, I can accomplish my task orders of magnitude
quicker with Delphi than I can with VB.

Go ahead and dig into Delphi. I think that within a month you'll find VB
to be more of an annoyance than a tool.

Dave

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Hi,

I just read what Dave Shapiro has written, and I want to keep on on his
way.

Last year, I ended a project with a one month delay (or may be more...).
It was of course VB one. Today, I learned that I will have to had some
more modules to this project. And now, I'm doing nightmares because I
will have to learn again how to write an application with thousand lines
of code. And I really get anxious about programming with VB. But I
already know that I will relax writing an ActiveX component with Delphi
for this project...

As I am French, I can't write all my thoughts, but as Dave said, Delphi
is like writing correctly, with a good style.

Regards,

Frdric GUILLIEN

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
Tom Loach wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:07:23 -0500, "Peter N Roth"
> <pete*r...@erols.com (remove * to email me)> wrote:

> >And why switch? why not do both?

> >--
> >Grace + Peace | Peter N Roth | Engineering Objects Int'l
> >  Author: Round Robin, a Delphi scheduling component
> >Visit our website at http://www.inconresearch.com/eoi
> >"Random numbers are too important to be left to chance." - anon

> Peter,
>    Thanks for your thoughts.  Actually, we will probably continue to
> work with VB and try to integrate Delphi into our skill set.  I wonder
> for those who work with both languages in their shops, does VB become
> a crutch that's to easy to use when the going get rough.  Is it better
> to force yourself into a language immersion frame of mind.
>    With regard to OO, has anyone found this be of benefit when moving
> to Java?

> Thanks again,
> Tom

Your question about Java : I read some books about Java, but never
practice it professionally.
After these readings, the first thought was : "It's Delphi written in
C++", because it has C++ syntax, but it has not all the C++ capabilities
to hang a computer (memory management, multiple inheritance...).

So for a short answer, it's very easy to move from Delphi to Java.

But as you know, Delphi can do all what Java does. The only disadvantage
of Delphi is that it's not multi-platform...

Regards,

Frdric GUILLIEN

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
>language. Case in point: This morning I was debugging some VB code and
>saw this:

>If SomeInt = 1 Then
>  SomeBool = True
>End If

"SomeBool = SomeInt" would work nicely with VB's type conversion.

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
RJolt wrote in message <34edf1f...@news.{*word*104}enet.net>...
>>language. Case in point: This morning I was debugging some VB code and
>>saw this:

>>If SomeInt = 1 Then
>>  SomeBool = True
>>End If

>"SomeBool = SomeInt" would work nicely with VB's type conversion.

SomeBool = (SomeInt = 1) I mean
Quote

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


I use Delphi3 as a front-end to MS SQL server 6.5, connected via
ODBC--works great!

Most likely it would be more cost-effective to develop new components in
Delphi (Delphi can create ActiveX controls) which can be used by VB.
Generally, it is not very cost-effective to translate from one language to
another--there are language differences which prevent one-to-one
translations--usually it is the more complex code that has to be hand
translated.  Eagle Research, however, does make a product that will
translate most of the basic tedious portions of VB code to Delphi, leaving
the harder parts for the programmer to finish.
Good luck.
Gene

Tom Loach <tc...@{*word*269}ia.edu> wrote in article
<34ed8bbf.6981...@murdoch.acc.{*word*269}ia.edu>...

Quote
> Greetings,
>    We're thinking of moving from VB to Delphi on the advice of some of
> our programmers who have been using Delphi at home.  I have some
> questions about what this would take to do and would appreciate your
> opinions.
>    First, how is the switch from  the language stand point?  Will it
> be a big leap for our VB programmers to Delphi i.e. long time of
> nonproductivity?
>    What is your opinion about support, from both Borland and from
> alternate sources such as this site?
>    Next, we have one application that uses SQL server and wondered how
> the port would be from VB  to Delphi.  Should we consider moving the
> db portion to Interbase?  Is it easier from a coding perspective to
> use Interbase with Delphi than to try and get it to work with SQL
> Server.  
>    With regard to coding, VB lets you pass objects ie forms, menus etc
> to sub routienes and functions which allows a lot of code reuse.  Can
> this be done in Delphi.  In your opinion does delphi, with it OO
> approach do it better?
>    VB 5 has the ability to develop components.  How does delphi
> compare in this aspect to VB?
>    We have one application that uses the tag property of the object to
> how an identifier which is used to do a table lookup to get
> information about the data for that object.  Does Delphi have such a
> property?
>    What about third party tools for Delphi?  VB has loads.  I looked
> on the web and don't see a very large thrid party market.  Most of our
> projects are small programs tailored to meet our users speicial needs.
> The array of VB tools have helped  us to meet these types of special
> needs within a reasonable time frame.  .  
>    Lastly, could you give me your opinions on the long term viability
> of both Delphi and Borland.  I see from their web site that they have
> posted a profit. However,  I remember not to long ago they had some
> major layoffs and lost a significant number of top employees to MS.  
>    Thanks for your thoughts.  I've heard nothing but good about
> Delphi, but change, as you know, is not often easy.

> Tom

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
RJolt wrote:
> >"SomeBool = SomeInt" would work nicely with VB's type conversion.

> SomeBool = (SomeInt = 1) I mean

Whichever it is, it's awfully hard to parse. With Pascal and C and a
jillion other languages, there are separate tokens for assign (:= and =,
respectively) and test for equality (=, ==). That BASIC doesn't have
them is a testament to the fact that it can be very confusing to work
with.

But thanks. I'll add that into the code.

Dave

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
tc...@{*word*269}ia.edu (Tom Loach) writes:
>On Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:07:23 -0500, "Peter N Roth"
><pete*r...@erols.com (remove * to email me)> wrote:
>   Thanks for your thoughts.  Actually, we will probably continue to
>work with VB and try to integrate Delphi into our skill set.  I wonder
>for those who work with both languages in their shops, does VB become
>a crutch that's to easy to use when the going get rough.  Is it better
>to force yourself into a language immersion frame of mind.  
>   With regard to OO, has anyone found this be of benefit when moving
>to Java?

VB *is* a crutch, but you'll find you don't need a crutch if your legs
aren't broken. Delphi will get you standing straight and tall.

As for Java, I tried it and I loathed it. The object library is changing
too fast for anybody to seriously consider it, and the memory overheads
and VM incompatibilities are frightening. The language itself is OK,
better in many ways than C++, but those libraries! Whoo!

--
Luke Webber

* Note: The opinions expressed by Luke Webber are in no way supported *
*       by his employers, Luke Webber Consulting Services             *

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
Dave Shapiro wrote:
> [...]
> But thanks. I'll add that into the code.

        Not to quibble about off-topic trivia like code, but ya know
even when you get the syntax straight (assuming there is such a thing
as correct VB syntax) the line

SomeBool = (SomeInt = 1)
'or SomeBool = SomeInt or whatever

doesn't actually do the same thing as

If SomeInt = 1 Then
  SomeBool = True
End If

unless you happen to _know_ that SomeBool = False to
begin with. (If this was supposed to be a "or something
like that" example then never mind - just thought I'd
mention it since there's this string of several messages
in a row all of which seem to assume the two are
equivalent, making it look like maybe you _did_ think
the two were the same...)

--
David Ullrich

sig.txt not found

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


[This follow up was also send to author]
A human entity called tc...@{*word*269}ia.edu (Tom Loach) send the message :

Quote
>Greetings,
>   First, how is the switch from  the language stand point?  Will it
>be a big leap for our VB programmers to Delphi i.e. long time of
>nonproductivity?

Depents on your developers. You have to leanr to think different.

Quote
>   What is your opinion about support, from both Borland and from
>alternate sources such as this site?

Especially the net gives very good support. There is a lot of suppert sites
available.

Quote
>   Next, we have one application that uses SQL server and wondered how
>the port would be from VB  to Delphi.  Should we consider moving the
>db portion to Interbase?  Is it easier from a coding perspective to
>use Interbase with Delphi than to try and get it to work with SQL
>Server.  

We work with SQL server and have no problems. We do use the Com technology, so
we do not have to reinstall the BDE on all machines. I would check this option
before starting.

Quote
>   With regard to coding, VB lets you pass objects ie forms, menus etc
>to sub routienes and functions which allows a lot of code reuse.  Can
>this be done in Delphi.  In your opinion does delphi, with it OO
>approach do it better?

Much better. You can build components that will inherrit. I never have to pass
a form or a menu to a routine. You simply build a component and "connect" to
the form or menu.

Quote
>   VB 5 has the ability to develop components.  How does delphi
>compare in this aspect to VB?

VB5 has NO abitity to develop component if you have seen the components from
Delphi.

Quote
>   We have one application that uses the tag property of the object to
>how an identifier which is used to do a table lookup to get
>information about the data for that object.  Does Delphi have such a
>property?

Yes. A other option is to build derived components in which you give a
"identifier" that will do this search (even at design time). We use this
approch. If you need some info mail me privatly.,

Quote
>   What about third party tools for Delphi?  

Large than VB.

Quote
>VB has loads.  I looked
>on the web and don't see a very large thrid party market.  

That's right. Most of it is freeware. Go to the Delphi Super Page od the
Delphi Deli (URL see me site) and there are loads of free components. There is
a complete set of free components from a russian source.

They are even better because you have installation problems. It is all VCL.

The Graphical Gnome (r...@ktibv.nl)
Sr. Software Engineer IT Department
-----------------------------------------
The Unofficial Delphi Developers FAQ
http://www.gnomehome.demon.nl/uddf/index.htm

Re:To Switch or Not to Switch, That is the Question


Quote
On Fri, 20 Feb 1998 18:24:46 GMT, Tom Loach <tc...@{*word*269}ia.edu> wrote:
>Peter,
>   Thanks for your thoughts.  Actually, we will probably continue to
>work with VB and try to integrate Delphi into our skill set.  I wonder
>for those who work with both languages in their shops, does VB become
>a crutch that's to easy to use when the going get rough.  

Well, we added Delphi to our mix quite a while back, and for us, VB
doesn't really get any use anymore except to maintain old programs that
are too troublesome to convert.

From my perspective, Delphi is a much a nicer, more easily maintainable
language - this becomes quite obvious when writing large programs,
or when you get the joy of going back to some code you haven't looked
at for a long time. It is possible to write nicely structured code
in VB, but I think that it takes much more discipline to do this in
VB than in Delphi.

I still find VB is very good for simple tasks, and it is possible to
get results with it very quickly. But our experience has been that
once you bring Delphi on board VB quickly loses it's appeal.

Is it better

Quote
>to force yourself into a language immersion frame of mind.  
>   With regard to OO, has anyone found this be of benefit when moving
>to Java?

Java is a different beast altogether, but there is no question,
having a good grasp of OO is essential for using Java.

We have done some Java work as well, but we're pretty new to it
(isn't everybody :-). I'm not so sure that Delphi helped
with the transition much, but I think it would prepare one
better than VB would.

Bill

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