The Worst Thing About Delphi

One year I was at BorCon and they were playing some old Turbo Pascal commercials and one I remember was this guy doing various odd tasts around his office (watering plants, etc.) and then we find out that he is waiting for his code to compile.  At the end of the commercial he gets a new copy of Turbo Pascal and his code compiles right away.  Now he isn’t able to get to all that busy work.  Bummer.

XKCD's "Compiling" comicAT&T had a similar commercial where they appoligized that their long distance calls went through so quick as a teen-age guy lost his nerve and was about to hang up when his old girl friend picked-up.

Anyway, I love XKCD, this comic being one of my favorites.  Although since I have been using Delphi for so long I guess I am spoiled.  Even huge projects still compile fairly quickly.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I just assumed everyone’s compiler was that quick.  This comic was a reminder that not everyone is as lucky as we are.  

I guess we need to come up with a new excuse for slacking off at work.  Oh, I know, “it’s all done!”

Speaking of all done, I wonder when Delphi 2009 will be all done and start shipping. . . .

2 replies on “The Worst Thing About Delphi”

This is funny, but I remember when it was very true.

I first came to Delphi shortly after D1 was released. We were looking for a Windows development platform for all our old DOS-based Clipper apps. Computer Associates had just bought Clipper from Nantucket Software, and they released “Clipper for Windows”, in real life called “CA Visual Objects”, or VO.

CA’s strategy was kind of strange… Instead of using the WinAPI like Delphi did to handle things, they’d licensed some third-party windowing library. The windows and other controls looked just like the API ones, but they were in these third-party DLLs that had to be distributed.

Even remembering that at the time, my development machine was a then top-of-the-line 486SX-25 with 16MB of RAM, VO was ssllloooowwww. I could start a new project, drop a single button on the form, and hit the Compile button, and then:

– Go to the office kitchen and refill my coffee cup.
– Go outside to smoke a cigarette and drink my coffee.
– Go to the kitchen and again fill my cup.
– Drop the cup at my desk and go to the restroom.
– Come back and still wait for the compile.
– Decide I didn’t like the text on the button, change it, and hit “Compile”.
– Repeat the entire coffee/smoke/coffee/restroom trip and wait some more.

Did I mention VO was slow?

It also had a “deployment builder” tool that was supposed to create the SETUP for your application and create the diskettes for you. I tried it once, using the same test project I described above.

When I was prompted to insert disk #4, I cancelled. (At least four 1.44MB disks for a plain button on a form???)

I also discovered that, even if you didn’t do any type of database access in your app, you had to distribute all of the DB-related DLLs. All 12 of them.

Delphi is a blessing!

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