Editor's Final Word
The Future of Paradox and Delphi!
What lies ahead for Delphi for Win32 and Paradox/desktop databases.
CodeGear, a division of Borland, is the software maker of Delphi and Corel distributes Paradox with WordPerfect Office Pro Edition. With the pending purchase of CodeGear by Embarcadero Technologies and Corel's release of WPO X4 Pro, I've been thinking alot about my own future in software development and the future of Prestwood Software. Although we develop most of our new projects in Visual Studio.Net (about half in C# and half in VB.Net), we also support quite a few existing working stable and productive applications written in Corel Paradox, MS Access, Visual FoxPro, Delphi, VB, ASP, C, PHP.....well, you get the idea. We generally role with what our developers know best and are willing to code in. I speak with my existing clients almost on a daily basis about "if" and "when" to convert their existing business and commercial applications and when to simply enhance them to support their evolving business. I don't claim to have all the answers but I do enjoy this subject and welcome your input.
The Future of Win32 Development and Delphi
Starting around 1995 one could easily argue that Delphi was king of business database applications and could handle the most complex Win32 native code projects with ease, speed, and power. Delphi was king through....hmmm....perhaps 2002. During that time the Delphi team went from supporting Win16 to Win32 native code, Linux development with Kylix, and dipped their toe in the DotNet development market. Although Kylix is no longer around, Delphi for Win32 is going strong and there are plans for a Delphi for Win64 in the works. And although development on the Delphi for .Net product has slowed a bit in the last few years, there are big plans for Delphi for .Net. Right now VS.Net is king of DotNet development but a world with ONLY ONE serious development tool for a target platform is not good. Society generally fights against monopolies so it's in Microsoft's best interest for legitimate and competitive DotNet tools to exist. It is possible that in a few years you will be able to legitimately choose either VS.Net or one of it's competitors. I realize Delphi for .Net is out now and has been around for several years but the percentage of new DotNet applications being built with Delphi for .Net is too low for me to consider it a legitimate competitor to VS.Net.
The Future of Desktop Databases and Paradox for Windows
In 1993, 94, and even 95, Paradox for Windows was king of business database applications. At least one could argue that point with convection. Between then and now, something happened with the desktop database market....it shrank! There was a time when power-users would buy a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics program, AND A DESKTOP DATABASE! Now most power-users get by with using a spreadsheet for any data they collect. Although companies encourage power users to use word processes and spreadsheets, most companies discourage the use of a desktop database. There are good reasons for this including the mindset that business data belongs to the company and the company's information technology (IT) department needs to have control over all data. A company's data is part of their institutional memory (their custom software is part of their intellectual property). Although this mindset exists for very valid reasons, I'd still like to see software makers market their desktop database products primarily to power-users but also to developers as a way to more easily manage the data they work with. I'd like Corel to market Paradox to entrepreneurs/small business owners, power-users within large corporations, power-user hobbyists, researchers working with data, etc. Although business database application developers are important to the desktop database market, I think they are a secondary market.