Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speculating on .NET plans #2

Jim McKeeth asks himself, and us, in this blogpost what we think about the upcoming .NET roadmap.
Jim quotes, from his podcast with Nick Hodges, which I will quote here again:

Historically one of our strong .NET stories has been close compatibility with the .NET and Win32 compilers.  But as we have evaluated that we have found that doing that is kind of holding both compilers back to a certain degree.  And that compatibility story not as compelling as it necessarily was.  And so what we are looking at instead is a solution that departs or sort of begins to diverge away from that compatibility story.  And starts heading more towards complete support for the .NET framework kind of thing.  And so you’ll be seeing more information about that in the coming weeks.

He wonders if it is huge news? Well I think is! I have speculated somewhat about this plans in this, and this blogpost.

This is what I think!

I could think of a possible scenario:
Disclaimer, this is what I think without any information or whatsoever.

The scenario: Delphi .NET as a Visual Studio plugin
CodeGear splits Delphi into two seperate products, let say "Delphi VCL" and "Delphi .NET".

Delphi VCL
Besides the Win32 part of this product, which is now called Delphi 2009, VCL.NET will be added. Offering a complete Win32/.NET compatible framework called VCL/(VCL.NET). (Let's call this one "RAD Studio VCL")
So Delphi as we know it, since Delphi 1 bundled with a 100% compatible .NET part. So for anyone who took the VCL.NET path as it's .NET path it is business as usual.

Delphi .NET
This product is offered as a Visual Studio plugin, offering Delphi (Pascal) (read the compiler) as fully fledged .NET language. Possible offering VCL.NET compatibility.
(So our old Delphi .NET 1.1 Winforms might have a future!)

The benefits:
Delphi VCL
get's his own roadmap, is not delayed by the next Microsoft technology to be added to the .NET part. However offering VCL.NET as compatible .NET framework it will be a complete Windows development environment. Maybe not offering the 'latest and possible greatest' Microsoft technology but more than enough for 80% (? wild guess ;-) ) of the current Delphi users.

Putting Delphi as a language into Visual Studio has the benefit that it can use the Microsoft designers, so it can always be on the edge of the future developments.

In my humble opinion this is the only way to offer complete support for the .NET framework.

Again what do you think?


Jim McKeeth said...

Thanks for the comments and link. I hope you are right, although the divergence away from compatibility might also mean we are loosing VCL.NET since it's only purpose is compatibility.

It would be nice to have the best of both worlds: Native and .NET compatibility AND the latest .NET feature support.

So do you think RemObjects figures into the picture.

Roland Beenhakker said...

Remobject, wow. I read that post, but could not make chocolate of it at that time.

But now this makes sense!

If this happens then it will be HUGE NEWS for the whole industry!

David said...

The scenario you suggest would be great - but I worry that Jim is right and that VCL.NET will disappear over time. If so this might then block existing VCL code moving to .NET.
My second worry is ASP.NET - if I need to move to Visual Studio there would need to be some big benefits in using Delphi, otherwise C# is a more obvious choice?

Lex Y. Li said...

Just hope RO and CG can do something big in the near future. Can't imagine the "BDE" days are back. Novell Mono + CodeGear Delphi may bring fresh air to the .NET world.

Mono just needs a perfect IDE, and CodeGear happens to be one of the most intelligent tools vendor. They can make a perfect family.

At least, we have another choice beside Microsoft's limited offer.

Anonymous said...

If the future for Delphi .NET is with RO, it's obvious that CG will stop deliver the .NET VCL. Keep that in mind, too.

Simon said...

CodeGear should drop .NET out of Delphi IDE. Delphi should be Win32 natual compiler with VCL. To compete with Microsoft on .NET ground will kill them.