It was late in autumn of 1994, and I remember it as if it was today. A programmer friend of mine showed a beta version of a program called AppBuilder. It featured a modern IDE (at least for that time, back in Windows 3.1 days), and a fast compiler based on Pascal code! AppBuilder was developed by Borland, and would a few months later come out as Delphi (they apparently did not keep the working name)! Little did I at that moment imagine that this product should change the life of thousands or even millions of programmers! It would also impact my development life in a good way.
After the release, it soon became clear that Delphi was superior to Visual Basic, which at that time was Microsoft’s solution for rapid application development. To have a strongly typed language and a compiler in Delphi was such an advantage! When Delphi was first released, I was quick to start using it, and have not stopped ever since. Almost every day it brings a lot of productivity for me while working on our products Pascal Analyzer, Pascal Browser and Pascal Expert!
Here are just some of the selling points for Delphi, which I appreciate:
I also want to highlight a feature that is quite unique for Object Pascal, but has not got much attention. That is local functions/procedures. I use them a lot, especially for small utility functions inside a larger code block. It is better to keep them within the context in which they are used, and not expose them to all other code in the unit. It even makes your code clearer since you can break it down in smaller bits. In most other languages, this feature of local functions/procedures is not available, at least not in an easy way.
Now, when celebrating Delphi’s 27th birthday, it’s also appropriate to remember Turbo Pascal which was the predecessor to Delphi. Turbo Pascal was first released in 1983 by Borland. It was originally developed by Anders Hejlsberg. He became the chief architect for Delphi, but was lured over to Microsoft in 1996 to work on the upcoming .NET platform.
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