C++Builder in a 64-bit world

Posted by on in Blogs
As many of you know, we recently released our new C++ compiler for 64-bit Windows. This had been a project undertaking of many years as we delivered a new toolchain with the highest C++11 language compliance, a highly optimized backend code generator, and VCL and FireMonkey support. It really represents the best of both worlds - Embarcadero standard C++ extensions that enable the RAD developer experience coupled with the best in standards support.

So, is now a good time to move up? I think so and I thought I'd share some interesting market statistics that support this premise. As we all know, 64-bit CPUs have been the primary hardware shipped by PC manufacturers for may years now. So what we are looking for evidence that creating applications specifically for 64-bit Windows has demand.

One indicator I like to look at is statistics from Valve's Steam runtime which is used to deliver games, both hardcore and casual. They do a nice job of breaking out (and publishing) many client statistics including client OS.

According the Valve, in January 2013, over 50% of their clients are using Windows 7 64-bit, the most used operating system. Another interesting statistic is the growth of Windows 8 64-bit which represents over 8% of their clients already, contrasted with less than 1% using the 32-bit version. Check it out:

But even more telling to me as a product manager is what do my customers tell me they need. We ran a survey about a year ago, asking C++Builder developers which OS they needed most. The overwhelming percentage, almost 2:1 over any other platform was 64-bit Windows.

So, now that you have it, what will you do with it?

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  • Guest
    Eike Petersen Tuesday, 12 February 2013

    > But even more telling to me as a product manager is what do my customers tell me they need. We ran a survey about a year ago, asking C++Builder developers which OS they needed most. The overwhelming percentage, almost 2:1 over any other platform was 64-bit Windows. <

    That may be, but you do realize that most developers cannot force their customers to use a 64-bit Windows? If we were to require our customers to use a 64-bit Windows (which we would have to in order to use the new C++-Compiler) we would block out many potential customers (many still use a 32-bit Windows).

    As long as there is no 32-bit version of the new compiler there is no use for the 64-bit version (that is for our company) as we could not use any of its new features.

    We would pay good money for a new standard-conforming 32-bit compiler. 64-bit is the future, but 32-bit will stay with us for many years to come...

  • Guest
    John Jacobson Wednesday, 13 February 2013

    Just don't let the self-selection bias of the current C++ Builder customer base trick you into thinking prospective customers have the same preferences. The reasons why people DO NOT use C++ Builder may in fact be more important to future sales than why people DO use it currently.

  • Guest
    J T Wednesday, 13 February 2013

    Hi Eike,

    Thanks for the feedback. My point is that 64-bit Windows appears to be enjoying widespread (and growing) adoption so your customers may be ready or due for an upgrade. It's getting to be more difficult to buy a 32-bit version of Windows on new hardware as well as PC manufacturers default to 64-bit OSs. Regarding a 32-bit compiler with the new toolchain, we do have that on our roadmap.

  • Guest
    J T Wednesday, 13 February 2013

    Hi John,

    You're right that these respondents were self selecting in that they were those interested in upgrading. But my goal with that question and survey was to understand the needs of existing (upgrading) customers. We do market research on prospective customers and a large part of our 2013 plans reflect features that will be important to them and to our existing customers.

  • Guest
    Volker Hillmann Friday, 22 February 2013

    We are trainers and consultants for the C++ Builder in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Here, we work very closely with Embarcadero, and speak on roadshows and webinars for you.

    I think there is a big difference between C++ and Delphi. Many Delphi programmers here in Germany are freelancers, are independed in their decisions. These programmers are easier to inspire with new technologies and 3D effects, live binding.... Most C++ developers work in teams in companies, working on large and long-term projects. Many companies that we serve, come from the industrial sector, (controls, special applications), others develop in the automobile industry, some for banks and insurance companies. This are millions of rows of sourcecode.

    We have 18 of our customers asked (every with 5 - 10 developers), how they see need for the support of 32bit development. Overall covers this customers more than 120 licenses of C++ Builder. Software and computer in the industry and management are not comparable with private computing and small business. No one can renounce on the 32-bit support, and this at least for the next 5 years.

    For all it is important that the new standard is supported (productivity, stability, maintainability) and also the libraries such as boost, ACM, TAO are supported. But it is also important that they will implement both 32 bit and 64 bit with a unified language, not with the rudimentary mix that supports the 32-bit compiler, and on the other hand the new properties of the 64-bit compiler. the new compiler is really great, but unusable without a equivalent 32bit compiler.

    Many customers test with Visual Studio, because the long delay in the 64 bit and the now missing 32-bit very confuse them perspective, and the dealing with million euro investments. They need safety. Others look for Qt. If not comes a clear statement when the 32-bit compiler occurs, which is for most more important than experiments for other platforms, and then something happens, we will probably lose some of our customers (and that also your customer).

    In the last few days, we have some live presentations in Germany. Yesterday we were in Nuremberg, it was great. Again and again we hear one question on this events: "what is 32 bit, when coming here something similar?" And we have no answer.

    I think this blog post is not helpful to reduce these worries and fears of the customers.

  • Guest
    J T Friday, 22 February 2013

    Hi Volker,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response and report. This blog post was not meant to disparage the 32-bit requirement but rather highlight the growth and market share of 64-bit. We fully intend to bring this toolchain to 32-bit Windows and you may share that information with your customers. As to when it will be released, we'll try to get some public information out about that as soon as possible. It is actively in development.

  • Guest
    Volker Hillmann Friday, 22 February 2013

    Hi John,
    thanks for the quick reply. I told the customer already that I am convinced that Embarcadero will certainly bring a solution. But we are just consultants, and a clear statement, such like this, is very important.

    The 64bit support is very important, and was desired by many customer. But they need even the 32-bit support.

    Thank you for that clear answer.

    The new compiler is a really big step. C++ is back, and Embarcadero is with the C++ Builder back. I programs many years in C and C++, the last month was very interesting and funny. The compiler is very stable, there are only a few problems (normal for a new toolchain like this). Fine where the full support for futures, threadlocal an async, but there are workarounds.

    Best regards


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