What developers think...

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In today's Dr. Dobbs Update (delieverd to your email box if you request it), Jon Erickson (DDJ editor) mentiones an article with the summary results of a survey DDJ did in cooperation with Forrester Research. The survey was created to understand how tools and technologies are affecting developers.

In the article, What Developers Think, written by Jeffrey Hammond, Research Analyst for Forrester Research, Jeffrey uses the term "technology populism" and writes about "the growing trend where tech-savvy workers such as developers make their own decisions about what technologies to use. They help themselves to the software, collaborative tools, and information sources that best fit their needs, with minimal or no support from central IT. Much of this activity flies under management radar."

The seven trends listed in the article are:

  1. Rich Internet applications (RIAs) are for real

  2. There is wide use of open source (4 out of 5 use it for development or deployment)

  3. Virtualization for testing in widespread and cloud use is just starting

  4. Multilingual developers emerge (I'm not just an xyz progammer)

  5. Young developers are drawn to dynamic programming languages

  6. Agile processes are resonating with developers

  7. Developers are an untapped source of innovation

The bottom line for development managers - "Spend more time understanding what your developers are doing both at work and outside of it, and solicit their ideas about how these technologies could speed up development and cut costs for the organization."

Jon Erickson asks "I'd appreciate hearing your take on these trends (and others) once you read the article." You can email Jon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.


  • Guest
    David Intersimone Thursday, 21 January 2010

    > Does point 7 even actually mean anything?

    Take a look at the whole article at http://www.ddj.com/architect/222301141

    "60% of respondents ..." "are extending the use of their creative powers beyond the confines of their companies."... "Wise development managers should recognize the creative potential of these entrepreneurial developers and think about how it can be redirected to the benefit of their organizations."

  • Guest
    Xepol Thursday, 21 January 2010

    Does point 7 even actually mean anything? It sounds more like management speak - as if we should all be afraid that upper management will show up dilbert style with little oil derek hats to drill into our skulls and extract the inovative gooey goodness inside that they somehow overlooked.

  • Guest
    David Intersimone Thursday, 21 January 2010

    >Jennifer - wrote: So where does this leave RAD Studio or Delphi considering all this?

    1. RIAs - you can do this today with VCL for the Web in Delphi/C++Builder - some assembly required. You can also build these with Delphi Prism and Silverlight. You can also use Delphi for PHP - some assembly required. RIA development is also on the roadmap.

    2. Open Source - there are many open source projects built with Delphi and C++Builder. You can search SourceForge, CodePlex, Google Code, Torry's pages, and other places. Project Indy, Turbo Power Software and Project JEDI are open - we also use Indy and make sure Jedi works. FreeCLX is out there for the Kylix compiler. But for now we don't have a toolset that is open sourced (there are others like Free Pascal).

    3. Virtualization - we use VMWare in our automated testing (massive test suites run each nightly build). We are exploring how to support databases in the cloud and also someday applications that will run in a cloud - on the roadmap.

    4. Multilingual development - or as Neal Ford calls it "Polyglot Programming" - you already have this with Delphi and Javascript use in VCL for the Web. We are building a new compiler (see Nick Hodges article on EDN from last year) with a common back end for both Delphi and C++. You can use Delphi Datasnap native code servers and build client side using Delphi Prism, C++, Delphi for PHP, JavaScript and just about any other language that supports JSON and TCP/HTTP.

    5. Dynamic Programming Languages - PHP, RUBY, JavaScript, etc - we have these in our product line up and you can leverage all of them. Schools outside the US - especially in China, Russia, Brazil, Germany and Eastern Europe are using Delphi as a teaching language - but we have to do so much more to reach out to young developers. On the roadmap, but further out after we have the new compiler, we are looking at adding functional, dynamic and parallel capabilities to Delphi.

    6. Agile processes - we use them throughout R&D. The teams use SCRUM for all project development. In RAD Studio (Delphi, C++, Delphi PRism) we have support for Unit Testing. Next up is integration with source code control systems like Subversion leveraging the updated API that appeared in RAD Studio 2010. More agile process support is mentioned on the roadmap down the line.

    7. Developers are an untapped source of innovation - yes, that is why there are 10s of thousands components and tools supporting Delphi. That is why we added the collaboration systems on the Embarcadero Developer Network including Quality Central. Our customers are creating many new, innovative applications (see the Application Showcase on embarcadero.com). You are helping push us into new areas, improve the quality, performance and documentation of our products. Keep up the great ideas that we need to add to our products to help you be successful.

    This is a new decade. This is the first full decade where we are a part of Embarcadero Technologies. There are no limits to what we can do TOGETHER.

    Thank you Jennifer :)

  • Guest
    Carlos Monday, 25 January 2010

    David, I live in Brazil (we even meet in some of the past BorCons in SP). I see that every year, more and more schools in Brazil are dropping Delphi off their courses, and moving to Java or VS. This is really bad. There is still market for Delphi here, so the problem probably is *money*. Embarcadero should not charge any money for the schools to install Delphi in their labs, if Delphi is used in their courses. Forming new Delphi developers is one of the best ways to make Delphi "market" keep growing.

    For all the students learning Java or C#, it is natural that they will search for jobs where those languages are required. Its is becoming harder and harder for companies using Delphi, to find good Delphi programmers available.

    I hope Embarcadero will see this before it is too late.

  • Guest
    David Intersimone Monday, 25 January 2010

    > Carlos commented: I see that every year, more and more schools in Brazil are dropping Delphi off their courses, and moving to Java or VS.

    We are updating the Delphi courseware (Amandio is doing this) for schools to the version 2010. This is one step. With Embarcadero All-Access, schools can get all the tools they need for teaching - both database (for IT classes) and development (for CS and Software Engineering classes) tools, plus license management and tool delivery for the faculty, students and labs.

    We will do more. I have also forwarded your comment to our Embarcadero Brazil team including Lisa Flores and Andreano Lanusse - you know them well!! We will continue to work with Micro Focus (Borland) in Brazil as our reseller.

    Your feedback is very helpful. And any additional advice will be gratefully received. I really enjoyed the Delphi day conference last November in Sao Paulo. I will be down there again this year to help our customers.

  • Guest
    Carlos Monday, 25 January 2010

    That's good news, David! If you allow me to go a bit further, I would suggest to extend the upgrade to 2010 offer (for owners of old Delphi versions) for more one year. Migrating to Unicode is not always easy, and moving to a new Delphi version usually means spending lots of money, not just with the Delphi license, but with all the third party tools that usually needs to be updated too (at once).
    Btw, consider yourself invited to visit us in the next Firebird Developers Day too ;-) Amandio, Virginia, etc... all good friends.

  • Guest
    Brian Gooch Tuesday, 2 February 2010

    I cannot think why anybody would want to use a language other than Delphi. We can write code that reads like plain English - the need for comments is minimal; and normalised code is the norm. Thus it is easy to follow, to modify, to extend, to enlarge upon and to maintain. It should also be easy to teach. One line of Delphi code is better than the 10 lines of equivalence in C#: so why use 10 when 1 will do?

    We have just embarked upon updating our range of database apps written in Delphi 1..2005 to D2009 - it is time consuming and requires a heavy investment, and not just in the tools. I know we are not alone in suffering this problem!

    As commented above, Embarcadero should take on board the serious matter of ensuring that Education has Delphi freely available (if payment is a necessity it should be a token amount). New students tend to continue with the language they started with, especially if the job market provides them with continuity.

    Borland missed the boat on this one; let not Embarcadero follow suit: give MS a run for their money -Delphi is a far superior product to its creator's sequel C#. Embarcadero ... go for it - spread the gospel of Delphi - and Education is the best place to start.

  • Guest

    [...] Developer Relations at Embarcadero) stated that [we] “make sure that JEDI works”. Link here, screenshot [...]

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