Delphi XE2 : Reviewers / Users Not Pleased
UPDATE: Delphi XE3 release date is here, and I have posted a blog entry about Delphi XE3 New Features; some of the concerns with XE2 / FireMonkey may be resolved with FireMonkey2 / XE3 improvements.
I am a long-term user of the Embarcadero Delphi (formerly Borland, Inprise, and Codegear branded Delphi) RAD (Rapid Application Development) IDE, programming language (which is object-pascal) and VCL (Visual Component Library). Recently I wrote a blog about the Exciting New Features in Embarcadero Delphi XE2 and how much I was looking forward to putting the new FireMonkey components to use in particular. Also, while reading this, keep in mind the fact that (for me) FireMonkey was the one thing that was going to keep me interested in this product for my Windows development platform of choice.
Poor and Missing Documentation
FireMonkey Bugs, 64-bit bugs, Missing Features
- the omission of Actions and action lists
- aside from the very basics, Keyboard handling is crippled
- Property/method reference documentation (as I more than hinted at earlier)
- TMemo has serious bugs.
- Substantial differences (and missing capabilities) in FM form-designer behavior vs. VCL-forms designer behavior.
- the 64-bit Compiler has some serious bugs.
- And many more...
Delphi XE2 Update-1 and Update-2
And, like darn near every single "release notes" published in the past 5 years by these folks, this XE2 Update 2 release-notes document also has screwed up hyperlinks to the supposed "list of fixes". Currently, in the "General" section of this document, see where it says (I cut/pasted this from their site):
"For a complete list of the specific problems fixed in this update, see the "List of Bug Fixes in Delphi and C++Builder XE2 Update 2" at: <a href="http://edn.embarcadero.com/de/article/40984/">http://edn.embarcadero.com/de/article/40984/</a>"Well, guess what folks... the above quoted HTML really links to some OLD Delphi XE Update 1 list of fixes and even points to the German location (/de). THIS IS SO TYPICAL! AGAIN, WHERE IS THE QUALITY-CONTROL!? I really would have liked to see what is truly "fixed" in this XE2 update. Ughghgh! Do we now have to post a QC (Quality Central ... heh, "quality", yeah... ok) entry to report this messed up URL? Again, this is TYPICAL and has been the case for years. I think it is done ON PURPOSE since they really have no list of updates prepared! But, who is dumb enough to keep doing this and keep peeving their customer base?!
This practice of shipping bug-ridden, unfinished software products is common among MANY software firms these days... they put out an unfinished/buggy product, patch it a few times for "free", then force users to purchase yet another "upgrade" to get any future fixes/improvements regardless of how strong the case is that there are still substantial bugs in the product you PAID for! It gets old, and it gets very darn expensive! And, I have seen long-standing substantial bugs go unfixed through multiple major-product-versions/iterations (Delphi and their help-system clearly have had long-standing substantial issues).
Delphi XE2 : the end of the road for my Delphi use
Although I believe Delphi has provided a super-productive development environment and language for developing Windows applications over the years, I also see the writing on the wall: Delphi is a niche tool whose niche continues to shrink as people move to web-based everything. And, Embarcadero is not helping Delphi's cause when they release buggy unfinished software with equally pathetic documentation. Perhaps I will again assess Delphi when the inevitable Delphi XE3 appears on the scene, but for now, I am avoiding any further investment of my time and money into this product.
UPDATE (January 2012) for anyone still interested in Delphi XE2: Embarcadero has released Delphi XE2 Update 3 and has put a new Delphi XE2 ISO Image with Update 3 online. I have not taken time to download and install it, though I did read through the release notes of fixes in Delphi XE2 Update 3, and it appears they are slowly working through the massive pile of major errors and issues. Surely it must be "better" than the initial premature release of XE2. But, I am still a major skeptic and will only consider a hands-on Delphi re-evaluation when Delphi XE3 is released -- and, Embarcadero had better take time to ensure a much higher quality product if they are to convince me to ever use their development tools again.