Octane and Delphi Q&A

By: Simon Thornhill

Abstract: Q&A about the future of Delphi

What is Octane?

Octane is the code name for the next release of Borland® DelphiTM. Octane is an integrated development environment planned for building new Delphi applications on .NET and to assist in migrating existing Win32 Delphi applications to .NET. Borland has already released preview versions of this technology in Borland® DelphiTM 7 Studio, including a .NET compiler for the Delphi language, and previews of VCL for .NET. The aim with these technologies is to allow a Delphi developer to move to .NET, taking their Delphi skills and much of their current Delphi source code with them. Octane will support Microsoft® .NET Framework development with the Delphi language and both Visual Component Library (VCL) for .NET controls and Windows Forms controls. ASP.NET is also fully supported with WebForms and SOAP/XML Web Services.

When will Octane be released?

Octane is planned for release at the end of 2003.

Do I have to wait for Octane to be released? What can I do today?

Borland® DelphiTM 7 Studio shipped with the Delphi for .NET Preview Edition. This preview is aimed at allowing developers to begin exploring the .NET Framework within the Delphi language with which they were comfortable. Since then, we have released regular updates to this Preview Edition, adding further iterations of the compiler. An updated Preview Edition of VCL for .NET allows developers to actually start migrating their existing applications to .NET.

Will the Octane release include Delphi 7?

Yes, the Octane release will include Delphi 7. This will provide all Delphi developers with the highest level of compatibility between .NET and Win32.

Will buying Octane with Software Assurance entitle the purchaser to updates of Delphi for Win32?

Yes. As long as your Software Assurance for the Octane release has not expired, you will receive any updates for the Win32 versions of Delphi in addition to the updates for the .NET versions of Delphi.

Can I buy Delphi 7 Software Assurance and get Octane?

Yes. You can buy Delphi 7 with Software Assurance right now. You will automatically receive the Octane release when it ships, as long as you still have an active Software Assurance agreement with Borland.

How compatible are VCL for .NET controls with VCL controls?

VCL for .NET is a large subset of the most common classes in VCL for Win32. Wherever possible, we're aiming for full compatibility between VCL and VCL for .NET. In many cases, Delphi source code that operates on VCL classes and functions should recompile with minimal changes; in some cases with no changes at all. VCL for .NET is a large subset of VCL; therefore, most but not all VCL classes will exist in VCL for .NET. However, source code that calls directly to the Win32 API will require some source code changes. Dependent third-party Win32 VCL controls will need to be available in .NET versions as well for compatibility. However, unlike the situation with CLX on Linux®, the .NET framework is still built on Windows® , so the Win32 API calls, or alternatives, are in most cases still going to be available. The current Delphi for .NET Preview also includes documentation covering common issues around migrating VCL code to VCL for .NET.

Will I have full access to both VCL for .NET controls and .NET Framework objects?

Absolutely! Octane is a first class .NET citizen. Full access is available to both VCL .NET controls as well as the complete Microsoft®.NET framework in the same project. Objects can be extended or accessed from other standard .NET languages, etc. There are no compromises using Octane.

What is Borland C#BuilderTM for the Microsoft®.NET Framework?

C#Builder is a RAD Environment for pure C# Language .NET development. C#Builder is to Microsoft .NET as Borland® JBuilder® is to Java.TM It is an Enterprise-focused development tool built on top of the Microsoft®.NET Framework, targeting developer productivity and standards compliance.C#Builder's focus of Enterprise specialty is in three key areas. First, integrating all phases of the Application Lifecycle into a single seamless .NET solution. Second, providing a .NET development solution geared toward heterogeneous environments, integrating multi-vendor platforms such as Java and CORBA® with .NET and multi-vendor ADO.NET support such as Oracle,® IBM® DB2,® Microsoft® SQL Server, and Borland® InterBase®. Third, accelerating application development beyond RAD with model-driven development. C#Builder released in Q3 2003.

Will current Delphi features continue to be available in Octane?

Most of the current Delphi features will be made available in Octane. The entire Delphi language will be available as well as the standard set of VCL controls. Most of the current VCL database access technology is also being developed for .NET in addition to full support for ADO.NET including the Borland Data Providers. Existing web development technologies will be replaced by Delphi ASP.NET WebForms and .NET WebServices.

What if I plan to continue Win32 development?

Currently for Win32 development, Delphi 7 Studio is a powerful RAD solution that offers a migration path to .NET, visual design, and cross platform Linux development. There are now over 2 million active Win32 developers between Borland® DelphiTM and Borland® C++Builder®, and the Borland commitment to this development community has not changed. Borland believes that there are still many more Win32 Delphi applications yet to be built and plans to support and update the Win32 Delphi technology for the foreseeable future. The Win32 Delphi compiler will receive new language features to increase source code compatibility with .NET, and the VCL for Win32 will also be updated.

What about Delphi and Linux?

Borland® KylixTM is now the No. 1 IDE for native Linux development, and as the Linux platform continues to grow, we anticipate the demand for Delphi development on Linux to continue to grow as well.

Why would I buy C#Builder for C# and .NET development?

Borland® C#BuilderTM and Microsoft® Visual Studio® both provide integrated development capabilities such as form design, edit, compile, and debug. C#Builder, however, is specifically focused on providing an environment that integrates and accelerates the complete application lifecycle solution, from requirements, to design, to development, and performance testing. Both C#Builder and Visual Studio .NET support building .NET applications for the Microsoft platform. C#Builder however, provides a solution that enables developers to build Microsoft .NET applications that are interoperable in heterogeneous environments such as Java and CORBA, and leverage multiple vendors' Enterprise databases such as IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft. Borland took RAD to the next level with C#Builder introducing model-driven development for .NET designed to increase developer productivity ten fold. A leap in productivity not seen since RAD was invented.

C#Builder and Octane both share a new common IDE core. Delphi developers will be immediately productive in the new C#Builder IDE, and C#Builder can be configured similar to the familiar Delphi look-and-feel. And lastly, Octane will include Delphi versions of Borland .NET specific features and productivity enhancements that were introduced in C#Builder . C#Builder is the natural C# development environment for Delphi developers.

Best regards,
Simon Thornhill
Vice President and General Manager
.NET Solutions

See also Open Letter to the Delphi Community

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