What is Delphi?

Delphi is the name of the commercial Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for RAD created by Borland (see www.borland.com). Borland sold out Delphi and other RAD tools in the year 2008 to a company called Embarcadero Technologies which is now focusing on the newer versions of Delphi and other tools.

RAD stands for Rapid Application Development, meaning that common develoment tasks, such as creating user interfaces, have been made much easier. For instance, without RAD you would have to specify XY coordinates for every button and screen element, RAD allows you to drag and drop buttons onto screens using your mouse similar to a Mr. Potato Head.

The programming language in Delphi was Object Pascal, which is similar to the old "Structured" Pascal created by Niklaus Wirth in 1970. Though earlier their was a distinction made between Object Pascal being used as the language of Delphi and Delphi being considered as the IDE for the object pascal language but according to the definition used in the help files in Delphi 7 versions onwards we can see that infact Borland itself rebranded Delphi itself as a language. So, Delphi now becomes a language with a dedicated IDE available for it.

Delphi allows you to create Standard windows programs, ISAPI applications (web applications), Web Services, NT Services, console applications, DLL's, ActiveX controls, and COM objects.

The last version of the software "Delphi" was the Delphi 8 for .NET. After this it become sold as a part of the Borland Developer Studio (or simple BDS) in the versions 2005 and 2006, with the ability to compile for other platforms. At this time, the language stops to calls itself Object Pascal, but Delphi Language instead due the Microsoft .NET Framework support.

There is also a limited-but-free version of the BDS 2006 called Turbo Delphi. Its price is more attractive, but it does not have all the features that your Big Brother has: the languages that it supports aren't integrated, there are separated versions for each language and they can't be installed at the same machine (there is a protection to avoid this). There is another protection that doesn't let you to install additional "features" (Components) in the IDE, but this protection can be removed at a little charge.

The newest version of Delphi as of now is Delphi XE with its launch in 2010 it provides various capabilities to the language. However, there are still certain things missing with Delphi that its competing cousins are having which are - 64 bit support for application development, mobile phone application development and cross platform development to name a few. Though Embarcadero suggests that the Delphi compiler is going to undergo a complete overhaul and restructuring in the coming up releases so people might be seeing 64 bit support in Delphi in not much time. The 64 bit version is promised to be out in the first half of 2011.