I started my career in Software Development, writing code in Delphi. A language extending Turbo Pascal, and one of the first successful RAD environments. Now, most software engineers under 40, have probably never heard of this Language & IDE. Why is that? I have certainly have my opinions about this but no data. Anyone who has used Delphi to develop applications will know, it had huge benefits, and potentially still does. But the real question here, is: Does anyone want to hire a Pascal Programmer? Can you continue your career, or more specifically, is there a way I can continue my career, as a Pascal Programmer?
I can certainly imagine there are a few scenarios, in which a Pascal Programmer would be desired. These unfortunately are not good scenarios for the developer, or usually for the business either. First, renovations, and removal of legacy code. Second, maintaining an existing system for a specified or unspecified amount of time. Third, extending systems originally written in Delphi, which are too large or underutilized to be worthwhile to redevelop entirely.
Legacy Code, the common thread in all cases.
It always amazes me that, business managers never seem to really see technology from the perspective of time. Legacy code is a nicer phrase instead of "We made some poor decisions, a while back, that need to be corrected". It is truly a wonder, how some local governments in the US still operate. I worked in an Assessor's Department, for a local government for a few years. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my time, developing applications in Delphi 7 and somewhat less fortunate to deal with Delphi 2009. Part of my job was to replace odd little applications developed over the past couple decades (at the time 80's & 90's) using an assortment of utilities and languages no longer supported, or really outdated. This department ran over half of its daily operations, using these small systems, which didn't work together, and caused lots of work, manually retyping data from reports, and forms generated by other small systems, within the same department.
Something about this was really wrong, and I didn't see it at the time. What I think is wrong here, is we knew Borland was having issues after their release of Delphi 2005, it was a complete disaster. To make things worse, the company then started focusing more on their "Productivity" software and Team Management software I think called StarTeam. Fast forward 5 years, now the Assessor Department is redeveloping the applications I wrote in Delphi Pascal, into something newer. What glorious language and ecosystem are they moving to? That would be Web based applications developed in C# for ASP.Net. While I understand the move, and actually makes some business sense. This is the Legacy Code problem at it's finest. They moved from one legacy system to the next, and hoping the current transition is not a repeat.
Thinking about longevity.
A good programmer thinks about how to fix a bug, whereas a great programmer documents the newly discovered
bug feature... Ha, sorry.. I couldn't help myself with that one. In all seriousness. Documenting your code is very important, and has been a long tradition in Pascal programming. The language is noticeably more verbose than the C-Like alternatives, but I don't see this as a problem. Developers spend more time reading code, than writing code. Reducing the time it takes to understand your code from weeks past, could improve your overall productivity.
- Pascal is easier to read, and understand
- Pascal is strict (Not much Magic)
- Pascal is compiled
- Pascal is portable
- Pascal I wrote 12 years ago, once compiled on the new OS stills runs today.
While the Delphi ecosystem has been troubled. Pascal thanks to the FreePascal compiler and Lazarus Project is extremely forward compatible, and future ready.
Simple cross operating system development.
I hesitate to call this cross platform! Mainly because "Cross Platform" originally referred to the Chip and Architecture of the harder you were targeting, not specifically the Operating System you are linking your application for. Write once, Compile Everywhere. Is sort of the FreePascal motto. And it is accurate! I have been working on a few libraries, in preparation for a larger Marketing Automation system (sociomauto) and without any real effort, I am able to compile my libraries and test applications for Linux, Windows and MacOS.
Are you looking for a Pascal Programmer/Developer/Engineer?
If you are looking for a Programmer, Developer, Software Engineer for a project, which requires knowledge of Pascal; I am interested. Please contact me using the Links in the footer, under the Connect With Me. Heading.
Thanks, and until next time; keep on coding.