Updated: Feb 18
Delphi is now 26 years old and Embarcadero is celebrating with blog posts and has asked developers to share your favorite quote, comment, story, or feature of Delphi. My quote is simple - if you are a truly good Delphi developer, you are typically a 10x developer.
There are lots of discussions available about 10x Programmers, also known as Rockstar Developers, and even a book on The Leprechauns of Software Engineering. You can call them 10x or Leprechauns or whatever term you like - but based on a few decades of interacting with different developers of all skill levels, I will assert that a wide variation among developers is definitely a fact of life. I will also assert that the tools used by those highly productive developers help them achieve their mythical status.
Delphi is based on Pascal which was originally designed by Niklaus Wirth to help teach programming as a discipline. Pascal was widely used in college campuses for a number of years as it is an easy to use programming language for beginners. The only computer related class that I had in college back in 1986 covered Pascal and I remember it seeming fairly similar to the AppleSoft Basic clone I was using on my fancy 3.5MHz computer. I even have the original classroom book "Pascal Programming and Problem Solving" by Leestma and Nyhoff. Unfortunately for me, this particular book did not really grab my attention as I took a few year detour and obtained my degree in Accounting before figuring out how boring it was and switched to programming full time. I eventually started using Delphi 4 to help speed up parts of our main application before finally converting the entire multi-million line project over to Delphi 5 when speed of some highly visible and critical parts of the application increased by over 1,000% after that conversion.
One of the main reasons that I strongly believe Delphi helps you become a 10x developer is the readability aspect of the code. Since developers typically spend much more time reading code than writing code, my assertion is the readabilty of Delphi is one of the underlying sources for its secret weapon power. If you can more easily read and understand the code, then you should be able to maintain and extend that code more easily. That code conversion project I referred to is still leveraging code originally written in Delphi 5 over 20 years ago.
Another superstar trait of Delphi is the backwards compatibility of the codebase. They strive really hard to make every release of Delphi backwards compatible with older versions - even for the versions dating back more than 20 years! (There are a few major issues with backwards compatibility with Delphi - with the most important being the switch to Unicode strings in the Delphi 2009 release.) In general, this backwards compatibility feature leads to code that is maintained for a very long time and it gives ample opportunity to really make the codebase rock solid. Too much code today is written to be disposed of within a year or two. 10x developers do not waste time disposing of old code - they leverage it to build new projects much, much faster.
One example that I will share of real world 10x performance is one of our developers was working for nearly two months on an important integration with an industry leading company. This integration had a specific timeline that we simply were not going to make. After many "almost there" type conversations, I stepped in and restarted the integration and had it complete in a few days, just a few hours before the deadline (while also finishing the integration that I was working on which shared the same deadline date.) Relying on a reliable codebase that you have maintained for years allows you to repeatedly perform miracles like this. Using Delphi helps you become that 10x developer!
For Microsoft Windows desktop application development, Delphi is well known to be a fantastic tool for the job. Since the Delphi XE2 release back in 2011, Delphi has also supported a new GUI framework for cross-platform applications. The idea is to use the FireMonkey framework to support a single codebase able to run your applications on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. It is an ever-more powerful secret weapon of cross-platform developers as you can share most of your codebase across all these platforms. (I wonder how many Xamarin developers are 10x? That one guy in Toledo might qualify... )
Happy 26th Birthday Delphi! Many people simply do not understand the true value that Delphi brings to the table. Windows application development, cross-platform app development, middle-tier service development, and even web development can be achieved with Delphi. Delphi is an industry secret that many 10x developers are using to make miracles happen every day.
Take this opportunity to get 26% off Delphi and all products from Ebarcadero. Discount good until February 28, 2021.
Update: More info on a 10x Developer: