If you have been a member of the Delphi community for any length of time, you should come to recognize developer MVPs. The Embarcadero MVP Program contains some of the most well-known names in the Delphi, C++ Builder, and InterBase communities. Embarcadero defines the purpose of the program as:
Embarcadero's MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program chooses the "best of the best" Embarcadero community members to be trusted assets for our customers and prospects. An MVP is passionate about Embarcadero products and the success of everyone who uses them. An MVP evangelizes (cheers for, promotes, teaches about, etc.) Embarcadero products by writing and speaking on the elegance, simplicity and productivity of our products at user groups, conferences, and webinars, and in websites, articles, newsgroups, blogs and social networks.
Anyone can nominate an MVP by contacting the program administrator, which has been Jim McKeeth for quite a few years. Back in 2013, Alister Christie interviewed Jim about the MVP program when there were about 60 members around the globe and the program was rapidly growing. The consideration for nomination is defined as
Anyone can suggest an exceptional Embarcadero community member who eats, sleeps and dreams about Embarcadero products for consideration to become an MVP. Candidates will be reviewed and selected by a panel of Embarcadero employees including Software Consultants, Product Managers and Developer Relations Evangelists. MVPs will serve for a term of one year, renewable annually.
This nomination page also answers the question "What does an MVP do?"
An MVP is a fervent promoter of Embarcadero products to our customers and prospects in social media, in-person meetings, presentations, videos and webinars. Embarcadero supports MVPs by providing slides, demos, videos and other marketing and sales materials and product information, from which MVPs often create their own inspiring content, whether it be blogs, articles, videos etc. You'll find MVPs presenting, writing, blogging, Facebooking and Tweeting about everything that they love.
Back in June, I wrote a blog post about some work led by Kiriakos Vlahos on some important fixes to Delphi and I ended up nominating him as a MVP for his efforts. If you see a Delphi or C++ Builder developer consistently supporting the products online, I suggest you do the same and send Jim McKeeth an email and nominate them to become an MVP.
I was recently surprised to receive an email from Jim notifying me that I was invited to become a member of the Embarcadero MVP program. Of course, I signed up and will continue to promote Delphi where I can. I am curious to soon gain access to some of the marketing material that was referenced and whatever the "confidential product and technology briefings" may offer.
The list of MVPs is available online and I'm happy to see my entry. It appears there are 187 members listed today. I recognize quite a few names on the list. Pulling one name off each page for fun: Andrea Magni, Bruno Fierens, Dave Nottage, Francois Piette, Ian Barker, Malcolm Groves, Paolo Rossi, Serge Pilko, Uwe Raabe, and Wagner Landgraf.
There is also a list of MVP Regional Coordinators that was announced back in April 2019 with most of the names being highly recognizable.
In October of this year Embarcadero announced a new initiative in which MVPs can help improve some internal projects, starting with the XML Mapper. Olaf Monien led the team with weekly standup meetings and an update is available via GetIt with many improvements including user interface updates, bug fixes, and XML schema standards compliance improvements with plans for even more changes following their initial release. Other team members included Jason Chapman, Ricardo Boaro, Miguel Angel Moreno, and Roger Swann.
If you have an active set of nearly 200 experienced developers that are highly motivated to promote your product, putting them to work on improving some of the closed source makes perfect sense and seems like a win for everyone involved. Now that the first experimental step has been successfully taken, I look forward to more of these MVP projects being announced and potentially participating in them as well.
I'm excited to be an Embarcadero MVP as I firmly believe in the product. I started with Delphi with version 4 and spent quite a long time stuck on Delphi 5 before migrating most code to Delphi 2007. Delphi XE2 was the next major version that I used for a few years before committing to upgrading on every release.
Many Delphi old-timers come from the Turbo Pascal days. I remember playing with Turbo Pascal and creating a few small utilities, but I was pretty happy as an xBase developer. Back in 1998 we migrated our main MS-DOS Clipper 5 project to Windows with a combination of Xbase++ and Visual Basic 5 and then migrated again to a fat client internet based Delphi application in 2001. Before Clipper 5, I was using the venerable Clipper Summer '87 compiler in a manufacturing environment. In the mid to late 80's I had been using dBase III+ for reporting and data entry projects in a Federal Government setting and was completely fascinated by the ability to turn these data entry screens into stand-alone executables with Clipper. Back in 1983, I had a Coleco Adam computer which had SmartBASIC which initially triggered my interest in coding. As just about every programmer of the time, I wrote a Pong game in which I attempted to add spin effects based on the speed of the paddle. I also remember completing a maze generation program with 'smart' monsters chasing you through the maze. The monsters of course were simple colored blocks as I never did get sprites working well on that system (and I have hated graphics programming ever since!)
As I look back over my specific history, it makes me even more excited for the future of Delphi programming. I believe there's a new spirit at Embarcadero right now with the sponsoring of Open Source projects, releasing Bold for Delphi as Open Source, leveraging MVPs on closed-source projects, constant updates to FireMonkey and managing native application support for a wide range platforms, and a rock-solid commitment to being the absolute best Windows development tool available.
What are your thoughts on the future of Delphi programming? Share them with me via Twitter or as a comment to this blog post.