Following the beta testing period and some blog post pre-announcing some of the key features (see also my blog), yesterday Embarcadero officially released RAD Studio 10.4 Sydney, which includes Delphi 10.4.
There are many new features in the product. For Delphi developers the key are:
There is way more in the product, this is just my personal take of the top 3 areas we worked on. Extensive bug fixing is another key element of 10.4, with one of the highest number of public reported bug fixed in a release. And the return of a very nice classic Delphi Greek helmet logo!
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Remember when every man and his dog was using Turbo Pascal and Turbo C++, because they represented perhaps the lowest barrier of entry to almost anything on the market. They were affordable, easy to use, and extremely functional. Why can't we have entry level versions of Delphi and C++ Builder, priced such that students, hobbiests and part time developers can avail of the products? It seems Idera is reluctant to release 10.4 as a free Community Edition - and I can totally understand the reasons behind that. But why not increase their bottom line by releasing fully functional "Starter" type editions for $99 or even $199? Windows only, 32 bit and 64 bit with VCL support would be fine. All IDE/language functionality should be available (don't gimp the IDE). If you want to complete with free tools like Visual Studio, people need current releases and to feel like there is some future in the tools they're adopting. The continual change of tack by Embarcader/Idera (one day we have a Starter Edition, then it's the Community Edition, tomorrow maybe nothing.. who knows?!?) doesn't give people much confidence. Enterprise and big business will always be able to afford the Enterprise/Architect versions at whatever price, but even Professional in Australia is AU$2,235 for the first year. When I don't use 95% of the product, I'm not willing to pay 100% of the price being asked. Go back to the old days with a "Turbo" version that anyone can afford, and gradually you're going to build confidence in the developer base and increased market share.
The Community Edition is and remains available, only with some delay in time compared to paid versions. This is what many companies do, and it does seem so outrageous. Visual Studio is not free, it has a free Community Edition.
Marco, you've misunderstood me entirely if you think I'm personally complaining because the Community Edition 10.4 release may lag several months behind the paid versions. I'm not. The 10.3.3 release is a very, very good release. In another thread Sarina stated that people are abusing the licence conditions of the Community Edition (and I've no doubt that is true), which is why I suggested a cut-down paid-for starter Edition (Windows only) might be a better way of getting people into the RAD Studio ecosystem, rather than having a free version that lags behind the paid-for versions (especially when we don't know what the lag is or whether the free version will even continue to be made available -- i.e. Idera did not disclose the status upon the release of 10.4). To dare suggest such a thing I was reported as a spammer and was forced to defend myself. A very strange practice, indeed.
You say with regard to the lag that "this is what many companies do". Obviously not Microsoft with Visual Studio, so perhaps you can let me know what other company producing developer tools works this way? Note once again that I'm not suggesting it's a bad practice, just that you've introduced the concept to the thread, and I'm curious to know what other comparable companies work this way, because TBH it's not something I regularly come across.
My point is this. I think it's fair to state that market share for RAD Studio is not as high as anyone would like. And I don't believe it's because the product is no good. Quite the opposite -- it's an amazing product! But what message do you send when you encourage people to try the software for free, but when they hit the website they find out they're going to get an old version? I know, and you know, that 10.3.3 is a great version and not "old" by any stretch of the imagination -- but do you think a prospective new user "intuitively" knows that?
Just some food for thought.
Yes, sorry. I see your point. We are not convinced a low cost edition is really useful, compared to a free option with some limits. But we might reconsider. And also we keep considering a pure subscription -- with my lower initial cost. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.
A pure subscription model definitely sounds attractive -- depending on how attractive the initial cost is, of course ;) Please consider also a Windows only option. I'm sure there are many developers (apart from myself) who are only interested in Windows desktop apps. "Apps" on the phone are great, but not the be-all-and-end-all for every situation. Nothing comes close to Delphi/C++ Builder when it comes to building Windows desktop apps -- never has. VCL is still where it's at for me :) Anyway, thanks for your time, Marco. Onward and upward!