My Story with Object Pascal, part two: Delphi

In 1997 and after the second year at Sudan university, I have tried many computer languages and database tools, such as C++, DBase III+, DBase IV, clipper, foxpro, and MS Access, and finally I found Visual Basic, it was VB 3 at that time. I start writing small applications and tutorials using VB.

In one day I have presented my applications to a group of senior software developers, actually they were managers, and they want me to work with them in a project. I showed them my Turbo Pascal applications such as: Diskette library, Arabic font designer, typing tutorial, also a telephone directory written by VB, and they do like my Turbo Pascal applications more than VB applications, so that they advised me to move to Delphi instead of VB, because Delphi is faster 15 times than VB as they told me.

I get a copy of Delphi 2 developer edition and start learning it. Thanks to my experience of Turbo Pascal and VB, I needed only one week to study it, then starting from the second week, I start developing commercial applications using it, then I moved to Delphi 3. After graduation at university I write a book about Delphi called (Delphi programming guide) using a tool written in Delphi itself, called Electronic Book reader and writer, which was my graduation project. I have used that book to teach students in different classes for many years.

EBookShot

After graduation at late 1999, I found a job in Telecom company here in Sudan, they were using Delphi for the applications that has an interface with PSTN switches, we were using Delphi 4 at that time. I start writing my first telecoms application that has a serial interface with international switch to read statistical data, then I developed a traffic reporting system, I worked on this project about 5 years, but I write some other systems during that time such as OMC application that manages subscribers in all PSTN switches, this system is used for more than 10 years. During that time I have joined experts-exchange site and I become an active member in Delphi community, at the first day of 2001 I have entered the 15 top Delphi experts at that site, then I keep moving until I become # 11. At that time Delphi was number 2 of activity in programming languages after VB on that site. The top 15 list competition  was very tough, so that I couldn’t stay more than a year in top 15 Delphi experts.

I left experts-exchange site after 4 to 5 years of using it heavily to solve my problems, to solve other developers problems, and to study new things. Actually I have learned a lot from it, also I met people from the top 15 Delphi experts such as Igore Teugay, Workshop Alex, Alex Simonet, and Mohammed Nasman from Gazza, and I’m still connected with Mohammed Nasman since then. I remembered once I went to London for a telecom forum, and I know that Kelly Barry, (his nick name was Inthe at Experts-exchange, and he was #1 for long time in that board), I wanted to meet him, so that I have posted a question telling him that I’m in London and asked him to call me in telephone, unfortunately he didn’t reply. Later he told me that he was busy that days and he have missed that post, also I remembered that one guy replied at the post “inthe and Motaz now is sitting in a tree” or something like this.

Until 2007 all my Delphi applications were desktop applications and client-server applications, then I turned to web development and Soap web services. At that time Delphi Turbo Explorer has been released freely. I used it for a while then purchased professional edition of it. That was my last Delphi copy that I have used for the next 5 or 6 years.

I was teaching web development in Delphi using web broker CGI/IAPI technology, but I have never used it in real applications, so that I used Intraweb web when I needed to write my first real web application for Intra-net. I have wrote two applications using it. It was very slow in response and have many bad features. Then I decided to try web broker, and converted one page as a prove of concept, Intraweb needs about 45 seconds to refresh that page using remote dial-up connection, while web broker version needs only 3 seconds to refresh the same page. Immediately I decided to move all my web applications to ISAPI web broker, after that my customers becomes happy of it’s performance and stability, and our CEO didn’t want to believe that this site exist on a server, he told me that he argued with my colleagues that the site is hosted on my laptop because of it’s speed. At that time most of my colleagues are using .net for web development which is very slow compared to web broker. Since 2008 that web broker sites are working until now without any problems and nobody needs to upgrade it to a new technology.

In 2009 two Java developers has joined me in my telecom development section, and they showed me a good prove of Java applications, also I tried to convince them to use Delphi, and they have used Delphi for a while, then we purchased a copy of Delphi 2009 to one of them. At that time Embacradero has purchased CodeGear and they prevent registration for Delphi 2009 for my colleague because of American embargo to Sudan, and that was the Straw that broke the camel’s back. I decided to move to Java and Lazarus, and I left Delphi for good, but I didn’t left Object Pascal language which is used in Free Pascal/Lazarus. Now for more than 2 years I work without having a copy of Delphi on my PC after 15 years of using it, now I have only NetBeans and Lazarus as development tools in my laptop.

Many of my Delphi applications are still working on the telecom company that I used to work with. In spite of that I have never intended to use Delphi back, I’ll always have a good memories about that part of my career history.

The last software company that I worked for keep asking me to move to C# instead of Delphi, and I refused all the time, but after 5 years I start studding Java, and C#, then I decided not to use C# and go deep with open source world, then I left that company to start my own business. In my new business I use Linux, Java, and Free pascal/Lazarus happily.

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